The Mike & Carla Morning Show

The Mike & Carla Morning Show

The Mike & Carla Morning Show

How do you really define Yacht Rock

Yacht Rock. Some of the best music ever, but what is it, exactly?

How Do You Define Yacht Rock?

Pablo Cruise is coming to The Silverton in Las Vegas, January 27th. I loved them! But it got me thinking about Rock music. It used to be rock, then soft rock, then light rock, then 70’s and 80’s rock. Now, no one seems to be able to really define what Yacht Rock is. I think it’s just a feeling, and a mood.

There are definitely a lot of smooth melodies, and rhythms. There are key changes, soft drum fills, and sometimes a sexy sax solo (think Gerry Rafferty’s, Baker Street). And the lyrics are generally breezy, romantic, and of the high seas. On a boat, perhaps? Thus – YACHT Rock.

Some Of The Yachtiest Rockers

Christopher Cross made it to the border of Mexico, with “Ride Like The Wind.” Seals and Crofts were feeling fine, because of the “Summer Breeze” blowing like the jasmine in their mind. The Doobies Brothers with Michael McDonald tried hard to recreate what had yet to be created in “What A Fool Believes.” And nothing like the sky to dose a potion, because like Starbuck said, “Moonlight Feels Right.”

There are a lot of bands and artists out there, that are now considered “yachty.” Even bands you wouldn’t think of as yacht rock- or bands themselves that wouldn’t think they were yacht rock – are in the category. Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Jackson Brown, The Eagles, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. they all have songs that are in the yachty category.

There’s a very interesting documentary on Paramount Plus called, “Sometimes When We Touch.” It’s a cool trip down memory lane, but it’s also very insightful with regards to the music that is now called, Yacht Rock.

Put On Your Captain’s Hat And Sail Away

The Genre of Yacht Rock music has become very popular. From huge hits, to deeper cuts, to one hit wonders. It’s fun, it’s romantic, and it’s kitschy. Hopefully, it sticks around.

Here are a few of my favorite yachty songs from way back when.

  • Smoke From A Distant Fire: Sandford Townsend Band

    Might not be most representative of the genre, but it is definitive of the era. I love the song. Kind of a jazz feeling rhythm to it –  and that sax! Sanford Townsend never had another big hit after this one. Too bad, because they had a great sound.

  • Strange Way: Firefall

    Flute! Flute was very yachty. And you heard it a lot in these songs. Sounded very “sea-like” I guess. My take: The song is about a woman who cheated on her husband, or boyfriend, and confessed. And he basically says, well that’s a strange way to tell me you love me! The last part of the song goes into this tropical, almost Cuban-like riff, that is really cool.

  • Hello, It's Me: Todd Rundgren

    This song was recently re-introduced in the Sex and the City sequel, “And Just Like That…”  The song is about two people who break up, but – I believe – still love each other. “I’ll be around to see you once in a while. Or if you ever need a reason to smile.” It was a a little different from the goofier stuff Rundgren did later.

  • Lido Shuffle: Boz Scaggs

    This song was very much that smooth, jazzy sound of a shuffle. And from the cover, to the songs on it, the Silk Degrees album was the best!

  • Love Will Find A Way: Pablo Cruise

    Probably the epitome of Yacht Rock music. Pablo Cruise’s Love Will Find A Way, along with so many of their songs, were smooth as a sailboat on glass water. And they just had that mood, and feel, of the wind in your hair. But no – there was no actual “Pablo Cruise.”

  • You Belong To Me: Carly Simon

    The song was written by Carly Simon and Michael McDonald. They both recorded it, but I really love Carly’s version. the song is enchanting, and a bit mysterious. About desire, and long lasting- maybe everlasting – love.

  • You're The Only Woman: Ambrosia

    Ambrosia is another definitive Yacht Rock band. And “You’re The Only Woman” is the definitive love song. He loved her! But she broke his heart and made him cry! Ambrosia had several great hits, and I’m proud to say that I saw them with Firefall, way back when.


  • Hey Nineteen: Steely Dan

    Steely Dan always had more of a jazz feel, but somehow they wound up in the Yacht Rock world. “Hey Nineteen” is an interesting song about a guy who was really cool back in the day, but now he’s older, and can’t quite connect with the young hot girl. They have nothing in common. She doesn’t even know who Aretha Franklin is!

  • I Keep Forgetting: Michael McDonald

    No Yacht Rock list is complete without some Michael McDonald. And this song is one of the best. It’s about someone having a tough time accepting their relationship has ended. And sometimes you forget, because it’s still fresh, and it still hurts. And it’s a huge song in the yachty genre.

  • Sailing: Christopher Cross

    Some say Christopher Cross is the Godfather of Yacht Rock. This song is definitely about as yachty as it gets – sailing is right in the song! It’s smooth, it sets a beautiful mood. And it takes you away, to where you want to be…

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