A musical genre whose title itself was a reaction to rock, "Easy Listening" was none other than post-war pop free from the influence of blues or jazz; a stimulating music brand in Europe, it retained the orchestral character of pop in the 1950s but focused almost entirely on arrangement and melody. As a result, most of the big names in this genre were composers, directors, arrangers, instrumental showmen (such as Mantovani, Mancini, Liberace), and conductors. Some singers, such as Andy Williams and later Perry Como, have become stars of this genre. However, most singers migrated to a more radio-friendly based on the genre when rock wholly conquered radio in the 60s’. It also meant that easy listening was mostly an album selling format, which relied on soundtracks of film versions and pop standards to survive.
The Differences between Easy Listening and Similar Genres
The style is often confused with "exotica," an album-driven instrumental pop band that featured bizarre arrangements and, as the title suggests, based on an approximation of exotic western music, usually from Africa, the Caribbean , or South America. On the contrary, easy listening had a strictly European character; traditional Italian, German, French, and Polish music appeared in the foreground. Sometimes it is called "elevator music," but it compromises hearing because this particular genre is usually produced and recorded in the cheapest possible way. The post-war "Great American Songbook" genre is often confused with Easy Listening, but one is naturally derived from the other; as the greatest generation grew up in the suburbs, blatant pop and swing jazz naturally gave birth to something melodic, but much less rhythmic. Easy listening was almost a great touch to the song.
Eras of Easy Listening
The genre had the greatest success in the 1960s and early 1970s, when "mature adults," without the hitch of rock, sought a more familiar rhythm; at the end of the 1970s, the convergence of folk-rock, country-rock, and the composer produced the "soft rock" format, rhythmic enough and similar (but airbrushed) to rock enough to surpass a new generation of light listeners killed the original form. However, the "easy listening" stations took a long time to disappear completely, going from FM to the less demanding AM group before disappearing completely.
Easy listening is also known as elevator music and adult contemporary.
Some of the greatest tracks that is attributed to this genre are: "Moon River," by Henry Mancini, "Theme From A Summer Place," by Percy Faith, "Somewhere, My Love (Lara's Theme)," by Ray Conniff, "Midnight Cowboy," by John Barry, "This Guy's In Love With You," by Herb Alpert, "Wonderland By Night," by Bert Kaempfert, "The Look Of Love," by Sergio Mendes, "Unchained Melody," by Les Baxter, "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing," by Mantovani, and "Exodus," by Ferrante and Teicher.
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