In March 2016 about 60 new albums have been added to the Emporium. We hold no musical prejudices at White Elephant Records. We sell anything especially good quality vinyl. In this current tranche of additions there are about thirty olde lounge classics from the big names – Ray Conniff, Percy Faith, Bert Kaempfert, James Last, and Richard Clayderman. There are also the odd gems from the Mexacali Singers, Suzanne Clachair, Patti Page, Jane Morgan and Hugo Winterhalter.
Between them these artists sold in the multi-millions, and if you inspect the charity bins across the western world the shops will be full of them, mostly in a sad state, unloved, scratched, rubbing shoulders with discarded Kamahl albums and Sing Along With Mitch. Whoooeeeh.
Whilst this music now goes by the general classification of “easy listening”, sneered at by rock, pop, and modern music fans and nearly anyone born after 1964, it was cutting edge popular music in the late fifties through the sixties and into the seventies. This is why your grandparents purchased the Admiral stereogram and nearly every home had one in pride of place in the lounge room. Nowadays this music may be considered quaint retro – space age pop music – in fact.
Ray Conniff was given his start with CBS in 1956. His first album was titled S’Wonderful and it was a great success with high sales and CBS just contracted for more and more. Over his entire career Ray Conniff and His Orchestra & Chorus, or Ray Conniff and His Singers or a combination of the two released over 80 albums, the last release in 2000.
Percy Faith was also another giant in this field and also recorded for CBS. His first release was in 1953 and last album in 1976 and over that time he released 87 albums. Faith had his start originally in the big band era and his style was to take the brass out of the “big band” sound and replace it with softening and lush strings – soothing the furrowed brow. His biggest and most remembered hit was the 1960 – Theme From A Summer Place – which won the Grammy Award for the record of the year in 1960.
Theme From A Summer Place was composed by Max Steiner. In the 1960 film – A Summer Place – the theme was not the main title but featured in the film (aka Molly and Johnny Theme) and was performed by Hugo Winterhalter. The theme also featured in the 1960 film – A Crowded Sky– starring Troy Donahue, who also starred in A Summer Place with Sandra Dee. Small world.
And last of all we come to James Last. And when we talk about him we are talking in huge numbers. He released in excess of 200 albums from 1959 through 2015 and it is estimated that over that time he actually sold more than 200 million albums. He was a big jazz band leader and much of his music was associated with dancing. In the 60s there was a lot of “A-Go-Go” happenings – and whatever it meant we were doing a lot of it! – Trumpet A-Go-Go, Piano A-Go-Go, Guitar-A-Go-Go, Going to A-Go-Go.
Now getting back to the records in White Elephant’s Emporium the recent additions were all produced in the mid 60s through to the 70s and are original albums. On top of that they are all in mint or near mint condition, both media and covers. The covers are all high gloss productions as they were printed in those days. So if you are looking for that special Mother’s Day present look no further. And if you want it for yourself – even better. The music is weird and wonderful, exotic, enchanting, and well produced.
As Molly would say….”do yourself a favour”.
Check out the covers. Next time we might take a tour through the Maestro Mancini’s catalogue. And take a peek at this website – Space Age Pop Music. http://www.spaceagepop.com