My taste in music ranges from “you need to listen to this” to “OMG, okay please don’t judge me.”
Were you a TV watcher in the 70s? We had a stay-at-home mom until Leslie started high school, so we had mom waiting for us when we got home from school. She was a big soap opera and game show fan and she had watched a few shows by mid-afternoon.
When we got home, it was time for talk shows. Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin. We loved them all! And that’s how we learned of the popular music of the day. Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck. Perry Como. Of course, Dinah and Merv sang on their own shows, but we just loved spending the afternoon watching celebrities with mom.
I thought of these talk shows, and Mike Douglas in particular, when Leslie and I were sitting in the nail salon today. An easy listening Pandora station was playing and, of course, we knew all the songs and artists. The Drifters, Johnny Mathis, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The music was “easy” to “listen” to. Easy listening (originally, “mood music”) was most popular during the 1950s to 1970s. It’s related to middle-of-the-road (MOR) music and encompasses instrumental music, standards, and hit songs.
Easy listening music is often confused with elevator music or lounge music, but while it was popular in some of the same venues, it bore only modest resemblance to the background sound of this kind of music. A significant portion of easy listening music is purely instrumental and included some big band arrangements of standards, movie themes, bossa nova hits, and instrumental versions of popular songs, including light jazz and soft rock. It did have a slower tempo, and a large selection of strings.
Which got me thinking what easy listening would be like a generation from now. “Fade” by Kanye West? “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk? “Umbrella” by Rihanna? All I can is, “Bitch Better Have My Money!”