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Thread: The History Of Yacht Rock

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    The History Of Yacht Rock

    This week I devoted an episode of my show to some music I remember fondly from my youth. Basically, slick rock from the 1970s meets a few tunes with nautical themes. What became known as Yacht Rock in the mid 2000s thanks to a tongue in cheek parody tv series (now on YouTube - 12 episodes) of the same name. That is the most unique way any musical genre has been named. Years after the fact thanks to an internet sensation. That's a one of a kind situation.

    My co-host is Greg Lee, bassist for the premiere yacht rock tribute, The Yacht Rock Revue. We take a look at around 100 albums that make up the core of the yacht playlist. Big names and ones that are far from it.



    For Episode #48 we set a course for adventure as we look at the history of Yacht Rock. A musical genre that is unique. Unlike any other, the yacht rock genre was coined/named decades after it's heyday, thanks to a show in the mid 2000s that was a tongue in cheek parody of it called....wait for it..... Yacht Rock! Out of that 12 part series a new reverence for the artists included in it grew and new generations became hip to the music. We take a look back at the well known artists like Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald, Hall and Oates, Ambrosia, Boz Scaggs first. Then, we dig into a list of groups and artists that had a handful of seminal yacht tunes. One hit wonders and two and three hit ones in some cases. Many songs share a similar "uptown" approach to harmony, but occasionally a simple nautical lyric or a groovy captain's get up gets in the yacht ballpark too. Our co-host is Greg Lee, bassist/vocalist for the Atlanta based Yacht Rock Revue. Their flawless attention to detail has garnered them worldwide acclaim as THE ultimate tribute to Yacht Rock in a live setting. They also have an album of original music that transcends the Yacht tag too and offers a fun, fresh compliment to their classic live catalog.
    Last edited by Sean; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:29 AM.

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Out of that 12 part series a new reverence for the artists included in it grew and new generations became hip to the music. We take a look back at the well known artists like Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald, Hall and Oates, Ambrosia, Boz Scaggs first. Then, we dig into a list of groups and artists that had a handful of seminal yacht tunes.
    Funny, I never considered H&O as Yacht rock.... but then again, I just found out that they were at it for 10 years (thanks to you) before I became aware of them on MTV/MM, so go figure. BTW, I checked out Lunchonette and it's spot on (despite the dupo being from the east cost).

    I tend to view Yacht Rock as a form of LA Scene west-coast country rock ala Eagles, Captain & Tenille, Seals & Croft, Loggins & Messina, SHF Band... and of course the MMcD (fuck, I loathe that dude ) era of Doobies and Steely Dan

    yacht.jpg

    anyways thanks for the cruise , though I stopped halfway thru. Will probably watch/listen to the second part soon.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  3. #3
    Would Al Stewart's Year of the Cat be considered yacht rock?

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    Quote Originally Posted by the winter tree View Post
    Would Al Stewart's Year of the Cat be considered yacht rock?
    I would think not, as it is too "edgy" and electrified in my view. However, I named it as one of my top 100 songs of all time, so definitely a fan of it and it's composer.

    I can't imagine "Sailing" by Christopher Cross or "Cool Change" by Little River Band not making the list, but I haven't watched the episode yet so maybe they have made the Yacht Rock register.

    The first time I heard the term 'YR' was on a radio station in the BVI's and they had just played "Another Park" by the DB's. The station was entirely Yacht Rock, 24 hours a day' as they catered to the sailing crowd in that gorgeous part of the World. Perfect demographic for them.

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    Great show. Funny as hell with all the singing. Loads of fun.

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    And how about Moonlight feels right by Starbuck?
    Absolutely. We talked about it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    Absolutely. We talked about it
    I have a weird relation with that song. I don't like it, but I love the percussion-parts.

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    I haven't checked most of it out yet, but did you talk about America?

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    Ya know Sean, I think Chicago started going a bit Yacht with their 6th album (Just You And Me). I stayed for albums 7 and 8 then gave up. They didn't become full, blown Yacht until the 80s I'd guess.

  11. #11
    I only like avant-yacht (Yacht in Opposition). Not that retro garbage. Unless it's from Norway. Norwegian yachts are sleekly built. If you don't look at the manufacturing date, you would swear they're from the 70's.

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    In the UK last year there was a two-part documentary about this 'genre' on a BBC channel. Worth seeking out if you can.

    I like pretty much all of the acts deemed part of it. There's always been a place for this sort of music as far as I'm concerned. But I don't think Steely Dan quite fit. Although there's some musical crossover, Steely Dan differed lyrically to most 'yacht rock' acts.

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    I honestly think so too. A bit more...substance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mnprogger View Post
    I haven't checked most of it out yet, but did you talk about America?
    Sure!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    Ya know Sean, I think Chicago started going a bit Yacht with their 6th album (Just You And Me).
    I can see that, sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    I honestly think so too. A bit more...substance?
    Yes, a lot of these other bands, the lyrics weren't that taxing. Mostly standard-issue romance stuff. And Steely Dan were more complex musically too, I'd say.

    Sometimes you get a vaguely progressive track from these bands. England Dan and John Ford Coley have one, it's called 'Soldier In The Rain'. And there's the album version of 'It's A Long Way There' by Little River Band...do they have anything else like that? I know the hits really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick L. View Post
    I only like avant-yacht (Yacht in Opposition). Not that retro garbage. Unless it's from Norway. Norwegian yachts are sleekly built. If you don't look at the manufacturing date, you would swear they're from the 70's.


    Yes, you nailed it; YIO is the beast of all music genres. The only example I can think of though is "Surfin' Bird", by The Trashmen. Another would be Part Three of "Zero Tolerance For Silence". Just think of music that reminds you of nails running over a chalkboard and you'll have the idea.

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    In the UK we also had this, some years ago:

    https://www.discogs.com/Various-Yach...elease/7826645

    A few oddities but basically a solid track list. It encompasses the slicker end of R&B/soul. Sometimes there was crossover- see the writing credits for 'After The Love Has Gone' for instance, and Toto members on Michael Jackson/Lionel Richie records.

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    Now, is Dust in The Wind Yacht? I say yes.

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Well, the album cover does have a boat on it. LOL

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    You guys didn't mention Gary Wright, "My Love Is Alive." Pure Yacht.

  23. #23
    Would maybe "Pirates" qualify as 'Yacht in Opposition'?

    As far as maritime law is concerned…
    τί ἐστιν ὃ μίαν ἔχον φωνὴν τετράπουν καὶ δίπουν καὶ τρίπουν γίνεται;

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    You would think Rio would cut it. But by then the yacht had already pretty much sailed. 80s production methods and sounds sort of flew in the face of the warmer approach those 70s yacht albums had too.

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