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‘Live for Life’ is the classic Easy Listening soundtrack you must know

Claude Lelouch’s Vivre pour Vivre (“Live for Life”) tells the tale of a torrid affair between Robert, a famous—and philandering—war correspondent (Yves Montand) and Candice, a volatile 21-year-old American fashion model in Paris (Candice Bergen, looking incredibly gorgeous here) and how it causes the disintegration of his already shaky marriage to Annie Girardot’s gentle, sorrowful Catherine.

It’s a beautiful film—lensed by Lelouch himself—with scenes shot in Paris, Nairobi and Amsterdam, but even so, it’s Bergen’s incredible face that steals the attention each and every time she appears onscreen.

Vivre Pour Vivre was one of the most successful French films of all time and nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film in 1968. Today the film is probably best remembered—at least outside of France—for its lush Françis Lai soundtrack, in particular the title theme which has become something of an instrumental easy listening “standard” and the themes for each of the three main characters.

The composer stayed close to the formula he’d established for his previous collaboration with Lelouch on A Man and A Woman: “la la la” scat singing, briskly pounded piano, organ and clavichord, electric guitar and histrionic strings. It’s very easy to find this soundtrack, and other Françis Lai soundtracks cheap in used record stores. The next time you see this, or his soundtrack to Lelouche’s A Man and a Woman, don’t pass them by.
“Thème de Candice”:

More easy listening after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Esquivel: The meticulous Mexican maestro of Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music
06:52 pm


easy listening

In the early 1970s Jamaican dubmeisters supreme King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry collaborated on an album called Blackboard Jungle wherein each mixed one channel of stereo down to what amounted to two separate mono mixes. It’s breathtakingly ingenious—not to mention a terribly elaborate and work intensive process—but it doesn’t hold a patch on what “easy listening” legend Juan Garcia Esquivel got up to a decade prior. He’d sometimes use an entire orchestra in each channel, the musicians sitting in adjoining recording studios…

Have a listen to “Mucha Muchacha” from Esquivel’s 1962 album, Latin-Esque—this is some serious stuff, is it not?

Mexico City-raised Esquivel was the primary creator of the sub-genre of easy listening that was retrospectively called “Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music” (a term coined by DM pal, artist/Subgenius Byron Werner). His innovative, idiosyncratic (and instantly recognizable) music made full use of the vast possibilities of the newfangled stereophonic soundscape—exotic instrumentation, quick-change dynamics, polyphonic percussion, ping-ponging sound effects—and the perfectionist composer, arranger and pianist created the sort of record albums that insured they were used to demonstrate the highest fidelity stereo equipment. Incredibly, he was an entirely self-taught musician.

Continues over…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Joy of Easy Listening
11:25 am


easy listening

A kind soul has posted the new BB4 documentary,The Joy of Easy Listening on YouTube. If this is from the same team who did the great Synth Britannia doc, it should be pretty good. Watch it quick before it evaporates:

In-depth documentary investigation into the story of a popular music that is often said to be made to be heard, but not listened to. The film looks at easy listening’s architects and practitioners, its dangers and delights, and the mark it has left on modern life.

From its emergence in the 50s to its heyday in the 60s, through its survival in the 70s and 80s and its revival in the 90s and beyond, the film traces the hidden history of a music that has reflected society every bit as much as pop and rock - just in a more relaxed way.

Invented at the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll, easy listening has shadowed pop music and the emerging teenage market since the mid-50s. It is a genre that equally soundtracks our modern age, but perhaps for a rather more ‘mature’ generation and therefore with its own distinct purpose and aesthetic.

Contributors include Richard Carpenter, Herb Alpert, Richard Clayderman, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jimmy Webb, Mike Flowers, James Last and others.

Here’s the first part, you can watch the rest on YouTube:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Merry Crassmas: Anarcho-punk goes Muzak (+ bonus Penny Rimbaud interview)

The charming cover of Merry Crassmas

Click play to hear all of Merry Crassmas!
The end of 1981 likely saw highly influential British anarcho-punk band Crass both energized and exhausted after dropping their third album, the remarkably complex feminist manifesto Penis Envy.

One speculates that the idea for their final release of the year came to the band as a “eureka!” moment. Why not release a 7” novelty record made up of a department-store-style, organ-and-drum-machine medley of their anthemic and obnoxious tunes, including “Big A Little A,” “Punk is Dead,” “Big Hands,” “Contaminational Power” and others? Slap on an innocuous Santa Claus intro and obnoxious outro at the end, pop it into a sleeve with a strange and horrific collage of an Xmas-day family holiday scene by Gee Vaucher, and you’ve got an instant inside-joke punk classic on your hands.

As a horror-day bonus for you Crass-heads, here’s a wide-ranging, as-yet-spotlighted 2007 interview from with your man, drummer Penny Rimbaud…

Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4  |  Part 5  |  Part 6  |  Part 7  |  Part 8 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Crass remasters and epic interview
Crass: There is No Authority But Yourself
Music for Crass: Mick Duffield’s Christ the Movie
The unexpected Crass-Beatles Nexus Point

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment