Sailin’ The Wind: The Great Yacht Rock Countdown of ’11 – Part 1

From time to time in the Greater Listening Area, we will take a look back at some of my ramblings from before this site existed. After spending the Summer of 2011 indulging in the soft rock sounds of the 1970’s, I made a case for this breeze of nostalgia as a guilt-less pleasure.  Over the Labor Day Weekend that year I set adrift the following confession:

I am usually regarded as a “Rock Snob,” but I am coming clean about my musical guilty pleasure of the summer – “ Yacht Rock.”  That’s right…  the soft rock from the 70’s usually played by bearded dudes wearing white tank tops under brightly colored button-downs with band names like Firefall, Starbuck and Orleans.  Christopher Cross’s “Sailing” is often viewed as Yacht Rock’s pinnacle, but I think of it more as the nail in the coffin for the genre (sort of like the way Altamont snuffed out Flower Power).  By the time “Sailing” faded away with the summer of 1980, folks were ready for a new wave.

While Labor Day Weekend usually signals the unofficial end of summer, a true yacht-rocker knows that there’s still a good 4-6 weeks of smooth sailing even on the Great Lakes.  The waters are still warm and less crowded, and Seals and Crofts sound ridiculously awesome blaring from the 8-track player on deck.  So pass out the cans of Narragansett.  In honor of this summer’s guilty pleasure, I will be counting down my Top 3 Yacht Rock artists of all time over this holiday weekend.

Ok. The wait is over.  In honor of this summer’s guilty pleasure, my #3 Yacht Rock artist is Loggins & Messina.   Before Kenny Loggins was alright with Caddyshack,  rode right into the danger zone, or cut Footloose as the king of the soundtrack, he was part of this successful duo.   Best known  for “Danny’s Song” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” these twin sons of different mothers cemented their Yacht Rock legend with the 1973 album Full Sail.  Nautical references?  Check.  Facial hair?  Check.   The opening track, “Lahaina,” points us toward Hawaii and the closer, “Sailin’ the Wind,” anchors this one as a Yacht Rock classic.

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