Easy (Commodores song)

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"Easy"
Single by Commodores
from the album Commodores
Released March 18, 1977
Recorded 1977
Genre Pop, soul
Length 4:15 (edit version)
4:48 (album version)
Label Motown
Writer(s) Lionel Richie
Producer(s) James Anthony Carmichael, Commodores[1]
Commodores singles chronology
"Fancy Dancer"
(1977)
"Easy"
(1977)
"Brick House"
(1977)
Commodores track listing
"Patch It Up"
(8)
"Easy"
(9)

"Easy" is a song by Commodores for the Motown label, from their fifth studio album, Commodores. Released in March 1977, "Easy" reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] The success of "Easy" paved the way for similar Richie-composed hit ballads such as "Three Times a Lady" and "Still" and also for Richie's later solo hits.

Richie wrote "Easy" with the intention of it becoming another crossover hit for the group, given the success of a previous single, "Just to Be Close to You", which spent 2 weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart (known as the Hot Soul Singles chart at that time) and peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop charts in 1976.[2]

The song is noted for a feedback noise, with an echo, that is heard in the Bridge of the song. Also, an electric guitar solo dominates the instrumental portion of the song. In addition, the other Commodores are heard singing wordless harmonies during the chorus of the song.

The edited version receives the most airplay. The longer version from the album features the chorus being repeated more times, a semitone up, from A-flat major to A major, a few times before it fades out.

Content[edit]

Written by Commodores lead singer Lionel Richie, the song, a slow ballad with country and western roots, expresses a man's feelings as he ends a relationship. Rather than being depressed about the break-up, he states that he is instead "easy like Sunday morning"—something which Richie described as evocative of "small Southern towns that die at 11:30pm", such as his own Tuskegee, Alabama.[3]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
positions
Ireland (IRMA)[4] 18
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[5] 24
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[6] 9
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[7] 9
U.S. Billboard Hot Soul Singles 1
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 4


Faith No More cover[edit]

"Easy"
Single by Faith No More
from the album Angel Dust
Released EUR December 29, 1992
USA April 4, 1993
Genre Soft rock
Length 3:08
Label Slash
Writer(s) Lionel Richie
Producer(s) Matt Wallace, Faith No More
Faith No More singles chronology
"Everything's Ruined"
(1992)
"Easy"
(1993)
"Another Body Murdered"
(1994)
Angel Dust track listing
"Midnight Cowboy"
(13)
"Easy"
(14)
"As the Worm Turns"
(15)
The "I'm Easy/Be Aggressive" cover

Faith No More recorded a cover of "Easy" originally as a B-side during the studio sessions for Angel Dust,[9] following its repeated performance during live shows, but was released as the final single to the album in late 1992/early 1993. The song was originally played to replace their cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs", so the band would break from the typical rock band mould.[10]

It is their highest-charting UK hit, reaching #3, their second number one single on the Australian charts and their final charting single in the American chart Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #58. It was originally issued on December 29, 1992, on the double A-side single with "Be Aggressive", listed as "I'm Easy", in Europe and over three months later in America on the Songs to Make Love To EP, it was later included on the European version of their album Angel Dust. Other appearances include a 2006 commercial for Levi's Jeans and as the theme tune for the TV programme Goals on Sunday. The biggest difference from the original is that Faith No More left out the second verse.

Version differences[edit]

The song was released under three titles: "I'm Easy", "I'm Easy (Cooler Version)", and "Easy". The title varies depending upon the region of release or whether it was the single or part of the album Angel Dust. As a single, in most countries apart from the United States, Australia and Japan, releases had the title "I'm Easy". In the aforementioned countries, the title was simply "Easy" with the German special edition using "I'm Easy Cooler Version". There are at least two different mixes in circulation, all of which originate from the same studio recording of the song. The first mix has a voice-over by Mike Patton during the first few seconds of the song: "Turn the lights out, baby. This one's for the ladies in the house". It also has fewer guitar overdubs, a slightly different bass line before the guitar solo, and more reverb on the entire track. The second version, sometimes listed as the "Cooler Version" as titled on the German special edition of the single, lacks this voice-over but features a background string-synth arrangement throughout the song as well as the "missing" guitar parts not found in the other mix.

The first version was featured on all London Records releases of the single and Angel Dust apart from the German special edition:

  • "I'm Easy/Be Aggressive"
  • "Easy" (Japanese release)
  • Angel Dust (Japanese, European, Brazilian and Australian [London Records version] releases)

And the second version, known as the "cooler version", was featured on the Slash and Slash/Liberation releases of the single, on Angel Dust and on retrospective compilations release by Slash, London Records, Rhino and Liberation:

Track listings[edit]

Songs to Make Love To[edit]

The Songs to Make Love To release, which was titled "Easy" on some pressings, was the American and Canadian release of the single. Its track list, which was almost identical to the German "I'm Easy" – special edition version which replaces track three with the re-recording of "As the Worm Turns" and is similar to the standard edition versions of "I'm Easy" which had the Revolution 23 Full Moon mix of "A Small Victory" as its third and last track, is as follows:[11]

  1. "Easy" – 3:10
  2. "Das Schutzenfest" – 3:00
  3. "Midnight Cowboy" (John Barry) – 4:15
  4. "Let's Lynch the Landlord" (Jello Biafra) – 2:56

I'm Easy/Be Aggressive[edit]

The double A-side release, "I'm Easy/Be Aggressive", features "Easy" and "Be Aggressive" as its first two tracks in addition to two live tracks, with the exception of one fully live version which is identical to the Free Concert in the Park bonus disc and a two-track French version. The standard track list is as follows:[11]

  1. "I'm Easy" – 3:06
  2. "Be Aggressive" – 3:40
  3. "A Small Victory" (Live †) – 4:49
  4. "We Care a Lot" (Live †) – 4:02
  5. "Mark Bowen" (Live †) – 3:15

Japanese version[edit]

The Japanese version was released separately as a seven-track EP under the name of "Easy" with the "I'm Easy/Be Aggressive" cover image along with six live tracks that also featured on other versions of the single; its track list was as follows:[11]

  1. "Easy"
  2. "Easy" (Live †)
  3. "Be Aggressive" (Live †)
  4. "Land of Sunshine" (Live ‡)
  5. "RV" (Live ‡)
  6. "Kindergarten" (Live †)
  7. "A Small Victory" (Live †)

Live in Munich, Germany on November 9, 1992
Live in Dekalb, Illinois, September 20, 1992

Charts[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
positions
Australia (ARIA)[12] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 3
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[14] 3
Germany (Media Control Charts)[15] 20
Ireland (IRMA)[4] 10
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[16] 10
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 6
Norway (VG-lista)[18] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[19] 11
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[20] 9
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[7][21] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 58

Other cover versions[edit]

"Easy" has been covered by many artists, such as Clarence Carter, Grant Green, Richie Havens, John Wesley Ryles, Jimmy Lindsay, Paul Jackson, Jr., Australian Idol finalist Holly Weinert, Canadian Idol finalist Jason Greeley, American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, Irish boy band Westlife, America's Got Talent runner-up Cas Haley, Boyz II Men and Faith No More, who released it as a single toward the end of 1992.

"Easy" was sampled by the Houston-based rap group Geto Boys for the song "Six Feet Deep" from their 1993 album Till Death Do Us Part. It was also used as a sample in Cam'ron's song "Hey Ma". Another cover of the song was included in a National Football League promo during the 2000s. Also in 2000, an instrumental version was released by saxophonist Warren Hill, from his album Love Life. The song features Warren's vocals.[23][24]

In 2002, noted vocalist Paul Young did a cover of "Easy" which was the last track on the The Mail on Sunday CD called "Easy Like Sunday Morning", which was given away free.[25]

In 2004, guitarist Eric Essix covered the song on his album Somewhere in Alabama.[26]

In 2010, the band Captain Zig covered the song as the final track on their album Music Is Math. Lead vocal duties were shared by guitarist Bill Haberer, bassist Keith McCrary, and drummer Chris Condel who each sang a verse. The track also featured Tom Borthwick on piano.[27]

Brazilian pop star Ivete Sangalo recorded a cover of "Easy". The live album was recorded during a single concert performed on September 4, 2010 and released on December 7, 2010 the live album of Multishow ao Vivo: Ivete Sangalo no Madison Square Garden.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ australian-charts.com page on the Commodores version of Easy, retrieved on 24 February 2008
  2. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 130. 
  3. ^ "Tough Questions for Lionel Richie", Spin
  4. ^ a b irishcharts.ie, Irish charts page for 'Faith No More, retrieved on 28 May 2008
  5. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Commodores – Easy" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  6. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Commodores – Easy". Top 40 Singles.
  7. ^ a b everyhit.co.uk, an archive containing all UK top 40 charts, retrieved on 24 February 2008
  8. ^ billboard.com page on the Commodores "Easy", retrieved on 24 February 2008
  9. ^ Jem Aswad (June 1992). "Faith No More: Angel Dust in the wind". Issue 25. Reflex Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-15. 
  10. ^ "Faith No More Takes It 'Easy' On EP; Prince & NPG open tour on florida, Billboard
  11. ^ a b c The PDF discography from FNM.com, retrieved on 24 February 2008
  12. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Faith No More – I'm Easy". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – Faith No More – I'm Easy" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  14. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  15. ^ "Chartverfulgong > Faith No More > I'm Easy – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Faith No More search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  17. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Faith No More – I'm Easy". Top 40 Singles.
  18. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Faith No More – I'm Easy". VG-lista.
  19. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Faith No More – I'm Easy". Singles Top 60.
  20. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Faith No More – I'm Easy". Swiss Singles Chart.
  21. ^ chartstats.com page on FNM, retrieved on 27 January 2008
  22. ^ Billboard.com chart history for Faith No More, retrieved on 24 February 2008
  23. ^ "Love Life overview". Allmusic.com. 
  24. ^ "Love Life". Narada.com. 
  25. ^ "The Mail on Sunday". 
  26. ^ "Somewhere in Alabama overview". Allmusic.com. 
  27. ^ "Captain Zig 'Music is Math' at Amazon.com". Amazon.com. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Best of My Love" by The Emotions
Billboard's Hot Soul Singles number one single
(The Commodores version)

July 16, 1977
Succeeded by
"Best of My Love" by The Emotions
Preceded by
"Are You Gonna Go My Way" by Lenny Kravitz
Australian ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
(Faith No More version)

May 15–22, 1993
Succeeded by
"That's the Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson