Talk:Easy Listening
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Talk:Easy Listening
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Lounge etc.

To say that lounge music is something else than easy listening is to split hairs, in my opinion. Lounge music is usually just what EL sounds like live, with a smaller orchestra. Vintermann 06:44, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Speaking of spilt hairs: the list of easy listening is now chock-full of opinions and un-encyclopedic comments like "if this list seems suprising, then". Bear in mind that easy listening is for the most part a term few musicians describe themselves with.

We need to do something with that list! Vintermann 09:00, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I'm sorry to do such a big change, but I revert the list of artists. You who made it have had a chance to clean it up. It's just not good enough with a page that lists Galway as an easy listening artist (He's absolutely not. He's light classical. New age if you want to be perjorative) and I just haven't the time to reseach every artist in this humonguous list. Vintermann 07:54, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Adjectives

I'm not quite satisfied with that rewrite. That Easy Listening is "pleasant" and "undemanding on the ear" - pleasant is disputable, "undemanding on the ear" is definitively subjective, and it's a slur. We already describe the music objectively with "It features simple, catchy melodies, cool, laid-back harmonics and rhythms suitable for dancing".

  • That the melodies are not very long or hard to remember is easy to verify, thus "simple".
  • "cool and laid-back harmonics" - I use "cool" in the jazz sense here. If someone has a better description of EL harmonics, which is tonal and based on seventh- and extended chords, feel free to use it.
  • Most E.L. is dance music, so the point about rhythm is also not just subjective.

Vintermann 11:51, Apr 18, 2005 (UTC)

Stub?

This entry should perhaps be marked as a stub? It's not very big, and not entirely correct: for instance, EL is actually a form of very, very smooth jazz which tried very hard to capture the mood of the age (consider the use of buzzwords like "non-stop", the sudden rash for mexican imagery, etc.) It's musical predecessor is swing-style jazz, and it developed further into disco, not new age, which is largely a product of Enya's feminine synth-pop. The only thing it has in common with new age is that it's considered "light", and the terms (new age and easy listening) are more often used by detractors of the style than adherents.

How about we add a list of well known easy-listening hits that people have actually heard and perhaps not thought of as such, such as The girl from Ipanema, Raindrops keep falling on my head, etc (more ideas wanted :-) Vintermann

Rewrite

~~Dysprosia, I think your rewrite of the intro made it quite clumsy. If you don't like the original then how about:

Easy listening describes a musical style which emerged in the mid 20th century, emphasising relaxation and lack of emotional challenge, but sometimes possessing hidden depths.
Also, at least of the bands listed as 1960s, Mantovani, was alive and kicking in the 50s. Moriori 02:44, Nov 30, 2003 (UTC)

Yes I thought my intro was rather sucky. How about

Easy listening describes a musical style which emerged in the mid 20th century. It was seen to emphasise relaxation and some music stressed a lack of emotional challenge, but other easy listening music possessed hidden depths.

? Dysprosia 02:48, 30 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I really don't see why you need to pad it out with unecessary words like "It was seen to" and "and some music stressed" and "but other easy listening ". My suggestion implies all of that, is much shorter, flows nicely, informs, and...... Well, whatever. Moriori 03:17, Nov 30, 2003 (UTC)

Saying stuff like "it was seen to" is NPOV. Some may think that easy listening didn't emphasize relaxation but emphasized romantic ideals, or whatever. For example Doug Ashdown's Winter in America wasn't really emphasizing relaxation, but was more a introspective kind of work. I'll go add the paragraph. Dysprosia 06:57, 30 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Are you serious? Since when has Easy Listening "was seen to emphasise relaxation" equated to Easy Listening "didn't emphasise relaxation"? You are contradicting yourself. Please prove to me any inaccuracies in my intro. Where is the error in me saying Easy Listening describes a musical style, that it was introduced in the mid 20th century, that it emphasises relaxation and lack of emotional challenge, and that it sometimes possesses hidden depths. Please explain how any of those facts are POV. What the hell is "stuff"? Please explain how padding anything with unecessary verbosity helps to present clarity to popflock.com resource readers.. Sheesh. Moriori 08:51, Nov 30, 2003 (UTC)

Influences/Origins of Easy Listening

I've read the opinions that Easy Listening derived from swing bands or jazz. Perhaps that is partially true, since the tonal language of Easy Listening arrangements utilized some jazz harmonic concepts with an orchestral instrumentation.

But there are some other primary influences which need to be mentioned in terms of repertoire and melodic aspects of the genre:

(1) Broadway show tunes comprise a certain large segment of it -- tunes by Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, etc.
(2) Motion Picture and Television Themes -- tunes by Victor Young, John Green, Alfred & Lionel Newman, Henry Mancini and others.
(3) the semi-symphonic "Pops Concert" music of arranger/composers like Leroy Anderson ("Fiddle Faddle", "Plink Plank Plunk", "The Pennywhistle Song") and Richard Hayman ("No Strings Attached").
(4) the earlier British tradition called "Light Music", which evolved from the lighter pieces of serious publishers (what U.S. orchestra concert programs might have referred to as "Light Classical" music.) British "Light Music" composers included Richard Addinsell (of "Warsaw Concerto" fame), Eric Coates ("A Sleepy Lagoon"), Robert Busby ("Orchid Room") and Robert Farnon ("Portrait of a Flirt" and "Journey Into Melody".)

There was also one influence that had more to do with the recording business than art of music:

(5) U.S. record companies all had on staff arrangers like Percy Faith, Hugo Winterhalter, and Paul Weston to write and conduct arrangements for vocal crooners. When technologies like "Hi Fidelity" and the "Microgroove LP" arrived, it was a natural business decision to have their staff arranger and studio orchestra make records to demonstrate the sonic possibilities of the medium.
And when "Stereophonic" recordings emerged, the same thing happened at the record companies, and this provided the material for "Easy Listening" or "Beautiful Music" (flavors of "Middle-of-the-Road", or "MOR") that was known by those terms on radio.

So there were both musical and non-musical origins and influences.

--Digital Dave (former Program Director of the Easy Listening/Beautiful Music format "Music Just for The Two Of Us" on over 100 radio stations)


I'd agree with Digital Dave and broaden the scope somewhat to also include the fact this is one amazing genre of music that became one of the only ones I know that forced the larger format distributors to custom-record a lot of the cover music that went out on the format tapes to radio stations. Bonneville, which I've had the most experience with, hired Lex DeAzevedo, among others, to produce quick covers of songs of the day just for this format. One of the major driving forces of this format was that it would attract then-lucrative older demographics, generally with more disposable income, making it a great sell for higher end car dealers and other such advertisers. Listeners wouldn't tolerate the "rock" music of the 1960s and 1970s, but were quite happy to listen to Ronnie Aldrich or the Romantic Strings (or Lex) rearrange the piece into a gentler instrumental cover. A huge part of the core library of the easy listening format was cover recordings of pop tunes of the 1960s and 1970s. I can't think of too many Beatles tunes that weren't rearranged for this format!
Since a lot of the covers were custom-made or licensed from BBC orchestras rechristened as something else for radio's purposes, it wasn't surprising that so many songs covered were also popular in the United Kingdom.
I added a sentence to make mention of the cover recordings. Ironically, it was probably this practice that helped earn the format the "elevator music" label. For the fans of the original artists, it was unsettling to hear them rearranged into something their parents would enjoy, and music critics used to savage the format quite often for this reason. Unfortunately, the real "muzak" type background music distribution services also did some covers themselves and were far less choosy, custom-making less-thought-out covers of pop songs that just turned out sounding silly (and cheesy when a lot of synths were employed). That would explain some bad covers of Prince tunes we would hear in places like Wendy's in the 1980s.
The one thing I do agree with is that the genre is completely misunderstood by a lot of folks who weren't around during the easy listening radio format's peak. Today, all sorts of lounge, jazz, big band, pop vocalists, and new age stuff get dumped into this genre. I've even seen a few classic country artists dumped into the easy listening category.
Wny 21:32, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Odd article

This makes it sound like easy listening is only a term old people know, but I don't think I'm old yet. (Granted I'm old by popflock.com resource standards as I'm 29) Easy listening is a category at Amazon.com[1] and a Sirius Radio station.--T. Anthony 11:09, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

I feel the same way, and I'm only 16. 24.226.77.23 (talk) 17:08, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Artists list

I suggest the Notable Artists section, which is rather long, be moved to a new list, e.g. List of Easy Listening artists. 79.73.200.251 (talk) 11:05, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Or create a category? --Northernhenge (talk) 13:28, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
Either way, something's gotta be done. I added Frank Mills btw. 24.226.77.23 (talk) 17:09, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Globalization

I've added a Globalize request to this article. If I knew anything about the subject, I'd add some non-USA examples but the only one I can think of is The Mike Flowers Pops. I've also deleted the radio station subheading as (a) it was empty and (b) if it was filled it would become enormously long. Wouldn't it be better to use a category? --Northernhenge (talk) 13:27, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

I suggest to include Bebu Silvetti as a non-USA composer.--Vmsa (talk) 22:42, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Guy Lombardo?

Would you consider Guy Lombardo to be easy listening? I ask because in the Guy article it says he made "easy listening" music famous, but that seems to be contradicted by the claim in this article that easy listening came along later, in the mid 20th century. Also if Guy made it famous, why isn't he mentioned here?

I'm not sure of the answer myself. I always thought of Guy as a 1930s musician who was still playing pre-swing pop after the rise of the swing bands. Sort of a nostalgia act, although his main fans seem to have been college kids. Rees11 (talk) 16:02, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

An Objective Discussion of Easy Listening is Difficult

Most of the articles here concerning easy listening, lounge music, or whatever term is used to describe the orchestral performance of popular songs, show a lack of knowledge of the origins of the genre. There is a decided point of view and bias towards the music. The writings are apparantly written by those with a post-Beatles attitude towards western popular music. That being that all pop music prior to The Beatles is simplistic and insignificant. This philosophy has been informally dictated through the culture and media for several generations. At this point, the philosophy is considered doctrine for those educated through Rolling Stone Magazine, MTV, or whatever else formed their musical taste.

When one reads that easy listening is characterized by "simple melodies", it's obvious the writer has little formal education in music nor the appreciation of it. The songs performed in any set or playlist of this genre, are written by Kern, Ellington, Mercer, Mancini, Bacharach, and others that are considered to be the great songwriters of the 20th century. And yes, I will include Lennon/McCartney, James Taylor, and Carol King, and others from the rock genre as well.

Instrumental music, including something more than a guitar, bass, and drums, was a staple of popular music for decades. There are many reasons why it experienced a decline in popularity, which are beyond the scope of this topic. It must be said however, that the decline has nothing to do with the quality of the music, nor the indication that rock music is any way superior.

Eelb53 (talk) 09:17, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

I see that the article has been improved. I still don't agree with the post-Beetles POV, but at least the "simple melodies" sentence has been removed.Eelb53 (talk) 03:22, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Classical and jazz is easy listening?

Some record stores I've been to seem to classify all classical music as "easy listening". The Newgrounds audio portal classifies all "classical" and "jazz" music under the "easy listening" category. How widespread is this? Esn (talk) 20:54, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Many people under the age of about 50 (maybe older), consider any non-vocal performance involving brass and woodwind instruments, to be easy listening. Invariably, some of them run record stores.

Eelb53 (talk) 05:44, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Boney M., disco group(?)

Under "Easy listening vocal groups," the first group listed is "Boney M., disco group." I read the popflock.com resource article on "Boney M.," and no where in the article is it mentioned they did any type of Easy Listening Music. Could one of you please confirm this, and then delete "Boney M." Thank You!

Orchestral pop split

I just don't see how "orchestral pop" could be considered part of easy listening. Exotica, lounge, library music, yeah... But really, not orchestral pop, especially the kind that Harpers Bizarre and similar artists were making. I think that orchestral pop should be a separate article redirecting to baroque pop. Is there anybody who disagrees?--Ilovetopaint (talk) 20:34, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

What are you basing your proposal on, other than personal opinion? The sources that I used to add that section to this article relate it to "easy listening" (the first sentence says orchestral pop is "a more challenging form of easy listening.") Otherwise, I would not have added it in this article. Secondly, are you suggesting we remove it altogether from this article and make "orchestral pop" serve as a redirect to "baroque pop", because it doesn't sound similar enough to you? Dan56 (talk) 01:52, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Isn't the phrase "challenging form of easy listening" an oxymoron? None of the other sources listed refer to orchestral pop as easy-listening -- except for Allmusic -- and Allmusic is not the end-all be-all source of genre info. The name doesn't even make sense. It's a loose term meant to describe pop music with orchestration, not the umbrella term/genre "easy listening" that started as a radio format. Anybody else should see that the "orchestral pop" section bears absolutely no continuity to the rest of the article.--Ilovetopaint (talk) 05:51, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
You're incorrect; the book by Lanza that is cited in that section does, but you obviously didn't bother to check ([2]). You have no basis for removing this information from this article, other than disagreeing with cited sources (the section happens to be the only appropriately sourced in this article) and POV-based claims about what "easy listening" is and isn't, which is evident in both your last remark and your edit history. And you have offered nothing to contradict what the sources cited say or to support anything regarding "baroque pop". Dan56 (talk) 06:08, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

The problem with all these discussions and debates, is that each contributor brings their own compartmentalized knowledge of music to the table. You can't properly define "Easy Listening" music, because you have no knowledge of the history of the actual music. You tend to get caught up in your own perceptions, which or drawn from pop culture, rather than a proper education in music appreciation. It's like allowing an 8 year old with an erector set, write an article on civil engineering. It's always a dead give away, when analogies are given involving Rock groups with cutesy names, and the names of the great composers who wrote the music that is now referred to as "Easy Listening" are never mentioned.Eelb53 (talk) 03:42, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

How come this article starts by saying "easy-listening (also known as orchestral pop)", and later on say that "orchestral pop is a form [among others] of easy listening"? Blatant contradition. Savig (talk) 00:56, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Performers

Incredibly, for a genre mainly with instrumentals just singers were listed. I added a list of instrumental performers.Dogru144 (talk) 15:43, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

Emphasis on one radio station's genre format

The article has heavy attention to WPIX-FM's music formats in the latter half of the 20th century. It is questionable that one radio station's formats should be so central. Dogru144 (talk) 01:16, 13 October 2016 (UTC)Dogru144 (talk) 01:17, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

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