A recording made at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey on an IBM 7094 mainframe computer in 1961 is the earliest known recording of a computer-synthesized voice singing a song— Daisy Bell, also known as "Bicycle Built for Two." The recording was programmed by physicist John L. Kelly Jr., and Carol Lockbaum, and featured musical accompaniment written by computer music pioneer Max Mathews.
The science fiction novelist Arthur C. Clarke witnessed a demonstration of the piece while visiting his friend, the electric engineer and science fiction writer, John R. Pierce, who was a Bell Labs employee at the time. Clarke was so impressed that he incorporated the 7094's musical performance in the 1968 novel, and the script for the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. One of the first things that Clarke’s fictional HAL 9000 computer had learned when it was originally programmed was the song "Daisy Bell". Near the end of the story, when the computer was being deactivated, or put to sleep by astronaut Dave Bowman, it lost its mind and degenerated to singing "Daisy Bell."
(This entry was last revised on 03-21-2015.)