Remember the Original Rolf Harris Stylophone?
The original Stylophone invented way back in the swinging sixties and endorsed by convicted Australian sex offender Rolf Harris, is as much fun today as it ever was, probably more so due to the fact we are surrounded by so many hi-tech gizmos such as the sleek and sassy iPad, its so nice to hold a little bit of tech history in your hands that just oozes nostalgia.
The good news is that the modern Stylophone looks and sounds just like the authentic Stylophone of the 60’s, so if you can’t find an antique Stylophone the modern version will still take you for a trip down memory lane, just be sure you’re not sat on the lap of a bearded old Australian while you’re playing it.
The Dubreq Stylophone – A brief history
Invented by accident in 1967 by soundtrack dubber Brian Jarvis as he attempted to fix his nieces electric piano, the small electronic device became known as the Dubreq Stylophone and quickly became something of a cult adopted by the likes of Rolf Harris, Kraftwerk and David Bowie.
Originally the device sold for 8 pounds 18 shillings and sixpence (equivalent of £95 in today’s money) but went on to sell an amazing 3 million units.
Unfortunately by the early 80’s the quirky little device had disappeared from the shelves but made an amazing comeback in 2007 when re-launched by Ben Jarvis, Brians son.
As in the sixties a whole new generation of pop stars picked up on the device including the likes of Erasure and Little Boots ensuring the Stylophone name lives on well into the 21st Century.
Little Boots and the Dubreq Stylophone
High Profile Authentic Stylophone Players
- David Bowie
“Space Oddity” and “Slip Away” both feature the Stylophone.
The German electronic band used the Stylophone extensively on their concept album “Computer World”.
The synth pop duo used a vintage Stylophone in 1997 for their single “Don’t Say Your Love is Killing Me”.
Pulp’s album “His ‘n’ Hers” featured the advanced Stylophone350S
- Marilyn Manson
The notes of the Stylophone can just be heard in the song “You Me and The Devil Makes Three”.
- Little Boots
The Stylophone kick starts the song “Meddle”.
David Bowie plays the Stylophone
The Stylophone doesn’t appear till the end of the Slip Away video but please take the time to listen to it all, it’s such a great song. Bowie was an early adopter of the Stylophone, first incorporating its synthetic sound into the the 1969 hit ‘A Space Oddity’, giving the pocket sized synth a massive boost in popularity.
Where can I Buy a Stylophone?
Amazingly, this iconic pocket sized electronic instrument is still being produced by its original manufacturer Dubreq and now comes in a variety of different flavours.
For the traditionalist, there is the Original Stylophone S1, that has sold over 4 million units since its inception in 1968. Revamped with more up to date technology but retaining its retro good looks and retailing at less than £20, making it a great gift for lovers of vintage electronic music and budding creative musicians, everywhere.
The Stylophone BeatBox was introduced to an unsuspecting world in 2009, designed to be the perfect accompaniment to the Original Stylophone, the BeatBox was a miniature drum machine capable of recording sound loops and importing MP3 samples, to provide the perfect backing track for your Stylophone instrumentals.