Yacht Rock Radio

Crosby, Stills & Nash 1974 concert | credit GrawLIN via Wikimedia Commons

Yacht Rock: The Soothing Sounds of the ’70s and ’80s

Yacht rock is a genre of music that has been making a comeback in recent years, especially with boaters who love to listen to soft rock music from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. The backstory of how yacht rock came about is fascinating and involves writers creating a tongue-in-cheek video series, a band that was looking for a spark, and an internet radio executive who saw the potential of the genre.

The Birth of Yacht Rock

In 2005, a group of young music and TV comedy writers created a short video series called "Yacht Rock" for the internet film network Channel 101. The series imagined funny backstories behind the making of soft rock classics by musicians such as Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, and Hall & Oats. The writers wanted to poke fun at the music while also reintroducing the tunes they liked to a new generation. The series became one of the channel's top shows during its run from 2005 to 2010.

The Rise of Yacht Rock Revue

In the fall of 2007, the Atlanta-based pop band Y-O-U was looking for inspiration. Drummer Mark Cobb burned a CD of songs by old soft-rock artists such as Christopher Cross, America, and Little River Band and thought it might be kind of fun to play the songs at a show. The band dressed in '70s fashion and played soft rock music, which turned out to be a hit. They formed the Yacht Rock Revue in 2008, the country's first official yacht rock tribute band, and even trademarked the term "yacht rock."

The Popularity of Yacht Rock Today

Yacht rock has some serious staying power and can be found on various platforms such as SiriusXM, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Yacht rock tribute bands, such as Yachty by Nature, Thurston Howell Band, Three Sheets to the Wind, and The Docksiders, have also proliferated. Yacht rock is enjoyed by people of all ages and has become a festive audience favorite, with some attendees donning yachting caps and '70s attire at concerts.

Looking for a Yacht Rock Playlist?

Here’s a yacht rock sampler from Philadelphia’s Boat House Row guaranteed to float your boat.

“Baker Street” – Gerry Rafferty
“Southern Cross” – Crosby, Stills & Nash
“Baby Come Back” – Player
“Reminiscing” – Little River Band
“How Long” – Ace
“Rich Girl” – Hall & Oats
“Heart to Heart” – Kenny Loggins
“Reelin’ in the Years” – Steely Dan
“Brandy” – Looking Glass
“What a Fool Believes” – Doobie Brothers
“Still the One”
– Orleans
“Africa” – Toto
“Turn Your Love Around” – George Benson
“Ride Like the Wind”
– Christopher Cross
“Lovely Day” – Bill Withers

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