Now, what artists are the most important to this genre? Which musicians are the backbone of Yacht Rock? Probably the artist most associated with Yacht Rock seems to be either Daryl Hall & John Oates or Steely Dan. Not that there’s anything wrong with either artist. As a matter of fact, it is well-documented my love of Hall & Oates’ music. And, I own nearly every Steely Dan album on vinyl, so they are well-represented in my collection as well. And, everyone knows that Michael McDonald has become something of a poster boy for the genre, be it solo or with either Steely Dan or the Doobie Brothers.
Still, there is one band whose greatest hits compilation needs to be in your Toyota Prius or on your boat, and that’s the Little River Band, or LRB as Will Ferrell’s character referred to them in The Other Guys. In that movie, Ferrell would pop in LRB’s Greatest Hits CD every time he and Mark Wahlberg would be involved in a car chase scene. Of course that was comedic irony. Seriously, who puts in a mellow band when you need adrenaline pumping. But, when it comes to Yacht Rock hits, these Aussies had them in spades.
From 1977 through 1982, the second most popular band from Down Under (after AC/DC definitely; maybe third, if you count the Bee Gees, but they kept moving been Oz and the UK that they seemed to come from the world) rang up six Top 10 hits and four additional songs that peaked in our Top 20. And, although they never had a chart topper, the band does have a song that drips of Yacht Rock, and that song is “Cool Change,” which is about, of all things, boating on the ocean. So, you really cannot get any more Yacht Rock than that song.
Fortunately, Yacht Rock allows us to celebrate some other underappreciated artists, like Seals & Crofts and England Dan & John Ford Coley. These two duos share family members, as Jim Seals of Seals & Crofts is the older brother of England Dan Seals. So, does that relationship make the Seals the first family of Yacht Rock. I am not so sure, but that sounds like another blog topic.
Finally, the genre, like any other great genre is strewn with one-hit wonders from artists who made their names in other genres, like Maria Muldaur, Pointer Sisters, Bellamy Brothers, Linda Ronstadt and the Alan Parsons Project. Then there are the artists who only seem like one hit wonders who really did score multiple Top 20 hits, such as Firefall, Ambrosia, Orleans, Pablo Cruise (another perfectly named Yacht Rock band) and Dr. Hook. Finally, there are the true one hit wonders, including Benny Mardones (whose song hit the Top 40 TWICE during the Eighties!), Toby Beau, Ace, Starbuck and Walter Egan. Needless to say, Yacht Rock does have a rich, yet cheesy (pun intended) history. But, there is a certain innocence that was conveyed throughout the genre, which seemed to lack irony, parody and self-awareness that would let you into the joke if there were one. And, there does not seem to be one. And, no other genre in the intervening years has maintained any sort of this innocence. Therefore, Yacht Rock is truly a time capsule.
So, today, we break into my Top 40 Yacht Rock songs, so hold on everyone! And, do not forget to refill your margaritas. Let the countdown begin!
40. George Benson – “On Broadway (live)” (1980)
39. John Paul Young – “Love Is the Answer” (1978). This song was written by Todd Rundgren.
38. Pablo Cruise – “Whatcha Gonna Do?” (1977)
37. Peter Frampton – “I’m in You” (1977)
36. Quarterflash – “Harden My Heart” (1981)
35. Ambrosia – “How Much I Feel” (1980)
34. Walter Egan – “Magnet and Steel” (1978)
33. Genesis – “That’s All” (1983)
32. Alan Parsons Project – “Eye in the Sky” (1982)
31. King Harvest – “Dancing in the Moonlight” (1972)
30. Jackson Browne – “Doctor My Eyes” (1972)
29. Ace – “How Long” (1975)
28. Wet Willie – “Street Corner Serenade” (1978)
27. Elvin Bishop – “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” (1975)
26. Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman – “Stumblin’ In” (1978)
25. Styx – “Come Sail Away” (1977)
24. Fleetwood Mac – “Dreams” (1977)
23. Elton John – “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” (1983)
22. Lionel Richie – “Stuck on You” (1983)
21. John Stewart – “Gold” (1979)
Well, we are FINALLY there! It’s Thirsty Thursday, and we just completed numbers 21 through 40 of our countdown. Tomorrow is Friday, the gateway to the weekend, and we will wrap up this countdown. Have fun tonight, but let’s watch out for a hangover, since we all want to be in peak condition for the first weekend of the 2018-2019 school year. Party on Garth!