June 13, 2024

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Hundreds of albums in this groovy category a European genre “swinging pop”: Videos

Eric Bowman Tutt'Art@

The British rock invasion of the mid-1960s had a profound effect on American music and the country’s culture at large. For the first time, adolescents held sway over the record industry.

By decade’s end, the generation’s influence extended to virtually all corners of the marketplace. Young was in, old was out.

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Kids no longer wanted to look grown up, and neither did adults. Fashion, car design, home furnishings, dancing, TV, hairstyles and so much more became more sporty and childlike. Colors were bolder, beats were louder, and being young and free was the thing. Older men cast their eye on younger women as a way to reset and revitalize their self-image. The sexual revolution was underway. Skirts shortened, sideburns dropped and divorce rates climbed. Everything was young and chaotic virtually overnight. [Photo above of Barbara Moore courtesy of Barbara Moore]

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Interestingly, this trend wasn’t limited to the U.S. Throughout Western Europe, the bachelor class was feeling its oats. In Europe, a new form of easy-listening music surfaced to meet the new tastes of happening men and women. Europe’s mood music had a distinctly brassy and cool feel in the ’60s—Peter Sellers meets Petula Clark. These albums weren’t meant for settling down and relaxing but to get out there and swing.

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Hundreds of albums in this groovy category—a European genre I call “swinging pop”—often featured breezily arranged young vocal groups. Think Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66, Singers Unlimited and the Fifth Dimension. It’s too easy to call this music “lounge.” It clearly was designed to appeal to Europe’s young-adult market that missed out on their teenage years.

The queen of this swinging-pop vocal sound was Barbara Moore. A first-call studio background singer, she was a member of the Anita Kerr Singers in 1966 as well as the Ladybirds, who sang backup on the BBC’s Top of the Pops jukebox TV show. Later in the 60’s and into the ’70s, Moore led her own swinging vocal group known as the Barbara Moore Singers, who recorded on many British pop singles, films and lounge albums as well as on sessions for commercial background music. She also was a composer, arranger and conductor. As a singer, Moore’s specialty was to scat gleefully at the high end of her girlish vocal range. [Photo of Barbara Moore, above, in 1966 courtesy of Barbara Moore]

Over time, I’ll share more of this highly addictive and fabulous European “swinging pop” with you. It’s yet another genre I stumbled across while wandering around YouTube last week. Let me illustrate the Barbara Moore Sound:

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She is scatting on Should I from Stan Butcher’s Birds and Brass (1966)…

Moore (right, in the video, with glasses) singing behind Dusty Springfield with Madeline Bell (left) and Leslie Duncan (center) in 1967…

One of the finest albums by the Barbara Moore Singers is Voices in Latin (1968). Moore singing lead on I’ve Walked Alone...

Fly Paradise, from Moore’s Vocal Shades and Tonesalbum in 1972, which gathered her work for the De Wolfe music libraray…

Moore on the Roger Webb Sound in 1971 singing Sweet Thing

Hot Heels from Barbara Moore’s Vocal Shades and Tonesin 1972…

An interview with Moore, including Moore playfully conducting Fly Paradise

Moore’s first professional orchestral arrangement. It was for Deena Webster singing Scarborough Fair in 1968…

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