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In 1957 RCA released a dozen "For Hi-FI Living" easy listening albums in the U.S. They sold for $1.98 each, half the price of a standard L.P., and featured mostly European light music ensembles (England seemed to be favored). All albums were monophonic releases, although I suspect most if not all were recorded in stereo-- however consumer stereo was yet to be introduced in the U.S. Some years ago by haunting thrift stores and resale shops I managed to collect all twelve albums. I must say overall they are a dreary listening experience-- torpid playing and tempi, and heavy on somnolent strings. In other words, "background music" in the most literal sense.


My long deceased parents' album and why I still value the series.

 

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If there's anything to feel guilty about it's the lumping together of a load of compositions and artists of such vastly different quality and with such vastly different intentions. But I think there are lots of good resources around now, including on the internet, that can help sort these matters out. For people of the rock generation like me, it used to be all too easy to put "what our parents listened to" in a vague "easy listening" category. Nowadays that doesn't cut it -- and major problems can develop.
 

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Jefferson Starship - Miracles (basically any of those Marty Balin ballads)

Looking Glass - Brandy

Al Stewart - The Year of the Cat

Steely Dan - everything. My favorite is Deacon Blues. They might have been hipper or more musical than other "easy listening" acts, but the music still sounds like easy listening, and I like it all.

...and Barry Manilow, sure.

'70's a.m. radio
 

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In 1957 RCA released a dozen "For Hi-FI Living" easy listening albums in the U.S. They sold for $1.98 each, half the price of a standard L.P., and featured mostly European light music ensembles (England seemed to be favored). All albums were monophonic releases, although I suspect most if not all were recorded in stereo-- however consumer stereo was yet to be introduced in the U.S. Some years ago by haunting thrift stores and resale shops I managed to collect all twelve albums. I must say overall they are a dreary listening experience-- torpid playing and tempi, and heavy on somnolent strings. In other words, "background music" in the most literal sense.


My long deceased parents' album and why I still value the series.

Prestige records had a sublabel called Moodsville, where some great jazz players played a laid back set. I have several of those: Coleman Hawkins (2) and Red Garland. Easy listening maybe, but not a guilty pleasure.
 

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Sinatra
Fifth Dimension
Gino Vannelli
 
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