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Lounge Caravan: A Selective Discography.




The genre designation "lounge" describes a complex network of music ranging from light instrumentals (easy listening) to experimental uses of instruments and cutting-edge technology (not-so-easy listening). The word "network" is used here instead of genre because lounge emerged from many different kinds of sources and embraces many different kinds of music, contemporary cultural influences, and technological innovations. Its roots may be found in the very beginnings of background or incidental music, in music that exhibits unusual uses of traditional western musical instruments as well as newly-invented electronic instruments, in avant-garde and futuristic music, in arrangements emerging from the era of light music on the radio (the 1920s and 1930s), and in instrumental versions or "covers" (i.e., recordings by other artists) of popular and classical songs. Lounge's musical influences and inspirations are a hodgepodge: Dixieland jazz; Latin dance; the croon; experimental music, and the gimmick song. Most lounge music is composed and performed to create a particular mood or to transport the listener to another place--often a jungle, an island paradise, or outer space.

There are numerous excellent monographs and discographies that focus on this large network of music. Joseph Lanza's Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy-Listening, and Other Moodsong, now available in a second revised and expanded edition (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004) provides a detailed history and discography focusing on easy-listening recordings. Other sources for discographies and reviews include back issues of Cool and Strange Music! Magazine, The Space Age Pop Music Page (available on the Internet at, and ( The focus of this discographical essay is on lounge music that tends to impel listeners to pay attention to their stereos or radios, music that offers both listener and stereo a workout, as opposed to the notion of "easy listening." The discussion in the essay section will consider sound quality, variety (particularly of compilations), and accessibility of reissued recordings for the purpose of starting a library collection; these are also the inclusion criteria for the discography itself. Turning now to the milieu of lounge music, please adjust your VU meters, sit back, and read further.


A typewriter dings after being cued by an orchestra; a waltz meows; a clock tick-tocks to a tune in common meter. From the late 1930s into the 1950s compositions by Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) were popular favorites among radio audiences as well as concertgoers (the Harvard-educated composer was an arranger for the Boston "Pops" Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler and later became a composer of Broadway musicals). Such descriptive or "novelty" songs predate the "gimmick" songs that gained popularity in the early 1960s. They demand the attention of listeners--causing them to sit and listen. With a sense of humor, Anderson transformed everyday sounds into music. The Leroy Anderson Collection (MCA Classics MCAD2-9815A and MCAD2-9815B [1988]) is a two-compact disc set that includes Anderson's best known works: "Blue Tango," "The Typewriter," "The Waltzing Cat," "The Syncopated Clock," "Sleigh Ride," and his theme song "Forgotten Dreams." The largest compilation of Anderson's songs available, this CD set includes selections (some monaural) from Anderson's Broadway musical Goldilocks (1958) as well as less well-known songs such as "Sandpaper Ballet," "Jazz Pizzicato," and "Clarinet Candy." A more accessible compilation of Anderson's popular songs is on the CD "The Typewriter": Leroy Anderson Favorites (RCA Victor 09026-68048-2 [1995]). The recording features performances by the St. Louis Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin.

Raymond Scott (1909-1994). Anderson's contemporary, was a band-leader, composer, pianist, recording and electronic music engineer, and producer. His early successes included the songs "Powerhouse" and "Toy Trumpet." His themes were put to use in Carl Stalling's incidental music for Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. In contrast to Anderson's novelty numbers, which were generally harmonically predictable and lay at the intersection of popular and classical music, Scott's were sometimes called "jazz novelties." These songs are included on the CD The Music of Raymond Scott: Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights (Columbia CK 53028 [1992]). In 1946, Scott founded Manhattan Research, Inc. and devoted himself to advancing electroacoustic music. While he applied success-fully for U.S. patents for various inventions and is credited with building the first electronic music synthesizer, Scott was also a radio personality with his own nationally broadcast show and the bandleader for the radio (later television) show Your Hit Parade. He scored films and by 1950 had composed an extremely popular jingle for Lucky Strike cigarettes. Scott's most interesting work involved creating handmade electronic instruments and composing commercial jingles during the late 1950s and 1960s. An outstanding compilation of Scott's jingles and electronic music compositions is on the three-CD set Manhattan Research, Inc. (Basta 30-9078-2 [2000], reissued on LP as Basta 30-9045-1 [2001]), which includes liner notes of almost 150 pages with color photographs. This set includes, among many others, Scott's jingles for the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company, Vicks, Nescafe, and IBM, along with his original compositions "Twilight in Turkey," "Space Mystery," "Toy Trumpet," and "Cindy Electronium." In these pieces, Scott makes use of a wide variety of electronic instruments, ranging in complexity from an early analog synthesizer to the electronium (which employed artificial intelligence technology). (1)

The theremin, an electronic musical instrument invented by Leon Theremin in 1918, had grown in popularity by the middle of the twentieth century. Its unique, eerie timbre inspired original music and arrangements for the instrument. The three-CD set Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman and the Theremin (Basta 30-9093-2 [1999]) brings this instrument together with light orchestral music and choral music composed by English songwriter and film composer Harry Revel (1905-1958) and conducted by Les Baxter and Billy May. Revel is best known as a songwriter and composer for the Ziegfeld Follies and for films in the 1930s. The set is a collection of songs from LPs dating from 1947 and 1953: Music Out of the Moon (Capitol CC 47 [1947]) and Music Out of the Moon/Peace of Mind (Capitol T-390 [1953]). One album cover features a reclining woman, suggestively wrapped with a satin sheet; the other album cover features the same reclining woman, suggestively covered in cloudlike soap lather. One advertises "haunting themes for the theremin" and describes the listening experience as "an adventure." Samuel Hoffman (1904-1968), a podiatrist known by the stage name Hal Hope, is the only featured soloist. Some of the song titles suggest that the theremin sounds as if it comes from another world (for example, "Lunar Rhapsody") while others enable the (lonely?) listener to identify with the lonely theremin juxtaposed against the orchestra (especially "This Room Is My Castle of Quiet"). The theremin albums were so successful that Revel continued composing "space music" during the 1950s.


Lounge music entered, and continues to enter, the mainstream from time to time. Its popularity must have been heightened by the emerging obsession men had with their stereo systems in the 1950s and 1960s. Magazines geared to the stereo system connoisseur, such as High Fidelity and HiFi/Stereo Review, juxtaposed or paired their stereo system articles and advertisements with advertisements for sound recordings that featured lounge music. In High Fidelity actor and bon vivant Ralph Bellamy--star of the motion picture Sunrise At Campobello (1960) and ex-husband of organist-entertainer Ethel Smith--is said to "(listen) to stereo on his Collaro Changer and Goodmans Triaxonal Speaker System." He is shown in a photograph sitting cross-legged in a comfortable chair, listening to his furniture-sized speakers; his image is superimposed above clouds of snow and in front of a snowy mountain peak in one advertisement; and in the deep woods of a forest in another (he uses a pipe as a prop). (2) Advertisements for stereo equipment and records were obviously aimed at those infatuated with their stereo systems. Stereo Spectrum Design sold records that allowed its customers to "get more in stereo" and included a free wiping cloth with every album. The advertisement for the Static Master, a device for removing dust from records, explained that "dust was the enemy." (3) HiFi/Stereo Review featured a column, "Sound and the Query," with questions and answers relating to the problems of stereo hi-fi. In the same magazine was an advertisement for the Sherwood Ravinia Model SR-3 3-Speaker System with a "hand-rubbed walnut" case and another for the large bookshelf-sized speaker, The Classic Mark II by University. The "Installation of the Month" showed a photograph of a stereo system installed in a listening room; an article about the installation itself followed. (1)

Coinciding with this interweaving of stereo system articles and advertisements and advertisements for sound recordings that featured lounge music were the very significant popular successes of several lounge songs. Hits charts of the period show that the second-ranked hit of the entire 1950s decade was an instrumental number, "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White," by Perez "Prez" Prado and his Orchestra (1955), and the twelfth-ranked hit of the entire 1960s decade was "Love Is Blue" by Paul Mauriat and his Orchestra (1968), just below Ray Charles's "I Can't Stop Loving You" (1962) and above "Big Girls Don't Cry" by The Four Seasons (1962). (5) Les Baxter's versions of "Unchained Melody" and "The Poor People of Paris" topped U.S. charts for twenty-one and twenty weeks respectively in 1955 and 1956. The Lawrence Welk Orchestra recorded a highly successful version of "Calcutta," ranked first and second on U.S. charts for thirteen weeks between 1960 and 1961.

Prado (Damaso Perez Prado, 1916-1989) was an organist and pianist for the cinema in Cuba before becoming an arranger for local dance bands and establishing his own radio orchestra in Mexico City in the 1940s. He was known as the "King of Mambo" or the "Mambo King;" he was among those responsible for making the mambo extremely popular worldwide with his original compositions as well as orchestral arrangements of jazz standards such as "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "In the Mood." He often simplified the original lush harmonies of these standards and adapted the melodies to mambo rhythms, playing to (and against) the dancers' and listeners' expectations with pauses, shouts, and breaks. "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White," featuring a trumpet solo by Billy Regis, was an orchestral cha-cha arrangement of a 1950 French song composed by Louiguy (the pseudonym for Louis Gugliemi) with lyrics by Jacques LaRue. In 1955, it was used in the film Underwater!, produced by Howard Hughes and starring Jane Russell and Richard Egan. In 1958, Prado's own "Patricia" was a successful follow-up; the song was later used as the main theme in Federico Fellini's film La dolce vita (1960). A good combination of Prado's arrangements and original compositions (for example, "The Freeway Mambo"), including hit songs and less well-known songs, is on the CD Our Man in Havana: The Very Best of Perez Prado (Camden 74321 588102 [1998]). The CD Voodoo Suite/Exotic Suite of the Americas (Bear Family BCD 15463 [1990]) is another collection that offers songs previously released on the albums Voodoo Suite Plus Six All-Time Greats (RCA Victor LPM 1101 [1955], LP) and Exotic Suite of Americas and Six Other Prado Sound Spectaculars (RCA Victor LPM 2571 [1962], LP). The collection includes his larger works, a wonderful version of the Dixieland classic "St. James Infirmary," plus "In the Mood," and "Stompin' at the Savoy." As with Xavier Cugat and Tito Puente, advertisements for Prado's recordings emphasized a tropical theme and encouraged audiences to sit back, relax, have a drink, and listen.

Among many other hits, Les Baxter (1922-1996) and his Orchestra made successful recordings of his arrangements of "Calcutta" (originally composed by Henio Gaze in 1958 as "Tivoli Melody") and "Blue Tango," and of his own compositions, including "Quiet Village." Baxter's career as performer, composer, and arranger was diverse: he began as a concert pianist-turned-popular music singer, sang as an original member of Mel Torme's Mel-Tones, and then worked as an arranger and conductor in the 1950s for Capitol Records, for Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello's radio shows, and with Nat King Cole. Later, Baxter scored films (including horror films) and composed music for amusement and theme parks. Many of his original compositions were in turn made popular by other composer-arrangers and their orchestras. Today, Baxter's best-known work is his "tiki" or "exotic" music (Martin Denny had many successful recordings of his own versions of Baxter's "exotic" music--marketed as "exotica"--which also contributed to its popularity). A large compilation of this music is on the CD Exotic Moods of Les Baxter (Capitol CDP 7243 8 37025 2 7 [1996]), which will be discussed in more detail later in this essay. Baxter's original hit recordings are well represented on the CD Baxter's Best (Capitol CDP 7243 8 37028 2 4 [1996]). The Lost Episodes (also issued as The Lost Episode of Les Baxter), which has been reissued in digitally remastered form on CD (Dionysius BA07-2 [1995]), and also as a transfer from videotape to two-track analog on LP (Dionysius BA07 [1995]), is a fascinating recording with useful information including Skip Heller's liner notes about Baxter's reluctance to give live concerts, his concept albums, and his influence on other recording artists. According to Heller, Baxter compiled music--some from studio outtakes of recording sessions--to create his "TV special." The compilation includes, among other elements, a recording of Richard Rodgers' "Lover," "Ruby" (Heller informs that this recording features Beverly Ford's voice and not a theremin), "Quiet Village," "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing," and "Chopsticks."

Lawrence Welk (1903-1992) was a Midwestern accordionist who was leading his own band by the late 1920s. Welk and his bands toured throughout the region and performed on radio into the 1930s and 1940s. His success as a bandleader led to a job at WFAA in Dallas, where he met singer Maxine Gray, his first "champagne lady." After he settled in Los Angeles in 1951, Welk (who was already a celebrity by this point) and his Orchestra worked in several ballrooms. The new television station KTLA broadcast their shows locally from the Aragon Ballroom. By 1955, Welk was offered a national television show sponsored by Chrysler and broadcast by ABC. A year later Welk and his Orchestra had their own hit version of "The Poor People of Paris." Hit versions of "Calcutta" and Henry Mancini's "The Baby Elephant Walk" followed in the early 1960s. The Lawrence Welk Show was a weekly variety show that featured solo instrumentalists, solo singers and choruses, and dancers, as well as Welk and members of his Orchestra; it offered a mixture of performances of varying quality. Many younger viewers detested the show's outdated music, sherbet-colored chiffon outfits, and goofy humor. Geritol's sponsorship did not enhance the show's credibility with the teen market, and polka music could not compete with rock and roll. The show was cancelled in 1971, but remained on television through syndication until 1982. It made Welk and his Orchestra famous worldwide, but its many aesthetic flaws and the perception that the show was for grandparents combined to limit the group's appeal. Welk's versions of lounge hits exposed many to lounge music and the lounge aesthetic for the first time. The champagne emphasis (similar to the martini emphasis of Space Age Bachelor Music, which will be discussed later in this essay), interesting arrangements of novelties and lounge favorites (for instance, an arrangement of the jazz novelty "Satan Takes a Holiday" during Welk's Halloween show in the late 1970s), and shared performance space with the Orchestra were all elements of Welk's lounge aesthetic. The three-CD set of A Musical Anthology (Ranwood Records RD 3-1004 [1991]) offers Welk's hits as well as recordings of his television show performers, including the Welk program's "Fanfare and Opening: Champagne Time" and "Adios, au revoir, auf Wiedersehen," Jo Anne Castle's stride piano version of "The Sheik of Araby," Mexican singer Anacani singing "Paloma Blanca," accordionist (and Welk's manager) Myron Floren's solos on the "Clarinet" and "Helena" Polkas, and champagne lady and singer Nora Zimmer's version of "Try to Remember."

Overseas, Paul Mauriat (b. 1925) became a successful arranger, composer, and conductor. Mauriat, who had studied classical piano at the Paris Conservatoire, became a bandleader before he was 20. In the 1940s and 1950s, he was an arranger and conductor for Charles Aznavour, who helped him make contacts with French musicians and artists. Mauriat had a few hits in Europe under the pseudonym Del Roma, but his instrumental version of Andre Popp's "L'amour est bleu" ("Love Is Blue") became his most famous recording worldwide. The original recording is included on the LP Blooming Hits (Philips PHS-600-248 [1967]); however both the LP and the reissued CD (Polygram International 5367922 [1998]) of the original issue are unfortunately far more difficult to find than later, synthesizer-enhanced versions released in the 1970s and 1980s (for example, the LPs Love Is Still Blue, Salsoul Records FZS-6500 [1976], and Magic, Philips 6313 405 [1982]). A more readily available compilation of Mauriat's instrumental arrangements is the CD Love Is Blue (Spectrum CD-4224 [2000]).

Recordings featuring orchestral versions of pop hits do not usually figure heavily in academic music library collections; however, the CD compilations Instrumental Gold: 14 Hits of the '50s (Michele Records CDW-407 [1994]) and Instrumental Gold: 14 Fantastic Hits of the '60s (Michele Records CDW-408 [1994]) offer an excellent variety of lounge music instrumentals, outstanding performances, and great sound quality. Both CDs feature the London Pops Orchestra and Ensemble conducted by Nelson Corbin, and would nicely complement a collection of original lounge recordings. The 1950s compilation includes Prado's "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White," "Patricia," "Unchained Melody," and "The Poor People of Paris;" the 1960s compilation includes "Love is Blue," "Calcutta," "Telstar," and "Midnight in Moscow," the last a successful Dixieland version of the Russian folk song "Moscow Nights" as arranged by English bandleader Kenny Ball. (6)


Tiki mood music, or "exotica," transported listeners to places far away from their stereo systems, sometimes even to other worlds. The CD Exotic Moods of Les Baxter (Capitol CDP 7243 8 37025 2 7 [1996]) includes songs from Baxter's earlier concept albums. The wild jungle, safaris, seas, rivers, and curious monuments inspired these songs for orchestra and chorus. Typical themes include pagan rituals, various aspects of nature, exotic or traditional dance, mysterious cities, and foreign surroundings. Lanza observed that "Baxter's music demonstrated how the most ancient tribal symbols had become fungible studio fixtures equally at home in the Gold Coast, the South Pacific, the Andes, and the Moon." (7) Repetitive melodies and rhythms that evoke a trance also appear frequently. Popular songs on the CD include "Quiet Village," "Stone God," and "Mozambique," among others, many of which were arranged and made more exotic by Martin Denny (b. 1911). Lanza distinguishes Denny from Baxter: "While Baxter's pet sound was the full orchestra, Denny preferred smaller-scale intoxicants. He manipulated xylophones, chimes, and jungle drums to sound like alien cradle songs." (8) In 1954, Hawaii became home to Denny's cradle songs, notable for their inclusion of bird calls (and frogs!) and for their avoidance of the ukulele. He and his ensemble worked on their unique sound techniques at the Shell Bar in Honolulu. Denny's version of "Quiet Village" opens softly with the tropical sounds of birds, which are much less assertive than those on Baxter's recordings; the piano, however, is more percussive and its gestures more flamboyant and entertaining. The CD Exotica!: The Best of Martin Denny (Cema Special Markets/Rhino R2 70774/S2 18813 [1990]) has the best sound quality of all the recent compilations. Songs featured on the CD include several by Baxter ("Quiet Village," "Stone God," "Love Dance," and "Simba") alongside others by Denny ("Exotica"). It also includes a version of Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol's "Caravan." The final song on the CD, "The Enchanted Sea," uses the sounds of seagulls and other birds, a bell, and ocean waves. Another CD, Quiet Village/ The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny: Greatest Hits (Curb D2-77685 [1994]) includes a recording of Denny's version of "Pearly Shells" (the melody to which had been known as the C & H Pure Cane Sugar jingle on the West Coast) and "A Taste of Honey." It also features a picture of the "Exotica Girl," model Sandy Warner, on the booklet cover. Capitol Records' Ultra-Lounge series offers the largest collection of Denny's recordings, though the sound quality of the songs does not compare favorably to the Cema Special Markets/Rhino recording.

Tiki music, or "exotica," has gone in and out of fashion over the years, while its nonmusical cultural accoutrements seem to exercise a constant fascination in the public mind. Discount stores, regardless of tiki music's level of popularity at any given moment, seem always to have an endless supply of bamboo umbrellas to sell. Stores and Web sites have perennial sales of the tiki mug, the practical tiki torch with citronella candle, the bongo set, and the shell lamp with hula dancing girl (tasteless and cool at the same time). Hawaiian shirts made an earlier and more permanent comeback than tiki music, but tiki did experience a strong resurgence of interest in the late 1990s to early 2000s--partly because of the craze for reality television shows such as Survivor and The Amazing Race (which often took place in exotic, tropical locales), and partly because of the growing coverage of exotic places on public television travel shows such as Rough Guide. Accompanying this comeback was the release of the first volume in the Capitol label's Ultra-Lounge Series: the CD Mondo Exotica (Capitol CDP 7243 8 32563 2 7 [1996]). Though Baxter's and Denny's songs are most heavily represented, this compilation also includes recordings of "Caravan" by 80 Drums Around the World, "Alika" by Webley Edwards, "Lust" by Bas Sheva, and "Babalu" and "Wimoweh" sung by Yma Sumac.


It may seem strange that the "lounge" designation does not generally embrace Las Vegas-style lounge singing, a style that is most effective in live performance. In fact, it was radio crooners that came closer to the idea of the lounge music vocalist: they understood the need to create a sense of intimacy with their listeners as they sang into the ether. Singers of lounge music, how ever aware of the ether, are more willing to share the sound space with the accompanying orchestra or ensemble than their crooning precursors and contemporaries. The sound of the accompanying orchestra or ensemble is just as important even when the visual image of the singer is the essential ingredient of the packaging. The two vocalists discussed in this essay are often overlooked in scholarly and other studies of popular music singers from the 1950s and 1960s. Their vocal abilities and singing styles are entirely different from each other.

Julie London (born Julie Peck, 1926-2000) shared a repertoire with her Vegas-style contemporaries, but her voice was softer and she relied more heavily on the microphone. She could not belt out the songs; unlike that of her contemporary Peggy Lee, London's voice could not be simultaneously strong, loud, and sultry. London did perform in front of live audiences and her striking good looks were considered an asset to her act, but her voice was far more suitable to the recording studio than to the lounge. Two of her albums have been reissued on the CD Calendar Girl/Your Number Please (Capitol 7243 8 59959 2 7 [1997]). It includes her well-known version of "June in January" from Calendar Girl and her covers of popular standards including George Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "Love Is Here to Stay," along with Mel Torme's "A Stranger In Town" and others. The CD Time for Love: The Best of Julie London (Cema Special Markets/Rhino S2 18810/R2 70737 [1991]) is another compilation that demonstrates London's versatility and vocal expression (she has been faulted by critics for her limited expressiveness and range). This CD includes her biggest hit, a version of Arthur Hamilton's "Cry Me A River," which became a bestseller after she sang it in the 1955 film The Girl Can't Help It. Other songs feature her superb tonal inflection and intelligent use of blue notes, as, for example, on her husband Bobby Troup's "Daddy" and her hit recording of Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to." Her singing on these recordings is warm and pleasantly intimate. Together, the CDs feature a number of accompanying musicians in ensembles and orchestras, including Troup, jazz guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Leatherwood, the Jimmy Rowles Orchestra, and conductors Pete King, Andre Previn, and Dick Reynolds.

Yma Sumac (born Emperatriz Chavarri, 1927) is originally from Ichocan, a village in the Peruvian Andes. She began her career as a child by singing songs there and then moved to Lima for voice lessons. Sumac's powerful voice also has a sizeable range. In the lower register, her voice is masculine-sounding and begins below low C; its upper range is more full-sounding and evokes a siren or a high-pitched sine wave. She can sing and whistle at the same time, throw her voice, make amazingly realistic sounding growls and birdcalls, and scream and screech musically. Sumac sang on radio in Peru and Argentina. While in South America she was discovered by Moises Vivanco (her future husband), sang with his large ensemble Comparia Peruana de Arte in variety shows that consisted of singers, musicians, and dancers (all were South American Indians), and recorded Peruvian folk songs accompanied by a studio orchestra or small ensemble. In 1946, she arrived in America and sang in lounges and ballrooms with Vivanco's much smaller ensemble the Inca Taky Trio and the Conjunto Folklorico Peruano. She eventually recorded for Capitol in the 1950s and 1960s and had roles in the films Secret of the Incas (1954), Omar Khayyam (1957), and Las Canciones unidas (1960, Mexico). Her recordings of "Ataypura (High Andes)," "Inca Waltz," "Babalu," and "Xtabay (Lure of the Unknown Love)," among others, appear on the CD The Ultimate Yma Sumac Collection (Capitol Records 72435-21434-2-9 [2000]). Sumac turned to recording rock and roll, pop music, and arrangements of folk songs in the 1970s and 1980s.

Poet and songwriter Rod McKuen (b. 1933) made many lounge music recordings on which his soft gravelly voice is either completely unaccompanied or strikingly accompanied by full studio orchestra. Before becoming a successful poet, he had numerous odd jobs, including cowhand, railroad worker, and ditch digger. His interest in poetry emerged in the 1950s when he began reading with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg at the San Francisco Jazz Cellar. After serving as an infantryman in Korea for two years, he continued writing poems and songs, which he performed at The Purple Onion in San Francisco and eventually in other California establishments (with well-known appearances at Venice West) in the 1950s and 1960s. During this period McKuen worked as a disc jockey, popular music singer, and film actor (with a role in the 1956 film Rock, Pretty Baby). He had also gone to Paris, where he met Jacques Brel and Charles Aznavour. For years he collaborated with Brel and other composers and songwriters including Anita Kerr, Francis Lai, Johnny Mercer, Andre Popp, Michele Sardou, and John Williams, and with performers Petula Clark and The San Sebastian Strings. His books of free-verse poetry sold millions of copies in the 1960s and his recording career skyrocketed. His most well-known recordings include The Sea (Warner Bros.-Seven Arts WS 1670 [1967], LP), Through European Windows (RCA Victor LSP 3786 [1967], LP), and The Single Man (RCA Victor LSP 4010 [1968], LP). The Sea and Through European Windows were composed, arranged, and conducted by Anita Kerr; The Single Man was arranged and conducted by Eddie Karam. In 1969 McKuen released his hit "Jean," which was featured in the film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (starring Maggie Smith). He also wrote the musical score to that film. In the same year he wrote several songs for the animated film A Boy Named Charlie Brown (Charles Schultz's Peanuts gang's feature-length film debut). McKuen's poetry has been criticized for seeming mass-produced and insufficiently thought-provoking. Reception of his work has been marred by its appealing to fans of sentimental gift cards and books such as Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull; however, McKuen has also been praised by W. H. Auden, and has won the Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg Awards as well as a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Lonesome Cities (Warner Bros./Seven Arts WS 1758 [1968], LP). The recording features McKuen's monologues and music (arranged and conducted by Arthur Greenslade), and includes, along with the title monologue, "The Art of Catching Trains," "Cowboys," "The Sun is a Moving Target," "Along the Coast of France," and "The Language of Hello." He has also been nominated for an Academy Award for "Jean" as Best Song (1969) and for A Boy Named Charlie Brown for Best Score (1970; scored with John Scott Trotter, Bill Melendez, Al Shean, and Vince Guaraldi), and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Music for The City: Suite for Orchestra and Narrator in Five Movements, op. 42 (1973). Reissued recordings have been released, but are now hard to find; however, one can still find McKuen's albums in many thrift stores, used record shops, or through collectors on the Internet. The CD Greatest Hits (Laserlight 12 793 [1996]) includes "The Marvelous Clouds," "Doesn't Anybody Know My Name," "Seasons in the Sun," "The World I Used to Know," and "The Mummy." A larger collection of McKuen's songs compiled on CD is Rod McKuen's Greatest Hits, Vols 1-4 (Stanyan 12 794 [1996]). This includes "Jean," "A Boy Named Charlie Brown," "She," "Nathalie," and "The Ever Constant Sea." Those who miss the crackle of vinyl records should listen to the LP Through European Windows, on which the crackle seems to be an essential complement to McKuen's voice and songs. In many of McKuen's recordings, he addresses the listener directly. For example, in "Do You Like the Rain," McKuen asks questions as if wanting someone to relate to, and perhaps as if expecting someone to reply.


"The music is supposed to bounce from one speaker to the other." "The listener should sit equidistant to the speakers for maximum enjoyment." Many CD reissues dutifully reproduce the instructions and advisories from their corresponding record albums. On the CD Esquivel: Music From a Sparkling Planet (Bar/None DRC1-1256 [1996]) the technical note is very specific: "This album should be audiophonically reproduced with a stabilized, two-channel optic scanner, traversing the disc surface radially from the outer perimeter towards the center. Using this digital storage medium with any other reproductive configuration is very, very uncool." Space Age Bachelor Pad Music combines the sound of the lounge music orchestra with smaller ensemble sounds and new arrangements featuring acoustic and electronic instruments to invoke visions of machines, outer space, and the unknown. This music is intended to bring together the bachelor, his stereo system, and his martini. In the 1950s, technology and the desire for appliances or machines that could complete mundane and difficult house chores inspired the "modern" house design. Saving space and adding luxury were primary concerns. Both form and function were inspired by such forward-looking concerns as splitting the atom, outer-space travel, time travel, the scientific extension of life and youth, and the possibility of contact with beings from other planets (especially women).

Juan Garcia Esquivel (1918-2002) was a contemporary of Prado. Before his teenage years he was already playing piano on radio programs in his native Mexico City. He became a bandleader when he was 18 years old and later earned a degree in engineering at the University of Mexico. Inspired by Stan Kenton and his arranger Pete Rugolo, Esquivel both composed and arranged the music performed by his own orchestra. Performers such as Yma Sumac also influenced him. In the 1950s he came to the U.S. to record for RCA Victor. His engineering background led him to take an interest in combining electronic instruments such as the theremin with his band and he experimented with emerging recording technologies. His arrangements were known for an occasional "pow" from the chorus, a dialogue among singers, a stereo workout. Today his recordings have great commercial appeal. The best-sounding compilation of his most well-known arrangements and compositions is on the CD Esquivel: Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music (Bar/None DRC1-1188 [1994]), which includes "Sentimental Journey," "Mucha muchacha," "Whatchamacallit," and "Harlem Nocturne." Most of the songs on this compilation are also included on the CD Esquivel: Infinity in Sound, Volumes 1 and 2 (Bar/None DRC1-1825 [1997]). Together, the two volumes include Esquivel's arrangements (and arrangements of arrangements) of classical music--for example, his take on Larry Clinton's "My Reverie," which draws on music originally composed by Claude Debussy--and more versions of jazz standards (for example, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train"). Both volumes were originally released as two LPs in 1960 (RCA Victor LPM 2225) and 1961 (RCA Victor LPM 2296). The first volume of Infinity in Sound received a Grammy nomination for Best Orchestra and for Best Engineering. The CD book-let includes reproductions of the original album covers and notes. The first volume has a picture of the RCA Victor Stereo High Fidelity "Victrola," advising that "A fine record deserves the finest phonograph." The album also provides an "Important Notice" to the effect that the recording is "designed for the phonograph of today or tomorrow" and that the purchaser "can buy today without fear of obsolescence in the future." More arrangements of American and Mexican popular standards can be found on the CD Esquivel: Music From a Sparkling Planet. This compilation includes Al Sherman's "Flower Girl of Bordeaux," Ray Gilbert and Agustin Lara's "You Belong to My Heart," the popular folksong "La Paloma," Rafael Hernandez's "Cachita," and Lara's "Granada." It also includes Esquivel's own composition "Question Mark (What Can You Do)."

The compilation CD Space Capades, Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 3 (Capitol CDP 724 3 8 35176 2 6 [1996]) includes a variety of space-influenced lounge music dating mostly from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Most of the performances are by Les Baxter and his Orchestra. The CD includes Baxter's hit version of "Calcutta" from late 1961 (which was not as successful as the Lawrence Welk version), "Moon Moods," "Sabre Dance," and "Saturday Night On Saturn." It also includes Jack Malmsten's organ version of the jazz standard "Satan Takes A Holiday," The Bobby Hammack Combo's rendition of "Powerhouse," Joe "Fingers" Carr's version of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" (adjoined to a second version of the same tune by 80 Drums Around the World), and arrangements of "You're the Top" and "Lonesome Road" by Dean Elliott and his Big Band. If "Gay Spirits" (as performed by David Rose and his Orchestra) and "Holiday On Strings" (as performed by The Voices of Walter Schumann) are any indication, outer space is full of happy violins and harps, as well as orbiting choruses. Other recordings suggest that outer space has its share of loose springs, rocket blasts, strange womanly beings, jungle bongos, and guitar strings as well.

Various aspects of space lounge can be found in successful space-inspired rock and roll gimmick songs. Two such songs were popular in the early 1960s: "Telstar" and "The Purple People Eater." Both were gimmicky, but "Telstar" was not really the same kind of catchy novelty song as country singer Sheb Wooley's (b. 1921) "The Purple People Eater." Joe Meek (1929-1967), England's first independent record producer, composed "Telstar" later in 1962. In July of that year, the United States had succeeded at putting Telstar, the first communications satellite, into orbit. Meek was a recording studio engineer who had formed a band called The Tornados the previous year. He brought his band a tape onto which he had sung the "Telstar" melody. For the recording session, he created a prepared piano by adding thumbtacks to its hammers. Meek then overdubbed the piano with a clavioline, a battery-operated, monophonic electric keyboard that had also been used on Del Shannon's hit song "Runaway" in 1961. (It is believed that Meek created the sound of a rocket blast on this recording by recording the sound of a flushing toilet and playing the tape backwards.) The Tornados' "Telstar" began its successful ascent on the U.K.'s domestic hit parade in 1962. It became a huge hit in the U.S., and was later credited for foreshadowing the British invasion, and for being the first song by an English band to reach number one on the American record charts. It is included on the CD The Very Best of the Tornadoes [sic] (Trojan/Music Club 50029 [1997]).

Just two weeks before the Tornados' "Telstar" was released in America, the Ventures (a Seattle-based band originally from Tacoma, Washington), anticipating the song's success, released their own version, which was also a hit. They subsequently released two albums of space-inspired versions of popular rock and roll and instrumental lounge hits. The CD The Ventures Play "Telstar"-"The Lonely Bull" and Others/(The) Ventures In Space (EMI E2-80239 [1992]) includes all the songs originally released on those two albums. It includes Telstar's "Calcutta," "Apache," and "Tequila," and the Ventures In Space's "Moon Child," "Exploration in Terror," and "The Twilight Zone." The CD includes a picture of the Ventures from Telstar with an address for their international fan club, and its liner notes point out that "all of these unusual and otherworldly sounds have been created with musical instruments rather than electronic gimmicks." The Ventures' version of "Telstar" features the melody on organ; it is then taken over by guitar with accompanying harp glissandi. More space-lounge songs are included along with their rock and roll hits on the compilation CD "Walk-Don't Run": The Best of The Ventures, Legendary Masters Series (EMI CDP-7-93451-2 [1990]). Both versions of "Telstar" were given airtime on a variety of rock and roll, pop music, and easy-listening radio stations well into the 1990s. Now reissued on CD, these songs evoke memories of cruising with KRUZ down the Pacific Coast Highway in a slant-6 engine Dodge Dart with push-button drive.


Today, commercial interest in lounge is at a peak, and elements of lounge music are used frequently in television advertising. Though few will admit to enjoying it, CD reissues and newly created electronica versions (including remixes) of lounge music have been well received by consumers. Lounge versions of "Sentimental Journey" have inspired television commercials for Denny's Restaurant and Citibank. Television commercials for baby apparel and for the Target store chain's Swell brand employ honks and crashes reminiscent of the music of Esquivel or Dean Elliott. Volvo used original music by neo-lounge artist Dimitri From Paris to announce that the S80 is "a Very Stylish Girl." The latter song "Une Very Stylish fille" can be found on the amusing CD Sacrebleu (Yellow Productions 0630-17832-2 [1996]), which jokingly advertises "astonishing 'esquisses' of the Parisian life" and "Spectra-Q-Lar[R] Electrosonics." In the song, three lines of dialogue from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) are repeated while accompanied by cocktail lounge-inspired music. From the film, Patricia Neal's character "2-E" has the hook (or punch line): "I am a very stylish girl."

According to the liner notes, "Monsieur Dimitri" 's CD, Sacrebleu is reminiscent of the Champs-Elysees, the Eiffel Tower, attending fashion shows at the Carrousel du Louvre, and dancing the mambo at the Cafe de la Paix. A "Prologue" and "Sacre francais" start off the recording in an airport. A female French announcer echoes throughout the airport, an effect that is reminiscent of French radio or of language-instruction audiotapes. The listener is thus prepared for a sonic adventure that also includes "Le Moogy Reggae" and "Dirty Larry" (to be featured on the forthcoming television series Inspector Sacrebleu, an upcoming production that further demonstrates the lounge aesthetic's incursion into current popular culture). Pictured in the liner notes is Monsieur Dimitri himself, sitting and relaxing in a chair with a footrest and using a drink as a prop. His record player and speakers are behind him, and he seems to be posing for his fans. Below his image is a picture of two large speakers and the message "Spectra-Q-Lar[R] Electrosonics for your stereo system." All of this harks back explicitly to the Ralph Bellamy advertisements of 1959.

Bringing the tango into instrumental lounge territory, DJs and electronica producers have recently remixed the music of Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) for the CD Astor Piazzolla: Remixed (Milan Entertainment M2 36019 [2003]). Piazzolla played the bandoneon, an Argentinean relative of the accordion. He studied composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, who encouraged him to explore Argentinean music. Since his music became popular in the 1960s, traditional tango purists have criticized Piazzolla's new and imaginative tango compositions and arrangements, citing his sometimes self-indulgent focus on his own instrument and chiding him for undermining the tango's seductive danceability. Whereas the former criticism is true, the latter can be challenged: Piazzolla's compositions are seductive. At times they may be too fast for the tango, but they are danceable. Tango-inspired and other kinds of choreography could work well with Piazzolla's songs. Piazzolla can be heard playing his own compositions on two CDs: Tango Zero Hour (Nonesuch 79469-2 [1998]), and the compilation The Soul of Tango: Greatest Hits (Milan 73138 3505-2 [2000]).

Remix culture employs excerpts of music and edits or arranges it in such a way (through analog or digital technology or both) that the resulting musical work can reveal new connections (offering interesting outcomes showing how different cultures, ideologies, and kinds of music can "remix"). On Piazzolla: Remixed, Metier's "Prelude" uses the same technique of preparing the listener for takeoff as that employed by Dimitri From Paris. Koop's remix of Piazzolla's "Le cinema: Vuelvo al sur" combines the bandoneon with seagulls and ocean waves. Alexkid's "Luna (Full Moon Remix)" brings together Piazzolla's music, electronica, and catchy melodic and bass hooks (seductively suitable for soap opera commercials). John Arnold's remix of "Calambre" is a flashy competition between the accordion and the Moog synthesizer.

Capitol's Ultra-Lounge Series features compilations of various kinds of lounge music reissued on CD; however, it also includes numerous recordings of Las Vegas-style (or Me-oriented) singers performing versions of songs geared at selling their voices. (9) The following volumes in the series are of particular interest to this essay: Bachelor Pad Royale, Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 4 (Capitol CDP 7243 8 35177 25 [1996]); Rhapsodesia, Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 6 (Capitol CDP 7243 8 36128 2 6 [1996]); A Bachelor in Paris, Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 10 (Capitol CDP 7243 8 36130 2 1 [1996]), and Bossa Novaville, Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 14 (Capitol CDP 7243 8 53410 2 1 [1997]). Volume 4 offers lounge music for the (lonely?) male listener including Cy Coleman's "Playboy's Theme" and Line Renaud's "Sexe," lounge versions of jazz standards such as the John Buzon Trio's version of Ellington and Tizol's "Caravan" and Earle Hagen's "Harlem Nocturne," and Jack Fascinato's "Spring, Sprang, Sprung." In contrast, on the cover of volume 6 is the caption "music and martinis for lovers only" ("lovers" could also refer to the many single lovers at home with their stereo systems). It includes a version of "Sleepwalk" by Henri Rene (1906-1993) and his Orchestra, and a version of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" by The Mallet Men. In the spirit of the Parisian or Francophile lounge, volume 10 consists of instrumental versions of popular songs about Paris. The CD includes Les Baxter's versions of "Milord" and "Poor People of Paris" (Billy May and his Orchestra's version is also included). Of course, the CD includes versions of "I Love Paris" and Sam Butera and The Witnesses' rendition of "La vie en rose." On volume 14, among other songs, is the "Samba de orfeu," which became "Sweet Happy Life," the Peggy Lee version of which was featured on commercials for Target. The Ultra-Lounge Series features colorfully illustrated liner notes that provide informative histories and descriptions of the kinds of lounge music compiled, as well as notes about the recordings and funny pictures of people inspired by the music or enjoying their drinks, along with cocktail recipes and serving tips.

The Ultra-Lounge series also offers music to laugh at through compilations of bad performances and recordings. The CDs On the Rocks Parts 1 and 2, Ultra-Lounge, (Capitol CDP 7243 8 55161 2 2 and Capitol CDP 7243 8 55433 2 6 [1997]) are suitable for gathering around the stereo at a party for a good laugh or for listening to after coming home from a long, hard day at work. These include Denny's arrangement "Incense and Peppermints/A Beautiful Morning," and a Hollywood Strings version of "I Get Around/California Girls;" also included are Lord Sitar's version of The Who's "I Can See For Miles" and Mrs. Elva Miller's pitch- and rhythm-challenged version of "These Boots Are Made For Walking."

In the past decade lounge and aspects of it have been associated with "weird" music. The CDs Re/Search: Incredibly Strange Music, Vols. 1 and 2, (Carol 1746-2 [1993] and Re/Search-Asphodel 0951 [1995]) offer an assortment of songs for "extreme," not-so-easy listening. Reproduced directly from LPs, they include, among other tracks, Rajput and The Sepoy's weird sitar version of "Up, Up and Away" (originally performed by The Fifth Dimension), Kahli Bahlu's sitar song "Cosmic Telephone Call," Bob McFadden's version of Rod McKuen's "The Mummy," and Lucia Pamela's "Walking On the Moon" (a planet apparently filled with clucking chickadees). The liner notes to these discs include the original album cover art.

"Walking On the Moon" is also included on a compilation CD of "outsider" music titled Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music, Vols. 1 and 2 (Gammon GMN 2102 [2000] and Gammon GMN 2104 [2002]). "Outsider" music is similar to "outsider" art in that it is usually created and performed by people who lack formal training. (10) This CD includes (the possibly tone deaf) Meek's own sung version (the vocal "da-dada" demo) of "Telstar," Bingo Gazingo and My Robot Friend's "You're Out of the Computer," and The Space Lady's "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)." The compilation also demonstrates lounge music's influence on outsider music. A recording that makes use of lounge elements with far more enjoyable results than Songs in the Key of Z is the CD Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones: Experimental Musical Instruments (Ellipsis Arts CD 3530 [1996]). It includes "The Swan" by Clara Rockmore on theremin with Nadia Reisenberg, an "Excerpt From 'In the Beginning'" by Don Buchla with Robert Moog, and "New York, New York" with Wendy Mae Chambers on car horn organ.

Electronica versions of lounge music have also increased in popularity. The CD Upstairs at Larry's: Lawrence Welk Uncorked (Vanguard/Ranwood 79767-2 [2004]) has successfully transformed Welk's versions of "The Baby Elephant Walk" and Jimmy Davis' "You Are My Sunshine" into songs that younger people enjoy and dance to. The CD compilation Electro-Lounge: Electronic Excursions in Hi-Fi Stereo (The Right Stuff 72434-98880-2-9 [1999]) also features successful electronica versions of lounge. It includes an Uberzone remix of "Hypnotique" as originally performed by Denny, Eat Static's remix of "Caravan" as performed by The John Buzon Trio, and The Rip-Off Artist's remix of "Sway." The latter creates a gender-bending effect by aurally matching, splicing, and putting together recordings of the song by Dean Martin and Julie London. "Sway" has made a comeback with the 2004 film Shall We Dance? (starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon). The less danceable electronica version, not featured in the film, is by far more interesting and worthy of attention.

Mainstream popular bands and less well-known alternative artists at times also reveal how lounge influenced them. Especially in their early years, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass seemed inspired by Prado's performance repertory. Herb Alpert: Definitive Hits (A & M 069 490 886-2 [2001]) includes Dixieland-influenced music, covers of popular songs such as "A Taste of Honey" (compare to "Hypnotique" and "The Look of Love") and "The Lonely Bull," their hits "Tijuana Taxi" (from 1965), "The Spanish Flea" (also from 1965), and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's arrangement for the Brass of "This Guy's in Love with You" (1967). Julius Wechter, a close friend of Alpert who also worked with Denny, composed "The Spanish Flea." Although not technically lounge music, recordings of the Brass were at home on easy-listening radio stations from the late 1960s on.

They Might Be Giants also employ many aspects of lounge in their music. The group is a duo consisting of founding members John Linnell and John Flansburgh; their recordings feature a shifting cast of supporting musicians. The large two-CD compilation set Then: The Earlier Years (Restless 72931-2 (1) and 72931-2 (2) [1997]), and the CDs Flood (Elektra 60907-2 [1990]), Apollo 18 (Elektra 61257-2 [1992]), Factory Showroom (Elektra 61862-2 [1996]), and Mink Car (Restless 73744-2 [2001]) demonstrate their facility with aspects of the lounge aesthetic. Then is a compilation of previously released songs; these include "Rhythm Section Want Ad" (which uses Scott's "Powerhouse"), "The Famous Polka," the cha-cha "The World's Address" (in both its original version and a Josh Fried remix), and a mostly instrumental cover of "The Lady is a Tramp." (11) "For Science" features a celestial chorus. "Lie Still, Little Bottle" begins in a "Fever"-inspired vein, with a spare voice-and-bass arrangement to which other instruments are gradually added. The "'85 Radio Special Thank You" is reminiscent of the radio spots on the Ventures' compilation "Walk-Don't Run": The Best of the Ventures. On a later release entitled Flood, the group's primarily instrumental tune "Minimum Wage" (with features whip-crack sound effects) seems influenced by Baxter, Denny, or Esquivel. Flood also features a cover of "Instanbul (not Constantinople)." With its space- and science-inspired text, the song "Particle Man" is featured in different versions on Then; one version is sung by schoolchildren (Flood includes just the version performed by They Might Be Giants). The space-inspired Apollo 18 features "See the Constellation," "Space Suit," and "Hypnotist of Ladies;" however, its most interesting song is "The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)," which simultaneously puts a space-inspired spin on a popular novelty song and joins it to a musical family that includes the tikiflavored "Wimoweh," the popular novelty song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and the supermarket favorite "Swingin' Safari." Factory Showroom features "I Can Hear You," a song that was, according to the liner notes, "recorded without electricity on a 1898 Edison wax cylinder recording studio phonograph." (12) The song "James K. Polk" features a singing saw (performed by Julian Koster) that sounds similar to a theremin. "New York City," composed by Lisa Marr, Robynn Iwata, and Lisa Nielsen, has a bridge melody that sounds similar to "Telstar." Mink Car's title track is reminiscent of Bacharach's easy-listening songwriting style; all the songs on the CD are delightfully weird, and most treat various aspects of the lounge-music tradition as integral to the worlds they create, worlds full of monstrous creatures (including a rabid child, a cyclops, a "Wicked Little Critta," "Mr. Klaw," and "Particle Man") and "actual-sized" women with odd jobs ("Hotel Detective," angel, tramp, and aliens on a mission to destroy the universe).


It is hoped that this essay sparks enough interest for some to partake in this array of sonic adventures for that enviable first time and for others to revisit them. Recently released CD reissues as well as recordings of music employing the lounge aesthetic have improved the accessibility of lounge music, sometimes casting new light on lounge favorites.


Lounge lovers may be surprised by some of the recordings treated in this essay. The lounge universe is large and overlaps genres. All items discussed in the essay are listed below. Information about original LP releases is included; duplication has been avoided where possible. Asterisks (*) indicate essential recordings.


*Anderson, Leroy. The Leroy Anderson Collection (Double Decker). MCA Classics MCAD2-9815A and MCAD2-9815B (1988), CD.

Anderson, Leroy. The Typewriter: Leroy Anderson Favorites (Red Seal). RCA Victor 09026-68048-2 (1995) and Musical Heritage Society 514313T (1995), CD.

Hoffman, Samuel J. Music Out of the Moon. Capitol CC 47 (1947), LP; reissued on LP as Capitol T-390 (1953) under the title Music Out of the Moon/Peace of Mind; the latter reissued on CD as Basta 30-9093-2 (1999) under the title Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman and the Theremin.

*Scott, Raymond. Manhattan Research, Inc. Basta 30-9078-2 (2000), CD; reissued on LP as Basta 30-9045-1 (2001).

Scott, Raymond. The Music of Raymond Scott: Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights. Columbia CK 53028 (1992), CD.


*Baxter, Les. Baxter's Best. Capitol CDP 7243 8 37028 2 4 (1996), CD.

Baxter, Les. Lost Episodes. Dionysius BA07 (1995), LP, and, The Lost Episode, Dionysius BA07-2 (1995), CD.

Instrumental Gold: 14 Fantastic Hits of the '50s. Michele Records CDW-407 (1994), CD.

Instrumental Gold: 14 Fantastic Hits of the '60s. Michele Records CDW-408 (1994), CD.

Mauriat, Paul. Blooming Hits. Philips PHS-600-248 (1967), LP; reissued on CD as Polygram International 5367922 (1998).

*Mauriat, Paul. Love Is Blue. Spectrum CD-4224 (2000), CD.

Mauriat, Paul. Love Is Still Blue. Salsoul Records FZS-6500 (1976), LP.

Mauriat, Paul. Magic. Philips 6313 405 (1982), LP.

Prado, Perez. Exotic Suite of Americas and Six Other Prado Sound Spectaculars. RCA Victor LPM 2571 (1962), LP; reissued on CD as Bear Family BCD 15463 (1990) under the title Voodoo Suite/Exotic Suite of the Americas.

*Prado, Perez. Our Man in Havana: The Very Best of Perez Prado. Camden 74321 588102 (1998), CD.

Prado, Perez. Voodoo Suite Plus Six All-Time Greats. RCA Victor LPM 1101 (1955), LP; reissued on CD as Bear Family BCD 15463 (1990) under the title Voodoo Suite/Exotic Suite of the Americas.

*Welk, Lawrence. A Musical Anthology. Ranwood Records RD 3-1004 (1991), CD.


Baxter, Les. Exotic Moods of Les Baxter. Capitol CDP 7243 8 37025 2 7 (1996), CD.

Denny, Martin. The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny (Ultra-Lounge). Capitol CDP 7243 8 38374 2 7 (1996), CD.

*Denny, Martin. Exotica!: The Best of Martin Denny. Cema Special Markets/Rhino R2 70774/S2 18813 (1990), CD.

Denny, Martin. Quiet Village/The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny: Greatest Hits. Curb D2-77685 (1994), CD.

*Mondo Exotica (Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 1). Capitol CDP 7243 8 32563 2 7 (1996), CD.


London, Julie. Calendar Girl. Liberty SL 9002 (1956), LP; reissued on CD as Capitol 7243 8 59959 2 7 (1997) under the title Calendar Girl/Your Number Please.

*London, Julie. Time for Love: The Best of Julie London. Cema Special Markets/Rhino S2 18810/R2 70737 (1991), CD.

London, Julie. Your Number Please. Liberty LRP 3130 (1959), LP; reissued on CD as Capitol 7243 8 59959 2 7 (1997) under the title Calendar Girl/Your Number Please.

McKuen, Rod. Greatest Hits. Laserlight 12 793 (1996), CD.

McKuen, Rod. Lonesome Cities. Arranged and conducted by Arthur Greenslade. Warner Bros./Seven Arts WS 1758 (1968), LP.

*McKuen, Rod. Rod McKuen's Greatest Hits (Vols 1-4). Stanyan 12 794 (1996), CD.

McKuen, Rod. The Sea. Composed by Anita Kerr. Warner Bros.-Seven Arts WS 1670 (1967), LP.

McKuen, Rod. The Single Man. Arranged and conducted by Eddie Karam. RCA Victor LSP 4010 (1968), LP.

McKuen, Rod. Through European Windows. Composed, arranged, and conducted by Anita Kerr. RCA Victor LSP 3786 (1967), LP.

Sumac, Yma. The Ultimate Yma Sumac Collection. Capitol Records 72435-21434-2-9 (2000), CD.


Esquivel, Juan Garcia. Esquivel: Infinity in Sound (Vols. 1 and 2). RCA Victor LPM 2225 (1960), LP, and RCA Victor LPM 2296 (1961), LP; reissued on CD as Bar/None DRC1-1825 (1997).

Esquivel, Juan Garcia. Esquivel: Music From a Sparkling Planet. Bar/None DRC1-1256 (1995), CD.

*Esquivel, Juan Garcia. Esquivel: Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music. Bar/None DRC1-1188 (1994), CD.

*Space Capades (Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 3). Capitol CDP 724 3 8 35176 2 6 (1996), CD.

The Tornadoes. The Very Best of the Tornadoes. Trojan/Music Club 50029 (1997), CD.

*The Ventures. The Ventures in Space. Dolton BLP-2027 (1964), LP; reissued on CD as EMI E2-80239 (1992) under the title The Ventures Play "Telstar"-"The Lonely Bull" and Others/(The) Ventures In Space.

*The Ventures. The Ventures Play "Telstar," "The Lonely Bull," and Others Dolton BLP-2019 or Dolton BLP 8019 (1963), LP; reissued on CD as EMI E2-80239 (1992) under the title The Ventures Play "Telstar"--"The Lonely Bull" and Others/(The) Ventures In Space.

The Ventures. "Walk-Don't Run": The Best of The Ventures (Legendary Masters Series). EMI CDP-7-93451-2 (1990), CD.


Alpert, Herb [and The Tijuana Brass]. Herb Alpert: Definitive Hits. A & M 069 490 886-2 (2001), CD.

*Astor Piazzolla: Remixed. Milan Entertainment M2 36019 (2003), CD.

A Bachelor in Paris (Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 10). Capitol CDP 7243 8 36130 2 1 (1996), CD.

Bachelor Pad Royale (Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 4). Capitol CDP 7243 8 35177 25 (1996), CD.

Bossa Novaville (Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 14). Capitol CDP 7243 8 53410 2 1 (1997), CD.

Dimitri From Paris. Sacrebleu. Yellow Productions 0630-17832-2 (1996), CD.

*Electro-Lounge: Electronic Excursions in Hi-Fi Stereo. The Right Stuff 72434-98880-2-9 (1999), CD.

Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones: Experimental Musical Instruments. Ellipsis Arts CD 3530 (1996), CD.

On the Rocks Parts 1 and 2 (Ultra-Lounge). Capitol CDP 7243 8 55161 2 2 and Capitol CDP 7243 8 55433 2 6 (1997), CD.

Piazzolla, Astor. The Soul of Tango: Greatest Hits. Milan 73138 3505-2 (2000), CD.

Piazzolla, Astor. Tango Zero Hour. American Clave AMCL 1013 (1986), LP; reissued on CD as Nonesuch 79469-2 (1998).

Re/Search: Incredibly Strange Music (Vols. 1 and 2). Carol 1746-2 and Re/Search-Asphodel 0951 (1993 and 1995), CD.

Rhapsodesia (Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 6). Capitol CDP 7243 8 36128 2 6 (1996), CD.

Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music (Vols. 1 and 2). Gammon GMN 2102 and Gammon GMN 2104 (2000 and 2002), CD.

They Might Be Giants. Apollo 18. Elektra 61257-2 (1992), CD.

*They Might Be Giants. Factory Showroom. Elektra 61862-2 (1996), CD.

They Might Be Giants. Flood. Elektra 60907-2 (1990), CD.

They Might Be Giants. Mink Car. Restless 73744-2 (2001), CD.

*They Might Be Giants. Then: The Earlier Years. Restless 72931-2 (1) and 72931-2 (2) (1997), CD.

*Upstairs at Larry's: Lawrence Welk Uncorked. Vanguard/Ranwood 79767-2 (2004), CD.

1. For more information about Scott's inventions, see Jeff Winner and Irwin Chusid, "'Circle Machines and Sequencers': The Untold History of Raymond Scott's Pioneering Instruments," available on the Internet at ( The article originally appeared as "Circle Machines and Sequencers" in Electronic Music (December 1, 2000), available on the Internet at

2. See High Fidelity 9, no. 1 (January 1959): 25, and High Fidelity 9, no. 2 (February 1959): 91. For more information on Ethel Smith, see Matthew Brown and Elizabeth Galand, "Ethel Smith: Weird Organ Lady or Mondo Organista?," Cool and Strange Music! Magazine, no. 18 (2000): 16-19. The article is also available online at (

3. See "HiFi/Stereo Market Place," the advertisement section of HiFi/Stereo Review 8, no. 1 (January 1962): 101. The advertisement for the "Static Master" reads "dust is the natural enemy of your records." It claims that with a few sweeps of a rotating record the Static Master's polonium strip could "make dust vanish like magic."

4. See Ibid., 75, and HiFi/Stereo Review 8, no. 2 (February 1962): 42.

5. Joel Whitburn, The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th ed. (New York: Billboard, 1996), 809.

6. On Instrumental Gold: 14 Fantastic Hits of the '60s (Michele Records CDW-408 [1994]), there is an especially amusing juxtaposition of songs featured on neighboring tracks in its program. For example, a version of Ferrante and Teicher's 1961 piano-duo rendition of Leonard Bernstein's "Tonight" from the musical West Side Story precedes a version of Hugo Montenegro and his Orchestra's 1968 rendition of Ennio Morricone's title theme song from the film The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: the latter is followed immediately by a version of Mauriat's "Love Is Blue."

7. Lanza, Elevator Music, 121.

8. Ibid.

9. The slang phrase "lounge lizard," which describes a well-dressed man who frequents lounges or nightclubs using his looks, charm, and flattery to seduce rich women for free drinks, favors, money, and marriage, may also be applied to the dime-a-dozen cocktail lounge pianist and to the Me-oriented singer since the goal is to sell the voice and the person through the song and its packaging.

10. For a detailed explanation of outsider art see William Swislow, Interesting Ideas, "The Outsider Pages," available on the Internet at

11. Winner and Chusid mention that Scott's music was "covered" by They Might Be Giants, p. 1 of 10.

12. See the liner notes to They Might Be Giants, Factory Showroom (Elektra 61862-2 [1996], CD.

For information about the scope of this column, consult the headnote in the September 2004 issue (p. 206 of this volume). All Web sites accessed 23 February 2005.
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Author:Anderson, Rick; Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn
Article Type:Critical Essay
Date:Jun 1, 2005
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