Saturday, July 9, 2011

Yacht Rock

What is Yacht Rock?

This may be one of the key questions of our existence, along with "What happens when we die?" and "Why do fools fall in love?"

One way to answer the question is to say that Yacht Rock isn't so much a style of music as it is a state of mind. Yacht Rock is an ice cold beer on the beach. Yacht Rock is a cruise down Highway 1 as the sun sets. Yacht Rock is a swim in a Pasadena pool on the Fourth of July.

To be more specific, Yacht Rock is, according to Wikipedia, "an online video series following the fictionalized lives and careers of American soft rock stars of the late 1970s and early 1980s."

It is, quite simply, the greatest online video series of all time.

The Wikipedia article elaborates:
In the musical sense, yacht rock refers to the highly polished brand of soft rock that emanated from Southern California during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In part, the term relates to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, enjoying smooth music while out for a sail. Additionally, since sailing was a popular leisure activity in Southern California, many "yacht rockers" made nautical references in their lyrics, videos, and album artwork, particularly the anthemic track "Sailing" by Christopher Cross.
With my respects to Jeff Foxworthy:

If you know that Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald wrote many songs together which they did not necessarily record together, then Yacht Rock may be for you.

If you know that Toto helped Michael Jackson make Thriller, then Yacht Rock may be for you.

If you know that Jeff "Skunk" Baxter was in both Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, then Yacht Rock may be for you.

If you know that Warren G and Nate Dogg sampled Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" as the basis for "Regulate," then Yacht Rock may be for you.

If you know that Giorgio Moroder produced "Danger Zone," then Yacht Rock may be for you.

Even if you don't know any of these details, Yacht Rock may still be for you. But as a shameless aficionado of late '70s/early '80s soft rock, I am, quite simply, the target audience of Yacht Rock.

Yacht Rock captures the thrill of being a knowledgeable pop music fan. My dream is to one day write a book called "1969," in which I write about all my favorite acts from my favorite year in music (1969), and one segment would link to the next, since so many of the musicians of the late '60s were actually friends with each other. I love the idea of an era of pop music almost being like a little gang, where so-and-so played with so-and-so, who was friends with so-and-so, who was also produced by so-and-so. Yacht Rock is like Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald banding together to save the world.

And what's an internet TV series without an AMG guy? That's right, the "host" of the series is a man going by the name of "Hollywood Steve," otherwise known as AllMusic's own Steve Huey. I would say that Huey is one of the better AMG reviewers, almost on the level of Erlewine or Unterberger. Here, for example, are his reviews of Black Sabbath's Paranoid, The Sex Pistol's Never Mind The Bollocks, Violent Femmes' Violent Femmes, Pearl Jam's Ten, and Dr. Dre's The Chronic. Whenever I read a Steve Huey review, I feel that I am in good hands. On camera, however, he clearly has a snarky, juvenile, and disturbing sense of humor, looking for all the world like Weird Al's long-lost brother.

The production values of Yacht Rock are about on the level of the production values in my own film making group - arguably even lower. Quite how the show got the rights to all these extremely commercial hits is unclear. Perhaps they didn't.

My plan is to share some of my favorite episodes of Yacht Rock with you, dear readers. However, concerned that you may not grasp many of the references, I have decided to offer a brief Yacht Rock refresher course. Soon you will know more about Christopher Cross and Hall & Oates than you ever wanted to know.

In a sense, the origins of Yacht Rock go back to the origins of pop music itself. But for the sake of expediency, I will begin our history in the late '60s.


Herr Zrbo said...

Huh, I did not know that Giorgio Moroder produced Danger Zone.

Wow, one listen to "I keep forgettin'" and I instantly get what yacht rock is.

Little Earl said...

Ah, but do you Zrbo, do you really? For you see, we all know what Yacht Rock is, and yet, mere words cannot define it.

And let me say that if you even know who Giorgio Moroder is, you are going to have a good time here.

Hire Yacht Dubai said...

"Yacht Rock" is really rocking. I love the videos of Yacht Rock. Thank yo so much for the nice videos.