NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 13: View of atmosphere during SiriusXM Sets Sail with yacht rock performances from Kenny Loggins and Christopher Cross on June 13, 2022 in New York City.
SiriusXM Sets Sail With Yacht Rock Performances From Kenny Loggins And Christopher Cross
Sean Zanni/Getty Images

July is here and it’s prime season for Yacht Rock Songs. Time to sit back on your yacht, or ummm dingy, and listen to the smooth sounds from the mid-70s to the mid-80s, with temp hopefully right there as well. The seagulls cry the white caps slap against the fiberglass hull, and you hold your glass of buttery chard oh so gently while inspecting those bikinis. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s yachtta do it!

Yeah, But What The Hell Is Yacht Rock?

According to AllMusic, Yacht Rock is a broad music style and aesthetic commonly associated with Soft Rock, one of the most commercially successful genres from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Drawing on sources such as Smooth Soul, Smooth Jazz, R&B, and Disco. Meanwhile, common stylistic traits include high-quality production, clean vocals, and a focus on light, catchy melodies.[6] The term yacht rock was coined in 2005 by the makers of the online video series Yacht Rock, who connected the music with the popular SoCal leisure activity of boating. It was considered a pejorative term by some music critics.

Furthermore, In 2014, AllMusic‘s Matt Colier identified the “key defining rules of the genre:”

  • Keep it smooth, even when it grooves, with more emphasis on the melody than on the beat
  • Keep the emotions light, even when the sentiment turns sad (as is so often the case in the world of the sensitive yacht rocksman)
  • “Always keep it catchy, no matter how modest or deeply buried in the tracklist the tune happens to be

So Who Is The Yachtiest Of The Yacht Rockers?

This is 100 percent my own opinion. Top Ten does not leave a lot of room for error. I consider myself a pretty solid Yacht Rocker, and quite the musicologist. However, in the rare case you feel I make a mistake and leave off one of your Yacht Rock favs, have my people call your people and we’ll get together off the coast of Island Beach State Park for some Sangria and Cheese, and a little Yacht Rock, of course!

By The By, Lovey, if you’re looking for the perfect Yacht Rock swag to rock this summer, check this article out!

Plus if you need a place to dry dock and yacht rock, here’s a spot that Yachts every Sunday all summer long!

  • Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty

    The late great former front man of Stealers Wheel, had later solo success with this and a few other songs. However, there is no way Gerry could have known his Saxophone anthem balancing life and love while living in London, would go on to become the Stairway To Heaven of Yacht Rock.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU6w56epBdc

  • Sailing - Christopher Cross

    If Baker Street is the Stairway of Yacht Rock, this most certainly is the Layla. A 1979 masterpiece about a boy and his sailboat that Cross has said was inspired by sailing with his older friend. Ridiculed throughout the 80s as a symbol of 70’s schmaltz, it has found life and love as a Yacht Rock staple for a whole new generation.

     

  • Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts

    The oldest of our Top 10, this song was released in the late summer of 1972, and immediately became a top 10 hit on the Billboard charts. It screams Summer, and beachy vibes, and of course the smell of Jasmine and  the line “July is dressed up and playing her tune” cannot be denied as all time Yacht Rock.

     

  • Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes

    The song most people who know nothing about Yacht Rock, most closely associate Yacht Rock with. Now that’s fine, and yes it is an all time great Yachtty classic, but think of it as your gateway drug to so much more: Next you’ll be wearing a captains hat and a Hawaiian shirt.

  • Africa - Toto

    The New England Patriots of Yacht Rock songs right here my friends. Too much of a good thing can be dangerous. Great band, great song, but it’s flown way too far over the radar for way too long. Still, It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from singing along.

  • Lido Shuffle - Boz Skaggs

    A few years before they were blessing the rains down in Africa, the boys from Toto were much sought after studio musicians. They helped good ol Boz on this 1977 super hit, that has gone on to become the go to song for doing Green Tea shots on the deck before the Saturday Night fireworks kick in.  And I quote: “Whoa Whoa Whoaoooo ooooo oooooo”

     

     

  • Breezin' - George Benson

    Old George really came through for the soft rock/jazz world with this 1976 classic. Plus it’s the perfect Yacht Rock song for some early morning Mimosas and below deck nookie.

  • FM- Steely Dan

    Kind of a toss up here between FM and Do It Again, but this has more of a party feel so I’m going with the kicking off of the high heel sneakers, and the grapefruit wine. Hey don’t knock it til ya try it on the bow at sunset, baby!

     

  • She's Gone - Hall And Oates

    You can have heartache, just as long as it has a good groove and doesn’t bring the party down. Just ask Hall and Oates, they do it here to a tee. Talk to Isaac about your problems buddy, or whatever your yacht’s bartender is named.

  • Ride Like The Wind - Christopher Cross

    What can I say. The man is the muse of a genre. With apologies to great Yacht Rock songs like Brandy, What A Fool Believes, Couldn’t Get It Right, and just about the entire catalog from Pablo Cruise, Ride Like The Wind is just captivating when you listen to it out on the bay doing 12 knots. Plus, at least we get our daily dose of Michael McDonald in!

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