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The 20 greatest yacht rock songs ever, ranked

27 July 2022, 17:50

The greatest yacht rock songs ever

By Tom Eames

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We can picture it now: lounging on a swish boat as it bobs along the water, sipping cocktails and improving our tan. Oh, and it's the 1980s.

There's only one style of music that goes with this image: Yacht rock.

What is Yacht Rock?

Also known as the West Coast Sound or adult-oriented rock, it's a style of soft rock from between the late 1970s and early 1980s that featured elements of smooth soul, smooth jazz, R&B, funk, rock and disco.

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Although its name has been used in a negative way, to us it's an amazing genre that makes us feel like we're in an episode of Miami Vice wearing shoulder pads and massive sunglasses.

Here are the very best songs that could be placed in this genre:

Player - 'Baby Come Back'

yacht rock era

Player - Baby Come Back

Not the reggae classic of the same name, this 1977 track was Player's biggest hit.

After Player disbanded, singer Peter Beckett joined Australia's Little River Band, and he also wrote 'Twist of Fate' for Olivia Newton-John and 'After All This Time' for Kenny Rogers.

Steely Dan - 'FM'

yacht rock era

It's tough just choosing one Steely Dan song for this list, but we've gone for this banger.

Used as the theme tune for the 1978 movie of the same name, the song is jazz-rock track, though its lyrics took a disapproving look at the genre as a whole, which was in total contrast to the film's celebration of it. Still, sounds great guys!

Bobby Goldsboro - 'Summer (The First Time)'

yacht rock era

Bobby Goldsboro - Summer (The First Time)

A bit of a questionable subject matter, this ballad was about a 17-year-old boy’s first sexual experience with a 31-year-old woman at the beach.

But using a repeating piano riff, 12-string guitar, and an orchestral string arrangement, this song just screams yacht rock and all that is great about it.

Kenny Loggins - 'Heart to Heart'

yacht rock era

Kenny Loggins - Heart To Heart (Official Music Video)

If Michael McDonald is the king of yacht rock, then Kenny Loggins is his trusted advisor and heir to the throne.

This track was co-written with Michael, and also features him on backing vocals. The song is about how most relationships do not stand the test of time, yet some are able to do so.

Airplay - 'Nothing You Can Do About It'

yacht rock era

Nothin' You Can Do About It

You might not remember US band Airplay, but they did have their moment on the yacht.

Consisting of David Foster (who also co-wrote the Kenny Loggins song above), Jay Graydon and the brilliantly-named Tommy Funderburk, this tune was a cover of a Manhattan Transfer song, and was a minor hit in 1981.

Boz Scaggs - 'Lowdown'

yacht rock era

Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (Official Audio)

We've moved slightly into smooth jazz territory with this track, which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

The song was co-written by David Paich, who would go on to form Toto along with the song's keyboardist David Paich, session bassist David Hungate, and drummer Jeff Porcaro.

Steve Winwood - 'Valerie'

yacht rock era

Steve Winwood - Valerie (Official Video)

This song is probably as far as you can get into pop rock without totally leaving the yacht rock dock.

Legendary singer-songwriter Winwood recorded this gong about a man reminiscing about a lost love he hopes to find again someday.

Eric Prydz later sampled it in 2004 for the house number one track ‘Call on Me’, and presented it to Winwood, who was so impressed he re-recorded the vocals to better fit the track.

Toto - 'Rosanna'

yacht rock era

Toto - Rosanna (Official HD Video)

We almost picked 'Africa' , but we reckon this tune just about pips it in the yacht rock game.

Written by David Paich, he has said that the song is based on numerous girls he had known.

As a joke, the band members initially played along with the common assumption that the song was based on actress Rosanna Arquette, who was dating Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro at the time and coincidentally had the same name.

Chicago - 'Hard to Say I'm Sorry'

yacht rock era

Chicago - Hard To Say I'm Sorry (Official Music Video)

Chicago began moving away from their horn-driven soft rock sound with their early 1980s output, including this synthesizer-filled power ballad.

  • The 10 greatest Chicago songs, ranked

The album version segued into a more traditional Chicago upbeat track titled ‘Get Away’, but most radio stations at the time opted to fade out the song before it kicked in. Three members of Toto played on the track. Those guys are yacht rock kings!

Michael Jackson - 'Human Nature'

yacht rock era

Michael Jackson - Human Nature (Audio)

A few non-rock artists almost made this list ( George Michael 's 'Careless Whisper' and Spandau Ballet 's 'True' are almost examples, but not quite), yet a big chunk of Thriller heavily relied on the yacht rock sound.

Michael Jackson proved just how popular the genre could get with several songs on the album, but 'Human Nature' is the finest example.

The Doobie Brothers - 'What a Fool Believes'

yacht rock era

The Doobie Brothers - What A Fool Believes (Official Music Video)

Possibly THE ultimate yacht rock song on the rock end of the spectrum, and it's that man Michael McDonald.

Written by McDonald and Kenny Loggins, this was one of the few non-disco hits in America in the first eight months of 1979.

The song tells the story of a man who is reunited with an old love interest and attempts to rekindle a romantic relationship with her before discovering that one never really existed.

Michael Jackson once claimed he contributed at least one backing track to the original recording, but was not credited for having done so. This was later denied by the band.

Christopher Cross - 'Sailing'

yacht rock era

Christopher Cross - Sailing (Official Audio)

We're not putting this in here just because it's called 'Sailing', it's also one of the ultimate examples of the genre.

Christopher Cross reached number one in the US in 1980, and VH1 later named it the most "softsational soft rock" song of all time.

Don Henley - 'The Boys of Summer'

yacht rock era

The Boys Of Summer DON HENLEY(1984) OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO

Mike Campbell wrote the music to this track while working on Tom Petty’s Southern Accents album, but later gave it to Eagles singer Don Henley, who wrote the lyrics.

The song is about the passing of youth and entering middle age, and of a past relationship. It was covered twice in the early 2000s: as a trance track by DJ Sammy in 2002, and as a pop punk hit by The Ataris in 2003.

England Dan and John Cord Foley - 'I'd Really Love to See You Tonight'

yacht rock era

England Dan & John Ford Coley - I'd Really Love To See You Tonight.avi

A big hit for this duo in 1976, it showcases the very best of the sock rock/AOR/yacht rock sound that the 1970s could offer.

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Seals & Crofts - 'Summer Breeze'

yacht rock era

Summer Breeze - Seals & Croft #1 Hit(1972)

Before The Isley Brothers recorded a slick cover, 'Summer Breeze' was an irresistible folk pop song by Seals & Crofts.

While mostly a folk song, its summer vibes and gorgeous melody make for a perfect yacht rock number.

Christopher Cross - 'Ride Like the Wind'

yacht rock era

Ride Like The Wind Promo Video 1980 Christopher Cross

If Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins are in charge of the yacht rock ship, then Christopher Cross has to be captain, right? Cabin boy? Something anyway.

The singer was arguably the biggest success story of the relatively short-lived yacht rock era, and this one still sounds incredible.

Eagles - 'I Can't Tell You Why'

yacht rock era

The eagles - I can't tell you why (AUDIO VINYL)

Many Eagles tunes could be classed as yacht rock, but we reckon their finest example comes from this track from their The Long Run album in 1979.

Don Henley described the song as "straight Al Green", and that Glenn Frey, an R&B fan, was responsible for the R&B feel of the song. Frey said to co-writer Timothy B Schmit: "You could sing like Smokey Robinson . Let’s not do a Richie Furay, Poco-sounding song. Let’s do an R&B song."

Gerry Rafferty - 'Baker Street'

yacht rock era

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street (Official Video)

Gerry Rafferty probably didn't realise he was creating one of the greatest yacht rock songs of all time when he wrote this, but boy did he.

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With the right blend of rock and pop and the use of the iconic saxophone solo, you can't not call this yacht rock at its finest.

Michael McDonald - 'Sweet Freedom'

yacht rock era

Michael McDonald - Sweet Freedom (1986)

If you wanted to name the king of yacht rock, you'd have to pick Michael McDonald . He could sing the phone book and it would sound silky smooth.

Possibly his greatest solo tune, it was used in the movie  Running Scared , and its music video featured actors Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines.

Hall & Oates - 'I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)'

yacht rock era

Daryl Hall & John Oates - I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) (Official Video)

This duo knew how to make catchy hit after catchy hit. This R&B-tinged pop tune was co-written with Sara Allen (also the influence for their song 'Sara Smile').

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John Oates has said that the song is actually about the music business. "That song is really about not being pushed around by big labels, managers, and agents and being told what to do, and being true to yourself creatively."

Not only was the song sampled in De La Soul's 'Say No Go' and Simply Red 's 'Home', but Michael Jackson also admitted that he lifted the bass line for 'Billie Jean'!

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If the Yacht Is a Rockin': Riding the Yacht Rock Nostalgia Wave

By maggie serota | jun 12, 2020.

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina making some waves on the cover of 1973's "Full Sail" album.

It’s not often that an entire genre of music gets retconned into existence after being parodied by a web series, but that’s exactly what happened after writer, director, and producer J.D. Ryznar and producers David B. Lyons and Hunter D. Stair launched the Channel 101 web series Yacht Rock in 2005. Hosted by former AllMusic editor “Hollywood” Steve Huey, the series was a loving sendup of the late '70s/early '80s smooth jams to which many Millennials and late period Gen-Xers were likely conceived.

The yacht rock aesthetic was innovated by a core group of musicians and producers including, but not limited to, Christopher Cross, Steely Dan, Robbie Dupree, Kenny Loggins, Toto, David Foster, and hirsute soft rock titan Michael McDonald, along with scores of veteran session musicians from the Southern California studio scene.

The Yacht Rock web series was perfectly timed to coincide with a contemporary renaissance of smooth music from the late '70s, the kind that was previously considered a guilty pleasure because it fell out of fashion in the mid-'80s and was soon thereafter regarded as dated and square compared to other burgeoning genres, like punk rock and hip-hop.

Yacht Rock's Early Years

The yacht rock era began roughly around 1976, when yacht rock pillar Kenny Loggins split up with songwriting partner Jim Messina to strike out on his own. That same year, fellow yacht rock mainstay Michael McDonald joined The Doobie Brothers. The two titans of the genre joined forces when Loggins co-wrote the definitive yacht rock hit “What a Fool Believes” with McDonald for the Doobies. They collaborated several times during this era, which was par for the course with such an incestuous music scene that was largely comprised of buddies playing on each other’s albums.

"Look at who performed on the album and if they didn’t perform with any other yacht rock hit guys then chances are [it's] ‘nyacht’ rock,” Ryznar said on the  Beyond Yacht Rock podcast, referencing the pejorative term frequently used to describe soft rock songs that just miss the boat.

"The basic things to ask yourself if you want to know if a track is yacht rock are: Was it released from approximately 1976 to 1984? Did musicians on the track play with Steely Dan? Or Toto?," Ryznar said. "Is it a top 40 radio hit or is it on an album meant to feature hits?" And, of course, does the song celebrate a certain breezy, SoCal aesthetic?

Building the Boat

There are certain key ingredients necessary for a track to be considered yacht rock. For starters, it helps (though is not necessary) to have album art or lyrics that specifically reference boating, as with Christopher Cross's landmark 1980 hit “Sailing.” The music itself is usually slickly produced with clean vocals and a focus on melody over beat. But above all else, the sound has to be smooth . That’s what sets yacht rock apart from "nyacht" rock.

"Its base is R&B, yet it’s totally whitewashed," Ryznar explained on  Beyond Yacht Rock . "There [are] jazz elements. There can be complex, challenging melodies; the solos are all cutting-edge and really interesting. There’s always something interesting about a true yacht rock song. It goes left when you expect it to go right."

Yacht rock’s complex musicianship can be attributed, in part, to the session players on each track. Musicians like percussionist Steve Gadd, guitarist and Toto founding member Steve Lukather, and Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro don’t have much in the way of name recognition among casual soft rock listeners, but they’re the nails that hold the boat together. Steely Dan, “the primordial ooze from which yacht rock emerged,” according to Ryznar, famously cycled through dozens of session musicians while recording their 1980 seminal yacht rock album Gaucho .

"These musicians were not only these slick, polished professionals, but they were highly trained and able to hop from style to style with ease,” Huey explained on  Beyond Yacht Rock . “Very versatile.”

Steely Dan has been described as "the primordial ooze from which yacht rock emerged."

In Greg Prato’s 2018 tome, The Yacht Rock Book : An Oral History of the Soft, Smooth Sounds of the 70s and 80s , Huey broke down “the three main defining elements of yacht rock,” explaining that it requires “Fusing softer rock with jazz and R&B, very polished production, and kind of being centered around the studio musician culture in southern California … It’s not just soft rock, it’s a specific subset of soft rock that ideally has those elements."

Soft rock untethered

Whereas the music of the late 1970s and early ‘80s is often associated with the anti-establishment music of punk pioneers like the Dead Kennedys and the socially conscious songs being written by early hip-hop innovators like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, yacht rock is the antithesis of the counterculture.

Yacht rock occupies a world that is completely apolitical and untethered to current events. Between the oil crisis, a global recession, and inflation—not to mention the fact that the U.S. was still licking its wounds from the loss of the Vietnam War and the disgrace of Watergate—the late '70s were a dark time for Americans. Yet yacht rock, at its heart, is a tequila sunrise for the soul, whisking the listener away to a world where they have the time, and the means, to idle away the hours sipping piña coladas at sea while decked out in flowy Hawaiian shirts and boat shoes.

Yacht rock was never edgy, nor did it ever feel dangerous. Yacht rock didn’t piss off anyone’s parents and no one ever threatened to send their kid to boot camp for getting caught listening to Kenny Loggins's “This Is It.” Yacht rock tracks are more of a siren song that invite your parents to join in on the chorus anytime they hear Toto’s "Rosanna."

Yacht rock songs are meant to set the soundtrack to a life where the days are always sunny, but as Ryznar pointed out on Beyond Yacht Rock , there’s “an underlying darkness”—just not the kind that’s going to derail a day of sailing to Catalina Island. No, yacht rock has elements of low-stakes heartbreak with sensitive male protagonists lamenting their own foolishness in trying to get back together with exes or hitting on women half their age.

The aspirational aspect of the genre dovetailed nicely with the overarching materialism defining the Reagan era. “Yacht rock was an escape from blunt truths, into the melodic, no-calorie lies of ‘buy now, pay never,’ in which any discord could be neutralized with a Moog beat,” Dan O’Sullivan wrote in Jacobin .

Some Like it Yacht

Although the cult comedy series Yacht Rock ceased production in 2010, the soft rock music revival it launched into the zeitgeist is still going strong. For the past few years, SiriusXM has been running a yacht rock station during prime boating season, or what those of us without bottomless checking accounts refer to as the spring and summer months. Yacht rock tribute acts like Yacht Rock Revue are profitable business endeavors as much as they are fun party bands. There’s also a glut of yacht rock-themed song compilations for sale and a proliferation of questionably curated genre playlists on Spotify.

Whether you believe yacht rock is an exalted art form or the insidious soundtrack to complacency, any music lover would probably agree that even a momentary escape from the blunt truths of life is something we could all use every now and then.

A beginner’s guide to yacht rock in five essential albums

Yacht rock, soft rock – call it what you will. Here are five brilliant albums that define the genre in all its bearded, Hawaiian shirted glory

Segments of five classic yacht rock album covers

Was there really ever a genre called yacht rock ? Prior to the 2005 online comedy series of the same name, what we now know of as yacht rock was simply soft rock, largely of the 1970s variety, but occasionally dipping into the 80s as well. It was music that was smooth, slick and did little to challenge the listener in the way that heavy metal or punk rock would. Yet  sold in the multi-millions, made superstars of its creators, and was beloved by industry professionals for the stellar musicianship and high production values. And above all, it was detested by the critics.

Today, yacht rock is the ultimate guilty pleasure genre. Its patron saints - almost exclusively men, generally bearded – never appeared on posters that graced adolescents’ walls. Yet bands and artists such as The Doobie Brothers , Loggins & Messina and Christopher Cross made sweet, soulful music featuring some of the finest musicians of the era and sounding so, so perfect in the process.

Unlike prog, hair metal or krautrock, the boundaries of what constitutes yacht rock are blurred. There’s little to link the jazzy noodlings of Steely Dan , Boz Scaggs’ smooth pop and the later, 80s pop-rock of Hall & Oates beyond the fact that the various members of Toto appeared on many of these albums, making them kind of a yacht rock mafia.

Yacht rock, soft rock, call it what you will: the men who made it are laughing all the way to the bank in their Hawaiian shirts and well-sculpted facial hair while the rest of us celebrate their music in all its frictionless glory. Critics be damned, these are the five essential yacht rock albums for those who want to plunge into the genre.

Loggins & Messina - Full Sail (1973)

Kenny Loggins was a boyish-looking yet handsomely bearded fellow with a penchant for country-esque ballads. Jim Messina had been in Buffalo Springfield and country rockers Poco . The pair teamed up to record some of Loggins’ material and ended up becoming an unlikely success story, notching up hits with  1971 single The House At Pooh Corner and the following year’s Your Mama Don’t Dance , later covered by hair metallers Poison.

But 1973’s Full Sail was their apex. Featuring the ultimate yacht rock album cover (two men, one yacht), the album itself contains everything from the calypso frivolity of Lahaina , and the smooth jazz of Travellin’ Blues to the joyously upbeat My Music and hit ballad Watching The River Run . This is yacht rock’s ground zero. Boys, what did you unleash?

Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees (1976)

An early member of the Steve Miller Band , guitarist and vocalist Boz Scaggs’ solo career had begun 1969. But nothing had clicked with the record buying public until he hooked up with David Paich, Jeff Porcaro and David Hungate, all of whom were on the verge of forming Toto , and recorded his seventh solo album, Silk Degrees . A masterful mix of smooth pop and slick ballads, it spawned hits in the shape of It’s Over , Lowdown , We’re All Alone (made famous by Rita Coolidge) and the pulsating Lido Shuffle , a bona fide dancefloor filler.

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Steely Dan - Aja (1977)

Arguments rage as to whether these protagonists of achingly cool and clever jazz rock belong in the yacht rock genre, but hey, if the people who made the Yacht Rock online series say the are, who are we to argue?

Their sixth album, Aja , saw Walter Becker and Donald Fagan stretching out into longer form pieces of music that were funkier and jazzier than they’d ever been before, capping it off with one of the most pristine production jobs ever – such were their levels of perfectionism that six crack session guitarists tried and failed to lay down the guitar solo on Peg to their satisfaction (it was the seventh, Jay Graydon, who nailed it). Bonus yacht rock points: auxiliary Dan backing vocalist/keyboard player Michael McDonald was also a member of The Doobie Brothers.

The Doobie Brothers – Minute By Minute (1978)

In 1974, Steely Dan guitarist Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter moved across to hugely successful blues rockers The Doobie Brothers on a free transfer. The following year, he suggested recruiting Dan backing singer/pianist Michael McDonald as a replacement for the Doobies’ ailing guitarist/vocalist Tom Johnstone.

With his blue-eyed soul croon and knack for writing uptempo R&B-infused songs, McDonald helped nudge the band towards smoother waters. By 1978’s Minute By Minute , they had fully transformed from moustachioed chooglers into yacht rock kingpins. The album’s blend of soft rock and R&B reached its apotheosis on the majestic What A Fool Believes – co-written with Kenny Loggins, naturally – which ultimately helped turn McDonald into a bigger star than the band. For the record, the singer’s 1986 Sweet Freedom compilation is also yacht rock gold.

Christopher Cross - Christopher Cross (1979)

When Christopher Cross released his self-titled debut album in December 1979, no-one knew who he was. A year later, he’d racked up four Top 20 hits and swept the boards at the Grammy Awards.

It’s not hard to see why: Cross’ spectacular voice was matched by the brilliance of his songs. Everyone knows Ride Like The Wind , featuring that Michael McDonald fella on backing vocals, but it was the mellower Sailing that hit the No. 1 spot ( Ride… only managed No. 2). A year later Cross’ theme to the movie Arthur won him and co-writer Burt Bacharach an Oscar.

Cross was no slouch as a musician either: Steely Dan had asked him to play on their albums and he even filled in for a sick Ritchie Blackmore at a Deep Purple US show back in 1970.

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Sail Away: The Oral History of ‘Yacht Rock’

By Drew Toal

This story was originally published on June 26, 2015

I n the late 1970s and early 1980s, musical artists like Kenny Loggins , Michael McDonald , Steely Dan , Toto , Hall and Oates , and dozens of others regularly popped up on each other’s records, creating a golden era of smooth-music collaboration.

And on June 26th, 2005, an internet phenomenon was born. In 12 short but memorable episodes — first via the the short-film series Channel 101 and then online — JD Ryznar, Hunter Stair, Dave Lyons, Lane Farnham and their friends redefined an era and coined a term for the sultry croonings of McDonald, Fagen, et al.: “yacht rock.”

As “Hollywood” Steve might say, these guys docked a fleet of remarkable hits. This is the story of Yacht Rock, told from stem to stern — a reimagining of a bygone soft-rock renaissance, courtesy of hipsters with fake mustaches, impeccable record collections and a love of smoothness. Long may it sail.

The Michigan Connection JD Ryznar (Director, “Michael McDonald”): I moved from Ann Arbor to L.A., and ended up making friends with all these other guys from Michigan, like “Hollywood” Steve Huey, Hunter Stair, and David Lyons. Pretty much every weekend I’d have “Chinese Thanksgiving” at my apartment — we’d eat BBQ chicken and burgers, drink beer and listen to records of what I called “yacht rock.” You know, like Michael McDonald is singing background vocals and like there’s guys on boats on the covers; it feels like you’re on a yacht listening to it. And the guys were like, oh, we know this music.

Dave Lyons (“Koko”): You know how, in the Seventies, these big bands started playing arena rock? We liked the idea of these smooth bands playing “Marina Rock.” I thought it was a better name.

“Hollywood” Steve Huey (“Hollywood Steve”): What I mostly remember is JD playing Journey records all the time. He was so into Journey that he had photocopied a photo of Steve Perry and pasted it onto his liquid soap dispenser. He wrote “Steve Perry Soap: Clean as all fuck” on it.

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Lane Farnham (editor, “Jimmy Messina”): JD and I had talked about Journey for a year before we did Yacht Rock. In the third episode, that whole “you need to fly like a pilot” bit? Those are direct lines from Steve Perry in this crazy documentary we found. He’s coked to the gills, in the Eighties, just blabbering about who knows what. We got a kick out of that stuff. 

Sail Away: The Oral History of ‘Yacht Rock’ , Page 1 of 12

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Yacht or Not?: Sailing the Seas of Yacht Rock

Louis Armstrong said, “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” Duke Ellington said, “There are simply two kinds of music: good music and the other kind.” Christopher Cross said, “If you get caught between the moon and New York City, the best that you can do is fall in love.”

What do these pieces of wisdom add up to? Music, like love, doesn’t follow rules. Musicians as diverse as Armstrong, Ellington and Cross don’t want to be boxed in by genre. They want to write, record and perform and not spend time deciding if they play bebop or hard bop, blues or Southern rock, funk or disco.

But as temperatures heat up and people think of sailing away to find serenity, yacht rock playlists start to float in on the breeze. And that means drawing boundaries with enough latitude that artists don’t object to being boxed in and  still foster playlists with a sense of meaning, a sense of continuity and depth. Peaks and valleys must be smartly balanced against the total annihilation of a common aesthetic. (Yes, despite a fascination with sailing and pina coladas, yacht rock can be taken seriously!)

And so, much to Armstrong’s chagrin, we have to ask, “What is yacht rock?” If it seems obvious, take a look at Spotify’s recent “Yacht Rock” playlist . Spotify is a global streaming leader with some 350 million monthly users, an army of music experts and cutting edge artificial intelligence, and yet the company filled its playlist with songs such as Tears for Fears ’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me,” Van Morrison ’s “Brown Eyed Girl” and Bruce Hornsby ’s “The Way It Is.”

If somebody wants to create and enjoy a stack of songs that runs from tunes by the J. Geils Band , to the  Police , to Bad Company , to Talking Heads (yup, the company has all these artists on its playlist and even included Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters”), they should do that with gusto! It sounds like an evening full of classic jams and fun left turns so cheers to the endeavor. But if a major player in the music business wants to do that and call it yacht rock, we need to take a step back and consider what is and isn’t yacht.

We know breezes, islands, keys, capes, cool nights, crazy love and reminiscing help define the yacht aesthetic (see works by Seals & Crofts , Jay Fergeson, Bertie Higgins, Rupert Holmes, Paul Davis, Poco , and Little River Band ). But let’s get beyond the captain’s caps and map the waters of this perfect-for-summer style.

Watch Bertie Higgins' Video for 'Key Largo' 

Yacht Rock Sets Sail With Help From a 2005 Web Series

Before 2005, people generally placed Toto ’s “ Africa ” and Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” in the soft rock genre. Maybe if they were getting fancy, they’d call them AM Gold. But in 2005, the online video series Yacht Rock debuted. It fictionalized the careers of soft rock artists of the late ’70s and early ’80s. The cheeky show capitalized on the building renaissance of artists such as Steely Dan and Michael McDonald , who embraced the silliness of the series.

“When it came on I remember watching it pretty avidly,” McDonald admitted in 2018 . “My kids got a huge kick out of it. We would laugh about the characterizations of the people involved. At this point it’s a genre of its own. You’re either yacht or you're not.”

He might be right that you’re either yacht or you’re not. But calling it a genre doesn’t quite work (more on that in a minute).

Listen to the Doobie Brothers' 'Minute By Minute'

Riding the Waters From the Radical ’60s to the Sincere ’70s

By the late ’60s, rock ‘n’ roll had become “art.” The Beatles started as simple teen heartthrobs covering early rock ‘n’ roll, but graduated to the supreme weirdness of the  White Album . Chuck Berry gave birth to the Rolling Stones who gave birth to Led Zeppelin and the gonzo bombast of “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.” And all sorts of acts went wild from the Grateful Dead , to Pink Floyd , to Frank Zappa  and beyond. The sunshine of ’70s AM Gold came as a reaction to these wonderful excesses. Singer-songwriters aimed to take rock and pop back to the simple pleasures of tight, light tunes such as Beach Boys ’ classics, Motown hits and Brill Building-crafted songs.

Hippies looking for revolution and Gen X-ers on the hunt for rage, irony and sharp edges bristled at the genuine lyrics of tenderness and heartbreak neatly packaged in finely-crafted Top 40. Where the stars and fans of '60s and ’90s rock wanted arty and experimental music, anger and angst, yacht took listeners on a voyage powered by pure earnestness: think of the sincere and intense conviction of Dave Mason’s “We Just Disagree,” Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together," and “Love is the Answer” by England Dan & John Ford Coley.

(Which is why placing the Police or Talking Heads on any yacht mix doesn’t work.)

Yacht rock embodies the final charge of unbridled, heartfelt pop.

“I think these songs remain so popular because they are unabashedly pop,” Nicholas Niespodziani, leader of the hugely successful tribute band  Yacht Rock Revue , explains to UCR. “They’re not self conscious. You couldn’t write a song like ‘Africa’ now. What are they even singing about? Who knows? But it’s fun to sing.”

Watch Captain & Tennille's Video for 'Love Will Keep Us Together'

Music That’s Jazzy, But Sure Isn’t Jazz

Yacht rock doesn’t just have an earnestness to its lyrics, the sax solos come with the same level of sincerity.

If the style was the last gasp of unadulterated pop, it was also the dying breath of jazz’s influence on rock. Jazz rock started in the ’60s with Zappa, Chicago , Santana and Blood, Sweat & Tears , but slowly simple drums and growling guitars stomped horn lines and rhythmic shifts into the ground. However, yacht rock features echoes of swingin’ saxophones, big band horns and Miles Davis ’ fusion projects.

Yacht rock is very pop, but legitimate musical talents made those hooks. Chuck Mangione logged time in jazz giant Art Blakey’s band then took what he learned and crushed complex harmonic ideas into the pop nugget “Feels So Good,” which is basically a Latin-bebop-disco-classical suite. (If you dig “Feels So Good,” dig deeper and groove to smooth jazz mini-symphony “Give It All You Got.”)

Nearly every classic from the style features either an epic sax solo or dazzling guitar part. For horn glory, go spin Little River Band’s “Reminiscing,” Gino Vannelli’s “I Just Wanna Stop” or Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers ’ “Just the Two of Us." For six-string wizardry as astounding as anything Jimmy Page came up with (and much more economical), try Atlantic Rhythm Section’s “So Into You,” Pablo Cruise’s “Love Will Find a Way” and pretty much every Steely Dan cut.

(Which is why placing Tears for Fears’ “ Everybody Wants to Rule the World ” and Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” on any yacht mix doesn’t work).

Watch the Little River Band's Video for 'Reminiscing' 

A Vibe, Not a Genre or Gender or Demographic of Any Kind

Being a style, a feeling, an aesthetic, a vibe means that yacht rock can pull a song from a wide variety of genres into its orbit. It also means that it’s not just a catalog of hits from bearded white dudes. Yes, Kenny Loggins , McDonald and both Seals and Crofts helped define yacht rock. But quintessential songs from the style came from the women and artists of color, soul singers, folk heroes and Nashville aces.

For every Loggins' tune in a captain’s hat, there’s a Carly Simon track dressed up as your cruise director. Yes, there's Steely Dan's jazz influence, but also  Crosby, Stills & Nash 's folk legacy (“Southern Cross” remains definitively of the style). Yacht rock playlists should also be littered with appropriate R&B gems, such as the Raydio’s “You Can’t Change That” (which features Ray Parker Jr.!), Hall & Oates ’ “Sara Smile” and Kool & the Gang’s “Too Hot.” Likewise, country acts of the era tried to go Top 40 while attempting to retain some twang and managed to make Love Boat music (see Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning,” Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night,” Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers ’ “Islands in the Stream”).

It’s hard to tell if the Commodores’ “Sail On” is pop or R&B, harder still to know if George Benson’s “Give Me the Night” is pop, R&B or jazz. But they both feel yacht.

(Which is why Santana can do psychedelic Latin music and can do yacht on “Hold On,” and why the Pointer Sisters can do new wave disco with “Neutron Dance” and yacht with “Slow Hand.")

Wishing You a Bon Voyage on the Seas of Yacht

Spotify was right to think about diversity when making its playlist, though the company got the type of diversity wrong. Yacht has some pretty specific sonic parameters, but has no demographic restrictions when it comes to the kind of artists contributing to the style’s catalog. That means when you hit the high seas of yacht, you don’t need to be afraid to fight for your favorites to be included, just please don’t have one of those favorites be “Ghostbusters.”

We began talking about drawing boundaries with enough latitude that artists don’t object to being boxed in. The wide latitude yacht rock affords matters because music comes to define eras and outlines cultural trends (remember that yacht came in reaction to art rock and that says a lot about the swing from the late '60s to the early '80s). Calling Christopher Cross soft rock might feel right, but it doesn't tell us much about where he was coming from and what he was trying to accomplish. Calling Cross yacht rock, now that we know it's not a pejorative, illuminates his aesthetic.

Cross came out of the Texas rock scene that produced blues aces the Vaughan Brothers and guitar shredder Eric Johnson (who plays on a lot of his albums). He loves Joni Mitchell and that shows in his craft. He's jazzy but not jazz (see those horns and guitar on "Ride Like the Wind") with a vibe that's completely yacht -- developed from the scene that took '60s pop, updated it and sheltered it from the trends of punk, metal, new wave and hip hop. The same can be said for Loggins, McDonald, Simon, Lionel Ritchie and so many others.

Spotify needs to tweak its algorithm so it gets this right. Or, better yet, connect with the genre-crossing vibe that makes yacht so unique.

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Yacht Rock: How the Smooth Sounds of the ’70s and ’80s Became a Genuine Genre

July 9, 2019

When the weather’s warm, the weekends long, and the cocktails crafted using blue curaçao, there’s no better music than yacht rock —the soft, smooth sounds released between roughly 1976 and 1984 that typically feature vocals and keyboards with guitars barely audible in the background. Yet, this genre of music didn’t even have a name until a few years ago.  

Artists like the Eagles , Fleetwood Mac , and Chicago were once viewed as belonging to an adult-contemporary, soft-rock bridge between ’70s disco and ’80s arena rock. But in 2005, a few friends noticed that several artists’ albums of the era had boats on their covers. They jokingly called these albums “marina rock” and created a 12-episode comedy video series that went viral. Yacht rock was born, and today the video series’ creators even have a podcast, Beyond Yacht Rock .

On Spotify, yacht rock is most popular among those aged 45-54 and 18-24, indicating that listeners who came of age during the music’s heyday and their children love those smooth grooves. While yacht rock is most streamed in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, when measured as a percentage of total streams yacht rock is far and away the most popular in New Zealand. In fact, seven of the top 10 cities that keep yacht rock on repeat are in New Zealand (which also just so happens to be the current holder of the America’s Cup —coincidence?). 

But what are the defining characteristics of yacht rock? Let our yacht-or-knot list below be your celestial guide.

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Christopher Cross: Ride Like the Wind (1979)

With its urgent pace and aim to “make it to the border of Mexico”, Cross sums up the exhilaration of escape so essential to yacht. The power of the genre lies in the longing, so it’s most effective when heard in a landlocked location a million miles away from the nearest marina. Since aspiration crosses class, it doesn’t matter whether one’s home turf is the country club or a trailer park: listening to this song has the same effect – it nurses that ache for freedom.

The Doobie Brothers: What a Fool Believes (1979)

A YR hallmark is “upbeat-downbeat”: an approach that folds life’s bittersweet complexities within happy-snappy musical flourishes. A great example of upbeat-downbeat is this Doobie Brothers classic, showcasing the misplaced optimism of a wounded romantic. Singer Michael McDonald is in full fuzzy-throated throttle. Those are his BVs on Ride Like the Wind, and on any number of Steely Dan tracks, including …

Steely Dan: Hey Nineteen (1980)

The frisson of yacht rock derives from its blend of bourgie feelgood bounce crossed with a shiver of thwarted desire. Steely Dan self-deprecatingly called their work “funked-up muzak” but, lyrically, there are none more acidic than these egghead jazzbos with tales of grown-up screw-ups. Thanks to LA’s session musician elite, Hey Nineteen is polished to a sheen, but the narrator’s regretful realisation that he is too old to mack on teenage girls makes for uneasy listening.

Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)

Generally, female musicians didn’t focus their talents on the yacht genre: its palette was too limiting for the era’s sophisticated female artists beyond a song or two. In 1975, Mitchell made what’s considered “accidental yacht rock”. This chilly saga of tarnished love concerns a woman trapped in a big house and a loveless marriage. Mitchell made the misery of rich people seem glamorous, creating “dark yacht” in the process.

Toto: Africa (1982)

By the time the 1980s rolled around, black musicians had reclaimed the surging soul and quiet storm of yacht that was rightfully theirs. Artists such as George Benson, Lionel Richie and Raydio raised the bar by turning this “funked-up muzak” into a dance party. Ironically, an anthem called Africa turned out to be helmed by a clump of the whitest dudes going. With its questing lyrics and triumphant chorus, it became a blockbuster smash for the ages, proving that yacht rock is for ever.

I Can Go for That: The Smooth World of Yacht Rock begins Friday 14 June, 9pm, BBC Four

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This Is the Definitive Definition of Yacht Rock

By Timothy Malcolm July 12, 2019

yacht rock era

Michael McDonald. One might say the smoothest mother in music history.

Image: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

About 10 years ago , somebody showed me a YouTube video of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins writing a song that’s smoother and more polished than anything else on the airwaves.

That video—lovingly spoofing the writing of the Doobie Brothers' 1978 hit “What a Fool Believes”— was the first episode of a series called Yacht Rock . Premiering in 2005 on the Los Angeles-based television incubator Channel 101, Yacht Rock struck a chord with a generation of music nerds who attempt to compartmentalize and categorize the songs they heard as children. The term “yacht rock” itself grew out of the video series, permeating our culture today as much as the music had back in the late 1970s and early '80s.

But here’s the thing about terms that permeate our culture today: They get compromised and bastardized to fit other people’s cozy narratives, typically based on their own nostalgia. Google “yacht rock” and you’ll find articles from across the media spectrum attempting to define the term , failing hard because these writers just don’t get it. There’s even a new BBC series about yacht rock , and while it went into great detail providing context on the emergence of the musical style, it still turned out to be one person’s definition that included songs that were—as some of us might say— nyacht rock.

I’m here to set the record straight—or smooth. Yacht rock is music, primarily created between 1976 and ‘84, that can be characterized as smooth and melodic, and typically combines elements of jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock. You’ll hear very little acoustic guitar (get that “Horse With No Name” out of there) but a lot of Fender Rhodes electric piano. Lyrics don’t get in the way of the song’s usually high musicality (some of the finest Los Angeles session players, including members of the band Toto, play on many yacht rock tunes.) The lyrics may, however, speak about fools. The songs are as light and bubbly as champagne on the high seas, yet oddly complex and intellectual.

And just to hammer this home: Fleetwood Mac is not yacht rock. Daryl Hall & John Oates are 98 percent not yacht rock. Those folkie songs from America, Pure Prairie League, and Crosby, Stills & Nash? Nope. Rupert Holmes's "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)"? Too wordy and not musically interesting—not yacht rock. How about "Summer Breeze" by Seals & Crofts? A little too folky, but close.

I’m not affected by personal nostalgia (I was born in 1984, just as the yacht rock era was ending); instead, I’m an objective music lover who just so happens to have been researching yacht rock for the past several years. I know the men who coined the term “yacht rock” ( they have a great podcast and actually rate whether or not a song is yacht rock ), and they can back me up on this. 

So whether you’re docked for the summer or about to set sail on an adventure, allow me to steer you in the right direction. I've crafted for you the definitive yacht rock playlist—below are a few highlights:

“What a Fool Believes,” The Doobie Brothers

I won’t get any nerdier, I’ll just say that this is the song that epitomizes yacht rock. It’s effortlessly melodic, bouncy, and bright, features a prominent Fender Rhodes electric piano, and includes an ultra-smooth vocal from Michael McDonald.

“Heart to Heart,” Kenny Loggins

Loggins never quite knew whether to be a jazzy folkie or a rocker, but in between those two phases were a couple yachty gems, including this cool breeze on a warm summer day, from the 1982 album High Adventure . Just listen to Loggins’s vocal—it’s butter.

“FM,” Steely Dan

Steely Dan brought a New York edge and a habit of wanting the best players on their records to Los Angeles. In time their sound morphed into the whitest smooth jazz on the planet, aka yacht rock. “FM,” from 1978, has both that snarky exterior and smooth center, but look up the band’s classic albums Aja and Gaucho for a number of yachty delights.

“Human Nature,” Michael Jackson

Once you get to know yacht rock, you can begin traveling into yacht soul—smooth songs from top studio players that lean just a little harder on the R&B. This classic song from the 1982 album Thriller was written and performed by Toto. Jackson provides the gorgeously breezy vocal.

“Rosanna,” Toto

Speaking of Toto, these guys were and still are awesome musicians. The 1982 hit “Rosanna” proves this in spades—the drum shuffle is iconic, the twists are remarkable, and the sound is smoother than a well-sanded skiff.

“Nothin’ You Can Do About It,” Airplay

Who is Airplay? A one-album band created by mega-producer David Foster and session guitarist Jay Graydon. These guys wrote Earth, Wind & Fire’s “After the Love Has Gone,” then this absolute stunner from 1980, a bouncy, giddy, and gentle pop classic.

“I Really Don’t Know Anymore,” Christopher Cross

Emerging out of nowhere with a Grammy-winning album in 1979, Cross is the perfect yacht rock figure, a normal-looking white dude who just so happens to sing like the wind on a summer’s evening. This song, from that debut album, is essential yacht rock with a noticeable background singer—of course, Michael McDonald.

If you want to catch McDonald and sing along to some of his yacht rock classics, he’s performing Friday night at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands. Chaka Khan—who also has a few yacht rock tunes in her catalog—will open. Tickets start at $39.50; prepare accordingly with this  summer yacht rock playlist on Spotify . You’re welcome.

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The Bizarre History Of Yacht Rock Music

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina on a yacht

Popular music has always been complex. Different musical styles break up into infinite sub-genres — what started off as rock 'n' roll has splintered into dozens of sub-genres, and even the considerably younger musical genre of rap has splintered into several distinct styles. And each of those sub-genres then splinters as musicians innovate and reinvent the form.

None of this is science, though, so it's easy to get lost down rabbit holes when discussing what bands or songs belong in what genre or sub-genre. Yacht rock is a perfect example: None of the artists currently considered to be yacht rockers called themselves that at the time or were even aware that they were carving out a distinct sub-genre of rock music. The whole idea of yacht rock is a modern invention — and yet it perfectly describes a specific type of music that ruled pop culture roughly between 1975 and 1985.

What was yacht rock? It's a soft rock musical style, sometimes called the California sound, exemplified by smoothness and melody — these weren't exactly bangers, but that doesn't mean they were bad. Yacht rock could be very musically complex, incorporating elements of jazz into their compositions. The songs were usually introspective and did not engage with politics or current events at all — they were frictionless. Imagine a wealthy white man sailing on his yacht in 1980, and the music he's listening to in your imagination is what we're talking about. Here's the bizarre history of yacht rock.

The term was coined in 2005

Although the roots of yacht rock arguably go back to the 1960s, the history of yacht rock begins in 2005. That's because prior to that year, the term and concept of yacht rock simply didn't exist.

According to Rolling Stone , it all began on June 26, 2005, when the 12-episode web series "Yacht Rock" was released by Channel 101. As explained by Mental Floss , the series was a lovingly mocking look back at the smooth music of the late 1970s and early 1980s, written and directed by J.D. Ryznar, produced David B. Lyons and Hunter D. Stair, and hosted by Steve Huey, a former editor at AllMusic. MasterClass notes that the series was fictional — it depicted rockers like Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald as a bunch of goofy friends hanging out and composing the smoothest rock music possible.

Ryznar and company were making gentle fun of those soft rock musicians, but the concept of yacht rock was so obviously appropriate it became viral. They defined it as perfectly produced, with a high level of musicianship and harmonic sophistication (in fact, far from being bad music, many yacht rock songs have been sampled numerous times by modern artists ), and imbued with the vibe and sound of 1970s Los Angeles. Although many yacht rock songs do have nautical references, it's not necessary to be considered yacht rock. 

The roots of yacht rock go back to the 1960s

Although not all yacht rock songs reference the ocean, yachts, or the beach, the distant roots of the sound and the vibe go back to 1961. That's the year The Beach Boys was formed. As noted by Jacobin Magazine , the cheerful fun in the sun beach aesthetic of The Beach Boys' sound provides the fundamental template for yacht rock's sound. What elevated The Beach Boys was the songwriting craft of Brian Wilson — without his subtle genius, all that was left was the perfect production standards and sunny vibe. As noted by Warm 106.9 , the band's classic song "Sloop John B" is often cited as a clear influence on the sailing-obsessed soft rock that hit the charts a decade later.

In fact, as noted by MeTV , The Beach Boys' 1973 song "Sail On, Sailor" is considered a proto-yacht rock song. Because it was co-written by troubled musical genius Brian Wilson, the song isn't really yacht rock, but it holds many of the seeds, from its perfect production to the jazzy complexity hidden under mellow good-time vibes. And everything came full circle in 1988 when The Beach Boys released their Number One hit, "Kokomo," a song Stereogum describes as "extremely boring and self-satisfied yacht-rock." Singer Mark McGrath cites "Kokomo" as probably the last legitimate yacht rock song to ever be released.

Two foundational groups form

It wasn't just the California vibe and sailing imagery that yacht rock took from The Beach Boys. As noted by The Guardian , in the mid-1960s, a man named Daryl Dragon began playing keyboards with The Beach Boys as a backup musician. Dragon had a habit of wearing a ship captain's hat as part of his on-stage costume, underscoring the nautical theme and earning him the nickname "The Captain." According to Jacobin Magazine , Toni Tennille also toured with The Beach Boys. Dragon and Tennille married and, a few years later, formed the group Captain & Tennille, whose Grammy-winning song "Love Will Keep Us Together" is considered one of the earliest yacht rock hits.

Meanwhile, another foundational yacht rock band formed in 1972: Steely Dan . According to  The Seattle Times , part of what defines yacht rock is the people involved. Members of The Doobie Brothers  – especially Michael McDonald, Toto , and Steely Dan tend to be involved in some capacity (songwriting, background vocals, or performing) on most yacht rock songs. This was the inspiration for the original comedy sketch that birthed the whole concept . Steely Dan came to define the perfect production, jazzy musicality, and smooth melody lines of the genre. And as noted by Mental Floss , Steely Dan shared session musicians with many of their musical genre peers, explaining the somewhat similar sound produced by these different groups.

Loggins and Messina broke up in 1976

Many of the pieces that would form yacht rock existed long before the genre coalesced into a recognizable sound and vibe. Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina formed Loggins & Messina in 1971, and according to The Chicago Tribune , their 1975 album "Full Sail" is part of yacht rock legend. The album's cover art depicts Loggins and Messina on an actual yacht, looking pretty relaxed and very California. The album was held up at the very beginning of the "Yacht Rock" series to demonstrate what the creators of the series were talking about.

Loggins & Messina are crucial to the yacht rock story because they broke up. As noted by The Seattle Times , one of the features of yacht rock is the loose collaborations between a small group of musicians — and Kenny Loggins is a key member of that group. Loggins wrote many yacht rock classics recorded and performed by other artists, and Loggins himself often released his own versions of songs he gave to other artists, increasing his influence over the genre.

Loggins, now a free agent, worked with Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers several times as the core yacht rock musicians collaborated freely, ensuring a certain uniformity of sound and style that resulted in a recognizable sub-genre.

Steely Dan releases Aja

Mention the band Steely Dan in conjunction with the concept of yacht rock, and many people will have a passionate reaction . Yacht rock is often erroneously believed to be bad music and is frequently conflated with soft rock. But the opposite is true: According to MasterClass , part of what defines yacht rock is the harmonic sophistication and jazz influences of the music. In other words, yacht rock was often composed and recorded at a very high level of musical ability.

That's where Steely Dan comes in. Famed for their complex arrangements and overt jazz influences, the band produced smooth, melodic songs that perfectly captured the late-1970s California vibe. Rolling Stone  considered the band's sixth studio album, "Aja," a pinnacle for the musical genre. The songs are intricate, the production is pristine, and the mood is mellow. Decider  was even more enthusiastic in their praise, establishing the album as essential listening to any fan of yacht rock and notes that by the time Steely Dan (Walter Becker and Donald Fagan) recorded "Aja" they weren't really a band — they were two guys with a lot of session musicians, musicians who often played on other yacht rock bands' recordings, resulting in a similar sound on many of these records. And Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers even sings backup on some songs.

U ltimate Classic Rock ranks one of the songs from the "Aja,"  "Peg," as the second-best yacht rock song of all time and describes "Aja" as having "impeccable airtightness that falls somewhere between soft pop and jazz."

The Doobie Brothers release What a Fool Believes

Movements in music and the evolution of sub-genres usually have deep roots that go back invisibly into the past. But they often also have a key moment that clearly marks their beginning. As noted by Mental Floss , for yacht rock, that beginning comes in 1978 with the release of "What a Fool Believes" by The Doobie Brothers.

The song was written by Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. Not only did this song kick off the habit of collaboration between the artists that came to define this genre —  IGN pegs it as number three on its list of the best yacht rock songs, describing the song as quirky and mellow, while according to  Smooth Radio , the song is the ultimate example of what makes a yacht rock song. The song was a massive hit for The Doobie Brothers, one of the few non-disco hits that year.

The song is considered so "yachty," in fact, that according to Houstonia Magazine , the "Yacht Rock" series that defined the musical genre kicks off with an episode spoofing the writing of the song. The song is, indeed, kind of the platonic ideal of a yacht rock song: It's musically complex, smooth as heck, and lyrically focused on a lovelorn fool, a frequent topic of yacht rock songs. And, of course, it involves Loggins and McDonald.

Rupert Holmes releases Escape (The Piña Colada Song)

M ark McGrath , the lead singer of Sugar Ray, calls "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes the ultimate yacht rock song and an inspiration for all future yacht rock songs to follow. The song's connection to the genre is so clear that ABC News reports it was chosen for inclusion in the "NOW That's What I Call Yacht Rock" compilation album.

It's easy to see why the song (and the album containing it, 1979's "Partners in Crime") is what a computer algorithm would create if tasked with composing a yacht rock song. As noted by Rolling Stone , Holmes displays the musicianship of Steely Dan while singing with the exuberance of Barry Manilow. That combination of mellow, smooth delivery and complex song arrangements, and a distinctly California vibe make this an iconic example of yacht rock. As MasterClass notes, the song's clean production links it to other yacht rock songs because it eliminates mistakes or rough spots and offers the illusion of smooth perfection.

The song is also one of the most enduring and well-known yacht rock songs of all time. If you're trying to explain yacht rock to someone, this is the song to use as an example.

The high point of yacht rock: Christopher Cross releases Sailing

The unquestioned high point of yacht rock came in 1980. Songs from bands associated with this genre of music had been big hits before, but that year a yacht rock album dominated pop culture, ensuring that this style of music would be remembered and defined decades later. We're talking about, of course,  "Sailing" by Christopher Cross .

U ltimate Classic Rock reports the song was a smash hit, earning Cross several Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Arrangement. Its yacht rock cred begins with its title and themes — it's literally about sailing, presumably on some sort of yacht (Cross doesn't seem the type to sail on anything less). The song is smooth as glass but extremely complex, combining strings, open-tuned arpeggios, and what Rolling Stone calls "an elegant pop classicism." And as Jacobin Magazine notes, the song features backing vocals from none other than the artistic glue that holds the genre together, Michael McDonald.

"Sailing," and the album it hailed from, remain the most successful examples of yacht rock, a pinnacle of sales and awards both Cross and the genre never managed again. No one knew they were part of the yacht rock movement at the time or that it was all (slowly) downhill from there.

Toto ties it all together

One of the characteristics of yacht rock, as noted by Mental Floss , is the extremely high level of musicianship on the records — largely due to the use of professional session musicians that were shared by yacht rock groups like Steely Dan. In the late 1970s, some of those session musicians decided to form their own band, and Toto was born. This was a key moment: As noted by the man who helped define yacht rock, J.D. Ryznar, one way to identify a yacht rock song is to ask if members of Toto played on it.

In 1982, Toto released "Toto IV," which Smooth Radio noted contains two all-time yacht rock classics in "Rosanna" and "Africa." Vinyl Me, Please calls "Toto IV" a perfect introduction to the musical genre, which makes sense since the members of Toto were involved in so many recordings we now consider to be yacht rock.

But Toto was involved in another project in 1982, one that proves how the yacht rock sound traveled through session musicians: Michael Jackson's "Thriller." As reported by NOW Magazine , Toto was heavily involved with the album, and Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro even contributed a classic yacht rock track that became the fifth Top Ten song from the album (per Rolling Stone ): "Human Nature." Porcaro originally wrote it for Toto but accidentally included it on a tape of demos for producer Quincy Jones — who immediately loved it.

Kokomo: Yacht rock's last gasp

The heyday of this musical genre was between roughly 1975 and 1985. By the late 1980s, musical tastes had shifted, and most yacht rockers found themselves fading off the charts. But there was one final gasp of the genre in 1988 when the legendary band The Beach Boys released their No.1 hit  on the Billboard Hot 100, "Kokomo." 

Despite its success, the song is widely hated ( Mel Magazine shared their extreme dislike for the song and even Mike Love), but it's definitely a yacht rock song. According to Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath , it's likely the last yacht rock song to be released. By the time The Beach Boys began working on it, however, they weren't too concerned about quality — as noted by EW.com , the band hadn't been on the charts in years, didn't have a record contract, and had been reduced to playing Oldies tours to pay the bills. The band accepted the invitation to contribute a song to the soundtrack of the Tom Cruise and Elisabeth Shue romantic comedy,  "Cocktail"  largely for the money and actually left the composition of the song to John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, and Terry Melcher, giving the song the traditional session-player touch of all yacht rock songs.

The song's yacht rock bona-fides are pretty clear — in fact, as Stereogum notes,  the original demo makes its yacht rock roots very, very clear. But even The Beach Boys' version with its earworm chorus retains the smooth, slickly-produced sound that marks all yacht rock tunes.

The resurgence of yacht rock

After being established as a distinct genre of music by the " Yacht Rock" web series in 2005 , yacht rock enjoyed a period of viral fame. Everyone who came across the term quickly realized it actually made sense to regard these songs as a specific style of soft rock, and there was a lot of buzz around the topic. But all buzz fades, and after a few years, yacht rock was no longer an exciting new idea — it was an accepted truth.

But in recent years, the genre has made a comeback, infiltrating pop culture for the second time. A seminal moment in this comeback was the release of "The Blue Jean Committee" in 2018. As noted by 100.9 The Eagle , "The Blue Jean Committee" is a "mockumentary" that has actually served as an introduction to yacht rock for a whole new generation of people. Esquire reports that the show (and the "fake yacht rock band" at its center) was created by comedians Fred Armisen and Bill Hader for their TV series "Documentary Now!" But they went as far as actually writing songs for the band — and even made a music video showcasing the very yacht rocky song "Catalina Breeze," eventually releasing an entire EP, according to Wired . Suddenly, yacht rock was on everyone's mind again, more than 15 years after the initial phenomenon and more than 40 years since the actual musical era ended.

Yacht rock is modern again

As noted by The Guardian , yacht rock is experiencing a full-on reappraisal. Long considered to be trite and boring, emblematic of the insincere late 1970s and early 1980s era, a new appreciation for the very things that make these songs yacht rock is developing. One key reason is that clear production noted by MasterClass  — yacht rock songs sound timeless and still slap today because they weren't thrown together. The bands spent a lot of time and money and care to make every song sound amazing, which has helped them pass the test of time. And recent years have seen bands like The Yacht Rock Revue achieve surprising success in the genre, as noted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution .

As InsideHook notes, the rise of Internet culture has helped people rediscover and appreciate yacht rock. Younger generations have grown up in a world where they can listen to anything, any time they want. The result has been a softening of genre edges, and the adoption of old, outdated musical trends. There's a whole new group of soft rock bands that aren't covering yacht rock songs; they're writing new ones.

And as reported by MTV , yacht rock original gangsters are also releasing new music, proving that the genre has fresh legs. According to NPR , in 2017, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald collaborated with bassist and singer Thundercat on the song "Show You the Way."  Suffice it to say, this ship (or should we say yacht?) is still sailing. 

The Evolution of Yacht Rock: From the 70s to Today

Table of Contents

The Origins of Yacht Rock in the 70s

The inception of Yacht Rock in the 70s was characterized by smooth music, influenced by soft rock, jazz, and R&B genres. Yacht Rock was a term coined in the 2000s for the music that encapsulated the feel of the refined and luxurious lifestyle of yachts. The music was not tied to a particular artist or band, but instead, it was a culmination of numerous artists who shared common themes and sounds, such as Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, and Toto . The music genre gained popularity in America during the mid-70s and peaked in the early 80s.

The Yacht Rock culture made its way into the mainstream through movies, TV shows, and commercials such as in the movie Stepbrothers and the TV series The Office . The laid-back nature of Yacht Rock embodies a feeling of relaxation and enjoyment that can be enjoyed both on and off yachts. The genre’s popularity has seen various tribute bands and has been the inspiration for modern bands like The 1975 . Yacht Rock’s influence can be felt in pop music, and it has endured through the decades, with 2019’s Yacht Rock Revival Tour being a significant highlight.

Notably, the birth of Yacht Rock had significant roots in Southern California, which was the epicenter for all things cool and relaxed in music during the 1970s. Michael McDonald was a member of the iconic Doobie Brothers , who crafted some classic Yacht Rock hits such as “What a Fool Believes” and “Minute by Minute.”

According to The New York Times , Yacht Rock has a cult following, and it has become a sensation on social media, with Youtube videos and playlists dedicated to the genre. Soft rock may be the musical equivalent of a warm hug, but don’t underestimate its power to sway your soul and make you want to own a yacht.

The Influential Sound of Soft Rock

The 70s saw the emergence of Soft Rock, or Yacht Rock – a soothing response to the heavy and aggressive nature of rock music at the time. Its easy-going style featured smooth vocals and polished production.

The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Toto were the founding fathers of this sound, with hits like “Take it Easy,” “Dreams,” and “Africa” dominating the radio. Even today, their influence can be heard in modern music.

Yacht Rock has become a cultural phenomenon , thanks to artists like Michael McDonald and Christopher Cross . By the early 1980s, it had become the epitome of coolness and sophistication.

If you’re looking for mellow tunes to transport you to a sun-kissed boat day, Soft Rock and Yacht Rock won’t disappoint!

The Rise of West Coast-based Musicians

The ’70s saw a spike in West Coast-based musicians. Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, and Michael McDonald created an influential sound that captured the essence of Southern California living.

Their music featured smooth harmonies, laid back grooves and introspective lyrics . It was dubbed “ Yacht Rock ” – associated with white wines and luxury yachts. However, many of these artists rejected this term.

These musicians used a variety of instruments to create complex yet listenable sounds. Guitars, pianos, saxophones – they redefined pop music.

Tip: Listen to classic yacht rock tracks while lounging on your own deck chair. Enjoy the smooth melodies and lyrics like you’re sailing on calm waters – but with more polyester!

The Emphasis on Smooth Melodies and Lyrics

Yacht Rock – a musical style from the ’70s – featured smooth melodies and lyrics, combining soft rock, jazz, funk, and R&B elements. Its popularity was boosted by MTV-era TV shows . Romantic and boastful lyrics catered to a nautical lifestyle. Lyrics often romanticized luxury and wealth, or intimate themes like love.

Yacht Rock has a transformative power to take listeners to luxury yachts on sunny beach days. To appreciate it, listen to classic musicians like Toto or Christopher Cross . Their unique sound brings together different genres.

Vinyl records make it easier to revisit nostalgic tracks. Boat parties are the perfect opportunity to experience Yacht Rock. Playlists at home or speakers on a boat – transport back in time with throwback tunes and breathtaking views of the ocean! Get ready to rock the boat and explore the decadent era of yacht rock in the 80s.

The Heyday of Yacht Rock in the 80s

The prime era of Yacht Rock in the 80s had a significant impact on the music industry. The smooth and polished sound of Yacht Rock, characterized by its fusion of soft rock and jazz elements, was widely popular among the masses. Yacht Rock artists like Michael McDonald, Hall & Oates, and Toto paved the way for a new music genre that appealed to a vast audience. The 80s marked the pinnacle of Yacht Rock’s popularity, which continued to be a significant force in the music world until the late 90s.

The smooth voicings of singers and the catchy rhythms of the songs made Yacht Rock an instant hit. The era of Yacht Rock was marked by iconic hits like “ Africa ” by Toto, “ I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do) ” by Hall & Oates, and “ What a Fool Believes ” by The Doobie Brothers.

During the heyday of Yacht Rock, many artists emerged on the scene with their unique sound, which combined elements of rock, jazz, funk, and pop. One of the notable characteristics of Yacht Rock was the smooth and polished production style, which was made possible by the use of synthesizers and electronic instruments. This sound gave Yacht Rock its distinct flavor that was unlike any other genre. The distinct sound and vibe of Yacht Rock resonated with a growing audience, from young teens to working-class adults, making it a classic genre enjoyed by all.

The success of Yacht Rock in the 80s was due to its laid-back and accessible nature. The music was perfect for setting a casual or intimate atmosphere, which made it ideal for parties and social gatherings. The popularity of Yacht Rock started to decline in the late 90s as new genres emerged, but its legacy continued to live on through the decades. Nevertheless, the contribution and impact that Yacht Rock had on the music industry will always be cherished. For the fans of Yacht Rock, the genre still brings back nostalgic memories and continues to hold a special place in their hearts. For the new generation, Yacht Rock has become an immortal genre that symbolizes the 80s sound.

From soft rock to smooth sailing, Yacht Rock emerged as the ultimate soundtrack for high seas debauchery and questionable fashion choices.

The Emergence of Yacht Rock as a Genre

Yacht rock’s sound was smooth and sophisticated. Drawing from soft rock, jazz, and R&B , it was mellow and polished. This genre was linked to a lavish lifestyle, making it the perfect escape.

Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Toto, and Kenny Loggins were the icons of yacht rock. Their songs featured lush harmonies, easygoing melodies, and intricate guitar riffs.

The name ‘yacht rock’ was coined much later by an online video series titled ‘Yacht Rock.’ It was a parody of the artists’ lives and careers. But, the sublime sound of yacht rock still prevails.

The Popularity of Yacht Rock Bands and Artists

Yacht Rock was a popular music genre in the 80s known for its calm and smooth style.

Artists like Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald, and Toto shot to fame during this time. Their lyrics expressed love and longing, with soft jazz, R&B, and pop elements.

The music videos featuring ocean waves, sandy beaches, and yachts captivated their audiences. Toto’s ‘Africa’ was played in Antarctica for 24 hours straight. They also made an appearance on Family Guy, parodying ‘Rosanna’.

These timeless songs still have an impact today. New generations continue to discover them. For example, Michael McDonald’s ‘What A Fool Believes’ was sampled by Kanye West for ‘The One’. Yacht Rock may have gone away, but its influence still lingers in mainstream music.

The Impact of Yacht Rock on Mainstream Music

Yacht rock shook up mainstream music in the 1980s. It blended soft rock and smooth jazz, with romantic and leisurely lyrics. Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Kenny Loggins, and Toto were among the stars of this era.

Yacht rock was easy-listening and had infectious tunes. Electric pianos, synthesizers, and soaring harmonies were often part of its sound. Plus, it focused on luxurious activities like sailing and yachting.

However, yacht rock slowly faded with the rise of alternative rock in the 90s. But now, its smooth sounds are back in style!

It’s funny that yacht rock was not called that at first. J.D. Ryznar made some videos with friends and gave it the name. After millions watched, it became popular and is now a recognized subgenre.

Who knew sailing in khakis and loafers would be popular again? Welcome to the yacht rock revival .

The Revival of Yacht Rock in the 2010s

The resurgence of Yacht Rock in recent times has been a remarkable phenomenon. This genre, popular in the 70s and 80s, has been given a new lease of life in the 2010s. Numerous artists have rediscovered the smooth and relaxed vibe of Yacht Rock, and with the help of modern production techniques, have infused it with a contemporary twist.

With the current generation of music lovers seeking a break from the chaos of modern life, the revival of Yacht Rock has brought a sense of calmness and nostalgia. Many young listeners have been introduced to this genre for the first time, and it has proved to be a refreshing sonic landscape. The resurgence of Yacht Rock has also been fueled by the rise of retro culture, with fashion and décor trends of bygone eras making a comeback.

The new wave of Yacht Rock artists has not only embraced its smooth sound but also incorporated elements of funk, indie, and electronic music to bring it up to date. They have given the music a modern edge while retaining the characteristic traits of the genre.

According to Billboard , the Yacht Rock genre has seen over 100% increase in streams between 2015 and 2017. This is a testament to the genre’s popularity and the impact of its modern reintroduction.

Looks like the yacht has docked at the port of millennials, who are discovering the smooth sounds of Yacht Rock while sipping on their avocado smoothies.

The Introduction of a New Generation of Yacht Rock Listeners

Yacht Rock is sailing back into the 2010s with a fresh wave of fans. Smooth tunes and chill vibes make it unique. Plus, soft rock, jazz, R&B, and soul give it a special flavor. Michael McDonald , Christopher Cross , and Toto still rock with classic hits like “ What A Fool Believes ” and “ Ride Like The Wind “. Even modern artists like Portugal. The Man are getting in on the action.

Thanks to streaming services, it’s never been easier to enjoy Yacht Rock . People can easily find it, and it’s taking them back to happy days on yachts in the sun. Plus, old-timers get to relive their youth. One fan shared that she feels transported back to her summertime days when she hears Yacht Rock. So, pull out those bell-bottoms, mix up a piña colada, and enjoy the smooth sounds of Yacht Rock!

The Nostalgia Factor: Rediscovering Yacht Rock Classics

Yacht Rock’s resurgence is taking over the 2010s! Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, and other iconic artists of this groovy sound are now being rediscovered. With streaming services like Spotify adding dedicated yacht rock playlists, millennials are finding a newfound appreciation for these timeless tracks.

New collaborations between classic and contemporary musicians are bringing this style back to the spotlight. Yacht Rock has always been about escapism and self-care – perfect for relaxing sunny days or cruising down the coast. It resonates well with today’s listeners who value luxury, nostalgia, and more .

But it’s not all about nostalgia. Yacht Rock has shown its appeal can last through generations . To keep the revival going strong, we suggest listening to live performances from original yacht rockers or new acts. Examining lesser-known songs can reveal hidden gems that capture the essence of what made yacht rock so captivating.

In summary, yacht rock is alive and thriving with fans young and old . It’s the perfect balance between nostalgia and modernity – all while staying true to its laidback style. Open your mind and explore all facets of this sound – and yacht rock will continue to sail for years to come.

The Relevance of Yacht Rock in Contemporary Music

Yacht Rock , a sub-genre of soft rock, made a comeback in the 2010s. It’s known for its maritime theme and smooth, easy-listening tunes. Christopher Cross, Toto, and Michael McDonald are some of the artists leading the way.

Nostalgia is one reason for its revival. People remember simpler times spent on boats. Younger listeners are discovering Yacht Rock through platforms like YouTube and Spotify. Plus, its music is easy to listen to, so you don’t have to pay close attention.

West Coast musicians collaborated with Yacht Rock. They had a mellow sound that fit the songs. Steven McVicker coined the term ‘yacht rock’ in 2005, according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

Yacht Rock is still sailing with a new generation of fans. Even Michael McDonald is still touring!

The Future of Yacht Rock

In the realm of yacht rock , the progression of the genre over the years has been quite evident. Looking into the future, the genre may continue to evolve, embracing new sounds while maintaining its core elements.

As artists experiment with new ways of infusing classic yacht rock tones with modern sensibilities, the future of yacht rock may see an expansion of its audience. Additionally, there may be a shift towards a greater focus on diverse representation within the genre. By incorporating different voices and perspectives, the future of yacht rock could be more inclusive and inviting to a wider range of listeners.

Yacht rock may have started in the 70s, but it’s here to stay like that one drunk friend at the party who insists on playing their favorite soft rock playlist.

The Continuation of Yacht Rock as a Genre

Yacht rock burst onto the scene in the 70s and 80s, blending soft rock and jazz. Many thought it’d be a flash in the pan, yet it’s still alive and kickin’! Music icons like Daryl Hall and John Oates even have new yacht rock tunes.

Its charm lies in its ability to take listeners back to summers spent at the beach or rolling down highways with windows down. Plus, modern artists have their own spin on yacht rock, blending funk and R&B with classic yacht rock elements.

Yacht rock is popular with mature audiences, but younger folks should take the chance to explore too! Dabble in something new by discovering up-and-coming yacht rock artists on streaming platforms.

This smooth genre has changed over time, but yacht rock remains timeless !

The Evolution of Yacht Rock Sound and Style

Yacht rock has been around since the late ’70s. It is characterized by mellow melodies, smooth harmonies, and a laid-back vibe. A key element is nostalgia for the past . Over time, the yacht rock sound and style has evolved.

Contemporary artists like Dev Hynes, Ty Dolla $ign, and Robbie Dupree have found inspiration in yacht rock for their distinctive R&B infused sounds. Streaming platforms like Spotify have also helped to revive the genre by creating playlists for fanatics.

Jack Antonoff’s exploration into this sound with Bleachers is a tribute to the era, whilst pushing it forward. More and more artists are incorporating yacht rock elements into their music.

Experience the latest iteration of this legendary soft-rock subgenre – dive into the ocean of Yacht Rock now!

The Significance of Yacht Rock in Music History.

Yacht Rock – an iconic soft rock genre from the ’70s and ’80s. Its smooth melodies and pristine production created a luxurious escape from the hard rock and metal of the time. It symbolized a cultural shift to a more relaxed lifestyle. Its influence is still felt today, with songs like “ Rosanna ” by Toto and Air Supply’s “ Making Love Out Of Nothing At All ” standing the test of time.

Even modern musicians like Bruno Mars are incorporating Yacht Rock elements into their music, evidencing the genre’s continued impact. Yacht Rock was more than just a musical style – it embodied a lifestyle of luxury, leisure, and sophistication .

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Playlist of the Week: Top 100 Songs of Yacht Rock

Featured Playlist

Each week we’re featuring a playlist to get your mind going and help you assemble your favorites. This week we take a deep dive into the soft rock hits of the late ’70s and early ’80s, which have come to be known in some circles as Yacht Rock. The term Yacht Rock generally refers to music in the era where yuppies enjoyed sipping champaign on their yachts — a concept explored in the original web series Yacht Rock, which debuted in 2005 and has developed a cult following. Artists most commonly thought of in the Yacht Rock era include Michael McDonald, Ambrosia, 10cc, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, and Christopher Cross. Yacht Rock has become the muse of a great number of tribute bands, and is the current subject of a short-run channel on Sirius XM.

Here is a stab at the Top 100 Songs of Yacht Rock — not necessarily in rank order, with a few more added for honorable mention. We welcome your comments. What songs are ranked too high? What songs are ranked too low? What songs are missing? Make your case. Also, please let us know concepts for playlists you’d like to see — or share a favorite list of your own.

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Finally, a name for that music: “Yacht Rock”

A few little-known facts about singer/songwriter Michael McDonald: Aside from topping the charts in the 1980s, he was a tireless defender and advocate of smooth music. His best friend ...

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A few little-known facts about singer/songwriter Michael McDonald: Aside from topping the charts in the 1980s, he was a tireless defender and advocate of smooth music. His best friend died in a back-alley songwriting contest, and he feuded with one-time songwriting partner Kenny Loggins. Actor Vincent Price, however, forced the two to make amends so they could conjure a spirit to help with the recording of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Sound a bit far-fetched? Rockin’ on the yacht JD Ryznar offers a curated selection of his favorite less-obvious songs of the era “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)” by Steely Dan “Aside from being totally awesome and beautiful, this is one of the first Dan songs to feature Michael McDonald’s huge background vocal power. The presence of McDonald’s voice pretty much legitimizes any song’s Yacht Rock status.” “It Keeps You Runnin’ ” by Carly Simon “This is not only a cover of the Doobie Brothers’ hit, but also actually features the Doobies as the backing band. Still, it’s a totally original take on the song, and a rare example of Yacht Rock female empowerment.” Kenny Loggins’ alternate versions “If you hear a song on a Doobie or Michael McDonald album that was co-written by Kenny Loggins, chances are, Loggins has a version of that song with a classic Loggins twist. Check out Loggin’s versions of the Doobies ‘What a Fool Believes’ and Michael McDonald’s ‘I Gotta Try’ & ‘No Lookin’ Back’ to see what I mean.”

Not to JD Ryznar, the Los Angeles based writer, actor and director who portrays the man with the beard in his series of short films called “Yacht Rock.” The shorts, which have garnered a cult following thanks to their success as part of the Web site Channel 101’s monthly film contests (and subsequent downloads and blog shout-outs), take a look behind the scenes at the creation of the ultra-creamy hits that made folks like McDonald, Loggins and Toto pop stars in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Ryznar coined the term “Yacht Rock” after he noticed a series of connections and similarities between Steely Dan and groups like the Doobie Brothers and Toto. Such as:

All of them seemed to share members and collaborate frequently with each other and people like Kenny Loggins. A lot of the music of the era featured albums with guys on boats on the cover and songs about sailing. This music sounds really good on boats because it’s good for relaxing, sitting back and drinking. And so “Yacht Rock” was born. The show (see the full episodes here: www.channel101.com/shows/show.php?show_id=152 offers surreal backstories for singles known more for their gentle grooves than any underlying drama. But the series doesn’t attempt to satirize the musicians themselves. Instead, Ryznar takes aim at the songwriting process. “When people want to sit down and write a hit record, they get together and it’s trial and error — not so much fun,” he says. “But if you infuse it with some sort of completely made up fairy tale story, suddenly it becomes a lot more interesting.” This sly reverence for the subject matter gives the show an added nuance. After all, taking potshots at yesterday’s hit makers would be just too easy. But much of the humor also comes from inverting the stereotypical images people have of the musicians in question. “When artists like Hall & Oates and Michael Jackson have such huge personas, you don’t want to just see another impersonation,” says Ryznar. Thus, Hall & Oates become two thuggish trash-talkers from the hard streets of Philadelphia always looking for a fight and Michael Jackson gets portrayed as a brute womanizer. Even Journey front man Steve Perry gets the treatment, showing up in a couple of episodes as a motivational rocker who persuades Kenny Loggins to turn to the hard side. Ryznar’s show has gotten him some notice and even an agent. The moderate success he’s achieved underscores the growing impact that Channel 101 ( www.channel101.com ) has as an important outlet for up and coming talent to showcase material that ordinarily wouldn’t get a cursory glance at major Hollywood studios. Started by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab in 2003, Channel 101 allows anyone to submit a pilot, the best of which are selected and shown at monthly screenings held in Los Angeles. A sister site, www.channel102.net , recently opened up shop in New York. The top five vote-getters each month are added to a category called Primetime and are then allowed to make another episode. This constant influx of submissions means everyone has to keep upping the ante from month to month. While Yacht Rock’s subject matter might make it seem like a strange candidate for such a word-of-mouth following, Ryznar’s idea ended up in the right place at the right time.

Sugar The Band

Sugar The Band

yacht rock era

Sugar Yacht Rock Tribute Band

Introducing Sugar: Your Premier Yacht Rock Experience of the 70s and 80s!

Sugar is an energetic and talented Yacht Rock band based in the heart of the DFW area. With four years of electrifying performances, we have become a sought-after name in the local music scene, delivering the smoothest sounds of the 70s and 80s with a modern twist.

Dedicated to bringing the nostalgic hits of the era to life, Sugar’s six-person band combines exceptional musicianship, infectious energy, and a passion for creating a memorable experience for every audience. We pride ourselves on our ability to transport listeners back to a time when groovy melodies, soulful harmonies, and feel-good vibes ruled the airwaves.

Our diverse repertoire showcases the iconic songs of legendary artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Hall and Oates, Lionel Richie, Boz Scaggs, Christopher Cross, Eagles, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, and many more. From classic rock anthems to captivating ballads, we meticulously craft each performance to capture the essence of these timeless hits, ensuring that every audience member is captivated from the first note to the final encore.

Whether you’re planning a wedding, a birthday party, a retirement celebration, or any special occasion that calls for an unforgettable musical experience, Sugar is here to set the perfect tone. We pride ourselves on our versatility, adapting our repertoire and performance style to suit each event’s unique atmosphere and preferences. We aim to create an atmosphere that is equal parts fun, sophistication, and pure entertainment.

With Sugar, you can expect a seamless collaboration from start to finish. Our band members are consummate professionals renowned for their punctuality, reliability, and dedication to exceeding expectations. We work closely with clients to understand their vision, tailor our performance to their specific requirements, and deliver an unforgettable musical journey that leaves lasting memories for hosts and guests alike.

Don’t miss the opportunity to elevate your event with Sugar’s Yacht Rock extravaganza. Let us transport you and your guests to a bygone era filled with infectious rhythms and timeless melodies. Contact us today to discuss how we can make your wedding, birthday party, retirement celebration, or any occasion truly remarkable.

Experience the magic of Sugar—DFW’s premier Yacht Rock band!

For Information or Bookings:

Gloria D’Arezzo – 972-989-7822

Copyright © 2024 · All Rights Reserved · Sugar The Band

Music Lite by Organic Themes

Three decades after the Soviet era, this Moscow street echoes what was.

And hints where russia is heading., welcome to tverskaya street.

MOSCOW — Thirty years ago, the Soviet Union ceased to be. The flag was lowered for the last time on Dec. 25, 1991. That moment still raises deep questions for the U.S.S.R.’s heirs: “Who were we as Soviets, and where are we going as Russians?”

Many of the answers can be found on Moscow’s main thoroughfare — named Gorky Street, after writer Maxim Gorky, from 1932 to 1990, and renamed Tverskaya Street, a nod to the ancient city of Tver, as the Soviet Union was awash in last-gasp reforms.

It was the Soviet Union’s display window on the bright future that Kremlin-run communism was supposed to bring. It was where the KGB dined, the rich spent their rubles, Vladimir Lenin gave speeches from a balcony, and authorities wielded their power against one of the most famous Soviet dissidents, Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

A view of Tverskaya Street from a top floor of the Hotel National in 1980, and in August. The street’s changes through the decades encompass the shifts in everyday life from the Soviet Union in the 1920s to Russia today.

In the 1990s, Tverskaya embodied the fast-money excesses of the post-Soviet free-for-all. In later years, it was packed with hopeful pro-democracy marchers. And now , under President Vladimir Putin, it is a symbol of his dreams of reviving Russia as a great power, reliving past glories and crushing any opposition to his rule.

Join a tour of Moscow’s famed Tverskaya Street.

Hotel National: Where the Soviet government began

The window in Room 107 at the Hotel National faces Red Square and the Kremlin. It offers a perfect view of Lenin’s tomb — fitting, since he was Room 107’s most famous guest.

The Kremlin was damaged during the Russian Revolution in 1917. So Lenin and his wife moved into Room 107 for seven days in March 1918, making the hotel the first home of the Soviet government.

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The Hotel National in Moscow, from top: Artwork in the Socialist Realist style — which artists were ordered to adopt in the 1930s — still adorns the hotel; Elena Pozolotina has worked at the hotel since 1995; the hotel, which contains a restaurant, was built in 1902; the National has hosted notable guests, including Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and actor Jack Nicholson. (Photos by Arthur Bondar for The Washington Post)

The National, built in 1902 during the era of Imperial Russia, also accommodated other Soviet leaders, including Leon Trotsky and Felix Dzerzhinsky, chief of the secret police. The building continued to be used by the Soviet government as a hostel for official party delegates and was renamed First House of Soviets in 1919.

Guests can now stay in the same room Lenin did for about $1,300 a night. In more recent years, the hotel has hosted notable guests including Barack Obama (when he was a senator) and actor Jack Nicholson.

“This hotel feels a little like a museum,” said Elena Pozolotina, who has worked at the National since 1995.

“We have rooms that look onto Tverskaya Street, and we always explain to guests that this is the main street of our city,” Pozolotina said. “This corner of Tverskaya that we occupy, it’s priceless.”

Stalin’s plan: ‘The building is moving’

When Soviet leader Joseph Stalin demanded a massive redevelopment of Moscow in 1935, an order came to transform modest Gorky Street into a wide, awe-inspiring boulevard.

Engineer Emmanuel Gendel had the job of moving massive buildings to make way for others. Churches and monasteries were blown up, replaced by newspaper offices and a huge cinema.

The Moscow Central Eye Hospital was sheared from its foundation, rotated 97 degrees, jacked up, hitched on rails and pushed back 20 yards — with surgeons operating all the while, or so official media reported at the time.

In 1935, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin demanded the widening of the modest road, at the time called Gorky Street. Buildings were moved, as shown in this 1940s photo. Today, the road is a wide boulevard known as Tverskaya Street.

Gendel’s daughter, then about 8, proudly stood at a microphone, announcing: “Attention, attention, the building is moving.” Tatiana Yastrzhembskaya, Gendel’s granddaughter and president of the Winter Ball charity foundation in Moscow, recalls that Gendel extolled communism but also enjoyed the rewards of the elite. He drove a fine car and always brought the family the best cakes and candies, she said.

The largest Gorky Street building Gendel moved was the Savvinskoye Courtyard. The most difficult was the Mossoviet, or Moscow city hall, with a balcony where Lenin had given speeches. The building, the former residence of the Moscow governor general, had to be moved with its basement. The ground floor had been a ballroom without central structural supports.

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Moving buildings on Gorky Street in 1940, from left: A mechanic at a control panel regulates the supply of electricity while a house is being moved; a postal worker passes a moving house; a specialist unwinds a telephone cable during a building move to maintain uninterrupted communication; 13 rail tracks were placed under a house, on which 1,200 metal rollers were laid. (Photos by RGAKFD)

Gendel’s skills were used all over the U.S.S.R. — straightening towers on ancient mosques in Uzbekistan, inventing a means to drag tanks from rivers during World War II and consulting on the Moscow Metro.

Like many of the Soviet Union’s brightest talents, Gendel found that his freedom was tenuous. His ex-wife was called by the KGB internal spy agency in 1937 and asked to denounce him. She refused, and he avoided arrest.

The largest Gorky Street building moved was Savvinskoye Courtyard, seen behind the corner building in this photo from 1938, a year before it was relocated; now, it is tucked behind No. 6 on Tverskaya Street.

“I believe he was not arrested and sent to the camps because he was a unique expert,” said Yastrzhembskaya. World War II, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War, interrupted the Master Plan for Gorky Street.

Aragvi restaurant: A haunt of the KGB

In the 1930s, the head of the elite NKVD secret police, Lavrenty Beria, one of the architects of the Stalin-era purges, ordered the construction of a state-owned restaurant, Aragvi, to showcase food from his home republic of Georgia.

One night, NKVD agents descended in several black cars on a humble Georgian canteen in Moscow that Beria had once visited. The agents ordered the chef, Longinoz Stazhadze, to come with them. The feared NKVD was a precursor to the KGB.

Stazhadze thought he was being arrested, his son Levan told Russian media. He was taken to Beria, who said that he had agreed with “the Boss” (Stalin) that Stazhadze would run Aragvi. Stazhadze had grown up a peasant, sent to work in a prince’s kitchens as a boy.

The Aragvi restaurant was a favorite of the secret police after it opened in 1938. Nugzar Nebieridze was the head chef at Aragvi when it relaunched in 2016.

Aragvi opened in 1938. It was only for the gilded set, a reminder that the “Soviet paradise” was anything but equitable. The prices were astronomical. It was impossible to get a table unless the doorman knew you or you could pay a hefty bribe.

Aragvi, at No. 6 Tverskaya, was a favorite of the secret police; government officials; cosmonauts and pilots; stars of theater, movies and ballet; directors; poets; chess masters. Beria reputedly dined in a private room. Poet Sergei Mikhalkov said he composed the lyrics of the Soviet national anthem while sitting in the restaurant in 1943.

It was privatized in the 1990s and struggled, before closing in 2002. It reopened in 2016 after a $20 million renovation. But the new Aragvi closed abruptly in 2019 amid reports of a conflict between its owner and the building managers.

“You put your entire soul into cooking,” said the former head chef, Nugzar Nebieridze, 59, celebrated for his khinkali, a meaty dumpling almost the size of a tennis ball. He was devastated to find himself unemployed. But other doors opened. He now prefers to travel, giving master classes around Russia.

Stalin’s funeral: A deadly street crush that never officially happened

On March 6, 1953, the day after Stalin died of a stroke, an estimated 2 million Muscovites poured onto the streets. They hoped to catch a glimpse of his body, covered with flowers and laid out in the marbled Hall of Columns near Red Square.

Yulia Revazova, then 13, sneaked from her house with her cousin Valery without telling their parents. As they walked toward Pushkin Square, at one end of Gorky Street, the procession turned into a scene of horror. They saw people falling and being trampled. Some were crushed against metal fences. Valery, who was a few years older, grabbed Yulia by the hand and dragged her out of the crowd.

In March 1953, Soviet officials, including Nikita Khrushchev and Lavrenty Beria, followed the coffin of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in a processional in Moscow.

“He held my hand really tight and never let it go, because it was pure madness,” she recalled recently. “It took us four or five hours to get out of there. People kept coming and coming. I couldn’t even call it a column; it was just an uncontrollable mass of people.”

“I still have this feeling, the fear of massive crowds,” added Revazova, 82. “To this day, if I see a huge group of people or a really long line, I just cross the street.”

Neither Revazova nor her cousin knew about Stalin’s repressions.

“People were crying. I saw many women holding little handkerchiefs, wiping away tears and wailing,” she recalled. “That’s the psychology of a Soviet person. If there is no overarching figure above, be it God or Lenin, life will come crashing down. The era was over, and there was fear. What will we do without Stalin?”

Officials never revealed how many people died that day. The Soviet-approved archival footage of the four days of national mourning showed only orderly marches and memorials.

No. 9: The ruthless culture minister

The Soviet culture minister, the steely Yekaterina Furtseva, was nicknamed Catherine the Third, after the forceful Russian Empress Catherine the Great. Furtseva destroyed writers, artists or anyone else who challenged Soviet ideas. She lived at an elite 1949 apartment building for government officials at No. 9 — an ultra-prestigious address with a view of the Kremlin.

Furtseva, a former small-town weaver, made sure that No. 9 was only for the cream of party officials and other notables, such as famous Soviet actress Natalia Seleznyova, scientists, conductors and architects.

Riding the coattails of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Furtseva was the only woman in the Politburo and later became the Soviet Union’s cultural gatekeeper despite her provincial sensibilities. She once infamously mixed up a symphony with an opera, and critics were quick to notice.

In the late 1940s, No. 9 was being constructed; today, the building is home to apartments, shops and offices.

“She had little in common with the artistic leaders of her country except a liking for vodka,” Norwegian painter Victor Sparre wrote in his 1979 book on the repression of dissident Soviet writers, “The Flame in the Darkness.”

Furtseva was famous for previewing performances and declaring anyone even subtly critical of Soviet policies as being anti-state. Director Yuri Lyubimov described one such visit to Moscow’s Taganka Theater in 1969, when she turned up wearing diamond rings and an astrakhan coat. She banned the play “Alive,” depicting a cunning peasant’s struggle against the collective farm system. She “was livid, she kept shouting,” he told L’Alternative magazine in 1984. She stormed out, warning him she would use her influence, “up to the highest levels,” against him.

He was expelled from the party and in 1984 was stripped of his citizenship. She vehemently denounced Solzhenitsyn, and banned the Bolshoi Ballet’s version of “Carmen” in 1967 over prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya’s sensual performance and “un-Soviet” costumes that did not cover enough leg.

“The ballet is all erotica,” she told the dancer. “It’s alien to us.” But Plisetskaya, whom Khrushchev once called the world’s best dancer, fought back. The ballet went on with some excisions (the costumes stayed) and became a legend in the theater’s repertoire.

Furtseva was nearly felled by scandal in 1974, ordered to repay $80,000 spent building a luxurious dacha, or country home, using state labor. She died months later.

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Where Solzhenitsyn was arrested

The Nobel Prize-winning Solzhenitsyn exposed the Soviet system’s cruelty against some of its brightest minds, trapped in the gulag, or prison camps.

Solzhenitsyn was given eight years of hard labor in 1945 for privately criticizing Stalin, then three years of exile in Kazakhstan, a Soviet republic at the time. His books were banned. After release from exile in 1956, he was allowed to make only 72-hour visits to the home of his second wife, Natalia, at 12 Gorky St., Apt. 169. Solzhenitsyn had to live outside the city.

“People knew that there were camps, but not many people, if any, knew what life was like in those camps. And he described it from the inside. He had been there himself, and that was shocking to a lot of people,” said Natalia Solzhenitsyna during a recent interview at the apartment, which became a museum in 2018.

“Many people say that he did make a contribution to the final fall of the Soviet Union.”

Solzhenitsyn, who died in 2008, called Russia “the land of smothered opportunities.” He wrote that it is always possible to live with integrity. Lies and evil might flourish — “but not through me.”

The museum displays tiny handwritten copies of Solzhenitsyn’s books, circulated secretly; film negatives of letters smuggled to the West; and beads made of compacted bread that he used to memorize poems in prison.

“He spent a lot of time here with his children. We were always very busy. And we just enjoyed ourselves — being together,” Solzhenitsyna said. They had three sons.

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No. 12 Gorky St., from top: Natalia Solzhenitsyna lived in the apartment for years, and her husband, Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, was allowed only short visits; the site now houses a museum displaying items connected to him, such as negatives containing a copy of a novel he wrote; another exhibit includes Solzhenitsyn’s clothes from when he was sent to the gulag and beads made of compacted bread that he used to memorize poems; the Nobel Prize-winning writer’s desk is featured at the museum. (Photos by Arthur Bondar for The Washington Post)

Because of KGB bugs, if the couple were discussing something sensitive, they wrote notes to each other, and then destroyed them. Two KGB agents usually roosted in the stairwell on the floor above, with two more on the floor below.

“The Soviet authorities were afraid of him because of his popularity among intellectuals, writers, people of culture and the intelligentsia.”

Her favorite room is decked with black-and-white photos of dissidents sent to the gulag, the Soviet Union’s sprawling system of forced labor camps. “It’s dedicated to the invisibles,” she said, pointing out friends.

Sweden planned to award Solzhenitsyn’s 1970 literature prize in the Gorky Street apartment, but the writer rejected a secret ceremony. A Swedish journalist in Moscow, Stig Fredrikson, was Solzhenitsyn’s smuggler. He carried Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel lecture on tightly rolled film disguised as a battery in a transistor radio, and he took other letters to the West and transported photos taped to his back.

“I felt that there was a sense of unfairness that he was so isolated and so persecuted,” Fredrikson said in a recent interview. “I got more and more scared and more and more afraid every time I met him.”

In 1971, the Soviet Union allegedly tried to poison Solzhenitsyn using a secret nerve agent, leaving him seriously ill. Early 1974 was tense. The prosecutor subpoenaed him. State newspapers railed against him.

The morning of Feb. 12, 1974, the couple worked in their study. In the afternoon, he walked his 5-month-old son, Stepan, in the yard below.

“He came back here, and literally a minute later, there was a ring at the door. There were eight men. They immediately broke the chain and got in,” his widow said. “There was a prosecutor in his prosecutor’s uniform, two men in plainclothes, and the rest were in military uniform. They told him to get dressed.”

“We hugged and we kept hugging for quite a while,” she recalled. “The last thing he told me was to take care of the children.”

He was deported to West Germany. The couple later settled in Vermont and set up a fund to help dissident writers, using royalties from his book “The Gulag Archipelago.” About 1,000 people still receive money from the fund, according to Solzhenitsyna.

When the writer and his wife returned to Russia in 1994, they traveled across the country by train. Thousands of people crushed into halls to hear him speak.

Solzhenitsyn abhorred the shock therapy and unchecked capitalism of the 1990s and preferred Putin’s tough nationalism. He died of heart failure at 89 in August 2008, five months after a presidential election in which Putin switched places with the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, in a move that critics saw as a ploy to get around constitutional term limits.

No. 6: ‘Feasts of thought’

Behind a grand Stalin-era apartment block at 6 Gorky St. sits an ornate 1907 building famous for its facade, art nouveau glazed blue tiles, elegant arches and baroque spires. Once a monastery dormitory, it was a staple of pre-Soviet postcards from Moscow. But in November 1939, the 26,000-ton building was put on rails and pushed back to widen the street.

Linguists Lev and Raisa Kopelev lived in Apt. 201 on the top floor. Their spacious dining room became a favored haven for Moscow’s intelligentsia from the 1950s to the 1980s.

During the Tverskaya Street reconstruction, the Savvinskoye building, where Apt. 201 was located, was pushed back into the yard and blocked by this Stalin-era apartment block, shown in 1966 and today.

“People gathered all the time — to talk. In this apartment, like many other kitchens and dining rooms, at tables filled more often than not with vodka, herring and vinaigrette salad, feasts of thought took place,” said Svetlana Ivanova, Raisa’s daughter from another marriage, who lived in the apartment for nearly four decades.

Solzhenitsyn and fellow dissident Joseph Brodsky were Kopelev family friends, as were many other artists, poets, writers and scientists who formed the backbone of the Soviet human rights movement of the 1960s.

As a writer and dissident, Kopelev had turned his back on the Communist Party and a prestigious university position. The onetime gulag prisoner inspired the character Lev Rubin in Solzhenitsyn’s novel “In the First Circle,” depicting the fate of arrested scientists.

“The apartment was a special place for everyone. People there were not afraid to speak their mind on topics that would be considered otherwise risky,” Ivanova said. “A new, different spirit ruled in its walls.”

Eliseevsky: Pineapples during a famine

The Eliseevsky store at No. 16 was a landmark for 120 years — born in czarist Russia, a witness to the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, a survivor of wars, and a bastion during eras of shortages and plenty. It closed its doors in April.

Eliseevsky fell on hard times during the coronavirus pandemic, as international tourists dwindled and Russians sought cheaper grocery-shopping alternatives.

In the palace-like interior, two chandeliers hang from an ornate ceiling. Gilt columns line the walls. The front of the store, looking out at Tverskaya Street, has a row of stained glass.

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The Eliseevsky store, which opened in 1901, is seen in April, with a few customers and some archival photos, as it prepared to close as an economic victim of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photos by Arthur Bondar for The Washington Post)

Denis Romodin, a historian at the Museum of Moscow, said Eliseevsky is one of only two retail spaces in Moscow with such pre-revolutionary interiors. But Eliseevsky’s level of preservation made it “one of a kind,” he said.

The building was once owned by Zinaida Volkonskaya, a princess and Russian cultural figure in the 19th century. She remodeled the house into a literary salon whose luminaries included Russia’s greatest poet, Alexander Pushkin.

St. Petersburg merchant Grigory Eliseev opened the market in 1901. It quickly became a hit among Russian nobility for its selection of European wines and cheeses.

In 1934, the Eliseevsky store is seen next to a building that is being constructed; in September, the market, a landmark for 120 years, was empty, having closed in April.

Romodin said it was Russia’s first store with price tags. Before Eliseevsky, haggling was the norm. And it was also unique in having innovative technology for the time: electric-powered refrigerators and display cases that allowed goods to be stored longer.

Even in the Soviet Union’s hungriest years, the 1930s famine, Eliseevsky stocked pineapples.

“One could find outlandish delicacies here, which at that time seemed very exotic,” Romodin said. “It was already impossible to surprise Muscovites with wine shops. But a grocery store with luxurious interiors, and large for that time, amazed and delighted Muscovites.”

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The First Gallery: A glimpse of openness

In 1989, in a dusty government office by a corner of Pushkin Square, three young artists threw off decades of suffocating state control and opened the Soviet Union’s first independent art gallery.

That April, Yevgeny Mitta and two fellow students, Aidan Salakhova and Alexander Yakut, opened First Gallery. At the time, the Soviet Union was opening up under policies including glasnost, which gave more room for public debate and criticism.

Artists were ordered to adopt the Socialist Realist style in 1934, depicting scenes such as happy collective farmworkers. Expressionist, abstract and avant-garde art was banned. From the 1970s, underground art exhibitions were the only outlets to break the Soviet-imposed rules.

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The First Gallery, from top: Yevgeny Mitta, Aidan Salakhova and Alexander Yakut opened the Soviet Union’s first independent art gallery in 1989 and received media attention; Mitta works on a painting that he displayed at his gallery; Mitta recalled recently that he “felt we had to make something new”; an undated photo of Mitta at his gallery in Soviet times. (Photos by Arthur Bondar for The Washington Post and courtesy of Yevgeny Mitta)

“I just felt we had to make something new,” recalled Mitta, 58, who kept his interest in contemporary expressionism a secret at a top Moscow art school in the 1980s.

“It was like nothing really happened in art history in the 20th century, like it stopped,” he said. “The Socialist Realism doctrine was invented and spread to the artists as the only one, possible way of developing paintings, films and literature.”

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, artists had to “learn how to survive, what to do, how to work and make a living,” he said.

McDonald’s: ‘We were not used to smiling’

In the Soviet Union’s final years, a mania raged for all things Western. Estée Lauder opened the first Western-brand shop on Gorky Street in 1989, after meeting Raisa Gorbachev, the wife of reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, in December 1988.

The Soviet Union’s first McDonald’s, located across Pushkin Square on Gorky Street, opened on Jan. 31, 1990 — a yellow-arched symbol of Gorbachev’s perestroika economic reforms. Pizza Hut opened later that year. (In 1998, Gorbachev starred in a commercial for the pizza chain.)

Karina Pogosova and Anna Patrunina were cashiers at the McDonald’s on opening day. The line stretched several blocks. Police officers stood watch to keep it organized.

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The Soviet Union’s first McDonald’s opened in 1990 and eager customers lined up to enter; Karina Pogosova, left, and Anna Patrunina were cashiers at the fast-food restaurant on Gorky Street then, and they are senior executives with the company today. (Photos by Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images and Arthur Bondar for The Washington Post)

“The atmosphere was wonderful. The first day I had to smile the entire day and my face muscles hurt,” Patrunina said. “This is not a joke. Russians do not smile in general, so we were not used to smiling at all, not to mention for more than eight hours straight.”

Pogosova and Patrunina were students at the Moscow Aviation Institute when they learned McDonald’s was hiring through an ad in a Moscow newspaper. Interview questions included: “How fast can you run 100 meters?” It was to gauge if someone was energetic enough for the job.

Pogosova and Patrunina are still with the company today, as senior vice president of development and franchising and vice president of operations, respectively.

“I thought that this is the world of opportunities and this new world is coming to our country, so I must be in this new world,” Patrunina said.

The smiling staff wasn’t the only culture shock for customers. Some had never tried the fountain sodas that were available. They were unaccustomed to food that wasn’t eaten with utensils. The colorful paper boxes that Big Macs came in were occasionally saved as souvenirs.

McDonald’s quickly became a landmark on the street.

“I remember very well that the street and the entire city was very dark and McDonald’s was like an island of light with bright signage,” Pogosova said. “The street started to change after McDonald’s opened its first restaurant there.”

Wild ’90s and a missing ballerina

The end of the Soviet Union uncorked Moscow’s wild 1990s. Some people made instant fortunes by acquiring state-owned enterprises at throwaway prices. Rules were being written on the fly. The city was pulsing with possibilities for those with money or those desperate to get some.

“It was easy to get drunk on this,” said Alex Shifrin, a former Saatchi & Saatchi advertising executive from Canada who lived in Moscow from the mid-1990s until the late 2000s.

It all was on full display at Night Flight, Moscow’s first nightclub, opened by Swedish managers in 1991, in the final months of the Soviet Union, at Tverskaya 17. The club introduced Moscow’s nouveau elite to “face control” — who merits getting past the rope line — and music-throbbing decadence.

The phrase “standing on Tverskaya” made its way into Russian vernacular as the street became a hot spot for prostitutes. Toward the end of the 2000s, Night Flight had lost its luster. The club scene in Moscow had moved on to bigger and bolder venues.

Decades before, No. 17 had been famous as the building with the dancer: a statue of a ballerina, holding a hammer and sickle, placed atop the cupola during Stalin’s building blitz.

The statue of a ballerina, holding a hammer and sickle, could be seen atop the building at No. 17 in this 1943 photo; today, the dancer is missing.

Muscovites nicknamed the building the House Under the Skirt.

“The idea was to have Gorky Street as a museum of Soviet art. The statues represented a dance of socialism,” art historian Pavel Gnilorybov said. “The ballerina was a symbol of the freedom of women and the idea that, before the revolution, women were slaves. It is as if she is singing an ode to the regime.”

The crumbling statues were removed by 1958. People forgot them. Now a group of Muscovites, including Gnilorybov, are campaigning for the return of the ballerina.

“It’s an idea that we want to give the city as a gift. It’s not political,” he said. “It’s beautiful.”

Pushkin Square: For lovers and protesters

Pushkin Square has been Moscow’s favorite meeting place for friends, lovers and political demonstrations.

In November 1927, Trotskyist opponents of Stalin marched to the 27th House of Soviets at one end of Tverskaya Street, opposite the Hotel National, in one of the last public protests against the Soviet ruler.

A celebration to say goodbye to winter at Pushkin Square in February 1987.

In December 1965, several dozen dissidents gathered in Pushkin Square to protest the trials of two writers. It became an annual event. People would gather just before 6 p.m. and, on the hour, remove their hats for a minute.

In 1987, dissidents collected signatures at Pushkin Square and other locations calling for a memorial to those imprisoned or killed by the Soviet state. The movement evolved into Memorial, a leading human rights group. Memorial was declared a “foreign agent” in 2016 under Putin’s sweeping political crackdowns.

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In January 2018, left, and January 2021, right, protesters gathered at Pushkin Square. (Photos by Arthur Bondar for The Washington Post)

Protests in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny were held at Pushkin Square earlier this year. And it is where communists and liberals rallied on a rainy September night to protest 2021 parliamentary election results that gave a landslide win to Putin’s United Russia party despite widespread claims of fraud.

Nearly 30 years after the fall of the U.S.S.R., Putin’s Russia carries some echoes of the stories lived out in Soviet times — censorship and repressions are returning. Navalny was poisoned by a nerve agent in 2020 and later jailed. Many opposition figures and independent journalists have fled the country. The hope, sleaze and exhilaration of the 1990s have faded. Tverskaya Street has settled into calm stagnation, waiting for the next chapter.

Arthur Bondar contributed to this report.

Correction: A map accompanying this article incorrectly spelled the first name of a former Soviet leader. He is Vladimir Lenin, not Vladmir Lenin. The map has been corrected.

About this story

Story editing by Robyn Dixon and Brian Murphy. Photos and videos by Arthur Bondar. Archival footage from the Russian State Documentary Film and Photo Archive at Krasnogorsk; footage of Joseph Stalin’s funeral from the Martin Manhoff Archive, courtesy of Douglas Smith. Photo editing by Chloe Coleman. Video editing by Jason Aldag. Design and development by Yutao Chen. Design editing by Suzette Moyer. Maps by Dylan Moriarty. Graphics editing by Lauren Tierney. Copy editing by Melissa Ngo.

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Things to do in Moscow: how to visit Moscow | Unmissable, cool & unusual

  • September 2, 2023

Things to do in Moscow best

What are the best things to do in Moscow? What to do in Moscow? First, I will list the main places to visit by theme, passing by the must-sees, but also more unusual places in Moscow. Then, I will describe what to see in Moscow in one day and how to visit Moscow in 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 days. Let’s go!

Good to know. For more information, click on the places to open the dedicated blog posts.

Main places to visit in Moscow & best things to do in Moscow

I worked in Moscow and I loved this city for its dynamism and energy. We find there from time to time to see friends, remember good memories and enjoy this giant city! Then the time has come for us to share with you our practical guide.

TOP 5 must-see places in Moscow

  • Moscow Red Square
  • St. Basil’s Cathedral
  • Cathedral of Christ the Savior
  • Bolshoi Theatre

Places of cultural, historical and religious interest in Moscow

  • Novodevichy Convent and cemetery
  • Tretyakov Gallery
  • Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
  • Kremlin Izmaïlovo (pseudo-historic place, recently built in the image of the old, one of the best things to do in Moscow for your Instagram account 😉 )
  • Park and ancient village of Kolomenskoye

Visit Moscow of the Soviet era

  • Moscow State University and Sparrows Hill
  • VDNKh and the Museum of Astronautics, one of the key landmarks of the Soviet era in Moscow
  • GULAG Museum
  • Metro stations
  • The Stalinist skyscrapers, scattered all over the city

Less touristy places in Moscow

  • Gorky Park and the GARAGE museum
  • The old Krasny Oktyabr factory
  • Zaryadye Park
  • Center for Contemporary Art, WINZAVOD
  • Business center, Moscow City

Main districts of Moscow to visit

  • Patriarch Ponds
  • Tchistye Prudy
  • Kuznetsky most
  • Arbat Street

However, regardless of the length of your stay, whether you are going to visit Moscow in 4 days or in 2, you need a visa. The article Obtaining a tourist visa for Russia could then be useful in any case.

What to do and see in Moscow in one day?

List of things to see and do in Moscow in one day:

  • Go to Red Square
  • Visit St. Basil’s Cathedral
  • See Kremlin walls (but not to visit)
  • Visit Cathedral of Christ the Savior
  • Discover Kuznetsky most districts and see Bolshoi Theatre building
  • And if you have time at the end of the day: go to the Sparrows Hill or to the Moscow City for a beautiful view

Things to do in Moscow in 2 days

If you want to visit Moscow in 2 days, there are 2 purposes: do not miss the essential places of Moscow and optimize travel.

  • First day: Red Square , Saint Basil’s Cathedral , Zariadye Park, Bolshoi Theatre , Kremlin
  • Day 2: Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the former Krasny Oktyabr factory on Balchug Island, Gorky Park, Moscow State University (one of the Seven Sisters buildings ) and Sparrow Hill

As 2 days os really short, be sure to choose an accommodation in the best districts where to stay in Moscow .

Walking on Red Square in Moscow: one of the unmissable things to do in Moscow

Iconic place and one of the must-see places in Moscow and even in Russia! Besides, if there was only one place to visit in Moscow in 2 days, this place would then be Red Square, without hesitation. Therefore, starting the city tour with Red Square is ideal . Several buildings are on the square, but not all of them have to be visited. Check out my blog post about Moscow’s Red Square in detail to learn more and not miss anything.

Red Square Moscow

Visiting Saint-Basil’s Cathedral inside

Even more emblematic than Moscow’s Red Square! Built in the middle of the 16th century under the orders of Tsar Ivan Le Terrible, this cathedral is one of the most beautiful monuments of Orthodox art, and definitely one of the unmissable places in Moscow. Visiting Saint-Basil’s Cathedral inside is one of the most beautiful things to do in Moscow!

  • Visit estimate time : 1h30
  • Entry ticket : 700 RUB. Tickets can be purchased on the cathedral’s official website 45 days before the tour.
  • Audio guide (recommended): 500 RUB
  • Opening hours : June to August 10 am-6pm; from November to April: 11 am-5pm; May, September, October 11 am-5pm. Cathedral closed on Wednesdays. Entrance is closed 45 minutes before closing.
  • Find out more in the dedicated article: Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Take a walk in Zariadye park: one of the coolest things to do in Moscow after visiting Red Square

Zaryadie Park is just a 10-minute walk from St. Basil’s Cathedral, so it’s easy to include in your itinerary if you’re going to visit Moscow in 2 days. From its heights, you can see the red walls of the Kremlin. But, the most impressive point of view is the platform which overlooks the Moskva river. A must see! And clearly one of the coolest things to do in Moscow!

  • Open 24 hours a day
  • Good to know! Park Zaryadye is also a place to visit in Moscow in winter. Find out more here: What to do in Moscow in winter?

What to do in Moscow

See the Bolshoi Theatre and discover the Kuznetsky Most district

The Bolshoi Theatre is the most famous Russian theater in the world. The most economical way to see a presentation at the Bolshoi Theater is to take the tickets on the theater’s official website in advance, so here is our tutorial to help you: How to buy entrance tickets to the Bolshoi? In addition, several pedestrian or one-way streets

The Bolshoi Theater is the most famous Russian theater in the world. The most economical way to see a presentation at the Bolshoi Theater is to take the tickets on the theater’s official website in advance, so here is our tutorial to help you: How to buy tickets to the Bolshoi? In addition, several pedestrian or one-way streets are located north of the theater. It is therefore very pleasant to find them to leave the main axes of the megalopolis.

IMG_3040 tickets Bolshoi Theatre dress code

Visit the Moscow Kremlin

Visit Kremlin is on top of things to do in Moscow. A place of power for centuries, the Kremlin then shows us a whole different image when viewed from the inside. If you want to visit Moscow in 2 days, the Kremlin is certainly one of the must-see places in Moscow.

  • Opening hours : Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thursday.
  • See our blog post about visiting the Moscow Kremlin

Moscow Kremlin: skip-the-line tickets and 8 things not to miss

Visit the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

This impressive Moscow Cathedral is the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is a must see if you visit Moscow in 2 days and clearly one of the things to do in Moscow. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior was first built in 1883 in memory of Russia’s victory over Napoleon’s Grand Army. Then in 1931 Stalin ordered its destruction. It was then rebuilt again (identically) only in 2000.

  • Where? Ulitsa Volkhonka 15. At the foot of the Kropotkinskaya metro station.
  • Opening hours . Daily: 10: 00-17: 00, except Monday: 13: 00-17: 00
  • Free entry (some closing restrictions, for example a short)

Good to know! In orthodox religious places, one must avoid excessively uncovered clothing. Women should cover their heads. After visiting the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, you can explore Bolotny Island and Gorky Park. This is one of the routes our guide to Moscow.

Cathedral of Christ the Savior

The old Krasny Oktyabr factory: one of the coolest things to do in Moscow

If you cross the Moskva River by a pedestrian bridge which is located just in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, you will enjoy a beautiful view of the city and at the same time you can discover Balchug Island. Furthermore, if you want to visit Moscow in 2 days, you can include this island in your itinerary between the cathedral and Gorky park. Here is the old confectionery factory Krasny Oktyabr, which has gradually turned into a fashionable micro-district. There are then some elements of street art, cafes and restaurants and some Moscow bohemian side. At the end of the island you can see a gigantic 98-meter-high monument dedicated to the Russian reforming tsar Pierre The Great.

Good to know! You can find on this island are the trendiest nightclubs in Moscow. On weekends, there are taxi caps after midnight so there are so many people. On the other hand, if you go there in winter and during the day, the island is quite empty and less interesting to see.

Gorky Park is one of the TOP places to visit in Moscow, because it allows you to better understand the life of the locals and their rhythm. In fact, it’s a huge entertainment park. For example, in winter there is a giant ice rink and in summer – free dance or yoga lessons, sandy beaches for playing volleyball, an outdoor cinema. So, like the locals, have a Stakantchik (ice cream or cooked corn), and enjoy the atmosphere of the place: that’s one of the interesting things to do in Moscow to discover the city.

  • Where? Krymsky Val 9. 20 minutes’ walk from Krasny Oktyabr, along the quays.

Sparrow Hill and Moscow State University

The Sparrow Hill, Vorobiovy Gori in Russian, is the highest point in Moscow. It is rather known to Russians, but less to travelers. A nice view on Moscow opens from the hill, and in particular on the Luzhniki Stadium. In addition, on the hill itself is the Moscow State University: an impressive skyscraper from the Soviet era.

  • How to get there? By bus T7 (35 min) from Oktyaborskaya station, near Gorki Park. By metro (Vorobiovy Gorki station) + climb the hill on foot. On foot along the Moskva along the Gorky Park (1h30) + climb in funiculars.

Good to know! It is possible to cross the Moskva river by funicular. We actually tested it and it was pretty cool! That is one of our favorite things to do in Moscow!

What to do in Moscow

What to do in Moscow in 3 days?

If you are going to visit Moscow in 3 days, it would be interesting to dive into the Soviet era which strongly marked the country and the city. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the capital was transferred from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, in order to mark the change of power. Moscow then became the world showcase for communist ideology. Here are the best things to do in Moscow for 3-day-trip!

VDNKh, visit Moscow of the Soviet era

VDNKh is a large exhibition center in the north of Moscow, where there are still several striking witnesses of the USSR. The most interesting are the Museum of Cosmonauts and the Statue of the Worker and the Kolkhozian , which will certainly impress you with its size!

Visit

GULAG History Museum

The explanations of the museum are very well done. We really have the feeling of going back in time. If you are going to visit Moscow in 3 days and you are interested in history and this subject in particular, I recommend this museum. Visit the GULAG History Museum is one of the most interesting things to do in Moscow.

yacht rock era

Discover the Patriarche Pounds district

It’s a nice neighborhood in Moscow where you can come across rather affluent locals, but not necessarily very bling-bling. Take a walk in this area is really a cool thing to do in Moscow! In addition, the Ponds of Patriarch is one of the places of Bulgakov’s novel “Master and Margarita”. As this is an interesting area to see, we have included it in a walking tour of Moscow. The route ends at the Moscow Kremlin, which is very convenient, because you will be able to visit Moscow in 3 days by optimizing your trips.

yacht rock era

What to visit in Moscow in 4 days: TOP things to do in Moscow in 4 days

If you want to visit Moscow in 3 days, you will already see a lot of things. On the other hand, if you stay one more day, you have plenty to do! The Novodevichy Convent, the Tchistie Proudy district and the Izmaylovo Kremlin are very good candidates for you, if you are going to visit Moscow in 4 days.

Visiting Novodevichy Convent in Moscow

The Novodevichy Convent is one of the most brilliant examples of Russian architecture, according to UNESCO. This beautiful complex was built in 1524 and today consists of the convent, but also of a cemetery whose status could be compared to that of Père-Lachaise in Paris. Visiting Novodevichy Convent is one of the great things to do in Moscow, if you want to go a little bit outside of the center!

What to see in Moscow in one day

Discovering Tchistye Proudy district

It’s one of the most popular areas of Moscow, with many cafes, restaurants and bars nearby. It is therefore a place to discover if you want to visit Moscow in 4 days. It is just as pleasant for a stroll as for the discovery of local life. For example, in winter the pond turns into an ice rink.

Visiting the Izmaylovo Kremlin, one of the coolest things to do in Moscow!

The Izmaylovo Kremlin is more of a tourist than a historic place. On the other hand, it is a pretty impressive place to discover, especially on weekends. Inside the Kremlin, there is a flea market where you can find a little bit of everything, but mostly good souvenirs to bring from Moscow. For example, chapka, traditional Russian scarves or matryoshka (Russian dolls). Add the Kremlin and the Izmaïlovo market to your itinerary if you are going to visit Moscow in 4 days, because it is a nice and very colorful place! Visiting the Izmailovo Kremlin is one of the things to do in Moscow, if you want to put colors in your Instagram account! 😉

Things to do Moscow blog

In 4 days, we will have the opportunity to see several Moscow: Classic Moscow, Moscow of old Russia, Soviet Moscow and a little bit of the new Moscow. So what to visit in Moscow on the 5th day of travel?

What to visit in Moscow in 5 days?

Art lovers will be delighted to discover the Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, while others will prefer to stroll along Arbat Street, see the buildings of Moskva-City or visit Bunker 42.

Admiring Russian art at Tretyakov Gallery

Founded in 1856 by an industrialist and great lover of art, the gallery has grown over the decades, and then bequeathed to the state. Today the collection includes more than 140,000 pieces, 15,000 of which are paintings. Visiting the Tretyakov Gallery is one of the things to do in Moscow if you want to discover Russian art!

  • Where? Pereoulok Lavrouchinski 10. A 5-minute walk from Tretiakovskaya station
  • Opening hours. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Closed on Mondays.
  • Entry tickets. 500 RUB.

Museum to see

Visiting the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts presents the treasures of ancient Egypt, the paintings of Rembrandt and Cézanne, a fine collection of Impressionism.

  • Where? Ulitsa Volkhonka 12
  • Opening hours. Daily: 10: 00-20: 00, except Thursday: 11: 00-21: 00. Closed on Mondays. The boxes close an hour before closing.
  • Entry tickets. The prices vary according to the collections from 300 to 750 RUB.

Walking on Arbat Street

All Russians know Rue Arbat. So, walking on Arbat street is one of the things to do in Moscow. However, after the years, little by little it became very touristy. This is a pedestrian street only. There are souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes there, but it is no longer the most authentic neighborhood in the city.

yacht rock era

Seeing the buildings of Moskva-City (Moscow City)

Moskva-City is Moscow’s business center, much like Paris’s Defense district. The skyscrapers of Moskva-City are among the tallest in Europe: 373 meters high! Very nice place to see at dusk.

Good to know! You can admire a nice view of Moscow City from the docks of Tarasa Shevchenko. It’s especially beautiful in the evening with all the lights on.

Bunker 42, one of the most unusual things to do in Moscow

Bunker 42 is a secret military complex which was to be used by the Soviets in the event of a nuclear attack: a space of 7000 m² 65 meters underground!

  • Where? 5 Kotelnitcheski Lane, 11.
  • Prices. 2200 RUB per person
  • Opening hours. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Restaurant inside. Original, but rather a tourist trap.

yacht rock era

What to visit in Moscow in 6 days or more?

There are still so many places to see, because Moscow is a big megalopolis and there is always something exciting to do there. For example: the ancient Kolomenskoye village or the WINZAVOD contemporary art center .

If you are interested in history and want to see Russian cities on a rather “human scale”, it would certainly be interesting for you to discover the cities of the Golden Ring . For example, it is very easy to get to Sergey Posad from Moscow (less than 2 hours in train). Visiting the Golden Ring is one of the best things to do in Moscow if you are staying more than a 5-6 days.

There are still plenty of places to see in Moscow, however I did my best to list here the best things to do in Moscow, what to see in Moscow in one day, but also in 2, 3, 4 or 5 days in Moscow!

Moscow travel tips:

  • Airport transfer: how to go to Moscow?
  • Where to stay in Moscow (hotels, districts)?
  • Tourist voucher for Russian visa
  • Christmas and New Year in Moscow
  • What is the best time to visit Moscow?

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IMAGES

  1. Sail Away: The Oral History of ‘Yacht Rock’

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  2. 10 Fabulous "Yacht Rock" Era Luxury Coupes

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  3. Yacht Rock: A tribute to the greatest soft rock songs and bands of the

    yacht rock era

  4. What is “Yacht Rock”?

    yacht rock era

  5. HOME

    yacht rock era

  6. Top 100 Yacht Rock Songs

    yacht rock era

COMMENTS

  1. Yacht rock

    Yacht rock (originally known as the West Coast sound or adult-oriented rock) is a broad music style and aesthetic commonly associated with soft rock, one of the most commercially successful genres from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Drawing on sources such as smooth soul, smooth jazz, R&B, and disco, common stylistic traits include high-quality production, clean vocals, and a focus on light ...

  2. The 20 greatest yacht rock songs ever, ranked

    Seals & Crofts - 'Summer Breeze'. Summer Breeze - Seals & Croft #1 Hit (1972) Before The Isley Brothers recorded a slick cover, 'Summer Breeze' was an irresistible folk pop song by Seals & Crofts. While mostly a folk song, its summer vibes and gorgeous melody make for a perfect yacht rock number.

  3. Yacht Rock: A History of the Soft Rock Resurgence

    Yacht Rock's Early Years. The yacht rock era began roughly around 1976, when yacht rock pillar Kenny Loggins split up with songwriting partner Jim Messina to strike out on his own. That same year ...

  4. Top 50 Yacht Rock Songs

    Like "Summer Breeze" (found later in our list of Top 50 Yacht Rock Songs), Looking Glass' tale of an alluring barmaid in a busy harbor town pre-dates the classic yacht-rock era.

  5. Yacht Rock Guide: A Brief History of Yacht Rock

    Last updated: Sep 9, 2021 • 2 min read. The name "yacht rock" didn't enter the popular imagination until decades after its heyday in the early 1980s. It was a public access comedy show that gave this genre its name, which evokes the breezy marinas of southern California. The name "yacht rock" didn't enter the popular imagination ...

  6. Yacht Rock: A Beginner's Guide In 5 albums

    Classic Rock. A beginner's guide to yacht rock in five essential albums. By Jerry Ewing. ( Classic Rock ) published 1 July 2023. Yacht rock, soft rock - call it what you will. Here are five brilliant albums that define the genre in all its bearded, Hawaiian shirted glory. (Image credit: Columbia/Warner Bros/ABC)

  7. What Is 'Yacht Rock'?

    Complete behind-the-scenes story of the most popular history-of-smooth-music series ever made. Dave "Koko" Lyons, center, and Hunter "Messina" Stair regale some young women with tales of smooth ...

  8. Yacht Or Not?: Sailing The Seas of Yacht Rock

    Yacht Rock Sets Sail With Help From a 2005 Web Series. ... Likewise, country acts of the era tried to go Top 40 while attempting to retain some twang and managed to make Love Boat music ...

  9. Yacht Rock: How the Smooth Sounds of the '70s and '80s ...

    When the weather's warm, the weekends long, and the cocktails crafted using blue curaçao, there's no better music than yacht rock —the soft, smooth sounds released between roughly 1976 and 1984 that typically feature vocals and keyboards with guitars barely audible in the background. Yet, this genre of music didn't even have a name until a few years ago.

  10. I can go for that: five essential yacht rock classics

    Steely Dan: Hey Nineteen (1980) The frisson of yacht rock derives from its blend of bourgie feelgood bounce crossed with a shiver of thwarted desire. Steely Dan self-deprecatingly called their ...

  11. This Is the Definitive Definition of Yacht Rock

    Premiering in 2005 on the Los Angeles-based television incubator Channel 101, Yacht Rock struck a chord with a generation of music nerds who attempt to compartmentalize and categorize the songs ...

  12. The Bizarre History Of Yacht Rock Music

    Long considered to be trite and boring, emblematic of the insincere late 1970s and early 1980s era, a new appreciation for the very things that make these songs yacht rock is developing. One key reason is that clear production noted by MasterClass — yacht rock songs sound timeless and still slap today because they weren't thrown together.

  13. The Evolution of Yacht Rock: From the 70s to Today

    Yacht Rock - a musical style from the '70s - featured smooth melodies and lyrics, combining soft rock, jazz, funk, and R&B elements. Its popularity was boosted by MTV-era TV shows. Romantic and boastful lyrics catered to a nautical lifestyle. Lyrics often romanticized luxury and wealth, or intimate themes like love.

  14. Playlist of the Week: Top 100 Songs of Yacht Rock

    Artists most commonly thought of in the Yacht Rock era include Michael McDonald, Ambrosia, 10cc, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, and Christopher Cross. Yacht Rock has become the muse of a great number of tribute bands, and is the current subject of a short-run channel on Sirius XM.

  15. What is Yacht Rock?

    Who created Yacht Rock? In 2005 J.D. Ryznar and his friends coined the term "Yacht Rock" and made a short-film/online series about the musical genre. From what I can tell it's a mix of true appreciation and playful jabbing at the music of that era, which if you listen to the tunes, is a fair depiction. Which Bands are Considered Yacht Rock?

  16. The Enduring, Undeniable Influence of Yacht Rock

    smoothest label of the era: David Geffen's original incarnation of. Asylum. After a rough ride from his original A&R, Doheny's 1976 album. Hard Candy on Columbia would turn out to be a yacht-rock treasure, with. tracks like "Get It Up For Love" and "A Love Of Your Own" serving as. prototypes for more successful acts to capitalize on ...

  17. Finally, a name for that music: "Yacht Rock"

    The presence of McDonald's voice pretty much legitimizes any song's Yacht Rock status." ... A lot of the music of the era featured albums with guys on boats on the cover and songs about sailing.

  18. Yacht Rock Music

    Founded in 2014, the Yacht Rock Music channel is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the smoothest rock that ever existed. Yacht Rock Music features tracks and videos from Michael ...

  19. A Tribute To the yacht rock era Yacht Rock Tribute Band A Tribute To

    Don't miss the opportunity to elevate your event with Sugar's Yacht Rock extravaganza. Let us transport you and your guests to a bygone era filled with infectious rhythms and timeless melodies. Contact us today to discuss how we can make your wedding, birthday party, retirement celebration, or any occasion truly remarkable.

  20. yacht rock era

    10 likes, 0 comments - joanneskywalker on March 8, 2024: "yacht rock era"

  21. Welcome to Tverskaya Street

    Behind a grand Stalin-era apartment block at 6 Gorky St. sits an ornate 1907 building famous for its facade, art nouveau glazed blue tiles, elegant arches and baroque spires. Once a monastery ...

  22. Radisson Flotilla

    Moscow is an oasis of green spaces. The city has more than 140 natural areas. According to World Atlas, 54 percent of Moscow's area are covered by public parks and gardens, so Moscow was ranked number one among the greenest cities in the world. The Flotilla consists of seven river yachts sailing along the Moskva River with designer ...

  23. Things to do in Moscow: how to visit Moscow

    Things to do in Moscow in 2 days. If you want to visit Moscow in 2 days, there are 2 purposes: do not miss the essential places of Moscow and optimize travel. First day: Red Square, Saint Basil's Cathedral, Zariadye Park, Bolshoi Theatre, Kremlin. Day 2: Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the former Krasny Oktyabr factory on Balchug Island ...

  24. Radisson cruises along the Moscow river

    Radisson cruise from Gorky park. 2,5 hours. Yacht of the Radisson Royal flotilla. Best water route in Moscow. Panoramic views of the capital from the water in winter and in summer. Restaurant with signature cuisine. Next tour: 1600 ₽. Learn more.