Album Covers #33: Easy Listening

I've said this many times before, but it bears repeating: the more grandfatherly the music, the more sexually explicit the album cover.  Thus, easy listening records often featured orgasmic females straddling French horns; meanwhile, rock albums tended toward more 'artistic' compositions.  At first blush, it's the inverse of what you'd expect.

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).



  1. If I'm not very much mistaken that's the Future Mrs Michael Caine upon the cover of Summer Samba. Blowing the bloody doors off Samba compilation covers

  2. I have the Charlie Byrd album and....uh...it's not too bad.

  3. LMAO at the "Tijuana Sauerkraut" comment, I was thinking the same thing!

  4. I too have the Charlie Byrd album!

    I've been listening to a bunch of my Dad's old cassettes and one them had Johnny Rivers on one side and Mantovani on the other. I preferred Mantovani.

  5. Who knew there was another Ray Davies?

  6. The "New Sounds" of Chico Arnez? Didn't know he had an old sound....

  7. Maybe it's just that when it comes to sex the slow pace of easy listening is preferable to the face pace of rock and roll. One allows for time to build up to the big finish. The other is just wham, bam, thank you ma'am, with no pleasure for her.

  8. How can I join the Larry Page Orchestra?

  9. I don't know the lps' countries of origin but I'll bet the ones with titillating near-nudity are American. The one with the T-shirt nips probably wouldn't have made it at Woolworth's.

  10. lovely post!
    someone was wondering about chico arnez's 'new sound'. here's something i wrote about...

    and a couple of minor observations on other featured albums...


    aplogies for the spam, gillighan ;-)

  11. I started working in an easy listening radio station at the age of 15. Those World Of Easy Listening album covers helped the 6PM to Midnight shift go a little faster...

  12. Is that a hint of nipple on that first cover? Yes, I believe it is.
    I have in fact recently bought several easy-listening vinyl LPs solely for their sexy covers and have been surprised that they're not half bad.