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Customer Discussions > Pop forum

best easy listening vocalist

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Showing 1-25 of 125 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 3, 2007 1:21:44 AM PDT
Nat king Cole hands down

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2007 2:10:39 AM PDT
Nat is, of course, brilliant and I'm sure there will be plenty of nominations for Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and others. I love all their music but but my favorite easy listening singer is Doris Day.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2007 8:06:04 AM PDT
Val H. says:
You're both right. You can never get tired of Nat, and his song choices were always impeccable. Pete, I recently bought two CDs of early Doris Day - the big band era - and she is so under-rated as a vocalist. Her version of I'll String Along With You is a classic. But as you say, there are so many - Mel Torme, Keely Smith, Fred Astaire, Rosemary Clooney, Jack Jones, Jo Stafford, Johnny Mathis. It's a tough call.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2007 11:41:44 AM PDT
Dean Martin.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2007 11:53:53 AM PDT
Jason Kessel says:
Judy Garland
Karen Carpenter

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2007 11:55:58 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
This is a bit tough because Frankie has been mentioned and he often borders between "easy listening" and "jazz", at least in his phrasing. Taking that into consideration, I'd mention two favorite female vocalists that were often thought of as both pop AND jazz....

Nancy Wilson
Peggy Lee (be still my heart)

I guess what makes me willing to consider them "easy listening" and others not (i.e., Ella or Sarah V.) is that the latter two are almost ALWAYS considered jazz and they both used either scat or lots of vocal gymnastics that one might argue is NOT "easy listening"...

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2007 12:47:34 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
I have not followed Mathis when he began to sing more upbeat songs....kind of like I bailed on Streisand too. They should have both sticked with show tunes and Mathis, show tune ballads.

I LOVE his "Heavenly" album. At a time when I was a real rock n roller, I got ahold of this album of show tunes and "standards", complete with opening verses that were seldom sung anymore and played them OVER and OVER again. Now at 61, still favoring rock to include rockabilly, doo wop, psych, garage, punk, new wave, alternative, grunge, industrial, etc. etc.etc......I LOVER every song on that album.

It's "HEAVENLY".......


In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2007 9:59:38 PM PDT
Val H. says:
Thanks for the recommendation on "Heavenly", E. I recently purchased "The Hollywood Musicals" by Mathis and Henry Mancini and it is definitely growing on me - especially a little known song (at least to me) called Whistling Away The Dark from the Julie Andrews film "Darling Lili". I agree with you I have never liked him tackling "pop" hits.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 2:45:11 AM PDT
Nobody's yet mentioned Matt Monro, the best easy-listening singer from my country.

The reason for Doris being under-estimated is simple - she was obliged to record some really silly songs like "A purple cow" and "I said my pajamas". A lot of people didn't see beyond such rubbish.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 10:05:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2007 10:05:56 AM PDT
Mr.Hardy says:
How about Bobby Darin

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 1:10:26 PM PDT
W.J. Tjaden says:
It's a tie between Dean Martin and Andy Williams (ain't nobody sings "Moon River" like Andy).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 3:52:32 PM PDT
Donald Waits says:
I just discovered this discussion. The term "easy listening"
has a negative connotation for me. It says "schmaltzy and
trivial". The former Virgin store in New Orleans put Sinatra
and Martin and Nat in a section called "Lounge". I stopped
patronizing the place. ALL of the bars in New Orleans have
several CD's by these artists and they are played often by
twenty-somethings who obviously love this music. The
term "easy listening" is not "fogey or old-fashioned" to the
kids. I'm an old geezer and the young 'uns give ME money
to play the juke box. Go figure. The real thing will always
have a fan base, regardless of age.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 4:57:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2007 5:00:40 PM PDT
J. May says:
To Me: Mr.Johnny Matthis, followed by Nat King Cole, then Sinatra. Then again, Dean Martin could be very mellow. I've only learned of these through my mom, but they all seemed really good and mellow.

For females:Yes, I've heard Peggy Lee sing (another favorite of mom's). She was very good. Karen Carpenter-actually the Carpenters sound like they could calm anyone down.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 7:32:40 PM PDT
Johnny Mathis is the "king of make-out music." He is a classic!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 7:46:08 PM PDT
Val H. says:
You're spot on the money, Pete, Matt Monro never made a bad recording. Even Frank and Bing acknowledged his great style. I've got about four CDs by him and songs like Softly As I Leave You, Born Free, Walk Away, From Russia With Love, Wednesday's Child, On Days Like These, and many more are timeless. He is perfect for soothing the psyche.

There are a few of Doris's "cutesy" songs that I like e.g. Put 'Em In A Box, Tie 'Em With A Ribbon (And Throw 'Em In The Deep Blue Sea)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 7:51:21 PM PDT
Val H. says:
Is that you W.J. with a new moniker ConcreteFireman? While not a huge Andy Williams fan in general (I prefer Jack Jones from that era), I have to agree with you that Andy's rendition of Moon River is THE definitive vocal version. Henry Mancini's original instrumental is also beautiful.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 7:59:22 PM PDT
Val H. says:
Donald, you are right about young people still appreciating Frank, Dean and Nat. But a lot of great singers are living in their shadows - Dick Haymes, Helen Forrest, June Christy, Vic Damone, Kitty Kallen, Anita O'Dea, Anne Shelton, Dinah Shore, Keely Smith, Al Hibbler, Johnny Hartman, Jeri Southern, Jo Stafford, Kay Starr, etc. Let's try to keep these folk on the front pages too.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 8:39:57 PM PDT
Eventstaff says:

Right, and it will be interesting to see how some of the younger singers--Ann Hampton Callaway, Tierney Sutton, Holly Cole, and so on--make their way into the pantheon.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2007 8:48:41 PM PDT
Val H. says:
They're new to me Eventstaff. Going to check them out NOW!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2007 4:13:59 AM PDT
W.J. Tjaden says:
Yes, this is W.J. I remeber seeing Jack Jones on The Ed Sullivan Show. He was a good singer. I recently heard an interviewer talking with Willie Nelson. Willie had just did a few shows with Andy Williams and he was amazed that Andy's voice was as strong today as it ever was. He said that as singers age they can't hit the same "highs" as they could in their younger days. Andy, he said, could still hit them with no effort. Must be all that clean living?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2007 5:01:51 AM PDT
Val H. says:
If he's good enough for Willie, he's good enough for me. I have huge respect for Willie's musicianship. I had a look at Andy's website - those flashing teeth are a bit daunting - and see he had a new CD out last year with a lot of recent pop ballads on it. And as you say, his voice sounds in good nick. And on Jack Jones' website, he has bookings for the next twelve months, including a tour of the UK. Still looks as good as ever, not sure about how he sounds. His last album appears to be 1998's tribute to Tony Bennett on which he sounds just fine. He was a frequent guest on the Judy Garland Show back in the 60s, repeats of which often crop up on cable TV here. Another singer of that era whom I always enjoyed was John Gary, although I wonder whether he was a bigger star around the world than he was in the US? I always thought his version of Danny Boy was one of the best ever.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2007 5:32:12 AM PDT
PSTNaplesFTW says:
k.d. lang and Mel Torme

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2007 7:13:06 AM PDT
The Hollywood Musicals is one of my favorite J. Mathis albums for no particular reason than I LOVE IT. I also really like Whistling Away the Dark and also Crazy World (another Mancini song introduced by Julie Andrews). I also adore the Burke Van Huesen melody and When You Wish Upon a Star. Although not considered one of Mathis' essential albums, its one of my 2 favorites, along with the album he did of Duke Ellington (who ever thought Johnny had a great Duke Ellington album in him--not me).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2007 7:41:29 AM PDT
Ok, here goes. I am a big music fan and especially of the great singers singing the great american song book. We all have our own individual tastes, heaven knows there are some great artists out there that I just don't warm to. Here is a list of singers that I return to over and over and why.

Frank Sinatra--simply in a class by himself. He swings, he can be intimate and he always surrounded himself with the greatest of arrangers, conductors and musicians.

Bing Crosby--his reputation hasn't stood up well, but when I listen to him I realize that he sings the way all men think they sound in the shower (or wished they did).

Perry Como--I once had the opportunity to tell him that I had hated him for many many years. But that is only because as a singer I hated that anyone could sing so beautifully over almost 3 octaves without any apparrent effort.

Barbara Streisand--quirky in her early years, although I love the humor in her presentation, the voice got more beautiful and more beautifully produced as she got older. Is it reasonable for someone 65 to still sing so wonderfully? The emotional growth from a young girl to a mature middle aged woman to an older icon is traceable in her recordings. The only singer to be able to be compared to Frank.

Nat King Cole--The intimacy and the jazzy phrasing are in a class by themselves. It helps that he was with Capitol who had the best A and R men and the best arrangers and the best everything. A great great body of work, which is why everybody makes a tribute album to him.

Rosemary Clooney--Right down the middle. Pop in her youth, Jazz tinged in her later years, she was one of the greats.

Peggy Lee--a unique talent who got underneath the heartbreak in a lyric. I am only now begining to truly appreciate her, via the 4 disc Capitol survey set, Miss Peggy Lee.

Doris Day--Way underrated. She really had a great voice.

Jo Stafford--GI Jo had the most harmonically rich voice, it was a marvel and yet she smoked cigarettes almost all her life. By the way she is still alive.

Shirley Bassey--simply exciting singing, a great belt.

Fred Astaire--he was a much better singer than most people realize. My absolute favorite CD is Starring Mister Astaire which is all the songs from the Astaire/Rodgers movies, and what great songs they were.

Johnny Mathis--A glorious voice, one of the few tenorish voices doing this stuff. Another great body of work.

Tony Bennett--Although I am not a great fan, one can't help but notice the longevity of the career and how popular he remains. Maybe not one of my favorite, but a great singer.

Barbara Cook--many of you might not know her. She came out of Broadway and later had a concert/cabaret career. She is still singing in her 80's (and singing at a level that would make most of the other people who call themselves singers look like Ted Mack's amature hour). Start with Better with a Band or Live at Carnegie Hall to sample her.

Mel Torme--Much more jazz than easy listening, but I can't leave him off a list of great singers. He kicked around for years making some decent records and some AWFUL records until he signed with Concord Jazz. They let him do what he does best, sing jazz. No matter who he was working with at Concord he was at top form. He made almost 30 albums for them and not a lousy one among them. GREAT GREAT GREAT and much missed. I wake up many days and can't believe that there will be no more new Mel Torme stuff.

Sammy Davis Jr--way underrated as a singer because he was such a great entertainer. It is necessary to explore more deeply than a single CD to get the sense of the man's singing abilities. Try the 4 disc Rhino set, its worth the price.

Judy Garland--Her career is all wrapped up in her tumultuous life, but the lady could sing. Any of her Capitol recordins will confirm that.

Michael Feinstein--The man has a good voice, easy to listen to, but his great strength is as a musicaligist, finding great songs that may have been forgotten or were never really known. He single handedly turned Where Do You Start into a standard.

I wonder who I have left out, that will make me cringe when I realize it.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2007 12:53:09 PM PDT
sml17 says:
I heard a more suitable category name some years ago, and generally use it -- "Traditional Pop" -- instead of the perjorative "Easy Listening". To me, this latter term includes people like Percy Faith, Henry Mancini, you know -- elevator music. As for vocalists, I suppose an "Easy Listening" vocalist is one which does not fit into jazz or other pop categories. I heard Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, and Dean Martin mentioned often here, and I guess they're not jazz (i.e., Peggy Lee) or non-rock-era pop (i.e., Nat Cole) or swing band (i.e., Frank, Tony). Maybe folks like Steve & Edie and Jack Jones are "Easy Listening", but the others are band vocalists, which is a different breed of cat.
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Discussion in:  Pop forum
Participants:  74
Total posts:  125
Initial post:  Aug 3, 2007
Latest post:  Apr 28, 2010

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