Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Meekness Of Christopher Cross

It's been said that the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" was written about Christopher Cross. While probably not true, it might as well have been. Christopher Cross lacked, shall we say, visual charisma. At least the similarly pudgy Elton John dressed up as Donald Duck and Mozart. Christopher Cross just dressed up as ... Christopher Cross.

But who needs looks when you've got such a ... weird, wimpy voice? Cross's self-titled debut album, loaded with soft rock gems, famously won the Album of the Year Grammy over The Wall. Other albums released that year: London Calling, Tusk, Fear Of Music, Unknown Pleasures, Off The Wall. But clearly none of them held a candle to Christopher Cross!

I find it hard to buy Cross as a gun-toting outlaw. "I was born the son of a lawless man/Always spoke my mind with a gun in my hand." Yeah, what, like a glue gun? Michael McDonald's transcendent backing vocals almost make me believe it. Maybe. Not really.

More convincing is "Sailing," which may very well be the purest four minutes and fifteen seconds of Yacht Rock ever recorded.

Yet Cross's finest moment may have come at the hands of a resuscitated Burt Bacharach and a drunken Dudley Moore. Even the black guy with a tambourine is gripped by the song's melancholy power. "Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)" would also hold a prominent place in my as-yet-to-be-assembled "Greatest Saxophone Solos of the '80s" mix.


Unknown said...

Is that Eric Idle on the sax?!

Little Earl said...

From Monty Python? No Peter, no I don't believe that it is.

Final thought: If you actually got caught between the moon and New York City, wouldn't it be incredibly dangerous? Wouldn't the gravitational pull simply rip you in half?

Unknown said...

I think someone needs to take a physics class...

Do you know another Eric Idle? I just thought it looks a lot like him.

Herr Zrbo said...

He sure is pudgy, I just want to poke his pudge and hope he does a little laugh.

Also, Dudley Moore sure is no Russell Brand (I keed, I keed).

deux said...

Another great article about Christopher Cross, I never get tired of him and “Yacht Rock” (also with Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, Hall & Oates, and of course Kenny Loggins). I'm glad that most of the Yacht Rock musicians have realized that it's brought them a great deal of attention from a new generation.