- Lounge music
Lounge music is a retrospective description of music popular in the 1950s and 1960s encompassing such genres as
exotica, easy listeningand space age pop. Lounge music ranges from beautiful music-influenced instrumentals, to modern electronicawith chillout or downtempoinfluences, while maintaining its focus on retro-space-age cultural elements. The earliest forms of lounge music appeared in the 1920s and 1930s, known as light music. Lounge music is a form of mood music, intended to create the feeling of another place such as a jungle, an island paradise, or outer space. [Melissa Ursula Dawn Goldsmith, "Lounge Caravan: A Selective Discography," "Notes" 61, no. 4 (2005): 1060. Available at Project Muse at "http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/notes/v061/61.4goldsmith.html"]
Lounge music may also refer to music played in the lounges and bars of
hotels and casinos, or at standalone piano bars.
Exotica, space-age pop, and some forms of
easy listeningmusic popular during the 1950s and 1960s are now broadly termed "lounge". The term "lounge" does not appear in textual documentation of the period, such as "Billboard" magazine or long playing album covers, but has been retrospectively applied.
rock and rollwas generally influenced by bluesand country, lounge music was derived from jazzand other musical elements borrowed from traditions around the world. Exoticafrom such artists Les Baxter, Martin Dennyand Arthur Lymansold millions of records during its heydey. It combined music that was popular outside the USA, such as various Latin genres (e.g., Bossa Nova, Cha-Cha-Cha, Mambo), Polynesian, French, etc. into a relaxed, [cite album-notes
title = Exotica! The Best of Martin Denny
bandname = Martin Denny
format = CD
publisher = Rhino Records
publisherid= R2 70774
mbid = ] palatable sound. Such music could have some instruments exaggerated (e.g., a Polynesian song might have an exotic percussion arrangement using bongos, and vocalists imitating wild animals.) Many of these recordings were portrayed as originating in exotic foreign lands, but in truth were recorded in
Hollywoodrecording studios by veteran session musicians. Another genre, space age pop, mimicked space agesound effects of the time and reflected the public interest in space exploration. With the advent of stereophonic technology, artists such as Esquivel used spatial audio techniques to full effect, creating whooshing sounds with his orchestra.
A good deal of lounge music was pure instrumental (i.e., no main vocal part, although there could be minor vocal parts). Sometimes, this music would be theme music from movies or TV shows, although such music could be produced independently from other entertainment productions. These instrumentals could be produced with an orchestral arrangement, or from an arrangement of instruments very similar to that found in jazz, or even rock and roll such as the
Hammond Organor electric guitar.
Swinging music of the era is also considered lounge and consisted of a schmaltzy continuation of the swing jazz era of the 1930s and 1940s, but with more of an emphasis on the vocalist. The legendary
Rat Packof Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., along with similar artists such as Bobby Darin, Jackie Gleason, Wayne Newton, Louis Prima, Sonny King, and Sam Buteraare notable examples. The music of Burt Bacharachwas soon featured as part of many lounge singers' repertoires. Such artists performed mainly at featured lounges in Las Vegas casinos.
Lounge singers have a lengthy history stretching back to the decades of the early twentieth century. The somewhat derisive term
lounge lizardwas coined then, and less well known lounge singers have often been ridiculed as dinosaurs of past eras [Citation
title = American Notes LAS VEGAS--- Stop the Music!
magazine = Time
year = 1989
date = August 21, 1989
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,958377,00.html] and parodied for their smarmy delivery of standards. [cite news|url=http://archive.salon.com/people/bc/2001/02/06/murray/index1.html|title=Bill Murray|author=Sean Elder|publisher=
Salon.com|accessdate=2008-01-18] In any event, these lounge singers, perhaps performing in a hotel or cocktail bar, are usually accompanied by one or two other musicians, and they favor cover songs composed by others, especially pop standards, many deriving from the days of Tin Pan Alley.
Many well known performers got their start as lounge singers and musicians. Although he claims not to have worked for very long,
Billy Joelworked as a lounge musician and penned the song "Piano Man" about his experience. Not all lounge singers, however, sing lounge music.
"Lounge" emerged in the late 1980s as a label of endearment by younger fans whose parents had played such music in the 1960s. It has enjoyed resurgences in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, led initially by ironic figures such as Buster Poindexter and
In the early 1990s the lounge revival was in full swing and included such groups as
Combustible Edison, Love Jones, The Cocktails, Pink Martiniand Nightcaps. Alternative band Stereolabdemonstrated the influence of lounge with releases like " Space Age Batchelor Pad Music". The lounge style was a direct contradiction to the grungemusic that dominated the period. [cite news|title= Review/Fashion; Chic Prevails Over Grunge|author=Spindler, Amy M.|publisher=New York Times|date=March 7, 1995|accessdate=2007-12-12|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE1DE133FF934A35750C0A963958260] [cite news|title= Ring-A-Ding Ding|author= Lacayo, Richard|publisher= Time|date= May 25, 1998|accessdate=2008-01-17|url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,988394,00.html] These groups wore suits and played music inspired by earlier works of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Juan García Esquivel, Louis Primaand many others.
In the 2000s
Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machinehas added to this resurgence by covering hit songs of other genres in the style of a lounge singer. Other artists have taken lounge music to new heights by recombining rock with pop, such as Jon Brion, Pink Martini, the "Buddha-Lounge" series, and the surrounding regulars of Café Largo. The movie "The Rise and Fall of Black Velvet Flag" (2003) is a documentary about three older punk rockers who created a lounge-punk band.
In the 1980 movie "
The Blues Brothers", most of the members of the band were reduced to performing as "Murph and the Magictones" (headlining at a Holiday Inn) after band leader Jake Blues went to prison. Interestingly, when the band takes a break to speak with Jake and his brother Elwood, Murph switches on a Muzakversion of " Just the Way You Are", performed by Billy Joel, a former lounge musician himself.
In the 1984 cult film, "Repo Man" directed by
Alex Cox, the Circle Jerksperform as a very poor lounge act, grinding out a slow, "swinging" version of their normally raucous "When the Shit Hits the Fan".
The 1989 film "
The Fabulous Baker Boys" starred Jeff Bridges, Beau Bridges, and Michelle Pfeifferas a successful lounge act. The film "Swingers" was set during the late 1990s lounge and swing revivalin Los Angeles, and featured legendary performers like Dean Martin, Louis Jordanand Tony Bennett, as well as modern lounge acts like Love Jones, Joey Altruda and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Andy Kaufmanportrayed Tony Clifton. A parody of show biz entitlement and excess, Clifton is untalented, lazy (often not bothering to remember the words to the songs), and abusive to his audiences. Bill Murrayalso portrayed a particularly bad lounge singer on " Saturday Night Live", Nick The Lounge Singer, best known for providing his own lyrics to the John Williams theme from " Star Wars" and performing an over-the-top version of the Morris Alberthit "Feelings". Later, Will Ferrelland Ana Gasteyerportrayed a goofy married duo of lounge-style musicians, but in incongruous venues such as high schooldances. British comedians Mel Smithand Griff Rhys Jonesappeared as a cheesy keyboard and bass duo during the end credits of one series of their long-running sketch show.
KANU, the public-radio station of the University of Kansas, located at Lawrence, Kansas, USA, broadcasts "The Retro Cocktail Hour", a two-hour show featuring "space-age bachelor-pad music", spy jazz, exotica, and other, similar music. Hosted by Darrell Brogdan, the show can be heard at 91.5 FM on Saturday evenings from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M., Central time, or anytime on their Website - www.kpr.ku.edu/retro.
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Lounge music — Lounge (musique) Pour les articles homonymes, voir lounge. La musique dite lounge (lounge music) se réfère initialement à la musique jouée dans les salons des bars d hôtels et de casinos, mais également dans les petits cabarets et les piano bars … Wikipédia en Français
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