Does anyone still like easy listening records (Mantovani, Percy Faith, etc.)?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by BroJB, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. BroJB

    BroJB Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Every time I dig through thrift store stacks and am confronted with a surplus of Mantovani, Ferrante & Teicher and other assorted "beautiful music" LPs, I'm amazed at their ubiquity. Those artists must have sold tens of millions of records, judging by the sheer volume that are still floating around.

    I try to get my head around why they were originally purchased and if anyone ever thought of it as 'good" music (as opposed to simply "beautiful" or "relaxing" music). Did people purchase this stuff and say "Man, Lawrence Welk's new record is fantastic. What arrangements!", or was it simply something to have on in the background while dad downed some cocktails after another day in the office?

    And is there anyone who actually listens to this kind of record today in an un-ironic fashion?

    I'm genuinely curious, as I've almost certainly spent huge chunks of my life flipping past these records and wondering about how something that was once so huge is now so completely forsaken.
  2. Blimpboy

    Blimpboy Forum Resident

    Walton, KY
    As I grow older and "mellow" a bit in my music tastes, I have purchased some of the music described and enjoy it. Ray Conniff in particular. I enjoy hearing orchestral arrangements of pop tunes from the 60's and 70's. What we used to call "elevator music". It doesn't hurt that the album covers have very attractive women in tasteful settings.
  3. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Victoria, Canada
    Not sure how un-ironic I am but I do have and value my Charles Albertine arranged Three Suns records and various Arthur Lyman albums. Also Sergio Mendes and a couple Esquivel, many Los Indios Tabajaras... but for the Mantovani side I just have a couple compilation CDs of various artists.
  4. Peace N. Love

    Peace N. Love Forum Resident

    I listened to Paul Mauriat the other day, and there was no irony.
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  5. PCM7027

    PCM7027 Forum Resident

    I'll often stick on some Bert Kaempfert.
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  6. Brother Maynard

    Brother Maynard Forum Resident

    Dallas, TX
    Some of them had sexy album covers. My dad has a stack of them.
  7. Chip TRG

    Chip TRG Senior Member

    I'll raise my hand and say yes.....on rare occasion.

    I grew up in the late 70's and early 80's, and my dad would often work late at his small engine shop with WEZN out of Bridgeport CT. on the radio into the hours when he would be working late with only him in the building. They were heavy on what we refer to (be it positively or otherwise) as elevator music, as well as certain Top 40 cuts like LONGER by Dan Fogelberg or JUST WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST by Randy Vanwarmer which I will forever associate with that station and those times.

    I tend to sometimes find myself slapping on one of the Percy Faith "Young lovers" themed albums or one of the Capitol "Hollyridge Strings Play Hits by....." albums if I'm doing something quiet at home at night because it makes for some legitimate background music. The first Percy Faith "Themes For Young Lovers" LP for instance has some really pleasant arrangements of some pre-Beatles "currents" from the time. An example linked below. The Percy Faith ones especially are recorded with such a lush sound.....they sound great in headphones!

    If you don't go in with super huge expectations, you may be surprised and find yourself enjoying some of them.

    PS...honorable mention: Horst Jankowski's A WALK IN THE BLACK FOREST. I'll admit it...I love that damn tune!
  8. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Well, I started assembling my Mancini collection during the '70s. Aside from being a part of the "clueless adults" music, it was a tad cooler than most over elevator groups, due to his early jazz work, and movies that were actually popular.

    "Beautiful Music" (which of course, was one of the major music formats in our childhoods) had a strategy to it, aside from its' obvious attraction of appealing to adults who saw all their popular music outlets going to crap. Like Muzak, it had both the "pleasant" and "soothing" traits going for it, appropriate for business, restaurant, elevator and reception-area uses. Muzak, actually, really had this thing down, convincing its' subscribers of how craftily and scientifically they worked to make the worlforce more productive, keeping workers alert, and focused. And, I suppose it did its' purpose as far as marketing goes (think of it as, "the Bose of music services" :D ).

    The key to "Beautiful Music", aside from being mellow, was its' proclivity for cover songs, treating musical numbers, modern hits, and standards. You were more likely to hear Doris Day singing a cover song, than to hear one of her older hits from the '50s (not "guaranteed", just more likely". In addition to using covers to help listeners still feel like they were a part of the musical world that was passing them by, keeping their favorite stars recordings, particularly current ones, within the firmament of their musical life. But no mistake, there was always room for a current MOR hit, be it Jack Jones' "Wives And Loverss" ("...tiiimme, to get ready for loooovveee..."), or anything Andy Williams or Johnny Mathis has released.

    And the last piece of the puzzle was, even if the hip, modern stars of your kids' radio station might be a big draw on your Dad's favorite TV variety show, these were polarizing artists as well. So there was plenty of room for Ferrante & Teischer or a brat-packer to guest on a season's schedule, continuing to give credibility to these artists, that they were vital in the music scene, and were not has-beens by any stretch of the imagination.'s just that The Mamas and The Papas were soooo easy to book...!
  9. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    Growing up, my mom always played the radio as background music.
    (Now described as “domestic ambient noise”.)

    So, I’m used to hearing either Top 40 Pop music, Soft-Rock ballady radio stations, and also Instrumental Easy Listening Muzak.

    As a goofy loser kid, with plenty of free time, I’d even mentally make up my own original lyrics while the instrumentals were playing.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
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  10. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Fonthill, Ontario
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  11. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Percy Faith's "Theme From A Summer Place" is one of my favourite records. Very proud of the fact that he's from my hometown.
  12. Scott in DC

    Scott in DC Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    I am a big fan of The Sandpipers. Their easy listening albums from the 60s on A&M Records are nice.

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  13. vudicus

    vudicus Analog Dog

    "Theme From A Summer Place" by Percy Faith and "Strangers On The Shore" by Acker Bilk are 2 favourites of mine.
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  14. James Glennon

    James Glennon Forum Resident

    Dublin, Ireland
    :yikes: Ah! One of my Sandpiper LPs has gone missing.

  15. geo50000

    geo50000 Forum Resident

    Canon City, CO.
    Phil Bodner's Brass Ring/Living Jazz LP's kind of straddle the line between pop instros and out-and-out muzak, I like them
    quite a bit.
  16. BroJB

    BroJB Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I sometimes think I should convince myself that I like this music, because it would make my record hunting trips to thrift stores far more productive than they currently are.

    "Hey, I scored a Gleason in good condition today!".
  17. BroJB

    BroJB Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I have to give it up to the organ sound in this. It's pretty awesome.
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  18. John Porcellino

    John Porcellino Forum Resident

    Beloit, WI
    Love that stuff. Grew up with FM 100 playing "beautiful music" on the radio in our Chicago home. Later, in Denver with KEZW and seemingly countless thrift stores and used record shops I really got into it.

    For me it's not so much ironic, but I will admit there's a certain wistful nostalgia to my enjoyment of this music. I particularly got into the classic A & M Records sound, with the Tijuana Brass, Brasil 66, Chris Montez, Sandpipers, Claudine Longet... Very enjoyable.
  19. juanmanuel

    juanmanuel Forum Resident

    I live in Spain
    According to my ears some great names such as Percy Faith, Paul Weston, Mancini, Gordon Jenkins, Frank Comstock, Pourcel, Nelson Riddle, Ted Heath, Legrand, Frank de Vol, etc..knew, at least, as much about what to do with musical notes and rhythm, than the more "serious " names in music. I enjoy listening to the music written or recorded by these names as much as Pink Floyd, Pierre Monteux, Queen, Fritz Reiner, Duke Ellington, Tori Amos, Celia Cruz, etc.... All of them wrote or recorded beautiful music.
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  20. Radio

    Radio Forum Resident

    Ann Arbor, MI
    I’m not a big fan but do recommend Percy Faith’s Porgy and Bess album. Great sound, too. I believe he worked with Miles Davis early on. Maybe someone can verify.
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  21. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    James Last, call for you on the white courtesy phone; please James Last, pick up the white courtesy phone...
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  22. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    I do. I wouldn't say that I listen to anything "ironically." And I don't take anything out of my collection, out of my playing rotation. Easy listening stuff isn't a huge percentage of my collection (well, depending on just how you define it--if folks are including stuff like Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini, Perry Como, Herb Alpert, the Rat Pack (Sinatra, Martin, Davis Jr.) etc. then it's a much bigger percentage), but I have a fair amount of it.
    Jarleboy likes this.
  23. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    I grab 70's Percy Faith LPs when I see them. Some of them are a bit CTI jazz/fusion sounding.
  24. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    I never really thought much about it, but it seems kind of hard to pin down just what should count as "easy listening" or not. For example, this usually gets lumped in with it, but it's kind of just a bit swankier than normal big band, isn't it?

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  25. cboldman

    cboldman Forum Resident

    Hamilton, OH USA
    This Paul Mauriat rendition of Lady Madonna was used as station identification music for the local TV channel and I dug it and searched out the record.

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