The inclusion of Guardian journalist Paul Morley puzzled me, as his function seemed solely to voice the BBC’s cultural Tourette’s. He complained that easy listening music was "non-ironic"; Maybe he was thinking of the Beeb’s in-house definition of irony:
An ironic statement must appear as if you are sincere, [and] the line must be delivered straight, so that the recipient misses the hidden message but onlookers get it loud and clear.
Is it so insulting that with Easy Listening what you hear is what you get?
What really annoyed me was his comment that Easy Listening represented a parallel world where pop music is "non black" – shortly before the start of Easy Listening Hits at the BBC, which included Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis and The 5th Dimension, none of whom appear in the credits on the programme’s webpage. Is the implication that performing in a genre the BBC disapproves of abrogates black artistes' ethnicity?
The crack was probably a reference to the old saw that popular music was stolen from black people. The irony is that if any music was stolen from black people it is modern jazz, with rich and complex time signatures unheard of in the West until the 1940 Dennis-Roosevelt expedition to the Belgian Congo brought back and analysed recordings of music by Watusi, Batwa and Bahutu peoples, to name but three. Cue herds of privileged white BBC executives stampeding to justify their Dave Brubeck collections.
The Joy of Easy Listening BBC Four webpage
Easy Listening at the BBC BBC Four webpage
Irony h2g2 (BBC)
Denis-Roosevelt Expedition: The Belgian Congo Records of the Denis-Roosevelt Expedition Hip Wax (12th record down)