Album Covers #33: Easy Listening
The iconic example is, of course, Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream and Other Delights; however, its predecessors and imitators are legion. Not to keep rehashing a tired point, but the answer lies both in the 'sex sells' approach and also by the fact that rock and pop music relied on the imagery of their musicians to move records off the shelves. In other words, buyers wanted to see the Stones and The Beatles on the covers.... no one gave a fraction of shit about having Herb Alpert's mug being on the cover. In fact, it would probably scare people away from buying it. Best to go with a scantily clad female instead (or better yet, one covered in whipped cream).
These two look for all the world like they're about to get to business. My only question is what they plan to do with all those trumpets......... Wait. Forget I asked.
Of all the easy listening songs ever recorded, "The Girl from Ipanema" has to be the most covered. "Caravan", "Call Me" and "Charade" were the holy trinity, but didn't hold a candle to the Joabim classic. I've been listening to the song for literally over forty years, and I'm still not tired of it.
When you think "EZ Listening" what is the first name that comes to mind? Is it Ray Conniff or Ferrante & Teicher? For me it's Mantovani hands down.
What was the infatuation with the Hammond Organ back in the sixties and early seventies? It sure produced some erotic vinyl cover art, but the music itself rarely was anything but bland. The mere thought of listening to "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" on the Hammond makes my heart slow to an almost complete stop. True fact: overexposure to Hammond cover songs will dull your neural synapses to the point where you can no longer feel pain or joy ever again.
Part of the magic of these Easy Listening LPs is that they could blindside you with an unexpected cover version. In between "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" and "The Look of Love" they could throw you a curve ball like "Whole Lotta Love".
The Tijuana Sauerkraut sounds like a dirty sexual act (i.e. The Cincinnati Bowtie and The Rusty Trombone).