What we now know as easy listening evolved from the rhythmic syncopation of jazz, combined with the helpful invention of the electric microphone and demographic changes in the United States which led to a new middle-class affluence and increase in leisure time.
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Key events in easy
Close To Them
In the 70s, The Carpenters introduced easy listening to a new generation. Their wistfully melodic sounds stood in stark contrast to the excessive, gaudy and downright moody glam, prog and punk rockers of the decade -and their record sales are high to this day. Frank, Dean And The Guys
Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack; Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine,Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop among them, typified the cool and edgy nature of easy. In The Mood
The invention of the Long-Playing record sparks a boom in concept albums -so-called Mood Music -by artists such as Ray Anthony,Paul Weston, Ray Anthony, Mantovani, Ray Coniff and Percy Faith. Electric Sounds
The development of the electric microphone allowed Bing Crosby to use his mid-range for singing after he developed nodules on his vocal cords. The Crooner, central to theeasy listeningmood and style, is born. Easy's Back
The 1990s saw a resurgence of easy listening, with acts like Andy Williams, Tony Bennett and Dionne Warwick (pictured above) back in vogue, and a raft of easy listening compilations hit the record shops.
Key easy songwriters
| Cole Porter|
Berlin's great rival for the exalted position of Greatest Writer of Popular Song In The Last Century is Cole Porter, with songs such as "I've Got You Under My Skin", "I Get A Kick Out Of You", "Night And Day", "Love For Sale"...
Easy to love performed by Billie Holiday
I Get A Kick Out Of You performed by Billie Holliday
I've Got You Under My Skin
| Irving Berlin|
For a guy who couldn't read music and knew only one key on the piano, Irving didn't do too badly, writing some of the most-famous songs of the 20th Century including "Blue Skies", "Cheek To Cheek", "There's No Business Like Showbusiness".
Top Hat, White Tie and Tails performed by Fred Astaire
Cheek to Cheek performed by Billie Holiday
Say It Isn't So performed by Billie Holiday
| Burt Bacharach & Hal David|
Bacharach & David updated Easy Listening in the 1960s with a host of effortlessly classy songs for artists like Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield.
Say A Little Prayer performed by Dionne Warwick
This Guy's In Love With You, performed by Sacha Distel
The Look Of Love, performed by Dionne Warwick
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