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.
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.
Released in March 1977, "Easy" reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. 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.
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.
The song appears in the game Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol.
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||4|
|UK Singles Chart||9|
"Easy" has been covered by many artists, such as Clarence Carter, Grant Green, Richie Havens, John Wesley Ryles, Jimmy Lindsay, Paul Jackson, Jr., Australian Idolfinalist 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 instrumentalversion was released by saxophonist Warren Hill, from his album Love Life. The song features Warren's vocals.
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.
In 2004, guitarist Eric Essix covered the song on his album Somewhere in Alabama.
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.
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.