The Smooth Sanctuary with Paul Phear 7pm - 10pm

Now Playing

Because You Loved Me Celine Dion

The 20 greatest yacht rock songs ever, ranked

27 July 2022, 17:50

The greatest yacht rock songs ever

By Tom Eames

Facebook share

We can picture it now: lounging on a swish boat as it bobs along the water, sipping cocktails and improving our tan. Oh, and it's the 1980s.

There's only one style of music that goes with this image: Yacht rock.

What is Yacht Rock?

Also known as the West Coast Sound or adult-oriented rock, it's a style of soft rock from between the late 1970s and early 1980s that featured elements of smooth soul, smooth jazz, R&B, funk, rock and disco.

  • The 40 greatest disco songs ever, ranked
  • The 10 greatest and smoothest ever sax solos, ranked

Although its name has been used in a negative way, to us it's an amazing genre that makes us feel like we're in an episode of Miami Vice wearing shoulder pads and massive sunglasses.

Here are the very best songs that could be placed in this genre:

Player - 'Baby Come Back'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Player - Baby Come Back

Not the reggae classic of the same name, this 1977 track was Player's biggest hit.

After Player disbanded, singer Peter Beckett joined Australia's Little River Band, and he also wrote 'Twist of Fate' for Olivia Newton-John and 'After All This Time' for Kenny Rogers.

Steely Dan - 'FM'

top 10 yacht rock bands

It's tough just choosing one Steely Dan song for this list, but we've gone for this banger.

Used as the theme tune for the 1978 movie of the same name, the song is jazz-rock track, though its lyrics took a disapproving look at the genre as a whole, which was in total contrast to the film's celebration of it. Still, sounds great guys!

Bobby Goldsboro - 'Summer (The First Time)'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Bobby Goldsboro - Summer (The First Time)

A bit of a questionable subject matter, this ballad was about a 17-year-old boy’s first sexual experience with a 31-year-old woman at the beach.

But using a repeating piano riff, 12-string guitar, and an orchestral string arrangement, this song just screams yacht rock and all that is great about it.

Kenny Loggins - 'Heart to Heart'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Kenny Loggins - Heart To Heart (Official Music Video)

If Michael McDonald is the king of yacht rock, then Kenny Loggins is his trusted advisor and heir to the throne.

This track was co-written with Michael, and also features him on backing vocals. The song is about how most relationships do not stand the test of time, yet some are able to do so.

Airplay - 'Nothing You Can Do About It'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Nothin' You Can Do About It

You might not remember US band Airplay, but they did have their moment on the yacht.

Consisting of David Foster (who also co-wrote the Kenny Loggins song above), Jay Graydon and the brilliantly-named Tommy Funderburk, this tune was a cover of a Manhattan Transfer song, and was a minor hit in 1981.

Boz Scaggs - 'Lowdown'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (Official Audio)

We've moved slightly into smooth jazz territory with this track, which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

The song was co-written by David Paich, who would go on to form Toto along with the song's keyboardist David Paich, session bassist David Hungate, and drummer Jeff Porcaro.

Steve Winwood - 'Valerie'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Steve Winwood - Valerie (Official Video)

This song is probably as far as you can get into pop rock without totally leaving the yacht rock dock.

Legendary singer-songwriter Winwood recorded this gong about a man reminiscing about a lost love he hopes to find again someday.

Eric Prydz later sampled it in 2004 for the house number one track ‘Call on Me’, and presented it to Winwood, who was so impressed he re-recorded the vocals to better fit the track.

Toto - 'Rosanna'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Toto - Rosanna (Official HD Video)

We almost picked 'Africa' , but we reckon this tune just about pips it in the yacht rock game.

Written by David Paich, he has said that the song is based on numerous girls he had known.

As a joke, the band members initially played along with the common assumption that the song was based on actress Rosanna Arquette, who was dating Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro at the time and coincidentally had the same name.

Chicago - 'Hard to Say I'm Sorry'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Chicago - Hard To Say I'm Sorry (Official Music Video)

Chicago began moving away from their horn-driven soft rock sound with their early 1980s output, including this synthesizer-filled power ballad.

  • The 10 greatest Chicago songs, ranked

The album version segued into a more traditional Chicago upbeat track titled ‘Get Away’, but most radio stations at the time opted to fade out the song before it kicked in. Three members of Toto played on the track. Those guys are yacht rock kings!

Michael Jackson - 'Human Nature'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Michael Jackson - Human Nature (Audio)

A few non-rock artists almost made this list ( George Michael 's 'Careless Whisper' and Spandau Ballet 's 'True' are almost examples, but not quite), yet a big chunk of Thriller heavily relied on the yacht rock sound.

Michael Jackson proved just how popular the genre could get with several songs on the album, but 'Human Nature' is the finest example.

The Doobie Brothers - 'What a Fool Believes'

top 10 yacht rock bands

The Doobie Brothers - What A Fool Believes (Official Music Video)

Possibly THE ultimate yacht rock song on the rock end of the spectrum, and it's that man Michael McDonald.

Written by McDonald and Kenny Loggins, this was one of the few non-disco hits in America in the first eight months of 1979.

The song tells the story of a man who is reunited with an old love interest and attempts to rekindle a romantic relationship with her before discovering that one never really existed.

Michael Jackson once claimed he contributed at least one backing track to the original recording, but was not credited for having done so. This was later denied by the band.

Christopher Cross - 'Sailing'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Christopher Cross - Sailing (Official Audio)

We're not putting this in here just because it's called 'Sailing', it's also one of the ultimate examples of the genre.

Christopher Cross reached number one in the US in 1980, and VH1 later named it the most "softsational soft rock" song of all time.

Don Henley - 'The Boys of Summer'

top 10 yacht rock bands

The Boys Of Summer DON HENLEY(1984) OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO

Mike Campbell wrote the music to this track while working on Tom Petty’s Southern Accents album, but later gave it to Eagles singer Don Henley, who wrote the lyrics.

The song is about the passing of youth and entering middle age, and of a past relationship. It was covered twice in the early 2000s: as a trance track by DJ Sammy in 2002, and as a pop punk hit by The Ataris in 2003.

England Dan and John Cord Foley - 'I'd Really Love to See You Tonight'

top 10 yacht rock bands

England Dan & John Ford Coley - I'd Really Love To See You Tonight.avi

A big hit for this duo in 1976, it showcases the very best of the sock rock/AOR/yacht rock sound that the 1970s could offer.

Dan Seals is the younger brother of Jim Seals of Seals and Crofts fame. Which leads to...

Seals & Crofts - 'Summer Breeze'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Summer Breeze - Seals & Croft #1 Hit(1972)

Before The Isley Brothers recorded a slick cover, 'Summer Breeze' was an irresistible folk pop song by Seals & Crofts.

While mostly a folk song, its summer vibes and gorgeous melody make for a perfect yacht rock number.

Christopher Cross - 'Ride Like the Wind'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Ride Like The Wind Promo Video 1980 Christopher Cross

If Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins are in charge of the yacht rock ship, then Christopher Cross has to be captain, right? Cabin boy? Something anyway.

The singer was arguably the biggest success story of the relatively short-lived yacht rock era, and this one still sounds incredible.

Eagles - 'I Can't Tell You Why'

top 10 yacht rock bands

The eagles - I can't tell you why (AUDIO VINYL)

Many Eagles tunes could be classed as yacht rock, but we reckon their finest example comes from this track from their The Long Run album in 1979.

Don Henley described the song as "straight Al Green", and that Glenn Frey, an R&B fan, was responsible for the R&B feel of the song. Frey said to co-writer Timothy B Schmit: "You could sing like Smokey Robinson . Let’s not do a Richie Furay, Poco-sounding song. Let’s do an R&B song."

Gerry Rafferty - 'Baker Street'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street (Official Video)

Gerry Rafferty probably didn't realise he was creating one of the greatest yacht rock songs of all time when he wrote this, but boy did he.

  • The Story of... 'Baker Street'

With the right blend of rock and pop and the use of the iconic saxophone solo, you can't not call this yacht rock at its finest.

Michael McDonald - 'Sweet Freedom'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Michael McDonald - Sweet Freedom (1986)

If you wanted to name the king of yacht rock, you'd have to pick Michael McDonald . He could sing the phone book and it would sound silky smooth.

Possibly his greatest solo tune, it was used in the movie  Running Scared , and its music video featured actors Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines.

Hall & Oates - 'I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)'

top 10 yacht rock bands

Daryl Hall & John Oates - I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) (Official Video)

This duo knew how to make catchy hit after catchy hit. This R&B-tinged pop tune was co-written with Sara Allen (also the influence for their song 'Sara Smile').

  • Hall and Oates' 10 best songs, ranked

John Oates has said that the song is actually about the music business. "That song is really about not being pushed around by big labels, managers, and agents and being told what to do, and being true to yourself creatively."

Not only was the song sampled in De La Soul's 'Say No Go' and Simply Red 's 'Home', but Michael Jackson also admitted that he lifted the bass line for 'Billie Jean'!

More Song Lists

See more More Song Lists

The xx's 10 greatest ever songs, ranked

Father's day songs: the 20 greatest and emotional tracks about dads, stevie nicks' 10 greatest solo songs, ranked, kelly clarkson's 10 best songs, ranked.

Kelly Clarkson

Lenny Kravitz's 10 greatest songs, ranked

More features.

See more More Features

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's relationship: Their private wedding, children and "conscious uncoupling"

TV & Film

Watch Barry Gibb serenade his beloved wife Linda with tender rendition of 'Words'

Stunned simon cowell gives nurse standing ovation after incredible ‘dreamgirls’ cover : ‘hardest song in the world’, school janitor, 55, stuns simon cowell with golden buzzer winning performance of 'don't stop believin', remember when george michael and whitney houston came together for a soul-stirring duet.

George Michael

Smooth Playlists

Smooth's all time top 500, smooth soul, smooth country hot hits, smooth chill concentration, smooth podcast picks, they don't teach this at school with myleene klass, take that: this life, runpod with jenni falconer, the news agents.

top 10 yacht rock bands

MusicInfluence.com

top 10 yacht rock bands

The 25 Best Yacht Rock Songs Of All Time

Yacht rock isn’t exactly a genre. it’s more a state of mind..

top 10 yacht rock bands

Yacht Rock is the musical equivalent of a mid-afternoon mimosa nap in a nautical location—a balmy lite-FM breeze with the substance of a romance novel and the machismo of a Burt Reynolds mustache comb.

But what exactly is Yacht Rock?

Yacht Rock is ‘70s soft schlock about boats, love affairs, and one-night stands.

Typified by artists like Christopher Cross, Rupert Holmes, and Pablo Cruise, Yacht Rock is not just easy to mock. It’s also deserving of the abuse. There’s a sensitive-male brand of chauvinism that permeates this material—like somehow because you could schnarf an 8-ball of cocaine and sail a boat into the sunset, your indulgences and marital infidelity were actually kind of sexy. Cheap pickup lines and beardly come-ons abound.

And yet, this stuff is irresistible on a slow summer day. It reeks of sunshine and laziness, and couldn’t we all use a little of both?

These are the 25 Best Yacht Rock Songs, in order. Zero suspense. (Sorry if that's less fun for you).

If you would like to learn more about Yacht Rock without getting a sailing license, read on...

The survival of high quality music writing depends on subscribers like you. For as little as $5 per month, you can fund a project dedicated entirely to the love of music (and receive access to special monthly features). Upgrade today and support an endangered species—the independent music writer.

What are the qualifications for inclusion on our list?

So Yacht Rock refers to a type of soft rock, right? But there’s a ton of soft rock out there that doesn’t fit the bill. There’s no room on my boat for Barry Manilow. At the Copa? Sure. But not so much on my boat. So what makes a great yacht rock song exactly?

Ideally, one or more of these themes will be present:

Finding the love of your life;

Having a memorable one-night stand; or 

These features pretty much capture everything that’s great about this milieu. But there's also an important cheese factor at play here. While Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, CSN, and the Doobie Brothers all made songs that might qualify for inclusion here, the artists themselves are--let's just say it--too good to be considered Yacht Rock.

We'll make sure to include them in our deluxe playlist at the article's conclusion.

But in order for a song to be considered for our list, it must be at least slightly embarrassing. Case in point, the top song on our list...

1. "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes

"The Pina Colada Song" is arguably the most perfect embodiment of yacht rock, fulfilling, as it does, all three of the qualifications cited above. Holmes sings about making love in the dunes, attempts to cheat on his wife, then ultimately, rediscovers that his "old lady" is actually the love he's been searching for all along. That's the holy trinity of Yacht Rock themes, all wrapped up in a breezy story of casual adultery.

And at the turn of a new decade, listeners were feeling it. Released as a single in 1979, "Escape" stood at the top of the charts during the last week of the year. Falling to #2 in the new year, it returned to the top spot in the second week of 1980. This made it the first song to top the charts in two separate, consecutive decades. Fun fact: Rupert Holmes never drank a Pina Colada in his life. He just thought the lyric sounded right. Hard to argue that point.

2. "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) by The Looking Glass

Formed at Rutgers University in 1969, Looking Glass topped the charts in 1972 with the tale of a lovelorn barmaid in a harbor town haunted by lonely sailors. It would be the band's only hit. Lead singer Elliot Lurie would go on to a brief solo career before becoming head of the music department for the 20th Century Fox movie studio in the '80s and '90s.

That means he was the musical supervisor for the soundtrack to Night at the Roxbury . Do with that information what you will. And with respect to "Brandy," see the film Guardians of the Galaxy 2 for Kurt Russell's surprisingly detailed treatise on its lyrical genius.

3. "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Crofts

The title track from the soft-rock duo's breakout 1972 record, "Summer Breeze" is an incurable earworm, a bittersweet twilight dream that captures everything that's right about Lite FM. From an album inhabited by Wrecking Crew vets and studio aces, "Summer Breeze" curls like smoke drifting lazily through an open window.

4. "Africa" by Toto

Toto singer David Paich had never been to Africa. The melody and refrain for this #1 hit from 1982 came to him fully formed as he watched a late night documentary about the plight of the African continent. The lyrics touch on missionary work and describe the landscape, as inspired by images from National Geographic , according to Paich's own recollection. Putting aside its self-aware inauthenticity, "Africa" is an infectious, 8x platinum AOR monster.

5. "Reminiscing” by Little River Band

Released in the summer of 1978 and reaching up to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Reminiscing" was guitarist Graeham Goble 's nostalgic take on the swing band era. Not only is it the only Australian song ever to reach five million radio plays in the U.S., but rumor is that it was among the late John Lennon's favorite songs.

6. "Drift Away" by Dobie Gray

Originally recorded by a country-swamp rocker named Jeffrey Kurtz, Dobie's 1973 cover became his biggest hit, reaching #5 on the charts. Though not explicitly nautical, "Drift Away" captures the distinct sensation of cruising at sunset.

7. "Love Will Find a Way" by Pablo Cruise

Pablo Cruise may have the most "yachty" of all band names on our list. And "Love Will Find a Way" is sort of the musical equivalent of a ketch skipping along a glassy surface on a crisp summer dawn. Pablo Cruise was formed in San Francisco by expats from various mildly successful bands including Stoneground and It's a Beautiful Day.

And there is a certain slick professionalism to the proceedings here. Of course, Pablo Cruise was never a critic's darling. Homer Simpson once accurately classified them as wuss rock. Still, they perfectly captured the white-folks-vacationing-in-the-Caribbean energy that was all the rage at the time. Love found a way to reach #6 on the Billboard charts, remaining in constant radio rotation during the red-hot summer of '78.

8. "Ride Captain Ride" by Blues Image

Blues Image emerged from South Florida in the late '60s and served as the house band for Miami's vaunted Thee Image music venue upon its inception in 1968. This gave Blues Image the opportunity to open for ascendant headliners like Cream and the Grateful Dead. The association landed them a contract with Atco Records. Their sophomore record, Open , yielded their one and only hit. The Blues Image reach #4 on the charts in 1970 with a tune about a bunch of men who disappear into the mists of the San Francisco Bay while searching for a hippie utopia.

9. "Eye in the Sky" by The Alan Parsons Project

This #3 hit from 1982 has nothing to do with sailing. But it's infectiously smooth production sheen, layered synth, and dreamy vocals make it a perfect Lite FM gem--one cut from the stone that gave us yacht rock. The "Project" was actually a British duo--studio wizard Alan Parsons and singer Eric Woolfson.

The title track from their sixth studio album is their very best recording. It's also often paired with the instrumental lead-in "Sirius," a song famous in its own right for blaring over unnumbered sporting arena PA systems.

If that tune doesn't make you think of Michael Jordan, you probably didn't live through the late 80s.

10. "Miracles" by Jefferson Starship

Marty Balin was a pioneer of the San Francisco scene, founding Jefferson Airplane in 1965 as the house band for his own legendary club--The Matrix. But in 1971, deeply shaken by the death of Janis Joplin, Balin quit his own band. Four years later, he was invited to rejoin his old mates on the already-launched Jefferson Starship.

He immediately contributed what would become the biggest hit by any Jeffersonian vessel. "Miracles" reached #3 in 1975. Gorgeous, elegant, and open, this is a complete anomaly in the Airplane-Starship catalogue. Listen closely for the NSFW lyrics that have often flown under the radar of some adorably innocent censors.

11. "Sad Eyes" by Robert John

In 1972, Robert John had a #3 hit with his cover of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." And yet, just before recording "Sad Eyes", the Brooklyn-born singer was employed as a construction worker in Long Branch, New Jersey.

In the summer of '79, he would again climb the charts, this time to the top spot. In fact, the charting success of "Sad Eyes" was part of a cultural backlash against the reign of disco. A wave of pop hits swept on to the charts, including this slick soft rock throwback. With his sweet falsetto and doo wop sensibility, Robert John knocked The Knack's "My Sharona" from its 6-week stand atop the charts.

12. "Magnet and Steel" by Walter Egan

Before launching headlong into his music career, Walter Egan was one of the very first students to earn a fine arts degree from Georgetown, where he studied sculpture. The subject would figure into his biggest hit, a #8 easy listening smash from 1978.

Featured on his second solo record, "Magnet and Steel" enjoys the presence of some heavy friends. Lindsey Buckingham produced, played guitar and sang backup harmonies with Stevie Nicks. By most accounts, Nicks was also a primary source of inspiration for the song.

13. "Lido Shuffle" by Boz Scaggs

Of course, not all yacht rock songs are about sailing on boats. Some are about missing boats. Boz Scaggs looks dejected on the cover of 1977's Silk Degrees , but things turned out pretty well for him. This bouncy #11 hit is a classic rock mainstay today.

The band you hear backing Boz--David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, and David Hungate--would go on to form the nucleus of Toto that very same year. Toto, as it happens, is essentially a recurring theme of the genre. Before rising to massive success in their own right, the members of Toto absolutely permeated rock radio in the 70s, laying down studio tracks with Steely Dan, Seals and Crofts, Michael McDonald, and more.

14. "What You Won't Do for Love" by Bobby Caldwell

This smooth-as-silk tune reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its 1978 release. It also reached #6 on the Hot Selling Soul Singles Chart. This is significant only because of Caldwell's complexion. He was a white man signed to TK Records, a label most closely associated with disco acts like KC and the Sunshine Band.

Catering to a largely Black audience, the label went to minor lengths to hide their new singer's identity--dig the silhouetted figure on the cover of his own debut. Suffice it to say, once Caldwell hit the road, audiences discovered he was white. By then, they were already hooked on this perfect groove, which you might also recognize as a sample in 2Pac's posthumous 1998 release, "Do For Love."

15. "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" by Michael McDonald

Technically, Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgettin'" is an adaptation of an earlier tune by the same name. In fact, the original "I Keep Forgettin" was conceived by the legendary songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller--best known for iconic staples like "Hound Dog", "Kansas City", "Poison Ivy" and much, much more.

The original recording is by Chuck Jackson and dates to 1962. But McDonald's 1982 take is definitive. If that wasn't already true upon its release and #4 peak position on the charts, certainly Warren G. and Nate Dogg cemented its status when they sampled McDonald on "Regulate". Get the whole history on that brilliant 1994 time capsule here .

Oh and by the way, this tune also features most of the guys from Toto. I know, right? These dudes were everywhere.

16. "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty

To the casual listener, Gerry Rafferty's name should sound vaguely familiar. Indeed, you may remember hearing it uttered in passing in the film Reservoir Dogs . In a key scene, a radio DJ (deadpan comedian Steven Wright) mentions that Rafferty formed half the duo known as Stealers Wheel, which recorded a "Dylanesque, pop, bubble-gum favorite from April of 1974" called "Stuck in the Middle With You." In the same scene, Mr. Blonde (portrayed with sadistic glee by Michael Madsen), slices off a policeman's ear.

At any rate, this is a totally different song, and is actually Rafferty's biggest hit. "Baker Street" is a tune that reeks of late nights, cocaine, and regret. Peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Baker Street" soared on the wings of the decade's most memorable sax riff. Raphael Ravenscroft's performance would, in fact, lead to a mainstream revitalization of interest in the saxophone writ large.

17. "Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang" by Silver

There are several interesting things about Silver that have almost nothing to do with this song. First, bass guitarist and singer Tom Leadon was both the brother of Bernie Leadon from the Eagles and a member of Tom Petty's pre-fame band, Mudcrutch. Second, the band's keyboardist was Brent Mydland, who would go on to become the Grateful Dead's longest-tenured piano guy. Third, Silver put out their only record in 1976, and future Saturday Night Live standout Phil Harman designed the cover art.

With all of that said, Arista executives felt that their first album lacked a single so they had country songwriter Rick Giles cook up this ridiculous, gooey concoction that I kind of love. Let's say this one falls into the "so bad it's good" category. Anyway, the song peaked at #16 on the charts. The band broke up in '78, leading Mydland to accept the deadliest job in rock music. He defied the odds by playing with the Grateful Dead until an accidental drug overdose claimed his life in 1990.

18. "Biggest Part of Me" by Ambrosia

I admit, I'm kind of hard-pressed to make Ambrosia interesting. In fact, they were extremely prolific, and earned high regard in early '70s prog rock circles. And in the 1990s, lead singer David Pack would actually be the musical director for both of Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration concerts.

But this Southern California combo is much better known to mainstream audiences for their top-down, hair-blowing-in-the-wind soft rock from the decade in between. Peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980, "Biggest Part of Me" is the group's best-known tune--a seafoamy bit of blue-eyed soul served over a raw bar of smooth jazz and lite funk.

19. "Baby Come Back" by Player

Player released their self-titled debut album in 1977 and immediately shot up to #1 with "Baby Come Back." Bandmates Peter Beckett and J.C. Crowley had both recently broken up with their girlfriends. They channeled their shared angst into this composition, a self-sorry guilty pleasure featuring former Steppenwolf member Wayne Cook on keys.

Granted, Steppenwolf's edgy disposition is nowhere to be found on this record, but it is pretty infectious in a late-summer-night, slightly-buzzed, clenched-fist sort of way. Player endured various lineup changes, but never returned to the heights of their first hit.

20. "On and On" by Stephen Bishop

Remember that scene in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) where there's this dude in a turtleneck singing a super cloying folks song before John Belushi mercifully snatches away his guitar and smashes it to smithereens? That guy was Stephen Bishop, who was actually in the middle of enjoying considerable success with his 1976 debut album, Careless .

"On and On" was the album's biggest hit, a vaguely Caribbean soft-rocker that reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in '77. The gentle electric riffs you hear there are supplied by guitarist Andrew Gold--who wrote the theme song for the Golden Girls . (I freakin' know you're singing it right now).

21. "Chevy Van" by Sammy Johns

The classic tale of boy-meets-girls, bangs-her-in-his-van, and brags-to-his-buds, all with backing from the world famous Wrecking Crew studio team. In 1975, a lot of people super related to it. It sold over a million copies and reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. I can't tell you this song is good. But I also can't tell you I don't like it.

22. "You Are the Woman" by Firefall

Firefall's lead guitarist Jock Bartley perfectly captures this song's impact, calling the band's biggest hit "a singing version of [a] Hallmark card." That feels right. The second single from Firefall's 1976 self-titled debut was only a regional hit at first. But it was driven all the way to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the strength of radio requests.

As Bartley explained, "Every female between the ages of 18 and 24 wanted to be the woman portrayed in the song, and that caused their boyfriends and spouses to call radio stations and subsequently flood the airwaves with dedications of the song and the sentiment."

23. "Sailing" by Christopher Cross

Arguably, "Sailing" is the single most emblematic song of the Yacht Rock genre. Its thematic relevance requires no explanation. But it's worth noting that the song is inspired by true events. During a tough time in his youth, Cross was befriended by Al Glasscock. Serving as something of an older brother to Cross, Glasscock would take him sailing.

He recalls in his biggest hit that this was a time of escape from the harsh realities of his real life. In 1979, Cross released his self-titled debut. In early 1980, "Sailing" became a #1 hit, landing Cross a hat-trick of Grammys--including recognition as best new artist. Though Cross and Glasscock would lose touch for more than 20 years, they were reunited during a 1995 episode of The Howard Stern Show . Cross subsequently mailed a copy of his platinum record to Glasscock.

24. "Steal Away" by Robbie Dupree

Apparently, this song was perceived as so blatant a ripoff of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins' "What a Fool Believes" that legal action was actually threatened.

It never formulated. Instead, Robbie Dupree landed a #6 Billboard Hot 100 hit with the lead single from his self-titled 1980 debut. Critics hated it, but it was a dominant presence in the summer of 1980. It even earned Dupree a Grammy nomination for best new artist. He ultimately lost to the man listed just above--Christopher Cross.

25. "This is It" by Kenny Loggins

You didn't think we'd get through this whole list without an actual Kenny Loggins tune. This song has the perfect pedigree, teaming Loggins and Michael McDonald on a 1979 composition that became the lead single off of Kenny Loggins' Keep the Fire.

Coming on the tail end of the '70s, "This is It" felt positively omnipresent in the '80s. I may be biased here. I grew up in Philadelphia, where a local television show by the same name adopted "This is It" as its theme song. But then, it did also reach #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

And in that spirit...this is it, the end of our list.

But as usual, here's a bonus playlist--an expanded voyage through the breezy, AOR waters of the mid-'70s to early '80s.

top 10 yacht rock bands

Ready for more?

top 10 yacht rock bands

Dan Sharp "Between The Brave, Bold and Given Up" - Review

top 10 yacht rock bands

Built To Spill "Keep It Like a Secret" - Retrospective Review

top 10 yacht rock bands

Wolf Parade "Apologies to the Queen Mary" - Retrospective Review

top 10 yacht rock bands

The Housemartins "London 0 Hull 4" - Retrospective Review

top 10 yacht rock bands

The Libertines "All Quiet On the Eastern Esplanade" - Review

Franz Ferdinand "Franz Ferdinand" - Twentieth Anniversary Review

Franz Ferdinand "Franz Ferdinand" - Twentieth Anniversary Review

Cage the Elephant "Out Loud & Neon Pill" - Single Review

Cage the Elephant "Out Loud & Neon Pill" - Single Review

top 10 yacht rock bands

The Decemberists "The King Is Dead" - Retrospective Review

top 10 yacht rock bands

Modest Mouse "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" - Twentieth Anniversary Review

top 10 yacht rock bands

The Vaccines "Pick-Up Full of Pink Carnations" - Review

  • John Robinson

Top 100 Greatest Yacht Rock Songs of All Time

Top 100 Greatest Yacht Rock Songs of All Time

Yacht Rock, a term that has steadily grown in popularity, refers to the smooth, groovy rock music of the '70s and '80s that has been popularized over the recent years. Initially categorized as soft rock or adult contemporary, Yacht Rock places a stronger emphasis on the groove rather than the lyrics, making it some of the easiest and catchiest easy listening music for many rock fans. Interestingly, nearly all Yacht Rock songs were created 35-40 years before the genre was officially recognized as its own distinct style, leaving room for interpretation about what exactly qualifies as Yacht Rock. For our criteria, we analyzed the entire catalog of Sirius XM Yacht Rock Radio alongside Spotify and Apple Music’s Yacht Rock playlists and ranked the songs accordingly. Each song included has been deemed Yacht Rock by at least one of these sources and was scored against all other entries. Some songs may rank higher in a broader rock or soft rock sphere, but here are what we have deemed to be the 100 Greatest Yacht Rock Songs of All Time complete with a playlist of all 100 Songs . For a broader list across at songs across the rock realm, be sure to check out the Top 200 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time .

1. What a Fool Believes - The Doobie Brothers

Deemed almost unanimously as the quintessential Yacht Rock tune by the few publications that have taken the time to dive into this same endeavor , What a Fool Believes  stands out as one of the grooviest rock tunes to ever achieve mainstream success. Featuring the quintessential Yacht Rock vocalist, Michael McDonald, the song topped charts across North America and became one of the most recognizable and frequently played songs of the '70s. Michael McDonald, who joined The Doobie Brothers in 1975, had become the band's primary vocalist by the release of Minute by Minute  in 1978, which houses What a Fool Believes . With this album marking a new sound for the band, especially following the temporary health-related departure of Tom Johnston, the band's new sound was polished to perfection, a dramatic shift from the Toulouse Street  sound of the early part of the decade. Nevertheless, What a Fool Believes  is a serious earworm, a critically "perfect" pop-rock song, if you will, and a song that reinvented The Doobie Brothers.

2. Peg   - Steely Dan

One of the most talented groups on our list, if not the most talented, Steely Dan transcended the typical confines of Yacht Rock during their initial ten-year run. Covering genres from Yacht Rock to jazz rock, progressive rock, and funk rock, Steely Dan captivated audiences uniquely throughout the '70s and early '80s. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen consistently collaborated with the world's finest studio musicians, producing albums of perfectionist caliber. Within the realm of Yacht Rock, Peg  takes their top spot, ranking just behind What a Fool Believes  in the genre. Once again, Michael McDonald provides backing vocals, harmonizing behind Donald Fagen and Paul Griffin. The silky smooth vocals paired with top-notch instrumentals make Peg  a standout track. Furthermore, Aja , the album that houses Peg , is one of the most impressive American albums of all time , beyond its Yacht Rock appeal.

3. Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)   - Looking Glass

Released in 1972, the one-hit wonder by Looking Glass, Brandy , established a much bigger name for itself than the band ever managed to achieve on its own. As one of the smoothest and catchiest songs of the ‘70s, Brandy  consistently appears on nearly every Yacht Rock, adult contemporary, or easy listening playlist available. The song tells a melancholic tale that is open to interpretation, though it is generally understood to describe an attractive bartender based in Northern New Jersey. Featuring catchy harmonies, clean soft guitar, and subtle horn use, what's not to love about this song?

4. Sailing   - Christopher Cross

If it were up to us at Melophobe, the "Yacht Rock Crown" would go to San Antonio’s own Christopher Cross. Although Cross really shined with just his first two studio albums before his later releases (post-1983) fell into obscurity, his early work still grabs all the attention. From his self-titled debut album, Sailing  stands out as a top ten hit that's the epitome of Yacht Rock. Interestingly, the term "yacht rock" itself is often linked right back to this song. His debut album is loaded with iconic tunes in this style, with Sailing  rightfully taking its place at the forefront.

5. Escape (The Pi ñ a Colada Song)  - Rupert Holmes

The second tune in our top ten that found its way onto one of the three Guardians of the Galaxy  soundtracks—as well as its original LP release—comes from yacht rock icon Rupert Holmes. Escape (The Piña Colada Song)  tells a story that feels more comical today than it might have in the ‘70s, describing a personal ad in search of a like-minded, carefree, fun-loving companion. Beyond the quirky lyrics, the sounds of crashing waves and clean guitars have turned the tune into a timeless earworm, cementing its status as a yacht rock masterpiece long before the term even existed. Guardians of the Galaxy  wasn't just a great series for action lovers; who would've guessed its soundtrack would become almost as iconic as the movies themselves?

6. Lowdown  - Boz Scaggs

Part of the same studio musician collective that worked with Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs hit major commercial success in 1976 with the release of his richly decorated album Silk Degrees . Boz Scaggs found success as one of the few artists to achieve substantial mainstream success in the jazz rock world aside from Steely Dan, with both artists utilizing many of the same studio musicians. Released from Silk Degrees , the standout yacht rock tune is Lowdown , a tightly produced masterpiece. Similar to Christopher Cross, Boz's peak in the mainstream was relatively brief, with his fame primarily anchored to Silk Degrees  and sporadic airplay of his other songs over about a decade.

7. Come and Get Your Love  - Redbone

Yet another tune from the Guardians of the Galaxy  soundtracks to make our top ten is Come and Get Your Love , released in 1975 by the swamp rock band Redbone. While often labeled as a one-hit-wonder, Redbone actually scored another American top 40 hit in 1971 and enjoyed scattered success in the R&B scene throughout the '70s. Come and Get Your Love  has since been celebrated as one of the greatest pop songs of the '70s and also managed to somewhat subtly tap into the disco craze of the era.

8. Margaritaville  - Jimmy Buffett

The question of whether Jimmy Buffett fits into the yacht rock category has stirred some debate lately, with the answer remaining somewhat unclear since the term itself is still relatively new. Most agree that Buffett's music is in a category of its own, but there are still those who argue that his unique sound has a place within yacht rock. Regardless, Margaritaville  and a few other Buffett tunes are staples on yacht rock radio stations, so we've deemed them eligible. Buffett's music embodies a carefree lifestyle that mirrors the feel and attitude of yacht rock. His iconic song Margaritaville  instantly puts listeners in a vacation mindset, a unique characteristic that has garnered it extensive praise and airplay over the years. The passing of Jimmy Buffett, an American legend, touched the hearts of many.

9. Africa  - Toto

The first track from the 1980s to make our top ten is Africa  from Toto's fourth album, aptly named Toto IV , released in 1982. Africa  topped the charts across North America and performed exceptionally well worldwide with its powerful chorus, extensive keyboard usage, and subtle guitar playing. Alongside Rosanna , also from Toto IV , Africa  has become a yacht rock staple, but it didn’t stop there—it transcended the genre to become one of the most iconic songs of the '80s. Today, it's still adored, nearing two billion streams on Spotify. The song has also become a favorite for covers, from bar bands to top-notch acts like Weezer.

10. Baby Come Back  - Player

Player carved out a slice of mainstream success in the late '70s, as soft rock began to resonate with those not taken by styles like punk rock and disco. Their biggest hit by far was the North American chart-topper Baby Come Back . Aside from being a soft rock staple, the song has also gained a new life as a meme across the internet. While yacht rock songs typically shy away from overly heartfelt or emotional lyrics, focusing more on the groove, Baby Come Back  manages to do both masterfully. The song blends notable emotional depth with an undeniably groovy beat, making it incredibly memorable—so much so that it's recognized by just about every American

11. Just the Two of Us  - Grover Washington Jr, Bill Withers

12. Southern Cross  - Crosby, Stills & Nash

13. Take it Easy  - Eagles

14. Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)  - Christopher Cross

15. Year of the Cat  - Al Stewart

16. Hey Nineteen  - Steely Dan

17. Still the One  - Orleans

18. Sharing the Night Together  - Dr. Hook

19. Sister Golden Hair  - America

20. Dreams  - Fleetwood Mac

21. Summer Breeze  - Seals & Croft

22. Guitar Man  - Bread

23. Thunder Island  - Jay Ferguson

24. Lido Shuffle  - Boz Scaggs

25. Give Me the Night  - George Benson

26. How Much I Feel  - Ambrosia

27. Reminiscing  - Little River Band

28. Doctor My Eyes  - Jackson Browne

29. Sara Smile  - Hall & Oates

30. Rosanna  - Toto

31. All Night Long (All Night)  - Lionel Richie

32. I.G.Y.  - Donald Fagan

33. Minute By Minute  - The Doobie Brothers

34. If You Leave Me Now  - Chicago

35. Time Out of Mind  - Steely Dan

36. Kokomo  - The Beach Boys

37. Eye in the Sky  - Alan Parsons Project

38. Sentimental Lady  - Bob Welch

39. Rich Girl  - Hall & Oates

40. What You Won't Do for Love  - Bobby Caldwell

41. Ride Like the Wind  - Christopher Cross

42. I'd Really Love to See You Tonight  - England Dan & John Ford Coley

43. Lovely Day  - Bill Withers

44. Graceland  - Paul Simon

45. Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes - Jimmy Buffett

46. Time Passages  - Al Stewart

47. One of These Nights  - Eagles

48. She's Gone  - Hall & Oates

49. Silly Love Songs  - Wings

50. Hold On  - Santana

51. Steal Away  - Robbie Dupree

52. Dance With Me  - Orleans

53. Listen to the Music  - The Doobie Brothers

54. How Long  - Ace

55. So Into You  - Atlanta Rhythm Section

56. Diamond Girl  - Seals & Croft

57. Lotta Love  - Nicolette Larson

58. We Just Disagree  - Dave Mason

59. Mexico  - James Taylor

60. Keep on Loving You  - REO Speedwagon

61. Baker Street  - Gerry Rafferty

62. Tender is the Night  - Jackson Browne

63. Love Will Find a Way  - Pablo Cruise

64. You Can Do Magic  - America

65. Key Largo  - Bertie Higgins

66. When You're In Love With a Beautiful Woman  - Dr. Hook

67. Dirty Work  - Steely Dan

68. All Out of Love  - Air Supply

69. I Saw the Light  - Todd Rundgren

70. Let Me Love You Tonight  - Pure Prairie League

71. I Love You  - Climax Blues Band

72. I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)  - Michael McDonald

73. This is It  - Kenny Loggins

74. The Things We Do For Love  - 10cc

75. Say You Love Me  - Fleetwood Mac

76. Biggest Part of Me  - Ambrosia

77. You're the Inspiration  - Chicago

78. Dream Weaver  - Gary Wright

79. Longer  - Dan Fogelberg

80. You Are  - Lionel Richie

81. Just a Song Before I Go  - Crosby, Stills & Nash

82. Right Down the Line  - Gerry Rafferty

83. New Frontier  - Donald Fagan

84. I Love a Rainy Night  - Eddie Rabbitt

85. Cool Night  - Paul Davis

86. Get Down On It  - Kool & The Gang

87. It's Raining Again - Supertramp

88. Vincent  - Don McLean

89. Crazy Love  - Poco

90. Spooky  - Atlanta Rhythm Section

91. Vienna  - Billy Joel

92. Cool Cat  - Queen

93. Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You  - George Benson

94. Hypnotized  - Bob Welch (Also Released by Fleetwood Mac)

95. Casablanca  - Bertie Higgins

96. Think of Laura  - Christopher Cross

97. Fooled Around and Fell in Love  - Elvin Bishop

98. Private Eyes  - Hall & Oates

99. Lonesome Loser  - Little River Band

100. Moonlight Feels Right - Starbuck

All of the picks from this list have been compiled into a streamable Spotify Playlist below entitled Yacht Rock Top 100 .

Recent Posts

Top 200 Greatest Rock Songs Post 1960

Top 50 Greatest Singer-Songwriter Albums of All Time

Top 100 Greatest American Rock Artists of All Time

Listen Now on Spotify

2000's alternative & indie rock playlist cover 2.JPEG

50 Fantastic Long-form Rock Songs

top 10 yacht rock bands

Top 100 Greatest Pop-Punk Songs of All Time

top 10 yacht rock bands

Top 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time

top 10 yacht rock bands

Top 100 Greatest Alternative Rock Albums of the '90s

top 10 yacht rock bands

Top 15 Songs by Vampire Weekend

top 10 yacht rock bands

Top 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums of 2000-2009

top 10 yacht rock bands

Top 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time

top 10 yacht rock bands

100 Underrated Indie Rock Songs

top 10 yacht rock bands

Top 100 Greatest Rock Vocalists of All Time

top 10 yacht rock bands

100 Greatest Alternative Albums

100 Gre atest Alternative Artists

100 Greatest Debut Alternative Albums

100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums

100 Greatest Indie Rock Artists

100 Greatest Indie Rock Songs

100 Greates t Indie Rock Songs Post 2000

100 Fantastic Indie Rock DEEP CUTS Post 2000

100 Greatest Alternative Rock Songs of the '90s

100 Greatest Rock Artists

100 Greatest Rock Albums

100 Greatest Rock Albums of the '70s

100 Most Influential Rock Albums

10 Iconic Ea rly Alternative Rock Songs

ANOTHER 10 Iconic Early Alternative Rock Songs

10 Fantastic Song Titles

Five Underrated Albums of the 2000's 

News on your favorite shows, specials & more!

BroadwayWorld

News on your favorite shows, specials & more!

Feature: The 101 GREATEST YACHT ROCK SONGS OF ALL TIME for Your Summer Playlist - featuring Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross and Steely Dan

What Yacht Rock Classic Hit #1?

pixeltracker

Yacht Rock is not for everyone. If you like your rock Cannibal Corpse intense or your hip hop extra Onyx edgy, then Yacht Rock will indubitably be your Kryptonite.

Some people consider this genre akin to musical wallpaper, marshmallow fluff, whiter-than-white bread snore-tunes or sax-heavy Sominex-inducing elevator muzak. They consider it slick, soulless pablum, even though true Yacht Rock vibrates with liveliness. Yes, it can be slow but it should never be sleepy; it should be relaxed and chill but never boring. Unfortunately, it's oft mistaken for any East Listening or Adult Contemporary tune (although, to be fair, many of the songs on this list do fall in these categories). But true Yacht Rock will not cause you to yawn; so don't worry, you won't find Air Supply, Barry Manilow or Dan Fogelberg anywhere near one of these rockin' yachts.

But what exactly is "Yacht Rock"? For those who don't know, it includes pop-rock songs from the late 1970's/early 1980's that would sound great on a yacht as you sip your pina coladas and get caught in the rain. Yacht Rock was not designed as thus; forty years ago, these songs that joyously filled the airwaves were called "soft rock" or "blue-eyed soul." It wasn't until the early 2000's when the term "Yacht Rock" was coined and the genre's guidelines were determined by the great J. D. Ryznar, Steve Huey, Hunter Stair, and David Lyons. Now it's everywhere, including on your SiriusXM radio app where a really bad Thurston Howell III soundalike introduces these Doobie-bounced ditties.

How can you identify a potential Yacht Rock classic? You can use Justice Potter Stewart's famous "I know it when I see it" (or, in this case, "hear it") dictum. To my ears, Yacht Rock is slick as an oil spill, part smooth pop, part light rock, both funky and jazzy. Most of the songs have tight harmonies, strong background singers (oftentimes sounding like Michael McDonald lost in an echo chamber), with added horns or strings. It's not lounge music, but it's music to lounge to. It's not disco, so you don't dance to it, but it's music where you can't help but tap your feet.

The joy of Yacht Rock is just that...its joyousness. This is bubblegum music for the jet set or the wannabe Richie Rich's. Its delightfully shallow, and part of its vibrancy is that it doesn't have a bad thought in its head. (Some of the songs obviously don't have any thoughts in their head, but if you want to have an intellectually stimulating conversation about, say, Toto's "Georgy Porgy," then have at it.) But never forget that part of its charm lies in its inability for deeper analysis; it's quite a stretch to compare some of these songs to a Winslow Homer painting or a Thomas Pynchon novel, but I'll try.

Officially, to be considered Yacht Rock, the song must have been released between 1976 and 1984, and I adhere to this rule for the 101. That means no songs that are proto-Yacht Rock, such as Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze," Ace's "How Long," or Steely Dan's "Dirty Work," are included. Neither did post-yacht rock favorites ("fire keepers") like Michael McDonald's "Sweet Freedom" (1986) get a chance. Some singers or groups, who are nowhere near Yacht Rock when looking at their oeuvre, may have a single YR classic in their midst; artists like Michael Jackson, Andy Gibb, the Eagles, and Earth, Wind and Fire have at least one Yacht Rock goodie on the list. And then there are those tunes that are not Yacht Rock: Nyacht Rock, which I tried but failed to avoid, but debates will happen nonetheless. For example, is "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" true Yacht Rock? Purists may say no, but I think there are few songs more yachty than the Rupert Holmes earworm.

Who would be on the Yacht Rock Mount Rushmore? Certainly Michael McDonald, whose presence is everywhere on this list with the Doobie Brothers, solos, duets, and as a backing vocalist on many of these tunes; he has 8 entries (not counting his prolific background singing). Kenny Loggins also epitomizes the genre (with 4 songs on the list, plus he co-wrote the #1 tune), as does Christopher Cross (with 5 songs on the list). But who gets that final position? Steely Dan (6 songs), Toto (6 songs), or Boz Scaggs (5 songs)? I'll let you try to settle on the filling of the fourth Rushmore slot.

And shouldn't there be a Yacht Rock Broadway musical? There are Yacht Rock tours, online series, books, websites, radio stations, podcasts, Spotify playlists; why not an official jukebox musical?

Lastly, you may ask: What makes me, a theatre reviewer, a Yacht Rock expert? For starters, I lived through these songs during my teenage years; they are the soundtrack of my younger self, especially when listening to Casey Kasem every Sunday morning on American Top-40 on CK-101. No matter how cheesy, I have a place in my heart for them. And on my 60 th birthday, I hope to rent a yacht, invite friends, don an ascot and captain's hat, and while enjoying mounds of caviar, listen to the soothing sounds of my youth. I'll use this list, my YACHT ROCK 101, as our guide, and hopefully you will too. (And hopefully if a song is unfamiliar to you, then you'll seek it out on You Tube or Spotify.) So, without further ado, counting down Kasem-style from #101 to #1, let's climb aboard...

THE 101 GREATEST YACHT ROCK SONGS!

101. NOTHIN' YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT [Airplay; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: N/A]

We start our three-hour tour here, Mr. Howell, with Airplay's little-known yachter, "Nothin' You Can Do About It," featuring David Foster, who peppers much of the following 101, and Jay Graydon, who played guitar on the Yacht Rock classic, "Peg." And as you'll find in so many songs here, the session musicians from Toto play the instruments and lift this horn-pocked One-Off into the stratosphere. It's poppy and breezy and everything that a YR hit should be. And its lyrics could be the Yacht Rock credo: "Relax; enjoy the ride!"

100. GEORGY PORGY [Toto; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #48]

This sounds like an outtake from a lost Boz Scaggs album. I have a place deep (very deep) in my heart for this. Yes, it's annoying, and Cheryl "Got to Be Real" Lynn's "Georgy Porgy, pudding pie/Kissed the girls and made them cry" refrain will get horrifically stuck in your head, but my oh my, how I love its glorious badness. (Some might claim that this isn't Yacht Rock, it's Yuck Rock.) No other chart would dare unearth this lost remnant that many think should remain lost, but it's too late baby, yes, it's too late. And if you want a sign of the coming Apocalypse: The endearingly ridiculous "Georgy Porgy" is more popular and beloved now than when it was first released.

99. THE THEME FROM "THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO" (BELIEVE IT OR NOT) [Joey Scarbury; 1981; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #2]

Yacht Rock songs are usually called "likable," which is sort of a masked insult. When you can't think of something nice to say, you usually fall back on "likable," which doesn't mean you like it; it just means someone out there may like it. And "The Theme from 'The Greatest American Hero'" is certainly likable; it's maybe the only thing we remember from the otherwise forgotten William Katt TV series, which lasted three seasons. For "Seinfeld" fans, George's use of it on his answering machine in "The Susie" episode put the song on a level way above its pay grade. Just last year, it also showed up (with "Seinfeld's" Jason Alexander) in a Tide commercial. So, this song has planted its flag in our more current pop culture landscape; perhaps it and the roaches will be the only things to survive the end of the world. Believe it or not.

98. INTO THE NIGHT [Benny Mardones; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #11]

97. WE JUST DISAGREE [Dave Mason; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #12]

96. KEY LARGO [Bertie Higgins; 1982; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #8]

95. ESCAPE (THE PINA COLADA SONG) [Rupert Holmes; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

These four songs, including one #1 hit, will cause arguments from purists; they score them low on the official Yacht Rock scale and label them the dreaded Nyacht Rock. But I think each of them deserve to be on the list, even if this low. Benny Mardones was a key part of one of my high school experiences as the special musical guest for 1981's Grad Night at Disney World; I remember hearing "Into the Night" into the nighttime distance and knowing that I was in the right place at the right time. (And I take the song's narrator as a teenager crooning about a girl-because with lines like "she's just sixteen years old/Leave her alone, they say," it's just too creepily cringy to contend with otherwise.) "We Just Disagree" builds as the best Yacht Rock songs do, even if it may be too gloomy in subject matter (the breaking up of a relationship). "Key Largo" by Tampa Bay area native Bertie Higgins may be more Tropical Rock than Yacht Rock, but it's yachty enough to make the cut; besides, who can resist the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall allusions? And Rupert Holmes's "Escape," the last word in 70's pop, is what many people think of when they read the term "Yacht Rock." And yes, it may be excessively wordy for the genre, complete with a twist ending, but to leave it off the list entirely would be a pop culture misdemeanor if not a crime. For the purists who will not escape the strict Yacht Rock guidelines and unnecessarily nix great and yachty songs like these, then we just disagree.

94. YAH-MO BE THERE [James Ingram with Michael McDonald; 1983; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #19]

A Yacht Rock staple and the first appearance of the ubiquitous Mr. McDonald on our list. I'm sure more than one person agrees with Paul Rudd from the move The 40-Year-Old Virgin when he, having McDonald's songs on a continuous loop at his work place, exclaims, "...If I hear 'Yah-Mo Be There' one more time, I'm gonna 'yah mo' burn this place to the ground!"

93. BREEZIN' [George Benson; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #63]

The first of two instrumentals on the list and the initial Yacht Rock sighting of George Benson. I mentioned earlier that none of these songs should be compared to paintings by Winslow Homer, but if any comes close, it's this one, especially Homer's "Breezin' Up." Try looking at the painting and hearing the Benson hook at the same time, and I'll see you in the morning.

92. FOOLISH HEART [Steve Perry; 1984; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #8]

Although Steve Perry is more famous as the onetime front man for Journey, and for making "Don't Stop Believin'" the most overplayed track from the Eighties, this is his sole entry into my Yacht Rock 101. His smooth voice haunts this with an uber-emotional yearning that seldom finds its way onto the feel-good vibes found elsewhere on this list.

91. 99 [Toto; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #26]

Chalk up another inspiration from a George Lucas film, although not the film you may think it is. Star Wars may be Lucas' biggest achievement, but this song takes its idea from the seldom-seen Lucas cult hit, THX 1138 , which is dystopian cold in feeling. That such a stark story (losing your identity and only being known as numbers) gets the smooth pop-light Toto treatment can only be construed as ironic.

90. ONE STEP CLOSER [The Doobie Brothers; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #24]

The Doobie Brothers' last gasp of the Michael McDonald era before our bearded musical Michelangelo would meander into a solo career.

89. HARD HABIT TO BREAK [Chicago; 1984; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #3]

Love is an addictive drug that lasts years in this beautiful if not overwrought ballad produced by David Foster.

88. DO RIGHT [Paul Davis; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #23]

A rare example of RYR: Religious Yacht Rock. Certainly the most unabashedly Christian song on the list, its opening lines like something out of an old Jim and Tammy Bakker telecast from the early 1980's: " I know that he gave his life for me/Set all our spirits free/So I want to do right, want to do right/All of my life ..." Musically it has a total yacht quality, a toe-tapping buoyant drive, that didn't stop it from being the 10 th biggest Adult Contemporary Christian hit of 1980.

87. DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS [Rick Springfield; 1982; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #2]

A year after "Jessie's Girl," Rick Springfield nearly hit the top of the charts with this Yacht Rock plea of jealous rage (though Springfield's demeanor doesn't come across as "rage"; he seems disdainful but laid back, which is why this perfectly fits the YR mold). It's too much fun to rival "Every Breath You Take" in the paranoid Top-10 hit department. Make sure not to miss the lyrics in French near the song's end which are there because...well, I don't know exactly why they're there, but I appreciate the nod to Francophiles.

86. WAITING FOR YOUR LOVE [Toto; 1982; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #73]

This is Toto's third song in the 101, paving way for claims that they should be the final slot on the Yacht Rock Mount Rushmore. "Waiting for Your Love" may not have hit big, stalling at a disappointing #73 on the charts, but has since been cited as one of Toto's greatest songs.

85. IT KEEPS YOU RUNNIN' [The Doobie Brothers; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #37]

Michael McDonald's soulful vocals and the band's mesmerizingly funky rhythm catapult this entry into the stratosphere. Yes, it was shoved onto the soundtrack of Forrest Gump , but its Yacht Rock status comes from it being featured in another film (and soundtrack that is a Yacht Rock purist's dream): the forgotten film FM (which spawned an even higher entry on this list...Steely Dan's infectious title cut).

84. LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME [Boz Scaggs; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #14]

Boz Scaggs wasn't born with the name "Boz." Actually born William Royce Scaggs, he got the nickname "Boz" after someone kept wrongly referring to him as "Bosley" at St. Marks Academy. And with a name like "Boz," Yacht Rock elite status was certainly destined. In the 1970's, Scaggs would perfect that laid back soft rock sound with a slight funky beat, the quintessence of Yacht Rock. This song, slower than most on this list, would become his big reaching-for-the-stars power pop ballad, and it didn't hurt that it was featured in a John Travolta film (Urban Cowboy).

83. KISS YOU ALL OVER [Exile; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

It's hard to imagine that learned people that I deeply admire have a difficult time including this as a Yacht Rock staple. With synthesized strings and inspired by the grizzly growling org*smic sound of Barry White in "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me," "Kiss You All Over" was voted ninth in Billboard's 2010 list of "The 50 Sexiest Songs of All Time" (for the record, "Physical" was #1).

82. BABYLON SISTERS [Steely Dan; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: N/A]

Dante-esque tour of California, with the jaded Yacht Kings, Steely Dan, playing the part of Virgil as your guide. Singing backup on this track, crooning those haunting words "Here comes those Santa Ana winds again," is none other than Patti Austin, who will be even more involved with another Yacht Rock classic that you'll find further down the list [see "Baby, Come to Me"]. A delicious downer.

81. SMOKE FROM A DISTANT FIRE [Sanford Townsend Band; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #9]

One of the great One Hit Wonders of the 1970's.

80. HOLD THE LINE [Toto; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #5]

The song that put the session musicians of Toto on the map and the fourth of their hits to make our 101.

79. TAKIN' IT TO THE STREETS [The Doobie Brothers; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #13]

The world was introduced to Michael McDonald as a Doobie right here, their first song written by him for the Doobie's and with him on lead vocals. And thus, the King of Yacht Rock started his reign. Also, who can forget the 1978 episode of "What's Happening" with Rerun illegally recording the Doobie's singing this very song?

78. KEEP THE FIRE [Kenny Loggins; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #36]

Mr. and Mrs. Howell, let me introduce you to our next entry...Kenny Loggins with his very own Herbie Hancock-inspired vocoder long before it was in vogue.

77. ISN'T IT TIME [The Babys; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #13]

Michael Corby's opening piano, backed with syrupy violins, leads way to John Waite's oxymoronic soft bombastic vocals and Tony Brock's pulsating drum work. Lisa Freeman-Roberts, Myrna Matthews and Pat Henderson get their gospel groove on while backing Waite's hearty screech in this scrumptious pop treat.

76. YOU CAN'T CHANGE THAT [Raydio; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #9]

A cool breeze of a song by Ray Parker Jr. & Co., one of the few Yacht Rock light-soul classics that you can dance to, though it's way too laid back to be considered disco. A song that immediately puts you in a good mood no matter how bad your day had been previously.

75. LIDO SHUFFLE [Boz Scaggs; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard 100: #11]

Boz again, with this ode to a drifter looking for some luck. The galvanizing music would be created by none other than David Paich (keyboards), David Hungate (bass), and Jeff Porcaro (drums), all of them future members of Toto. Whoa-oh-oh-oh!

74. WHAT'CHA GONNA DO? [Pablo Cruise; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #6]

Is there a more apt band name for Yacht Rock greatness than "Pablo Cruise"? And this tune, a key part of that summer of 1977, was where they first introduced themselves to us in all their infectious pop-light glory. The group hit #6 in the U.S., which isn't bad, but Canada got it right when they elevated this tasty morsel to #1 on their charts.

73. SENTIMENTAL LADY [Bob Welch; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #8]

Bob Welch, a former member of Fleetwood Mac, originally recorded this for their 1972 album Bare Trees . After leaving the band, he recorded it again, giving it the lush Yacht Rock treatment. Fleetwood Mac may not be considered official Yacht Rock gurus, but this song comes closest, with the majority of their members performing on it: Mick Fleetwood on drums, John McVie on bass, Christine McVie on piano as well as joining Lindsey Buckingham in background vocals. All that's missing is Stevie.

72. MISS SUN [Boz Scaggs; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #14]

We can thank this record for giving us our beloved Toto. Originally recorded by them in 1977, and due to their tight musicianship, Toto made a deal with Columbia Records solely based on their performance of this song. Ironically, it didn't make Toto's first LP, but Boz and the Toto gang recorded it for his Hits! compilation and the rest is Yacht Rock history.

71. JOSIE [Steely Dan; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #26]

One of Steely Dan's very best, especially Chuck Rainey's hypnotic bass. And those lyrics: " When Josie comes home/So bad/She's the best friend we ever had/She's the raw flame/The live wire/She prays like a Roman/With her eyes on fire." Question: Where is Josie coming home from? College? War? Prison? With Steely Dan's don't-care-if-listeners-understand-them obtuse lyrics, we'll never know.

70. YOU ARE THE WOMAN [Firefall; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #9]

69. STILL THE ONE [Orleans; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #5]

Two light-rock classics from Year One of Yacht Rock. "You Are the Woman" would become a quasi-staple of yachty wedding reception playlists, especially if a flautist happened to be on board; "Still the One" would be the commercial jingle for both ABC-TV in the 1970's and Applebee's restaurants just a couple of years ago.

68. YEAR OF THE CAT [Al Stewart; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #8]

Perhaps the most haunting song on the list; it's what you get when you mix Casablanca with the Vietnamese Zodiac.

67. THUNDER ISLAND [Jay Ferguson; 1977; ; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #9]

This passionate ode to island lovin' can be heard in Anchorman 2 , the hockey movie Miracle , and the great "To'Hajiilee" episode of Breaking Bad .

66. RICH GIRL [Hall & Oates; 1977; ; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

Hall & Oates first chart-topper and perhaps the first #1 single to use the word "bitch" in it. Interestingly, the song was written about a guy initially-the spoiled heir to a Chicago-based entrepreneur who owned Walker Bros. Original Pancake House and ran fifteen KFC restaurants; the gender of the person was changed and the song suddenly became destined for pop culture immortality. And yes, it entered skin-crawling notoriety when Son of Sam himself, David Berkowitz, claimed the song inspired him to continue his serial killing rampage that paralyzed New York City that summer of '77.

65. MORNIN' [Al Jarreau; 1983; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #21]

64. LOVELY DAY [Bill Withers; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #30]

Two of the peppiest songs imaginable, both about splendid sunshine days, perfect for relaxing while you count your money on your very own yacht. Jarreau's "Mornin'" sounds like the feel-good opening of a Broadway show, while Withers hit the motherlode with "Lovely Day," ubiquitous in ads and movies for the past 45 years, complete with an impressive 18-second note that Withers sings that may be the longest ever in a Top-40 hit

63. ARTHUR'S THEME (BEST THAT YOU CAN DO) [Christopher Cross; 1981; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

Christopher Cross is up there with Michael McDonald as the face of Yacht Rock, and this Academy Award winner for Best Song from the movie Arthur put Cross at the pinnacle of his success. He never came close to those heights again, but Yacht Rock gave his cannon (and career) a whole new life.

62. LONELY BOY [Andrew Gold; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #7]

Teenage psychopathy never sounded so good.

61. BEING WITH YOU [Smokey Robinson; 1981; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #2]

Smokey's "Being with You" was kept out of the #1 position because Kim Carnes' owned the top of the '81 charts with the behemoth "Bette Davis Eyes." So the story goes, Smokey loved Carnes' version of his own "More Love" from the year before that he wrote a song specifically for her...and that song was "Being with You." But it was such a strong tune that he opted to record it himself and eventually had to settle with it at #2, behind the person who the song was originally intended for.

60. HOW MUCH I FEEL [Ambrosia; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #3]

Ambrosia is another Yacht Rock giant whose slick soft pop sound and lush harmonies would epitomize the genre.

59. LIVING INSIDE MYSELF [Gino Vannelli; 1981; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #6]

Is this too intense for Yacht Rock? Maybe at times with Vannelli's head-bursting vocals. But it's a musical treasure trove, at times as dramatic as any Hamlet soliloquy, and Vannelli sings it like an overemotive Johnnie Ray resurrected with big hair.

58. JOJO [Boz Scaggs; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #17]

Smoothly soulful as it is , "Jojo" deals with the darker side of Yacht Rock. The title character is quite obviously a pimp, especially with lines like "fifty dollars, he'll get you all you want" or "His baby stays high...he keeps her on the street." As rough as the thematic waters may seem, the music is smooth sailing, the perfect fusion of pop, jazz and funk. All this and Toto, too.

57. WHAT YOU WON'T DO FOR LOVE [Bobby Caldwell; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #9]

Of course this made the list. A heart-shaped pressing of the song was released just in time for Valentine's Day, 1979, and cost a whopping $7.98 from consumers (which was the price of most LP's back then) . So many artists from Boys II Men, Michael Bolton and even Tupac Shakur either covered it or sampled its contagious mellowness.

56. LOVE TAKES TIME [Orleans; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #11]

At the time, here's how Cash Box described the music of this winner: "...synthesizer coloration, firm pounding beat, piano, searing guitar fills, tambourine and dynamic singing." In other words, 100% pure Yacht Rock!

55. KISS ON MY LIST [Hall & Oates; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

Certainly on my list of the best things in life.

54. SO INTO YOU [Atlanta Rhythm Section; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #7]

The lightest of Southern Rockers, Atlanta Rhythm Section's laid back brand of guitar rock suited the late 70's perfectly, a nice alternate to the disco pandemic but not quite in Lynryd Skynyrd territory either. Also, is the title "So Into You" a double entendre? And were the lyrics more sexually explicit than we ever imagined? " It's gonna be good, don't you know/From your head to your toe/Me into you, you into me, me into you..."

53. YOU'RE THE ONLY WOMAN [Ambrosia; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #13]

In sone ways Ambrosia may be the most Yacht Rocky of all groups (don't worry, Toto and Steely Dan will always give them a run for the money). But this song underscores the carefree feel of the genre, like reclining on a yacht with these words on the breeze in the background: "You and I've been in love too long/To worry about tomorrow/Here's a place where we both belong/I know you're the only woman I'm dreaming of..." Not worrying about tomorrow, just floating without a care in tthe world. Is there anything more yachty than that?

52. I'D REALLY LOVE TO SEE YOU TONIGHT [England Dan & John Ford Coley; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #2]

Ingenious opening, the listener privy to a one-way phone conversation: " Hello, yeah, it's been a while/Not much, how 'bout you?/I'm not sure why I called/I guess, I really just wanted to talk to you ..." It's up to the listener to decide whether the caller is pathetic or sweet. "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" may be the perfect easy listening song of all time, better than anything by Barry Manilow (who would cover it decades later); it's its sing-along boisterousness that saves it from being unceremoniously tossed into the Nyacht Rock bin.

51. EVERY TIME I THINK OF YOU [The Babys; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #13]

Another feel-good Babys bombast, pounding the power pop vibes in a song that's both intense and full of positive feelies.

50. ALL NIGHT LONG (ALL NIGHT) [Lionel Richie; 1983; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

This massive hit has a bit of everything, a sort of melting pot of styles--adult contemporary, pop, R&B, Richie's soothing easy listening vocals, all to a Caribbean beat. The song was everywhere in 1984, in the popular music video (directed by Five East Pieces' Bob Rafelson and produced by Mike Nesmith of the Monkees), heard in the premiere of "Miami Vice," and sung by Richie at the closing ceremonies of the '84 Olympics. And what is the translation of the lines, " Tom bo li de say de moi ya/Yeah jambo jumbo"? Don't even bothering going to Google Translate; turns out they're just gibberish with no deeper meaning. No deeper meaning, i.e. the way we like our Yacht Rock.

49. IF YOU LEAVE ME NOW [Chicago; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

So popular that it's featured in works as diverse as "The Modern Family," "South Park," Shaun of the Dead and even the video game, Grand Theft Auto V . It's perhaps the most soaring, lush, heartfelt and yearning ballad on the list, with Peter Cetera's lead vocals drowning listeners in waves of pure reverie.

48. JUST REMEMBER I LOVE YOU [Firefall; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #11]

Such a sober, serious song in such a vibrantly feel-good genre, and yet it's uplifting and filled with hope. I think of someone on the verge of suicide, maybe wanting to jump off a building or maybe seeking help calling a hotline, and the singer, perhaps a close friend, talking him or her down: " When there's so much trouble that you want to cry/When your love has crumbled and you don't know why/When your hopes are fading and they can't be found/Dreams have left you waiting, friends let you down..." But then the friend reminds the sorrowful soul, "just remember I love you and it will be all right" and that "maybe all your blues will wash away..." And that's really what Yacht Rock does, doesn't it? It washes those blues away.

47. BABY, COME TO ME [Patti Austin & James Ingram; 1982; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

As with so many songs on this list, Michael McDonald adds superb backing vocals here, in this enchanting ballad made famous by its appearance on "General Hospital" as Luke and Holly's love song.

46. HEY NINETEEN [Steely Dan; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #10]

An aging boomer can't connect with his young lover; not quite Nabokovian but close, especially when the leering singer exclaims to his youngling in the perviest way possible, "Skate a little lower now!" The 19-year-old girl in question doesn't even know who Aretha Franklin is; I was 18 when the song was released and I sure knew the Queen of Soul as did most of my peers. Who, I wondered way back when, is this ditsy girl? Perhaps the most startling thing about the work is the singer's unblinking dive into cocaine and alcohol in order to be able to deal with a world that is slowly leaving him behind: " The Cuervo Gold / The fine Colombian / Make tonight a wonderful thing..."

45. YOU BELONG TO ME [Carly Simon; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #6]

44. HE'S SO SHY [The Pointer Sisters; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #3]

43. THROUGH THE FIRE [Chaka Khan; 1984; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #60]

Yacht Rock is not known for its diversity. Of course there are several songs by people of color, and there are definitely strong women on the chart, but we would be remiss if we did not mention that overall the genre is mostly male and white. But the women who do appear on the list have created some of the finest tunes of them all. Carly Simon's wondrous "You Belong to Me," written by Simon and Michael McDonald with backing vocals by James Taylor, started as a Doobie ballad, but Simon's more poignant version actually bests the "Brothers." The Pointer Sisters are not Yacht Rock, but their hit, "He's So Shy," certainly is; that they sang it with Isaac on an infamous episode of "The Love Boat" is about the highest order of Yachtdom there is. And Chaka Khan's "Through the Fire," produced by David Foster, is one her all-time greatest songs, even though it didn't score big in the Land of the Hot-100; still, Khan's vocals are breathtaking in this scorching torchy ballad that is nothing short of Yacht Rock gold bullion.

42. TIME OUT OF MIND [Steely Dan; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #22]

One of the funkiest songs about heroin ("chasing the dragon") ever written.

41. AN EVERLASTING LOVE [Andy Gibb; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #5]

40. AFTER THE LOVE HAS GONE [Earth, Wind & Fire; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #2]

39. I CAN'T TELL YOU WHY [The Eagles; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #8]

38. HUMAN NATURE [Michael Jackson; 1982; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #7]

Not all Yacht Rock hits are by Yacht Rock artists, as is the case with these four songs. The Bee Gees are definitely not Yacht Rock, especially their disco hits, and neither is brother Andy Gibb...with one exception. Gibb's "An Everlasting Love" with its nonstop overlapping vocals (combined with Barry Gibb's falsetto and the string arrangement) make this irresistible. Earth, Wind & Fire's "After the Love Has Gone," another David Foster masterpiece, with its rousing vocals and brilliant use of horns, is EWF's most gorgeous tune. The Eagles, certainly not a Yacht Rock group (though often mistaken as such), has one hit in their oeuvre that's unadulterated YR: "I Can't Tell You Why," with Timothy B. Schmidt, pulling out his inner Smokey Robinson and Al Green, providing its stirring lead vocals. And Michael Jackson's Yacht Rock entry, "Human Nature" from the Thriller album , was backed by members of Toto, with some of Jackson's most lush vocals, and is the dictionary definition of the word "euphoric."

37. HOT ROD HEARTS [Robbie Dupree; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #15] There are so many hits in the rock era about two teenagers making love in a parked car, from "Night Movies" to "Paradise By the Dashboard Lights," but "Heart Rod Hearts" may be the most daring of them all in its own way: " Ten miles east of the highway/Hot sparks burnin' the night away/Two lips touchin' together/Cheek to cheek, sweatshirt to sweater/Young love born in a back seat/Two hearts pound out a back beat / Headlights, somebody's comin'..." And obviously that last lyric just quoted has a rather sordid double meaning.

36. JUST THE TWO OF US [Grover Washington, Jr. with Bill Withers; 1981; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #2]

This jazzy ballad, with Withers' heart full o' soul vocals, is a soft-jazz saxfest, later spawning Will Smith's cover (about fathers and sons), Bill Cosby's unlistenable "Just the Slew of Us," and, most hilariously, Dr. Evil's duet with Mini Me in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me .

35. MAGNET AND STEEL [Walter Egan; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #8]

Inspired by Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, who sings backup in it, "Magnet and Steel" is totally yachtriffic, with inspiring heavenly harmonies. A sort of musical snapshot of 1978, this light-rock masterwork is featured in the phenomenal Boogie Nights and the phlegmatic Deuce Bigalow: American Gigolo .

34. WHENEVER I CALL YOU FRIEND [Kenny Loggins with Stevie Nicks; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #5]

One of the great duet tracks on the list, written by Loggins and Melissa Manchester. When first released, because Stevie Nicks is not credited on the original 45 single, this was officially considered Loggins first solo Top-40 hit.

33. GIVE ME THE NIGHT [George Benson; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #4]

Yacht Rock was created for George Benson's jazzy-guitar, cool-funk sensibilities. Although "Give Me the Night" may border on disco, it's not quite there and rests firmly in our beloved Yacht Rock territory.

32. NEVER BE THE SAME [Christopher Cross; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #15]

Love never dies, not even after a break up, not even after you've found someone else; that's what this Christopher Cross song teaches us: " The years go by, there's always someone new/To try and help me forget about you/Time and again it does me no good/Love never feels the way that it should..."

31. TIME PASSAGES [Al Stewart; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #7]

There's a floating, drifting quality to the song, as '70's mellow as they come. The top single of the year on the Easy Listening charts, "Time Passages" has Al Stewart's thin voice singing, " Drifting into time passages / Years go falling in the fading light / Time passages/Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight..." If he had sung about a "yacht" rather than a "train," then this classic might rest even higher on the YR list.

30. REAL LOVE [The Doobie Brothers; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #5]

29. LOTTA LOVE [Nicolette Larson; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #7]

Nicolette Larson sings backup on the Doobie's third biggest hit, "Real Love," and lead on her sweet cover of Neil Young's "Lotta Love." Take the lyric, "It's gonna take a lotta love/To change the way things are..." In Young's version, he comes across as rather somber, yearning, on the verge of melancholia, like it's a wish that he knows can never be fulfilled; Larson sings with a Melanie-like playfulness to a disco-light beat, and in her hands the song becomes life-affirming, vivacious, with a somewhat positive can-do attitude that's not found in the original.

28. I'M NOT GONNA LET IT BOTHER ME TONIGHT [Atlanta Rhythm Section; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #14]

This song's sensibility is all Yacht Rock...that the world is in upheaval, and there are terrors out there waiting to destroy us, but who cares when we can save the worry for another day? This outlook stands as the true philosophy of procrastination found in Yacht Rock: " About all the pain and injustice / About all of the sorrow / We're living in a danger zone / The world could end tomorrow/But I'm not gonna let it bother me tonight..."

27. FEELS SO GOOD [Chuck Mangione; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #4]

The title of this flugelhorn-driven instrumental says it all.

26. ALL RIGHT [Christopher Cross; 1983; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #12]

If you're ever down and troubled, then do yourself a favor: Put on Christopher Cross' "All Right," with MM's patented backing vocals, and watch as the bad times wash away and a smile creeps upon your face. This stands as perhaps the most optimistic song ever written: "'Cause it's all right, think we're gonna make it/Think it might just work out this time..."

25. TURN YOUR LOVE AROUND [George Benson; 1981; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #5]

George Benson + Toto + David Foster + Jay Graydon on guitar + an early use of the Linn LM-1 Drum machine = Yacht Rock platinum status.

24. MINUTE BY MINUTE [The Doobie Brothers; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #14]

Listening to this Michael McDonald marvel of mellowness beats Xanax any day.

23. ONE HUNDRED WAYS [Quincy Jones and James Ingram; 1981; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #14]

What a perfect example of scrumptiously soft soul music with the velvet voice of Mr. Ingram leading the way, singing a litany of 100 things to romance his lady. He's never been better than a moment in this Grammy-winner, when he hits outrageous notes while singing, "Sacrifice if you care/Buy her some moonlight to wear..." To quote Robert Palmer: Simply irresistible.

22. I LOVE YOU [The Climax Blues Band; 1981; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #12]

This surely plays on rotation in heaven.

21. BAKER STREET [Gerry Rafferty; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #2]

Is this the coolest Top-5 hit of the 1970's? With Raphael Ravencroft's searing saxophone riff rivaling anything by Clarence Clemons, the answer must be a resounding YES!

20. FM (NO STATIC AT ALL) [Steely Dan; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #22]

Perhaps the only Top-40 hit where the songwriters dare to rhyme "Elvis" with "yells his" and sing about "grapefruit wine." Recorded as the title song for a little-known 1978 film, FM, the significance of this Grammy-winning Steely Dan song cannot go unnoticed. The year it was released was the first time FM radio (clearer sound, no static at all) superseded AM radio (too much static) in listening popularity. So, if you ran an AM station and had to play a song called "FM" in rotation-a song about your competitor, a radio format that was making you obsolete-then what would you do? In the case of some stations, they edited the Steely Dan track and put the "A" sound from the group's song "Aja" where the "F" in "FM" should be. Their newly fine-tuned tune would be called "AM," even though the repeated phrase of "no static at all" would now make no sense whatsoever.

19. COOL NIGHT [Paul Davis; 1981; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #11]

Paul Davis' ultimate love song, even stronger than his iconic "I Go Crazy." Its boppin' bliss shields the fact that the lead singer is lost: " I sometimes wonder why /All the flowers have to die / I dream about you /And now, Summer's come and gone / And the nights they seem so long ..." But this is Paul Davis, and nothing can bring him down, not when there's a cool night comin' and he invites his love to join him by the fire so that they can bring "back memories of a good life when this love was not so old..." The singer's optimism is so heartfelt, and this being Yacht Rock, we know that these two will ultimately get back together.

18. REMINISCING [Little River Band; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #3]

This slick throwback to a black-and-white Cole Porter world should be on any indispensable wedding reception playlist, starting with a young couple falling in love and ending when they're older, spending their hours looking back at their good times. You would think this melodic pop treasure would be a Paul McCartney fave, but in an interesting twist, it was John Lennon who claimed "Reminiscing" as one of his favorite songs.

17. DEACON BLUES [Steely Dan; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #19]

This slick, sprawling mega-work about a midlife crisis is the most epic of Yacht Rock songs, its jazzy War and Peace , a veritable A la Recherche du Tremps Perdu . If you want to hear a fan of the University of Alabama cheer, then play them this line: "They call Alabama the Crimson Tide/Call me Deacon Blues." Still, the song is so seriously sober in tone that few people, even the most ardent of Alabama fanatics, will be yelling "Roll Tide!" after hearing it.

16. BABY COME BACK [Player; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

Tranquil and comforting even though it was written after two of the Player members suffered recent break-ups. Pop culture has had a heyday with its infectious hook, with "Baby Come Back" popping up in the Transformers, "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill" and even a "General Hospital" ep featuring the band themselves playing this classic live.

15. AFRICA [Toto; 1982; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

The Gods of Yacht Rock blessed the reign of this "Africa," Toto's sole #1 single that has been hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as "The New 'Don't Stop Believin'." It's been utilized in such works as Stranger Things, South Park and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City . During the funeral of Nelson Mandela, CBS accompanied the footage with this song, raising more than one eyebrow. But if you haven't heard the song in awhile, or have never heard it (who are you?), then please heed the song's advice: "Hurry, boy, it's waiting there for you!"

14. MOONLIGHT FEELS RIGHT [Starbuck; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #3]

"The wind blew some luck in my direction/I caught it in my hands today..." One of the earliest Yacht Rock ventures on the list, with nods to French Connections, Ole Miss, the Chesapeake Bay, Southern Belles ("hell at night") and 1974 graduates ("a class of '74 gold ring"). According to Casey Kasem on AT-40, it was also the first song to chart that featured a marimba. Wafts along so joyfully, complete with suggestive giggles at the end of a particularly evocative verse.

13. COOL CHANGE [Little River Band; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #10]

In its own way, perhaps the yachtiest song on the list, a plea for escape, to come to terms with nature, to sail away on the "cool and bright clear water." It's not unlike Thoreau's "Walden Pond" set to music: "Well, I was born in the sign of water/And it's there that I feel my best/The albatross and the whales, they are my brothers/It's kind of a special feeling/When you're out on the sea alone/Staring at the full moon like a lover..." With "Cool Change," we don't need to journey outdoors to escape by emracing nature, to climb mountains or to sail the seas; we have the song itself which, to this listener, becomes the perfect escape without ever having to leave the house.

12. THIS IS IT [Kenny Loggins; 1979; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #11]

"It's not a love song," Loggins once said. "It's a life song." If you want proof of American exceptionalism, go no further than here, because this is it . Although written for personal reasons, the song was needed when America was a bit down and out, "our backs to the corner" so to speak: Long gas lines, the Three Miles Island nuclear catastrophe, the cold war in its iciest state in years, and American hostages in Iran. And this song said it best: "Sometimes I believe/We'll always survive/Now I'm not so sure..." But then he stands tall and proclaims: "For once in your life/Here's your miracle/Stand up and fight!" I look at today, when America and the world once again are down and out (with soaring gas prices, gun violence, Russia invading the Ukraine and extreme tribalism); it's not a bad idea to play "This Is It" at full volume in order to lift our spirits, to help us stand up and fight through these dark days.

11. RIDE LIKE THE WIND [Christopher Cross; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #2]

It's like something you'd find in a Sam Peckinpah film: A murderer of ten people is on the run, escaping inevitable execution (by hanging), chased by a posse all the way "to the border of Mexico." And yes, in "Ride Like the Wind," the bad guy gets away with it in this thrilling ride of a song, both driving and jazzy, with the trumpeting death horns and Michael McDonald's background vocals seemingly chasing the outlaw lead singer. Only recently I discovered that the line in the song is "gunned down ten," not "Gunga Din"; am I the only one who misunderstood these lyrics for most of my life?

10. LOWDOWN [Boz Scaggs; 1976; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #3]

Here's the "dirty lowdown" (the honest truth) about "Lowdown." Boz Scaggs reinvented himself as the sunglasses-at-night bastion of cool with this soft-funk, discofied killer of a track. It was written by Scaggs and David Paich, their first collaboration; Paich, as you may know, would later go on to form the group Toto. Their creation would be honored with a Grammy win for best R&B song, and Scaggs would become the first white artist to win the award in that particular category. It could have also been one of the great additions to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which the filmmakers wanted, but Boz's manager nixed the idea. They lost tons of money and popularity by settling for the soundtrack of the trauma-drama, Looking for Mr. Goodbar , where incidentally I first heard the song and wound up playing it over and over again long after it was a Top-10 hit.

9. LOVE WILL FIND A WAY [Pablo Cruise; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #6]

"Shadow Dancing" may have been the #1 song of '78, but it's this Pablo Cruise rollicking heap of pop brilliance that overfilled the radio airwaves that summer the way ivy covers the walls of Harvard. It was everywhere, and you couldn't escape it: "Once you get past the pain/You'll learn to find your love again." Such optimism, such hope, "Love Will Find a Way" became the signature hit of that fun-filled summer. It wasn't deep, but don't worry, it was happy. Pablo Cruise actually exemplifies the YR genre, the positive vibes perfect for summertime paradise by a band long forgotten, now remembered endearingly and, due to the recent adoration of Yacht Rock, justifiably immortalized.

8. ROSANNA [Toto; 1982; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #2]

The ultimate Toto tune and, thus, one of the Ultimate Yacht Rock entries. Named after Rosanna Arquette, the song became the summer anthem of '82, nesting at #2 for five weeks. The song's West Side Story -inspired music video featured Patrick Swayze, a year before The Outsiders, in a small part and Cynthia Rhodes as the title girl. Sylvester Stallone, who was directing Stayin' Alive at the time, saw Rhodes in the video and immediately cast her as a lead in his film. Stayin' Alive turned out to be a bad film, but it's a great story.

7. PEG [Steely Dan; 1977; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #11]

Welcome to L.A. where we're at a questionable photoshoot for an actress/model of perhaps ill-repute named Peg; narrating it is a disgruntle, sarcastic boyfriend who keeps her pictures with him and loves her even more due to her fame or infamy. The mention of foreign movies in the lyrics brings to mind seedier fair for our Pag, perhaps pornography. But any Steely Dan darkness that shrouds "Peg" is eclipsed by the jubilant music, so springy, so animated, so full of verve. Add Michael McDonald's patented backing vocals and Jay Graydon's guitar work, and you have nothing less than a fist-in-the-air triumph .

6. I KEEP FORGETTIN' (EVERY TIME YOU'RE NEAR) [Michael McDonald; 1982; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #4]

The captain of our Yacht Rock, Michael McDonald is everywhere in this 101. If you take only the top 12 songs, his voiceprints can be found somewhere in following: #12, #11, #7, #6, #3 and #1. And this song, his first big solo scribed by both McDonald and Ed Sanford (of the Sanford Townsend Band, famous for "Smoke from a Distant Fire"), obviously typifies the genre as strong as Coca Cola typifies soda. It even boasts the title of an episode of the online video series, "Yacht Rock," which after you've seen it is something you'll never forget.

5. STEAL AWAY [Robbie Dupree; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #6]

Yes, it sounds a little too close to the bubbly beat of "What a Fool Believes." And yes, it's the only time you will ever see Robbie Dupree in a Top-10 list during the modern era. But this is a wonder of Yacht Rocky delight, so shallow, so sweetly stupid, and so infectious to the ear. Listening to it might zap a few IQ points away from you, but the song is so agreeable, so toe-tappingly charming, who cares?

4. BIGGEST PART OF ME [Ambrosia; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #3]

Michael McDonald did not sing lead or backing vocals in "Biggest Part of Me," and he didn't write it, but he does have a footnote in its creation. When Ambrosia's David Pack scribed the song, the lead singer questioned his own lyrics: " There's a new sun arisin' /I can see a new horizon /That will keep me realizin'/You're the biggest part of me..." He wondered if it was too saccharine sweet for what he wanted, so he called the authority of such things, Michael McDonald. McDonald gave the thumbs up and the rest is Yacht Rock history.

3. HEART TO HEART [Kenny Loggins; 1982; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #15]

QUESTION: What do you get when your so-good-it-makes-you-wanna-cuss song features the Holy Trinity of Yacht Rock: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald and David Foster? ANSWER: A masterpiece.

2. SAILING [Christopher Cross; 1980; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

Yacht Rock used to be known as the West Coast style, and "Sailing" is its finest example. Hearing it is akin to being on that yacht, wearing that silly captain's hat, and just chilling as the boat gently rocks with the breeze. Its accolades are many: Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Arrangemt of the Year and Best New Artist of the Year. Wow. And time has never erased it from our lives. Over the years you could hear the song on "WKRP in Cincinnati," "Family Guy," "Cobra Kai" and Hyundai TV commercials. I don't care who you are or where you are, "Sailing" automatically takes the listener "not far down from paradise." And, like me, you can find tranquility, just you wait and see.

And now for the #1 Yacht Rock song of all time...

1. WHAT A FOOL BELIEVES [The Doobie Brothers; 1978; Chart Position on the Billboard Hot 100: #1]

All right, Mr. and Mrs. Howell, our journey ends here, with this obvious Yacht Rock classic, a song written by our popes of YR, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, where the stars were aligned upon its creation and everything went right. It hit Number One on the charts as well as winning Song of the Year and Record of the Year Grammy Awards. But it's the delectable beat fusing light-jazz and lighter-funk combined with McDonald's smooth velvet vocals that takes "What a Fool Believes" into the coveted top spot. No one can argue that this is the genre's finest three minutes and forty-one seconds. When it pops up on the radio or on your playlist, the world doesn't seem to be such a bad place, not with sophisticated keen pop like this. You have to turn up the volume. And It rightfully stands tall at the Number One position, the bouncy Citizen Kane of Yacht Rock.

And that's that. Have a great summer!

Tampa/St. Petersburg SHOWS


Powerstories Theatre (7/11-7/21)

Straz Center for the Performing Arts (10/01-6/08)

Carrollwood Cultural Center (7/26-8/04)

Carrollwood Players Theatre (9/06-9/28)

Manatee Performing Arts Center (6/28-6/28)

Manatee Performing Arts Center (8/15-8/18)

Stageworks Theatre (7/10-7/21)

Carrollwood Cultural Center (8/01-8/01)

Carrollwood Players Theatre (7/19-7/28)

MAD Theatre of Tampa (6/14-6/30)
   

Recommended For You

broadway world

an image, when javascript is unavailable

Yacht Rock: Album Guide

By David Browne

David Browne

Summer’s here and time is right for dancing … on the deck of a large nautical vessel. During the late Seventies and early Eighties, the radio was dominated by silver-tongued white-dude crooners with names like Rupert and Gerry, emoting over balmy R&B beats, swaying saxes, and dishwasher-clean arrangements. Though it didn’t have a name, the genre — soft rock you could dance to — was dismissed by serious rock fans as fluffy and lame. But thanks to a web series in the mid-2000s, the style — belatedly named “ yacht rock ” — has since spawned a satellite-radio channel, tribute bands, and a Weezer cover of Toto’s “Africa.” Is the modern love of the music ironic or sincere? Hard to say, yet there’s no denying yacht rock is a legit sound with a vibe all its own that produced a surprising amount of enduring music perfectly at home in summer. (John Mayer even tips his own sailor’s hat to the genre on his new “Last Train Home” single, and even the aqua-blue cover of his upcoming Sob Rock album.) The resumption of the Doobie Brothers’ 50th anniversary tour, postponed last year due to COVID-19 but scheduled to restart in August, is the cherry atop the Pina colada.

Boz Scaggs, Silk Degrees (1976)

Before yacht rock was an identifiable genre, Scaggs (no fan of the term, as he told Rolling Stone in 2018) set the standard for what was to come: sharp-dressed white soul, burnished ballads that evoked wine with a quiet dinner, and splashes of Me Decade decadence (the narrator of the pumped “Lido Shuffle” is setting up one more score before leaving the country). Add in the Philly Soul homage “What Can I Say,” the burbling life-on-the-streets homage “Lowdown,” and the lush sway of “Georgia,” and Silk Degrees , internationally or not, set a new high bar for Seventies smoothness.

Steely Dan, Aja (1977)

The sophisticated high-water mark of yacht, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s masterpiece is the midway point between jazz and pop, with tricky tempo shifts, interlocking horn and keyboard parts, and pristine solos. Not settling for easygoing period clichés, these love songs, so to speak, are populated by a sleazy movie director (the gorgeous rush of “Peg”), a loser who still hopes to be a jazzman even if the odds are against him (the heart-tugging “Deacon Blues”), and a guy whose nodding-out girlfriend is probably a junkie (“Black Cow”). The most subversive cruise you’ll ever take.

The Doobie Brothers, Minute by Minute (1978)

The Doobies got their start as a biker-y boogie band, but they smoothed things out for Minute by Minute . Highlighted by “What a Fool Believes,” the unstoppable Michael McDonald-Kenny Loggins co-write, the LP piles on romantic turmoil, falsetto harmonies, and plenty of spongy electric piano. But it also proves how much personality and muscle the Doobies could bring to what could be a generic sound. McDonald’s husky, sensitive-guy delivery shrouds the unexpectedly bitter title song (“You will stay just to watch me, darlin’/Wilt away on lies from you”)  and honoring their biker roots, “Don’t Stop to Watch the Wheels” is about taking a lady friend for a ride on your hog.

Editor’s picks

Every awful thing trump has promised to do in a second term, the 250 greatest guitarists of all time, the 500 greatest albums of all time, the 50 worst decisions in movie history.

Further Listening

Seals & crofts, get closer (1976).

The Dylan-goes-electric moment of yacht, “Get Closer” validated the idea that folkie singer-songwriters could put aside their guitars (and mandolin), tap into their R&B side and cross over in ways they never imagined. In addition to the surprising seductiveness of the title hit, Get Closer has plenty of yacht-rock pleasures. In “Goodbye Old Buddies,” the narrator informs his pals that he can’t hang out anymore now that he’s met “a certain young lady,” but in the next song, “Baby Blue,” another woman is told, “There’s an old friend in me/Tellin’ me I gotta be free.” A good captain follows the tide where it takes him.

Christopher Cross, Christopher Cross  (1979)

Cross’ debut swept the 1981 Grammys for a reason: It’s that rare yacht-rock album that’s graceful, earnest, and utterly lacking in smarm. Songs like the politely seductive “Say You’ll Be Mine” and the forlorn “Never Be the Same” have an elegant pop classicism, and the yacht anthem “Sailing” could be called a powered-down ballad. Fueled by a McDonald cameo expertly parodied on SCTV , the propulsive “Ride Like the Wind” sneaks raw outlaw lyrics (“Lived nine lives/Gunned down ten”) into its breezy groove, perfecting the short-lived gangster-yacht subgenre.

Rupert Holmes, Partners in Crime (1979)

The album that made Holmes a soft-rock star is known for “Escape (The Piña Colada Song),” which sports a made-for-karaoke chorus and a plot twist worthy of a wide-collar O. Henry. But what distinguishes the album is the Steely Dan-level musicianship and Holmes’ ambitious story songs, each sung with Manilow-esque exuberance. The title track equates a hooker and her john to co-workers at a department store, “Lunch Hour” ventures into afternoon-delight territory, and “Answering Machine” finds a conflicted couple trading messages but continually being cut off by those old-school devices.

Steely Dan, Gaucho (1980)

The Dan’s last studio album before a lengthy hiatus doesn’t have the consistency of Aja, but Gaucho cleverly matches their most vacuum-sealed music with their most sordid and pathetic cast of characters. A seedy older guy tries to pick up younger women in “Hey Nineteen,” another loser goes in search of a ménage à trois in “Babylon Sisters,” a coke dealer delivers to a basketball star in “Glamour Profession,” and the narrator of “Time Out of Mind” just wants another heroin high. It’s the dark side of the yacht.

Going Deeper

Michael mcdonald, if that’s what it takes  (1982).

Imagine a Doobie Brothers album entirely comprised of McDonald songs and shorn of pesky guitar solos or Patrick Simmons rockers, and you have a sense of McDonald’s first and best post-Doobs album. If That’s What it Takes builds on the approach he nailed on “What a Fool Believes” but amps up the sullen-R&B side of Mac’s music. His brooding remake of Lieber and Stoller’s “I Keep Forgettin’” is peak McDonald and the title track approaches the propulsion of Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like the Wind.” With his sad-sack intensity, McDonald sounds like guy at a seaside resort chewing over his mistakes and regrets – with, naturally, the aid of an electric piano.

Related Stories

Yacht rock babylon, taylor swift live in london: the eras tour sets a new bar for stadium shows.

Kenny Loggins, Keep the Fire (1979)

Loggins’ journey from granola folk rocker to pleasure-boat captain embodies the way rock grew more polished as the Seventies wore on. Anchored by the percolating-coffeemaker rhythms and modestly aggro delivery of “This Is It,” another McDonald collaboration, Keep the Fire sets Loggins’ feathery voice to smooth-jazz saxes and R&B beats, and Michael Jackson harmonies beef up the soul quotient in “Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong.” The secret highlight is “Will It Last,” one of the sneakiest yacht tracks ever, fading to a finish after four minutes, then revving back up with some sweet George Harrison-style slide guitar.

Dr. Hook, Sometimes You Win  (1979)

Earlier in the Seventies, these jokesters established themselves with novelty hits like “The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone,’’ but they soon paddled over to unabashed disco-yacht. Sometimes You Win features three of their oiliest ear worms: “Sexy Eyes,” “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman” and “Better Love Next Time,” all oozing suburban pickup bars and the somewhat desperate dudes who hang out there. The album, alas, does not include “Sharing the Night Together,” recently reborn by way of its sardonic use in last year’s Breaking Bad spinoff El Camino .

Carly Simon, Boys in the Trees  (1978)

As a trailblazing female singer-songwriter, Simon was already a star by the time yacht launched. Boys in the Trees features her beguiling contribution to the genre, “You Belong to Me,” a collaboration with the ubiquitous Michael McDonald. The Doobies cut it first, but Simon’s version adds an air of yearning and hushed desperation that makes it definitive. The album also packs in a yacht-soul cover of James Taylor’s “One Man Woman” and a “lullaby for a wide-eyed guy” called “Tranquillo (Melt My Heart),” all proving that men didn’t have a stranglehold on this style.

Anchors Aweigh

More smooth hits for your next high-seas adventure.

“BREEZIN’”

George Benson, 1976

The guitarist and Jehovah’s Witness made the leap from midlevel jazz act to crossover pop star with a windswept instrumental that conveys the yacht spirit as much as any vocal performance.

“WHATCHA GONNA DO?”

Pablo Cruise, 1976

Carefree bounce from a San Francisco band with the best name ever for a soft-rock act — named, fittingly, after a chill Colorado buddy.

“BAKER STREET”

Gerry Rafferty, 1978

Rafferty brought a deep sense of lonely-walk-by-the-bay melancholy to this epic retelling of a night on the town, in which Raphael Ravenscroft’s immortal sax awakens Rafferty from his morning-after hangover.

“REMINISCING”

Little River Band, 1978

The Aussie soft rockers delivered a slurpy valentine sung in the voice of an old man looking back on his “lifetime plan” with his wife. Innovative twist: flugelhorn solo instead of sax.

“WHENEVER I CALL YOU ‘FRIEND’ ”

Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks, 1978

After its ethereal intro, this rare genre duet grows friskier with each verse, with both Loggins and Nicks getting more audibly caught up in the groove — and the idea of “sweet love showing us a heavenly light.”

“LOTTA LOVE”

Nicolette Larson, 1978

Neil Young’s sad-boy shuffle is transformed into a luscious slice of lounge pop by the late Larson. Adding an extra layer of poignancy, she was in a relationship with Young around that time.

“STEAL AWAY”

Robbie Dupree, 1980

Is it real, or is it McDonald? Actually, it’s the best Doobies knockoff — a rinky-dink (but ingratiating) distant cousin to “What a Fool Believes” that almost inspired McDonald to take legal action.

“TAKE IT EASY”

Archie James Cavanaugh, 1980

Cult rarity by the late Alaskan singer-songwriter that crams in everything you’d want in a yacht song: disco-leaning bass, smooth-jazz guitar, sax, and a lyric that lives up to its title even more than the same-titled Eagles song.

“BIGGEST PART OF ME”

Ambrosia, 1980

Ditching the prog-classical leanings of earlier albums, this trio headed straight for the middle of the waterway with this Doobies-lite smash. Bonus points for lyrics that reference a “lazy river.”

“I CAN’T GO FOR THAT (NO CAN DO)”

Daryl Hall and John Oates, 1981

The once unstoppable blue-eyed soul duo were never pure yacht, but the easy-rolling beats and shiny sax in this Number One hit got close. Hall adds sexual tension by never specifying exactly what he can’t go for.

“COOL NIGHT”

Paul Davis, 1981

The Mississippi crooner-songwriter gives a master class on how to heat up a stalled romance: Pick a brisk evening, invite a female acquaintance over, and suggest . . . lighting a fire.

“KEY LARGO”

Bertie Higgins, 1981

Yacht’s very own novelty hit is corny but deserves props for quoting from not one but two Humphrey Bogart films ( Key Largo and Casablanca ).

“AFRICA”

The same year that members of Toto did session work on Michael Jackson’s Thriller, they released the Mount Kilimanjaro of late-yacht hits.

“SOUTHERN CROSS”

Crosby, Stills, and Nash, 1982

The combustible trio’s gusty contribution to the genre has choppy-water rhythms and enough nautical terminology for a sailing manual.

See the Decemberists Showcase New Album Tracks for 'Saturday Sessions'

  • saturday sessions
  • By Daniel Kreps

Justin Timberlake Addresses His 'Tough Week' at First Concert After DWI Arrest

  • 'ups and downs'

Willie Nelson Misses Launch of Outlaw Music Festival Due to Illness

  • 'not feeling well'

Bob Dylan Stuns Fans With New Set, Surprise Covers on Outlaw Festival Launch

  • Zimmy Returns
  • By Andy Greene
  • The Eras Tour
  • By Will Richards

Most Popular

Donald sutherland, star of 'mash,' 'klute' and 'hunger games,' dies at 88, 'resident alien' renewed for season 4 and changing networks, kylie kelce’s heartwarming photo of her 3 daughters has fans calling one girl a ‘travis twin’, ella mai, jayson tatum pregnancy rumors fly after nba finals, you might also like, the team behind sundance-winning doc ‘porcelain war’ on sharing the film with the world: ‘what is happening in the ukraine can happen to any one of us’, pharrell williams and jackson wang toast ‘a deeper connection’ at paris fashion week dinner, the best yoga mats for any practice, according to instructors.

Rolling Stone is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2024 Rolling Stone, LLC. All rights reserved.

Verify it's you

Please log in.

  • COVID-19 News
  • Submit A Story Idea
  • Submit A Picture Or Video
  • Main Street Festival
  • Tennessee Event Venues
  • Submit An Event
  • Eat & Drink
  • Entertainment
  • Kids & Family
  • Fashion and Style
  • Things to Do
  • Relocating to Williamson County
  • Morning Source
  • High School Football Scores
  • Nashville Predators
  • Nashville SC
  • Nashville Sounds
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Columbia State Community College
  • Tennessee Volunteers
  • Vanderbilt Commodores
  • Search Local Homes
  • Battle Ground Academy
  • Brentwood Academy
  • Brentwood High School
  • Centennial High School
  • Christ Presbyterian Academy
  • Fairview High School
  • Father Ryan High School
  • Franklin High School
  • Franklin Road Academy
  • Grace Christian Academy
  • Independence High School
  • Nolensville High School
  • Page High School
  • Ravenwood High School
  • Spring Hill High School
  • Summit High School
  • Cool Springs
  • Spring Hill
  • Nolensville
  • Thompsons Station

Williamson Source

Playlist of the Week: Top 100 Songs of Yacht Rock

Featured Playlist

Each week we’re featuring a playlist to get your mind going and help you assemble your favorites. This week we take a deep dive into the soft rock hits of the late ’70s and early ’80s, which have come to be known in some circles as Yacht Rock. The term Yacht Rock generally refers to music in the era where yuppies enjoyed sipping champaign on their yachts — a concept explored in the original web series Yacht Rock, which debuted in 2005 and has developed a cult following. Artists most commonly thought of in the Yacht Rock era include Michael McDonald, Ambrosia, 10cc, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, and Christopher Cross. Yacht Rock has become the muse of a great number of tribute bands, and is the current subject of a short-run channel on Sirius XM.

Here is a stab at the Top 100 Songs of Yacht Rock — not necessarily in rank order, with a few more added for honorable mention. We welcome your comments. What songs are ranked too high? What songs are ranked too low? What songs are missing? Make your case. Also, please let us know concepts for playlists you’d like to see — or share a favorite list of your own.

ArtistTitle
1Steely DanHey Nineteen
2Herb AlpertRoute 101
3Robbie DupreeSteal Away
4Jan Hammer GroupDon't You Know
5Blues ImageRide Captain Ride
6Toto/Cheryl LynnGeorgy Porgy
7Gerry RaffertyRight Down The Line
8Paul YoungEvery Time You Go Away
9Boz ScaggsJojo
10Johnny NashI Can See Clearly Now
11Daryl Hall/John OatesSara Smile
12OrleansDance With Me
13Olivia Newton JohnMagic
14Seals & CroftsSummer Breeze
15Lionel RichieAll Night Long
16Fleetwood MacYou Make Loving Fun
17Steely DanDeacon Blues
18Christopher CrossRide Like The Wind
19Little River BandCool Change
20Jackson BrowneSomebody's Baby
2110ccDreadlock Holiday
22Dr. HookWhen You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman
23Boz ScaggsLowdown
24PlayerThis Time I'm In It For Love
25Fleetwood MacEverywhere
26Steely DanPeg
27Todd RundgrenI Saw The Light
28Gerry RaffertyBaker Street
29EaglesOne Of These Nights
30James IngramYah-Mo Be There
3110ccI'm Not In Love
32AmbrosiaBiggest Part Of Me
33Terri GibbsSomebody's Knockin'
34Atlanta Rhythm SectionSo In To You
35Boz ScaggsLido Shuffle
36Steve Miller BandWild Mountain Honey
37Michael McDonaldI Gotta Try
38Matthew WilderBreak My Stride
39England Dan & John Ford ColeyI'd Really Love To See You Tonight
40PlayerBaby Come Back
41Kenny LogginsThis Is It
42Michael McDonaldI Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)
43TotoRosanna
44Daryl Hall/John OatesKiss On My List
45The Doobie BrothersWhat A Fool Believes
46Christopher CrossSailing
47Loggins & MessinaWatching The River Run
48EaglesThe Long Run
49Looking GlassBrandy (You're A Fine Girl)
50BreadEverything I Own
51Steely DanReelin' in the Years
52Joe JacksonSteppin' Out
53Jackson BrowneDoctor My Eyes
54Sanford & TownsendSmoke from a Distant Fire
55Bobby CaldwellWhat You Won't Do For Love
56Fleetwood MacRhiannon
57AceHow Long
58Daryl Hall/John OatesRich Girl
59TotoAfrica
60Steely DanDo It Again
61Bertie HigginsKey Largo
62Rupert HolmesEscape (The Pina Colada Song)
63Little River BandReminiscing
64Jimmy BuffettMargaritaville
65Fleetwood MacDreams
66FirefallJust Remember I Love You
67EaglesI Can't Tell You Why
68EaglesThe Best Of My Love
69EaglesTake It To The Limit
70EaglesTequila Sunrise
71ChicagoSaturday In The Park
72Bob WelchSentimental Lady
73AmericaSister Golden Hair
74AmericaA Horse With No Name
75AmbrosiaHow Much I Feel
76Alan ParsonsEye In The Sky
77Air SupplyLost In Love
78Steely DanDirty Work
79Steely DanOnly A Fool Would Say That
80OrleansStill The One
81Stephen BishopSinking In An Ocean Of Tears
8210ccThe Things We Do For Love
83AmericaVentura Highway
84Al StewartYear Of The Cat
85BreadBaby I'm A Want You
86FirefallYou Are The Woman
87George BensonGimme The Night
88Barbara Streisand/Barry GibbGuilty
89Christopher CrossArthur's Theme
90Marty BalinHearts
91PocoBarbados
92Daryl Hall/John OatesI Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
93Al StewartTime Passages
94Jay FergusonThunder Island
95Dr. HookSexy Eyes
96Donald FagenI.G.Y.
97Michael McDonaldGotta Try
98BreadMake It With You
99Pablo CruiseWhatcha Gonna Do
100Doobie BrothersDependin' On You
101Ozark Mountain DaredevilsJackie Blue
102Pablo CruiseLove Will Find A Way
103StarbuckMoonlight Feels Right
104Billy OceanCaribbean Queen
105Linda RonstadtOoh Baby Baby
106Hues CorporationRock The Boat
107Loggins & MessinaDanny's Song
108Rupert HolmesAnswering Machine
109Stephen BishopOn And On
110BreadThe Guitar Man
111Seals & CroftsDiamond Girl
112Air SupplyEven The Nights Are Better
113AmbrosiaYou're The Only Woman
114George BensonBreezin'
115Daryl Hall/John OatesShe's Gone
116Dave LogginsPlease Come To Boston
117Rickie Lee JonesChuck E.'s In Love
118Captain/TennilleLove Will Keep Us Together
119Dr. HookBetter Love Next Time
120ChilliwackI Believe
121Crosby, Stills & NashSouthern Cross
122Climax Blues BandCouldn't Get It Right
123Gilbert O'SullivanAlone Again (Naturally)
124AmericaDaisy Jane
125Beach BoysSail On, Sailor

Please join our FREE Newsletter

Featured Local Savings

Related articles more from author, grace bowers raises $30k for musiccares® & voices for a safer tennessee, how to attend a free post malone concert in nashville, why the dmp band is the perfect choice for live music at your next event, close to home news, top stories from june 21, 2024, oscar mayer wienermobile heads to middle tn, williamson health to host blood drive ahead of july 4th holiday, jim colvin to become brentwood police chief in march 2025, new downtown franklin banners feature main street icons, close to home events, 2024 events at the nashville superspeedway, brentfest returns june 22 with spazmatics, annual community event showcases spring hill, williamson weekend: 5 happenings this weekend, at&t hosting hiring event on june 20, heritage foundation of williamson county announces late night party chair for..., josh ross announces headlining single again tour, gwar to bring the stoned age tour to nashville.

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Statement
  • Copyright Infringement Claims

YACHT ROCK | TOP 100 SONGS

70s + 80s Soft Rock for a day on the boat. Island tunes, chill summer hits + nothing but smooth sailing while jamming to hits from TOTO, Looking Glass, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates + more.

99 Songs, 6 hours, 40 minutes

More By Filtr

Featured artists, looking glass, earth, wind & fire, kenny loggins, christopher cross, the doobie brothers, daryl hall & john oates, rupert holmes, seals & crofts, bobby caldwell, africa, middle east, and india.

  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Congo, The Democratic Republic Of The
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Niger (English)
  • Congo, Republic of
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania, United Republic Of
  • Turkmenistan
  • United Arab Emirates

Asia Pacific

  • Indonesia (English)
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Malaysia (English)
  • Micronesia, Federated States of
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Solomon Islands
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • France (Français)
  • Deutschland
  • Luxembourg (English)
  • Moldova, Republic Of
  • North Macedonia
  • Portugal (Português)
  • Türkiye (English)
  • United Kingdom

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina (Español)
  • Bolivia (Español)
  • Virgin Islands, British
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile (Español)
  • Colombia (Español)
  • Costa Rica (Español)
  • República Dominicana
  • Ecuador (Español)
  • El Salvador (Español)
  • Guatemala (Español)
  • Honduras (Español)
  • Nicaragua (Español)
  • Paraguay (Español)
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • St. Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Uruguay (English)
  • Venezuela (Español)

The United States and Canada

  • Canada (English)
  • Canada (Français)
  • United States
  • Estados Unidos (Español México)
  • الولايات المتحدة
  • États-Unis (Français France)
  • Estados Unidos (Português Brasil)
  • 美國 (繁體中文台灣)

The 25 Best Yacht Rock Songs Of All Time

Yacht Rock isn’t exactly a genre. It’s more a state of mind. It is the musical equivalent of a mid-afternoon mimosa nap in some nautical location—a cool breeze of lite-FM confection with the substance of a romance novel and the machismo of a Burt Reynolds mustache comb.

But what exactly is Yacht Rock?

Yacht Rock is ‘70s soft schlock about boats, love affairs, and one-night stands.

Typified by artists like Christopher Cross, Rupert Holmes, and Pablo Cruise, Yacht Rock is not only easy to mock, but it’s also deserving of the abuse. There’s a sensitive 70s male brand of chauvinism that permeates this material—like somehow because you could schnarf an 8-ball of cocaine and sail a boat into the sunset, your indulgences and marital infidelity were actually kind of sexy. Cheap pickup lines and beardly come-ons abound.

And yet, this stuff is irresistible on a slow summer day. It reeks of sunshine and laziness, and couldn’t we all use a little of both?

These are the 25 Best Yacht Rock Songs, in order. Zero suspense. (Sorry if that’s less fun for you).

If you would like to learn more about Yacht Rock without getting a sailing license, read on…

What are the qualifications for inclusion on our list?

So Yacht Rock refers to a type of soft rock, right? But there’s a ton of soft rock out there that doesn’t fit the bill. There’s no room on my boat for Barry Manilow. At the Copa? Sure. But not so much on my boat. So what makes a great yacht rock song exactly?

Ideally, one or more of these themes will be present:

  • Finding the love of your life;
  • Having a memorable one-night stand; or 
  • Doing something nautical.

These features pretty much capture everything that’s great about this milieu. But there’s also an important cheese factor at play here. While Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, CSN, and the Doobie Brothers all made songs that might qualify for inclusion here, the artists themselves are–let’s just say it–too good to be considered Yacht Rock.

We’ll make sure to include them in our deluxe playlist at the article’s conclusion.

But in order for a song to be considered for our list, it must be at least slightly embarrassing. Case in point, the top song on our list…

1. “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes

“The Pina Colada Song” is arguably the most perfect embodiment of yacht rock, fulfilling, as it does, all three of the qualifications cited above. Holmes sings about making love in the dunes, attempts to cheat on his wife, then ultimately, rediscovers that his “old lady” is actually the love he’s been searching for all along. That’s the holy trinity of Yacht Rock themes, all wrapped up in a breezy story of casual adultery. And at the turn of a new decade, listeners were feeling it. Released as a single in 1979, “Escape” stood at the top of the charts during the last week of the year. Falling to #2 in the new year, it returned to the top spot in the second week of 1980. This made it the first song to top the charts in two separate, consecutive decades. Fun fact: Rupert Holmes never drank a Pina Colada in his life. He just thought the lyric sounded right. Hard to argue that point.

2. “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by The Looking Glass

Formed at Rutgers University in 1969, Looking Glass topped the charts in 1972 with the tale of a lovelorn barmaid in a harbor town haunted by lonely sailors. It would be the band’s only hit. Lead singer Elliot Lurie would go on to a brief solo career before becoming head of the music department for the 20th Century Fox movie studio in the ’80s and ’90s. That means he was the musical supervisor for the soundtrack to Night at the Roxbury . Do with that information what you will. And with respect to “Brandy,” see the film Guardians of the Galaxy 2 for Kurt Russell’s surprisingly detailed treatise on its lyrical genius.

3. “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts

The title track from the soft-rock duo’s breakout 1972 record, “Summer Breeze” is an incurable earworm, a bittersweet twilight dream that captures everything that’s right about Lite FM. From an album inhabited by Wrecking Crew vets and studio aces, “Summer Breeze” curls like smoke drifting lazily through an open window.

4. “Africa” by Toto

Toto singer David Paich had never been to Africa. The melody and refrain for this #1 hit from 1982 came to him fully formed as he watched a late night documentary about the plight of those living on the African continent. The lyrics touch on missionary work and describe the landscape as inspired by images from National Geographic , according to Paich’s own recollection. Putting aside its self-aware inauthenticity, “Africa” is an infectious, 8x platinum AOR monster.

5. “Reminiscing: by Little River Band

Released in the summer of 1978 and reaching up to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Reminiscing” was guitarist Graeham Goble ‘s nostalgic take on the swing band era. Not only is it the only Australian song ever to reach five million radio plays in the U.S., but rumor is that it was among the late John Lennon’s favorite songs.

6. “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray

Recorded originally by a country-swamp rocker named Jeffrey Kurtz, Dobie’s 1973 cover became his biggest hit, reaching #5 on the charts. Though not explicitly nautical, “Drift Away” captures the distinct sensation of cruising at sunset.

7. “Love Will Find a Way” by Pablo Cruise

Pablo Cruise may have the most “yachty” of all band names on our list. And “Love Will Find a Way” is sort of the musical equivalent of a ketch skipping along a glassy surface on a crisp summer dawn. Pablo Cruise was formed in San Francisco by expats from various mildly successful bands including Stoneground and It’s a Beautiful Day. And there is a certain slick professionalism to the proceedings here. Of course, Pablo Cruise was never a critic’s darling. Homer Simpson once accurately classified them as wuss rock. Still, they perfectly captured the white-folks-vacationing-in-the-Caribbean energy that was all the rage at the time. Love found a way to reach #6 on the Billboard charts, remaining in constant radio rotation during the red-hot summer of ’78.

8. “Ride Captain Ride” by Blues Image

Blues Image emerged from South Florida in the late ’60s and served as the house band for Miami’s vaunted Thee Image music venue upon its inception in 1968. This gave Blues Image the opportunity to open for ascendant headliners like Cream and the Grateful Dead. The association landed them a contract Atco Records. Their sophomore record Open yielded their one and only hit, a #4 in 1970 about a bunch of men who disappear into the mists of the San Francisco Bay in search of a hippie utopia.

9. “Eye in the Sky” by The Alan Parsons Project

This #3 hit from 1982 has nothing to do with sailing. But it’s infectiously smooth production sheen, layered synth, and dreamy vocals make it a perfect Lite FM gem–one cut from the stone that gave us yacht rock. The “Project” was actually a British duo–studio wizard Alan Parsons and singer Eric Woolfson. The title track from their sixth studio album is also their very best recording. It’s also often paired with the instrumental lead-in “Sirius,” a song famous in its own right for blaring over unnumbered sporting arena PA systems. If that tune doesn’t make you think of Michael Jordan, you probably didn’t live through the late 80s.

10. “Miracles” by Jefferson Starship

Marty Balin was a pioneer of the San Francisco scene, founding Jefferson Airplane in 1965 as the house band for his own legendary club–The Matrix. But in 1971, deeply shaken by the death of Janis Joplin, Balin quit his own band. Four years later, he was invited to rejoin his old mates on the already-launched Starship. He immediately contributed what would become the biggest hit by any Jeffersonian vessel. “Miracles” reached #3 in 1975. Gorgeous, elegant, and open, this is a complete anomaly in the Airplane-Starship catalogue. Listen closely for the NSFW lyrics that have often flown under the radar of some adorably innocent censors.

11. “Sad Eyes” by Robert John

In 1972, Robert John had a #3 hit with his cover of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” And yet, just before recording “Sad Eyes”, the Brooklyn-born singer was employed as a construction worker in Long Branch, New Jersey. By the summer of ’79, he would have a #1 hit. In fact, the charting success of “Sad Eyes” was part of a cultural backlash against the reign of disco. A wave of pop hits swept on to the charts, including this slick soft rock throwback. With his sweet falsetto and doo wop sensibility, Robert John knocked The Knack’s “My Sharona” from its 6-week stand atop the charts.

12. “Magnet and Steel” by Walter Egan

Before launching headlong into his music career, Walter Egan was one of the very first students to earn a fine arts degree from Georgetown, where he studied sculpture. The subject would figure into his biggest hit, a #8 easy listening smash from 1978. Featured on his second solo record, “Magnet and Steel” enjoys the presence of some heavy friends. Lindsey Buckingham produced, played guitar and sang backup harmonies with Stevie Nicks. By most accounts, Nicks was also a primary source of inspiration for the song.

13. “Lido Shuffle” by Boz Scaggs

Of course, not all yacht rock songs are about sailing on boats. Some are about missing boats. Boz Scaggs looks dejected on the cover of 1977’s Silk Degrees , but things turned out pretty well for him. This bouncy #11 hit is a classic rock mainstay today. The band you hear backing Boz–David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, and David Hungate–would go on to form the nucleus of Toto that very same year. Toto, as it happens, is essentially a recurring theme of the genre. Before rising to massive success in their own right, the members of Toto absolutely permeated rock radio in the 70s, laying down studio tracks with Steely Dan, Seals and Crofts, Michael McDonald, and more.

14. “What You Won’t Do for Love” by Bobby Caldwell

This smooth-as-silk tune reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its 1978 release. It also reached #6 on the Hot Selling Soul Singles Chart. This is significant only because of Caldwell’s complexion. He was a white man signed to TK Records, a label most closely associated with disco acts like KC and the Sunshine Band. Catering to a largely Black audience, the label went to minor lengths to hide their new singer’s identity–dig the silhouetted figure on the cover of his own debut. Suffice it to say, once Caldwell hit the road, audiences discovered he was white. By then, they were already hooked on this perfect groove, which you might also recognize as a sample in 2Pac’s posthumous 1998 release, “Do For Love.”

15. “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” by Michael McDonald

Technically, Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’” is an adaptation of an earlier tune by the same name. In fact, the original “I Keep Forgettin” was conceived by the legendary songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller–best known for iconic staples like “Hound Dog”, “Kansas City”, “Poison Ivy” and much much more. The original recording is by Chuck Jackson and dates to 1962. But McDonald’s 1982 take is definitive. If that wasn’t already true upon its release and #4 peak position on the charts, certainly Warren G. and Nate Dogg cemented its status when they sampled McDonald on “Regulate”. Get the whole history on that brilliant 1994 time capsule here .

Oh and by the way, this tune also features most of the guys from Toto. I know, right? These dudes were everywhere.

16. “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty

To the casual listener, Gerry Rafferty’s name may sound vaguely familiar. Indeed, you may remember hearing it uttered in passing in the film Reservoir Dogs . In a key scene, the DJ (deadpan comedian Steven Wright) mentions that Rafferty formed half the duo known as Stealers Wheel, which recorded a “Dylanesque, pop, bubble-gum favorite from April of 1974” called “Stuck in the Middle With You.” In the same scene, Mr. Blonde (portrayed with sadistic glee by Michael Madsen), slices off a policeman’s ear. At any rate, this is a totally different song, and is actually Rafferty’s biggest hit. “Baker Street” is a tune that reeks of late nights, cocaine, and regret. Peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Baker Street” soared on wings of the decade’s most memorable sax riff. Raphael Ravenscroft’s performance would, in fact, lead to a mainstream revitalization of interest in the saxophone writ large.

17. “Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang” by Silver

There are several interesting things about Silver that have almost nothing to do with this song. First, bass guitarist and singer Tom Leadon was both the brother of Bernie Leadon from the Eagles and a member of Tom Petty’s pre-fame band, Mudcrutch. Second, the band’s keyboardist was Brent Mydland, who would go on to become the Grateful Dead’s longest tenured piano guy. Third, Silver put out their only record in 1976, and future Saturday Night Live standout Phil Harman designed the cover art. With all of that said, Arista executives felt that their first album lacked a single so they had country songwriter Rick Giles cook up this ridiculous, gooey concoction that I kind of love. Let’s say this one falls into the “so bad it’s good” category. Anyway, the song peaked at #16 on the charts. The band broke up in ’78, leading Mydland to accept the deadliest job in rock music. He defied the odds by playing with the Grateful Dead until an accidental drug overdose claimed his life in 1990.

18. “Biggest Part of Me” by Ambrosia

I admit, I’m kind of hard-pressed to make Ambrosia interesting. In fact, they were extremely prolific, and earned high regard in early ’70s prog rock circles. And in the 1990s, lead singer David Pack would actually be the musical director for both of Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration concerts. But this Southern California combo is much better known to mainstream audiences for their top-down, hair-blowing-in-the-wind soft rock from the decade in between. Peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980, “Biggest Part of Me” is the group’s best-known tune–a seafoamy bit of blue-eyed soul served over a raw bar of smooth jazz and lite funk.

19. “Baby Come Back” by Player

Player released their self-titled debut album in 1977 and immediately shot up to #1 with “Baby Come Back.” Bandmates Peter Beckett and J.C. Crowley had both recently broken up with their girlfriends. They channeled their shared angst into this composition, a self-sorry guilty pleasure featuring former Steppenwolf member Wayne Cook on keys. Granted, Steppenwolf’s edgy disposition is nowhere to be found on this record, but it is pretty infectious in a late-summer-night, slightly-buzzed, clenched-fist sort of way. Player endured various lineup changes, but never returned to the heights of their first hit.

20. “On and On” by Stephen Bishop

Remember that scene in National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) where there’s this dude in a turtleneck singing a super cloying folks song before John Belushi mercifully snatches away his guitar and smashes it to smithereens? That guy was Stephen Bishop, who was actually in the middle of enjoying considerable success with his 1976 debut album, Careless . “On and On” was the album’s biggest hit, a vaguely Caribbean soft-rocker that reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in ’77. The gentle electric riffs you hear there are supplied by guitarist Andrew Gold–who wrote the theme song for the Golden Girls . (I freakin’ know you’re singing it right now).

21. “Chevy Van” by Sammy Johns

The classic tale of boy-meets-girls, bangs-her-in-his-van, and brags-to-his-buds, all with backing from the world famous Wrecking Crew studio team. In 1975, a lot of people super related to it. It sold over a million copies and reach #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. I can’t tell you this song is good. But I also can’t tell you I don’t like it.

22. “You Are the Woman” by Firefall

Firefall’s lead guitarist Jock Bartley perfectly captures this song’s impact, calling the band’s biggest hit “a singing version of [a] Hallmark card.” That feels right. The second single from Firefall’s 1976 self-titled debut was only a regional hit at first. But it was driven all the way to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the strength of radio requests. As Bartley explained, “Every female between the ages of 18 and 24 wanted to be the woman portrayed in the song, and that caused their boyfriends and spouses to call radio stations and subsequently flood the airwaves with dedications of the song and the sentiment.”

23. “Sailing” by Christopher Cross

Arguably, “Sailing” is the single most emblematic song of the Yacht Rock genre. Its thematic relevance requires no explanation. But it’s worth noting that the song is inspired by true events. During a tough time in his youth, Cross was befriended by Al Glasscock. Serving as something of an older brother to Cross, Glasscock would take him sailing. He recalls in his biggest hit that this was a time of escape from the harsh realities of his real life. In 1979, Cross released his self-titled debut. In early 1980, “Sailing” became a #1 hit, landing Cross a hat-trick of Grammys–including recognition as best new artist. Though Cross and Glasscock would lose touch for more than 20 years, they were reunited during a 1995 episode of The Howard Stern Show . Cross subsequently mailed a copy of his platinum record to Glasscock.

24. “Steal Away” by Robbie Dupree

Apparently, this song was perceived as so blatant a ripoff of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins’ “What a Fool Believes” that legal action was actually threatened. It never formulated. Instead, Robbie Dupree landed a #6 Billboard Hot 100 hit with the lead single from his self-titled 1980 debut. Critics hated it, but it was a dominant presence in the summer of 1980. It even earned Dupree a Grammy nomination for best new artist. He ultimately lost to the man just above–Christopher Cross.

25. “This is It” by Kenny Loggins

You didn’t think we’d get through this whole list without an actual Kenny Loggins tune. This song has the perfect pedigree, teaming Loggins and Michael McDonald on a 1979 composition that became the lead single off of Kenny Loggins’ Keep the Fire. Coming on the tail end of the ’70s, “This is It” felt positively omnipresent in the ’80s. I may be biased here. I grew up in Philadelphia, where a local television show by the same name adopted “This is It” as its theme song. But then, it did also reach #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

And in that spirit…this is it, the end of our list.

But as usual, here’s a bonus playlist–an expanded voyage through the breezy, AOR waters of the mid-’70s to early ’80s.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this Page
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Tumblr
  • Share on Pocket
  • Share on SMS

Seafari Yacht Charters

Call Us (561) 445-5664

60+ Best Yacht Rock Songs of All Time

The family vibe on the yacht was outstanding as they enjoyed listening to the yacht's rock song.

Published April 28, 2023

Yacht rock is a subgenre of soft rock. It became prevalent in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and while it’s no longer as popular now, it still continues to be loved by fans today.

It’s best known for the jazzy arrangements, sophisticated harmonies, and lyrics that would often encapsulate the laid-back lifestyle of yacht owners. Needless to say, yacht rock targets a specific niche, and even those outside of that niche can enjoy the songs the genre offers.

If that sounds like you, then you’re in luck. In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the best yacht rock songs of all time, from deep cuts to classics that came out from 1972 to 1990.

67 Best Yacht Rock Songs List

  • “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts (1972)
  • “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago (1976)
  • “Sara Smile” by Hall & Oates (1976)
  • “What a Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers (1978)
  • “Peg” by Steely Dan (1978)
  • “Ride Like the Wind” by Christopher Cross (1979)
  • “Sailing” by Christopher Cross (1979)
  • “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes (1979)
  • “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” by Michael McDonald (1982)
  • “Africa” by Toto (1982)
  • “Cool Change” by Little River Band (1982)
  • “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” by Hall & Oates (1982)
  • “Lonely Boy” by Andrew Gold (1982)
  • “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson (1982)
  • “Slow Dancer” by Boz Scaggs (1982)
  • “Baby Come Back” by Player (1983)
  • “Say You Love Me” by Fleetwood Mac (1983)
  • “All Out of Love” by Air Supply (1984)
  • “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross (1984)
  • “Biggest Part of Me” by Ambrosia (1984)
  • “Can’t We Try” by Dan Hill and Vonda Shepard (1984)
  • “Dancing in the Moonlight” by King Harvest (1984)
  • “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington Jr. & Bill Withers (1984)
  • “Magnet and Steel” by Walter Egan (1984)
  • “One on One” by Hall & Oates (1984)
  • “Private Eyes” by Hall & Oates (1984)
  • “Ride Captain Ride” by Blues Image (1984)
  • “When You Love a Woman” by Journey (1984)
  • “When I Need You” by Leo Sayer (1985)
  • “You Belong to Me” by Carly Simon (1985)
  • “Foolish Heart” by Steve Perry (1986)
  • “More Than a Feeling” by Boston (1986)
  • “On and On” by Stephen Bishop (1986)
  • “Reminiscing” by Little River Band (1986)
  • “We’re All Alone” by Boz Scaggs (1986)
  • “Can’t Hide Love” by Earth, Wind & Fire (1987)
  • “Just You and I” by Melissa Manchester (1987)
  • “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers (1987)
  • “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor (1987)
  • “The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies (1987)
  • “Touch Me in the Morning” by Diana Ross (1987)
  • “Give Me the Night” by George Benson (1988)
  • “Lady Love Me (One More Time)” by George Benson (1988)
  • “Time Passages” by Al Stewart (1988)
  • “Do That to Me One More Time” by Captain & Tennille
  • “How Long” by Ace (1989)
  • “I’ll Be Over You” by Toto (1989)
  • “Kiss on My List” by Hall & Oates (1989)
  • “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” by Air Supply (1989)
  • “On My Own” by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald (1989)
  • “Rosanna” by Toto (1989)
  • “The One You Love” by Glenn Frey (1989)
  • “Through the Fire” by Chaka Khan (1989)
  • “What You Won’t Do for Love” by Bobby Caldwell (1989)
  • “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” by Phil Collins (1990)
  • “Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley” by Will to Power (1990)
  • “Easy” by The Commodores (1990)
  • “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood (1990)
  • “I Keep Forgettin'” by Warren G featuring Michael McDonald (1990)
  • “I’ll Be There” by The Escape Club (1990)
  • “Lido Shuffle” by Boz Scaggs (1990)
  • “Missing You” by John Waite (1990)
  • “Smooth Operator” by Sade (1990)
  • “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra (1990)
  • “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner (1990)
  • “We Built This City” by Starship (1990)
  • “Your Wildest Dreams” by The Moody Blues (1990)

10 Yacht Rock-Inspired Songs from the 2010s and Beyond

A group of friends sings yacht rock songs to enjoy and relax on their yacht trip.

While yacht rock is often associated with the late 1970s and early 1980s, there have been some recent songs that were able to capture the yacht rock vibe or sound. They’re now quite popular among fans of this genre. Here’s a yacht rock songs list of these songs:

  • “This Love” by Taylor Swift (2014)
  • “On the Rocks” by The Last Shadow Puppets (2016)
  • “Too Late” by Washed Out (2017)
  • “If You Want It” by Slightly Stoopid (2018)
  • “Feels Like Summer” by Childish Gambino (2018)
  • “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (2018)
  • “So Caught Up” by The Teskey Brothers (2019)
  • “Joanna” by Joji (2019)
  • “Lucky Ones” by Logan Prescott (2020)
  • “Midnight Sky” by Miley Cyrus (2020)

The Bottom Line

Yacht rock has proven to be a timeless genre that has, for decades, captured the hearts of not only yacht enjoyers and owners, but also music lovers in general. Whether you’re a newcomer to yacht rock or a long-time enthusiast of the genre, the top yacht rock songs in this list will offer a glimpse into the melodic, smooth sound that defines the yacht genre.

Experience Yacht Charters With Seafari In Boca Raton Florida

Looking for a great time on the water in Boca Raton Florida? Seafari Yacht Charters is number choice for yacht rentals in Boca Raton . Book our yachts for parties , exciting day trips to the Bahamas, romantic yacht dinner cruises , and much more. Come experience all South Florida has to offer with us.

Fact Checked Badge

Fact Checked By Experts

Our team of internal experts has conducted rigorous fact-checking on this content. Explore the editorial standard for our website to dive deeper into our commitment to excellence.

Lenard Arceo Author Image

About The Author

Lenard Arceo is passionate about the outdoors and South Florida life. He is a professional blogger for several renowned publications and also loves learning how to code in his free time.

Related Posts

A lady on a yacht enjoying the yachting benefits.

Yachting Benefits You Might Not Know

Set sail on an extraordinary journey from Miami's vibrant energy to the allure of Key West, the southernmost gem of the United States.

Most Popular , Yachting

How To Charter A Boat From Miami To Key West

A Catamaran charter in the middle of the sea.

What To Know Before Renting A Catamaran Charter

Find us on social media.

Find Us On Google Maps

© SeafariYachtCharters.com 2024

View Our Privacy Policy

Website design by Correct Digital

Yardbarker

  • My Quiz Activity
  • Newsletters
  • Sports Betting
  • MY FAVORITES
  • Add Sports/Teams
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Chicago Bears
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Denver Broncos
  • Detroit Lions
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • New England Patriots
  • New Orleans Saints
  • New York Jets
  • New York Giants
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Washington Commanders
  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Chicago White Sox
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Cleveland Guardians
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Detroit Tigers
  • Houston Astros
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Los Angeles Angels
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Miami Marlins
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Minnesota Twins
  • New York Yankees
  • New York Mets
  • Oakland Athletics
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • San Diego Padres
  • San Francisco Giants
  • Seattle Mariners
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Texas Rangers
  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • Washington Nationals
  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Boston Celtics
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Houston Rockets
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • New York Knicks
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Washington Wizards
  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Boston Bruins
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Calgary Flames
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Dallas Stars
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Florida Panthers
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Minnesota Wild
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Nashville Predators
  • New Jersey Devils
  • New York Islanders
  • New York Rangers
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Seattle Kraken
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Utah Hockey Club
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Vegas Golden Knights
  • Washington Capitals
  • Winnipeg Jets
  • Entertainment Home
  • Lifestyle Home
  • More Sports
  • YB on Facebook
  • YB on Twitter
  • YB on Flipboard
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Service
  • College Basketball
  • College Football
  • Entertainment
  • Formula One
  • Horse Racing
  • Motor Sports
  • Premier League
  • Sports Business
  • Track and Field
  • More Sports ▸

top 10 yacht rock bands

Entertainment News

Facebook

The greatest Yacht Rock songs of all time

How does one describe yacht rock? The folks at MasterClass did a pretty good job. Essentially, it's a component of soft rock, adult contemporary, and Album-oriented rock (AOR) all rolled into one. Popular in the late 1970s and into the '80s, there are some notable tunes of the ilk (smooth rhythms, light or "breezy" vocals, well-polished and produced) from earlier in the '70s that fall into this category.

In the spirit of easy listening fare, here is our ranking of 22 great yacht rock tunes.

20. "Lonely Boy" (1977), Andrew Gold

The Southern Californian's biggest hit, reaching No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Yacht rock tracks often tell stories, and "Lonely Boy" is one of the great story songs. Whether it's autobiographical in nature has always been ripe for a casual argument. Though Gold, who passed away in 2011 at age 59, repeatedly claimed this song about a boy who felt left out following the birth of his sister was not depicting his life. The 1970s were ripe for one-hit wonders in the United States, and Gold is not still forgotten. 

19. "I Love You" (1981), Climax Blues Band

"I Love You"  is a sweet, endearing ballad. The kind of song that probably sounded great via that portable 8-track cassette player on a catamaran during an early '80s' summer. From England, Climax Blues Band scored a top-15 hit with "I Love You." Love was a dependable and generally successful topic for artists within the soft/yacht rock genre. In fact, the song is still quite popular on lite rock and adult contemporary radio stations on your FM dial for those who still like to hear their music that way. 

18. "Rosanna" (1982), Toto

Toto rightfully has a place in the yacht rock world, but the band also broke into the top-40, FM radio, and MTV mainstream with the release of 1982's Toto IV . "Rosanna" was a big reason for the album's success, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard 's Hot 100 and winning the Record of the Year Grammy Award. Sure, it's not typical yacht rock fare, per se. It's certainly heavier than other popular tracks on this list, but it's certainly a product of AOR and still routinely played in dentist offices throughout America. 

17. "Love Will Keep Us Together" (1975), Captain & Tennille

There are those historians who believe the first true example of yacht rock came with this popular '70s staple from the "Captain"   Daryl Dragon  and his wife Toni Tennille. Now, Neil Sedaka  wrote "Love Will Keep Us Together" and originally recorded the song two years earlier. Still, the duo's version was  more poppy, with a carefree vibe  that's ideal for FM radio. While Captain & Tennille's cover won a Record of the Year Grammy Award, Sedaka has noted that the Beach Boys were one of the inspirations for the tune. This makes sense since many music critics, professionals, historians, etc.. have credited the yacht rock genre as somewhat of an offshoot from the Beach Boys' collective sound. 

16. "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" (1979), Rupert Holmes

This No.1 Billboard Hot 100 hit for England's Rupert Holmes has achieved a steady cult following over the years. Perhaps, because of the unique title and conjured images of some warm, beach-laden paradise. Yacht rock's association with summer, water, and care-free living, as a backdrop to a romantic story, is one of its appealing aspects. This song is about a couple who ultimately patch up a rough relationship through personal ads . Any time somebody of a certain age sips one of these drinks, ideally at some Caribbean resort with the warm winds off the ocean blowing, "The Pina Colada Song" should come to mind.

15. "Reminiscing" (1978), Little River Band

Formed in Australia, the soft/pop rock and often yacht rock stylings of LRB were a hit in the United States. " Reminiscing " was the band's biggest hit in America, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Like many songs of this genre, "Reminiscing" is paced by the electric piano. Which also happened to be a staple of the Little River Band. Sure, it's not "breezy" like other yacht rock tunes, but Will Ferrell's Det. Allen Gamble is a big fan in The Other Guys (2010).

14. "Africa" (1982), Toto

Yes, more from Toto. If there's one popular Toto hit that whole-heartedly falls under the yacht rock moniker, it's " Africa ." The group's only song to top the Billboard Hot 100, and made a resurgence with Weezer's popular cover in recent years , "Africa," is the proper combination of mellow and poppy. It continues the Toto tradition of shared vocals, while the consistent synthesizer and keyboard presence, though more pronounced than the typical soft rock/adult contemporary vibe. 

13. "How Much I Feel" (1978), Ambrosia

L.A.'s Ambrosia, co-founded by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter David Pack and bassist Joe Puerta was all about the soft rock sound that surfaced in Southern California during the early 1970s. "How Much I Feel," from the group's third album Life Beyond L.A. , might have more of an adult contemporary vibe but certainly falls into the yacht rock category. It was one of the band's biggest hits, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's remained popular over the years, even being sampled by Kanye West.

12. "Peg" (1977), Steely Dan

Steely Dan was, in its prime, under the direction of celebrated songwriters Donald Fagan and Walter Becker, many things regarding a collective sound. Rock, pop, jazz, blues. Usually melodic, well within the soft-rock category. Songs like "Peg," from the 1977 masterpiece Aja , certainly has a yacht rock vibe, too. Perhaps most notably is that the great Michael McDonald, longtime frontman of the Doobie Brothers and driving singer-songwriter in the soft/yacht rock circles, provides backing vocals on the track. 

11. "Biggest Part of Me" (1980), Ambrosia

It really does get more yacht rock than this—smooth , with a flowing rhythm, precise, but not overbearing, harmonies . Not to mention the subtly stellar keyboard work from David C. Lewis. Throw in sessionist Ernie Watts' sax solo, and we have one great soft/yacht offering. It was the second of Ambrosia's two top-5 hits, reaching No. 3 on Billboard 's Hot 100. The version from the 1980s One Eighty  album runs about 5 1/2 minutes long. Talk about pure easy-listening joy.

10. "Summer Breeze" (1972), Seals & Crofts"

Long considered one of the great "summer songs" ever recorded. And summer-themed tunes from the 1970s tend to lend themselves to the yacht rock moniker. That said, Seals & Crofts were definitely a soft rock outfit, but with elements of folk and pop. "Summer Breeze" peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the 1970s and, again, is notable for being one of the earliest yacht rock offerings. Several other prominent artists, such as Ray Conniff, the Isley Brothers, and a stellar metal version from Type O Negative. 

9. "Ride Like the Wind" (1979), Christopher Cross

It's safe to say that Christopher Cross is the king of yacht rock. A brilliant songwriter and above-average guitar player, Cross could rock, but it's his definitive soft rock numbers that made him a star with lite-FM, adult contemporary and yacht rock fans. "Ride Like the Wind"  is the first single from Cross' stellar five-time Grammy-Award-winning self-titled debut from 1979. A more upbeat number about an outlaw running from the authorities, the track is less uplifting than other yacht rock tunes, but the vibe is the same. Of note, Michael McDonald provided backing vocals.

8. "Baby Come Back" (1977), Player

From John Friesen's steady drum intro to that durably underlaid bass line via Ron Moss to J.C. Crowley's keyboard presence begins the soft-rock brilliance of "Baby Come Back." With lyrics describing the yearning to reacquire a lost love and full-band harmonies, "Baby Come Back" just might be the quintessential offering of the yacht rock genre. It was the biggest hit for Player , the L.A.-based group that featured vocalist and song co-writer Peter Beckett, who was born in England. The tune topped the Billboard Hot 100 and still has a presence with its inclusion in films such as Transformers and  Black Adam.  Plus, various versions in popular TV shows like The Simpsons. American Dad  and King of the Hill.

7. "What a Fool Believes" (1979), The Doobie Brothers

The Doobie Brothers were a rather hard-rocking outfit before Michael McDonald joined up in the mid-1970s. The band was in need of an established songwriter, and McDonald delivered. However, with a more mellow, synthesizer/electric piano-driven sound that produced soft-rock gems like this one. Co-written by Kenny Loggins, who put out a version for himself, "What a Fool Believes" hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 in April 1979. Several critics have cited this as the best song in the vast Doobie Brothers catalog. 

6. "Steal Away" (1980), Robbie Dupree

If you're going to be a one-hit wonder, why not make it count? More than 30 years since its release, " Steal Away " can still be heard in elevators and office buildings throughout the United States -- or in the third season of Better Call Saul . Undeniably yacht rock, Dupree, born in Brooklyn, enjoyed success with the song during the summer of 1980 -- always a perfect time to enjoy the smooth, soothing sounds of a piece within this genre that peaked at No. 6 on Billboar d's Hot 100.

5. "Moonlight Feels Right" (1975), Starbuck

Here's a case where middle-aged and baby-boomer music fans probably remember the song but perhaps not the group who performed the track. That's OK. Atlanta's Starbuck is essentially a one-hit wonder thanks to "Moonlight Feels Right," which topped out at No. 3 on Billboard 's Hot 100. For those who remember this track for its lite-flowing beat, with lyrical references to the ocean, "Baltimore," and 'Ole Miss," and band member Bo Wagner marimba   solo, it might take them back to a simpler, more laidback time in their lives.

4. "Heart to Heart" (1982), Kenny Loggins

Perhaps more so than the previously mentioned "This Is It," "Heart to Heart" truly has all the requirements of a great yacht rock/soft rock tune. It was co-written by Michael McDonald, who also played the electric piano and provided backing vocals. David Foster, of Chicago songwriting and '80s ballad fame, also helped compose the tune, which features David Sanborn on saxophone. The track is one of Loggins' best-known hits, cracking the top 20 of the Hot 100.

3. "Lowdown" (1976), Boz Scaggs

Co-written by David Paich and featuring Jeff Porcaro on drums -- both of whom who go on to form the aforementioned Toto. One of Scaggs most well-known hits, "Lowdown"  has a bluesy and almost disco vibe. And a number we can imagine being played at some swanky yacht club party where the dance floor is filled, and more than a few people are sporting captain's hats. The song reached No. 3 on Billboard 's Hot 100 and also topped the Billboard Cash Box chart in the United States.

2. "Key Largo" (1981), Bertie Higgins

Yacht rock and one-hit wonders seem to go hand-in-hand. Higgins scored one in the early 1980s with this number that reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Florida native was inspired to write this song about trying to avoid a romantic breakup by the 1948 movie of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart   and Lauren Bacall, who are referenced in the tune. Though Higgins never enjoyed the same individual success as a musician, the song has had a solid shelf life and remains a definitive moment in the yacht rock genre.

1. "Sailing" (1979), Christopher Cross

Sure, "Ride Like the Wind" is a gem, but the undisputed star of Cross' aforementioned debut album is the Hot 100-chart-topper "Sailing." It might be the definitive yacht rock song, capturing what Cross described, at the time, the "West Coast sound," which was long being composed, produced and performed, but maybe didn't have an appropriate moniker. The song won Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Arrangement of the Year, and was a big reason Cross earned the same award for Best New Artist.

A Chicago native, Jeff Mezydlo has professionally written about sports, entertainment and pop culture for parts of four decades. He was an integral member of award-winning sports sections at The Times of Northwest Indiana (Munster, Ind.) and Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette, where he covered the NFL, PGA, LPGA, NCAA basketball, football and golf, Olympics and high school athletics. Jeff most recently spent 12 years in the editorial department at STATSPerform, where he also oversaw coverage of the English Premier League. A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Jeff's work has also appeared on such sites at Yahoo!, ESPN, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated and NBA.com. However, if Jeff could do it again, he'd attend Degrassi Junior High, Ampipe High School and Grand Lakes University

More must-reads:

  • 35 of the best cameos and recurring roles on 'Friends'
  • 20 cartoons from the '90s that should be rebooted

Trending in Entertainment

Customize your newsletter.

top 10 yacht rock bands

Get the latest news and rumors, customized to your favorite sports and teams. Emailed daily. Always free!

Yardbarker

SoundVapors

SoundVapors

Top 24 Yacht Rock Songs | Sound Vapors

top 10 yacht rock bands

Yacht Rock Extravaganza – The Top 24 Greatest Yacht Rock Songs

I’ve been wanting to put together a best of Yacht Rock list for quite sometime.  Now that we’re into the month of May – I’m inspired to pull this list together and get ready to jam to these (and others) all summer long.  As an added bonus, recording artist Carly Shea stopped by to talk about her favorite Yacht Rock songs.  She listed her songs during the intermission or halftime on the video countdown below .

As I started writing down names to songs that I felt should be included on the list, I noticed that it was being dominated by Michael McDonald/Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Christopher Cross and America.  So I decide to make some ground rules:

Only one song per band would be ranked with solo projects being treated separately.  Of course that made for even more decisions.  Choosing between the three or four America songs to include on the list was TOUGH.  Same with Seals & Croft.  Summer Breeze or Diamond Girl ?  But then it hit me.  A calmness of floating through a no wake zone, if you will.  Just relax and make your selections and live with it.  At the end of the day, when you are dealing with Yacht Rock – there really aren’t any bad choices.

Speaking of which.  A couple of artists got left off of the list.  I nearly expanded the list to 30 to make room for anyone.  But I decided to keep the top 24.  So Hall and Oates (I Can’t Go For That), Toto (Georgy Porgy), Fleetwood Mac (You Make Loving Fun), Kenny Loggins (This Is It), Dobie Gray (Drift Away) and Olvia Newton-John (Magic) – just missed.  In fact, the first two names I wrote down initially were Hall & Oates and Toto.  It’s a touch business – this Yacht Rock.

Without further ado.  Here’s my Top 24 Yacht Rock Songs .

24.  England Dan and John Ford Coley – I’d Really Love To See You Tonight

23.  Herb Alpert – Route 101

22.  Jay Ferguson – Thunder Island

21.  Boz Scaggs – JoJo

20.  Bobby Caldwell – What You Won’t Do For Love

19.  Looking Glass – Brandi (You’re A Fine Girl)

18.  Player – Baby Come Back

17.  Ambrosia – Biggest Part Of Me

16.  Michael Martin Murphey – Wildfire 

15.  Todd Rundgren – I Saw The Light

14.  Michael McDonald – Sweet Freedom

13.  Ace – How Long

12.  Lionel Richie – All Night Long

11.  10cc – I’m Not In Love

10.  Rupert Homes – Escape (Pina Colada)

09.  Donald Fagen – I.G.Y.

08.  Robbie Dupree – Steal Away

07.  Seals & Croft – Summer Breeze

06.  America – Horse With No Name

05.  Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street

04.  Christopher Cross – Ride Like The Wind

03.  Steely Dan – Peg

02.  Starbuck – Moonlight Feels Right

01.  Doobie Brothers – What A Fool Believes

So there you go.  The songs I consider the greatest Yacht Rock Songs ever.  Of course, with the twist of only one song per act.

Do you have a favorite?  Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram below and let me know which song is your top choice.

-Tommy Marz

You can follow Tommy on  Twitter   and   Instagram  let him know what you think.

Pop Culture Madness Logo

100 Yacht Rock Classic Playlist

top 10 yacht rock bands

Yacht Rock Definitive Playlist
Jazz has Smooth Jazz. Rock and Roll has Yacht Rock. It’s nostalgic music, if you are of the right demographic, or like to pretend you are. The phrase was started by J.D. Ryznar, who created a series of Yacht Rock videos in 2005/6. A mix of 70s and 80s ‘Adult Contemporary’ pop, and some accidental grooves from the past, Yacht Rock is a mix of the expected, and unexpected. Add some soft and you’re ready to sail. #yuppiemusic #hipstermusic #noedge
1.I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) – Hall and Oates
2.Ride Like The Wind – Christopher Cross
3.Africa – Toto
4.Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes – Jimmy Buffett
5.Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) – Looking Glass
6.Breezin – George Benson.
7.Yah Mo Be There – James Ingram & Michael McDonald
8.Summer Breeze – Seals and Crofts
9.Escape (The Pina Colada Song) – Rupert Holmes
10.All Night Long – Lionel Ritchie
11.Kokomo – The Beach Boys
12.Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet
13.What A Fool Believes – Doobie Brothers
14.Moondance – Van Morrison
15.Lido Shuffle – Boz Scaggs
16.Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
17.Regulate – Warren G Featuring Nate Dogg
18.Maneater – Hally and Oates
19.Key Largo – Bertie Higgins
20.Lovely Day – Bill Withers
21.Baby Come Back – Player
22.Heart of Rock and Roll – Huey Lewis and The News
23.Human Nature – Michael Jackson
24.Rosanna – Toto
25.Boys of Summer – Don Henley
26.FM (No Static At All) – Steely Dan
27.Sweet Freedom – Michael McDonald
28.Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run) – Billy Ocean
29.Dancing in the Moonlight – King Harvest
30.Let Your Love Flow – The Bellamy Brothers
31.Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
32.Southern Cross – Crosby, Stills & Nash
33.Give Me The Night – George Benson
34.So Into You – Atlanta Rhythm Section
35.Baby I’m-A Want You – Bread
36.Lowdown – Boz Scaggs
37.Dancing In The Moonlight – Thin Lizzie
38.I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Cash
39.Sentimental Lady – Bob Welch
40.Hold The Line – Toto
41.Sail On, Sailor – The Beach Boys
42.Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan
43.Steal Away – Robbie Dupree
44.Reminiscing – Little River Band
45.Time Passages – Al Stewart
46.Right On Down The Line – Gerry Rafferty
47.I Can’t Tell You Why – The Eagles
48.Something About You – Level 42
49.Ride Captain Ride – Blues Image
50.Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Grows) – Edison Lighthouse
 
51.It’s Too Late To Turn Back Now – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
52.Moonlight Feels Right – Starbuck
53.Groovin’ – The Young Rascals
54.Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty
55.JoJo – Boz Scaggs
56.How Long – Ace
57.Don’t You Know – Jan Hammer Group
58.I’m Not In Love – 10CC
59.Lost In Love – Air Supply
60.Do It Again – Steely Dan
61.Horse With No Name – America
62.White Bird – It’s a Beautiful Day
63.Lowdown – Boz Scaggs
64.Everytime You Go Away – Paul Young
65.Year of the Cat – Al Stewart
66.Tupelo Honey – Van Morrison
67.Guilty – Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb
68.Sexy Eyes – Dr. Hook
69.Kiss on My List – Hall and Oates
70.Eye In The Sky – Alan Parsons Project
71.On and On – Stephen Bishop
72.Deacon Blues – Steely Dan
73.Graceland – Paul Simon
74.This Is It – Kenny Loggins
75.Hypnotized – Fleetwood Mac
76.Thunder Island – Jay Ferguson
77.I Keep Forgettin’ – Michael McDonald
78.What You Won’t Do For Love – Bobby Caldwell
79.Cherish – Kool and the Gang
80.Hearts – Marty Balin
81. With Me – Orleans
82.Peg – Steely Dan
83.Diamond Girl – Seals and Crofts
84.Couldn’t Get It Right – Climax Blues Band
85.Heart To Heart – Kenny Loggins
86.Somebody’s Baby – Jackson Brown
87.Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
88.Walkin’ in Memphis – Marc Cohn
89.If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot
90.Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac
91.Smoke From A Distant Fire – Sanford Townsend Band
92. – Olivia Newton-John
93.Biggest Part of Me – Ambrosia
94.Fooled Around And Fell In Love – Elvin Bishop
95.If – Bread
96.When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman – Dr. Hook
97.You’re The Only Woman – Ambrosia
98.This Time I’m In It For Love – Player
99.Make It With You – Bread
100. Cool Change – Little River Band

Related Stories:

1980s-Top-Ten

More From Forbes

Def leppard debuts inside the top 10 with their new single.

  • Share to Facebook
  • Share to Twitter
  • Share to Linkedin

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 14: Joe Elliott of Def Leppard performs at Marvel Stadium on ... [+] November 14, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo credit should read Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Def Leppard is already one of the most iconic names in hard rock history, and they’re not done making music yet. The group has been churning out hits for decades, and they’re still at it. They returned only a few days ago with a brand new single, and fans rushed to buy a copy, turning the tune into a smash.

“Just Like 1973” opens at No. 9 on the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales chart. The tune is an immediate top 10 hit on Billboard’s ranking of the bestselling hard rock cuts in the U.S.

Def Leppard earns their eleventh top 10 hit on the purchase-only tally this week with their brand new single. Looking beyond just the highest tier on the list–back when it featured more than 10 spaces–the group has now accrued 17 placements on the roster.

“Just Like 1973” marks Def Leppard’s first new appearance on the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales chart in more than a year. Back in 2022, the band snagged several new hits on the tally, including a pair that broke into the top 10. Their biggest win that year was “Kick,” which rose to No. 3.

Def Leppard’s new single features rock favorite Tom Morello, who scores a featured credit on the cut. The musician is best known as a member of both Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, and now he’s earned a new hit as well.

“Just Like 1973” marks Morello’s second top 10 smash on the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales chart. He’s previously entered the highest tier as a featured guest on Maneskin’s “Gossip,” which climbed to No. 5 just last year. Under his own name, he’s pushed five tracks in total to the tally.

Trump's New Attack On Judge Behind His $454 Million Fraud Penalty Explained

How donald sutherland’s ‘animal house’ deal cost him millions, trump s largest donor revealed timothy mellon donates 50 million to pac.

Def Leppard and Morello earn the second-highest-ranking debut on this week’s Hard Rock Digital Song Sales list. They come in behind only Hardy, whose new single “Six Feet Under (Caleigh’s Song)” opens at No. 4.

Hugh McIntyre

  • Editorial Standards
  • Reprints & Permissions

Join The Conversation

One Community. Many Voices. Create a free account to share your thoughts. 

Forbes Community Guidelines

Our community is about connecting people through open and thoughtful conversations. We want our readers to share their views and exchange ideas and facts in a safe space.

In order to do so, please follow the posting rules in our site's  Terms of Service.   We've summarized some of those key rules below. Simply put, keep it civil.

Your post will be rejected if we notice that it seems to contain:

  • False or intentionally out-of-context or misleading information
  • Insults, profanity, incoherent, obscene or inflammatory language or threats of any kind
  • Attacks on the identity of other commenters or the article's author
  • Content that otherwise violates our site's  terms.

User accounts will be blocked if we notice or believe that users are engaged in:

  • Continuous attempts to re-post comments that have been previously moderated/rejected
  • Racist, sexist, homophobic or other discriminatory comments
  • Attempts or tactics that put the site security at risk
  • Actions that otherwise violate our site's  terms.

So, how can you be a power user?

  • Stay on topic and share your insights
  • Feel free to be clear and thoughtful to get your point across
  • ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’ to show your point of view.
  • Protect your community.
  • Use the report tool to alert us when someone breaks the rules.

Thanks for reading our community guidelines. Please read the full list of posting rules found in our site's  Terms of Service.

  • Share full article

Seven images of artists in square boxes that resemble album covers arranged on a yellow background.

The 40 Best Songs of 2024 (So Far)

Our critics select 33 standouts from our weekly Playlists — and seven more tracks they had missed.

Credit... Images via Getty Images

Supported by

Jon Pareles

By Jon Pareles and Lindsay Zoladz

  • June 20, 2024

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs . After six months of listening, here’s what they have on repeat. (Note: It’s not a ranking, it’s a playlist.) Listen on Spotify and Apple Music .

Sabrina Carpenter, ‘ Espresso ’

Atop a mid-tempo beat that recalls the muffled retro-funk of Doja Cat’s smash “Say So,” Sabrina Carpenter plays the unbothered temptress with winking humor: “Say you can’t sleep, baby I know, that’s that me, espresso.” Make it a double — you’ve surely heard this one everywhere. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Tyla, ‘ Safer ’

Following her worldwide 2023 hit “ Water,” Tyla pulls away from temptation in “Safer,” harnessing the log-drum beat and sparse, subterranean bass lines of amapiano. Her choral call-and-response vocals carry South African tradition into the electronic wilderness of 21st-century romance. JON PARELES

One We Missed

Ariana Grande, ‘ We Can’t Be Friends (Wait for Your Love) ’

At once strobe-lit and silky, Ariana Grande appropriately channels Robyn — the patron saint of crying in the club — on this nimbly sung, melancholic pop hit, a highlight from her bittersweet seventh album, “Eternal Sunshine.” ZOLADZ

Billie Eilish, ‘ The Greatest ’

Billie Eilish extols her own composure and skill at dissembling — holding back her unrequited love — in “The Greatest” from “Hit Me Hard and Soft.” Delicate picking accompanies her as she sings about how she “made it all look painless.” Then she shatters that composure, opening her voice from breathy to belting while the production goes widescreen with drums and choir. When the music quiets again, her furious restraint is as palpable as her regret. PARELES

Four members of the band Mdou Moctar in metallic brown and white outfits sit close together against a brick wall.

Kacey Musgraves, ‘ Deeper Well ’

Folky fingerpicking and new-agey thoughts about self-help make “Deeper Well” a gentle but firm rebuff. After musing on astrology and negative energy, Kacey Musgraves notes, “I’m saying goodbye to the people I feel/are real good at wasting my time.” In the next verses, she leaves behind marijuana and rises above the limits of her upbringing. There’s no rancor, no gloating, just added shimmery reverberations as she grows up and moves on. PARELES

Zsela, ‘ Fire Excape ’

In “Fire Excape,” Zsela croons what turns out to be a love song — but only eventually, after she notes, “There’s a fire in the ocean when the oil starts spilling.” The song takes shape over a lurching, start-stop beat, with some gaping silences, odd harmonic turns and sudden electronic surges, but amid the asymmetries Zsela proffers some husky reassurance: “We’ll get along quite fine, thank you.” PARELES

Beyoncé, ‘ 16 Carriages ’

In a flex of genre-spanning musicianship that’s also a workaholic’s lament, Beyoncé recalls her past and doubles down on her ambition, singing, “Ain’t got time to waste, I got art to make.” The music is an arena-country crescendo, from acoustic-guitar strum to full-band impact topped by pedal-steel guitar. She’s not only claiming an expanded demographic base; she’s using her celebrity clout to force some doors open . PARELES

Mk.gee, ‘ Little Bit More ’

A virtuoso with both fingers and effects, the guitarist, songwriter and producer Mk.gee (Michael Todd Gordon) creates murky, contrapuntal tracks suffused with yearning and diffidence. In “Little Bit More,” from his album “Two Star & the Dream Police,” he promises, “Baby, take what you want” to the one who “opened the door.” A hopping six-beat guitar loop, a conversational bass line, high backup vocals peeking in here and there and occasional piano interjections conjure an elation that may not last. PARELES

St. Vincent, ‘ Broken Man ’

“I can hold my arms wide open/but I need you to drive the nail,” St. Vincent sings in “Broken Man.” It’s a volcanic buildup of a song, from the sparsest ticking electronics to a hard-rock stomp to a full-scale pileup of guitars, drums and horns. PARELES

Mdou Moctar, ‘ Funeral for Justice ’

Over a hurtling beat and a chain of frantic, trilling, overdriven guitar riffs, the Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar insists that African leaders should work together and push back against foreign interests, to “Retake control of your resource-rich countries.” The band couldn’t sound more urgent. PARELES

Kim Gordon, ‘ Bye Bye ’

Kim Gordon , 71, explores the common ground between no-wave cool and SoundCloud rap on this corrosive opening track from her second solo album, “The Collective.” Atop an abrasive, hypnotic beat, she recites a fictional tour packing list, contrasting the chaotic and banal with flair. You’ll never enunciate “Eckhaus Latta” the same way again. ZOLADZ

A.G. Cook, ‘ Britpop ’

The zany electronic producer A.G. Cook turns a simple, hypnotically repeated Charli XCX refrain — “Brit, Brit, Brit, Brit, Brit, like Britpop” — into an alternate-universe national anthem. Blur and Oasis never did it quite like this. ZOLADZ

Ibibio Sound Machine, ‘ Pull the Rope ’

The London-based, Nigerian-rooted band Ibibio Sound Machine has evolved into a starkly efficient electro-funk group, delivering community-minded messages in English and the Nigerian language Ibibio. “Pull the Rope” deploys an octave-hopping bass line, video-game blips and eventually a horn section to propel a constructive chant: “Even though we’re eager to trigger/Let’s pull the rope, together we hope.” PARELES

Chappell Roan, ‘ Good Luck, Babe! ’

The rising pop star Chappell Roan sends an ex-lover off with an eye roll on the wrenching “Good Luck, Babe!,” a synth-driven tune topped by her best Kate Bush. Roan imagines her former flame kissing “a hundred boys in bars” and eventually becoming a man’s dissatisfied wife in the aftermath of their affair. But ultimately, Roan chooses herself, singing with all her heart, “I just wanna love someone who calls me baby.” ZOLADZ

Dua Lipa, ‘ French Exit ’

Dua Lipa’s album “Radical Optimism” cruises past heartaches, treating bad choices and failed romances as setbacks that might be painful, but not for too long. In “French Exit,” she decides to ghost a relationship that’s not working, comparing it to ducking out of a party early. The ingenious track, produced by Kevin Parker ( Tame Impala ) and the hyperpop pro Danny L Harle, stacks up syncopations — drums, acoustic guitar, flamenco handclaps, a little flute lick — behind her not-too-regretful voice. PARELES

Maggie Rogers, ‘ Don’t Forget Me ’

Maggie Rogers admits her friends’ relationships don’t provide models for what she’s looking for: Sally’s getting married, Molly’s out partying every night. She’s after something more casual — but still lasting in its own way. “Love me till your next somebody,” Rogers sings to whomever’s listening. “And promise me that when it’s time to leave, don’t forget me.” ZOLADZ

Waxahatchee featuring MJ Lenderman, ‘ Right Back to It ’

Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield marvels at long-term love by admitting how much she tests it. “I let my mind run wild/Don’t know why I do it,” she sings, “But you just settle in like a song with no end.” The track is easygoing and countryish, and MJ Lenderman provides supportive harmony vocals and electric guitar. But the scratchy tension in Crutchfield’s voice betrays her continuing self-doubts. PARELES

Norah Jones, ‘ Staring at the Wall ’

Like the rest of her latest album, “Visions,” “Staring at the Wall” is a collaboration between Norah Jones and the producer and drummer Leon Michels. Between his backbeat and her twangy guitar, understated keyboards and reassuring vocal harmonies, it’s clear she’ll make it through her misgivings just fine. PARELES

Jessica Pratt, ‘ Life Is ’

The milky-voiced singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt brings her sepia-toned sensibility to this dreamy folk-pop tune, making it sound like a glowing portal to an alternate past. ZOLADZ

Lido Pimienta, ‘ He Venido al Mar ’

“I still don’t know where I am going/But I have joy in my heart,” the Colombian-Canadian songwriter Lido Pimienta sings in “He Venido al Mar” (“I Have Come to the Sea”). She’s making a journey toward renewal, with her guileless soprano sailing above a track that begins with sparse electronic chords and gathers layers of percussion and voices, assembling a cumbia and a community out of thin air. PARELES

Kendrick Lamar, ‘ Euphoria ’

This salvo in Kendrick Lamar’s feud with Drake starts with Lamar rapping quickly but calmly over a smooth-jazz backdrop, taunting, “I make music that electrify ’em, you make music that pacify ’em.” But after he warns, “Don’t tell no lie about me/And I won’t tell truths about you,” the track changes to a tolling, droning trap dirge and Lamar’s delivery becomes biting, nasal and percussive. He switches from flow to flow with an accelerating barrage of attacks, professional and personal, from recording deals to parenting skills: “cringe-worthy” is a milder one. PARELES

Charli XCX, ‘ Girl, So Confusing ’

In snaking melodies atop shimmering club beats, Charli XCX pivots between cool-girl braggadocio and raw confessions of insecurity on her new album, “Brat.” “It’s so confusing sometimes to be a girl,” she sings on the chorus of one of its most vulnerable songs, which explores her ambivalent relationship with a certain unnamed pop star doppelgänger. Her unabashedly messy, run-on candor is especially refreshing. ZOLADZ

Saya Gray, ‘ AA Bouquet for Your 180 Face ’

The Canadian songwriter and producer Saya Gray’s voice is wry and a little sleepy as she reconsiders a relationship, singing, “I bent over backwards so many times/I turned into a golden arch for you to walk through.” But her production is alert, hyper-detailed and surreally unpredictable, segueing among ticking electronics, syncopated indie-rock, spacey vocal chorales, distorted guitars and what might be a koto. She may be lonely, but she’s resourceful. PARELES

Hakushi Hasegawa, ‘ Departed ’

The laptop-wielding Japanese musician Hakushi Hasegawa delivers a manic demolition derby of a song with the hyperpop of “Departed.” Sweet vocal harmonies top a barrage of drums and sliding-pitch synthesizers; a brief respite midway through only makes the closing blitz sound more lightheartedly merciless. PARELES

Les Amazones d’Afrique, ‘ Musow Danse ’

“Musow Danse” (“Women’s Dance”) is the title track of the jubilant new album by Les Amazones d’Afrique — a Pan-African, proudly multilingual alliance of singers and songwriters carrying feminist messages to dance floors, like this chorus: “Rise up African woman!” PARELES

Nilüfer Yanya, ‘ Like I Say (I Runaway) ’

“I run away, ’cause I’m on precious time,” the British musician Nilüfer Yanya sings. In classic Yanya fashion, “Like I Say (I Runaway)” has an almost collagelike feel, reveling in contrasting textures and suddenly erupting into a blaze of guitar distortion on the chorus. ZOLADZ

Clairo, ‘ Sexy to Someone ’

The alt-pop singer Clairo yearns to be the object of just one person’s affection — “nothing more, nothing less,” she sings on a track that pairs her breathily muttered vocals with a persistent groove, resulting in a kind of strutting summer anthem for introverts. ZOLADZ

Angélica Garcia, ‘ Color de Dolor ’

The music sounds absolutely joyful: major chords, a waltzing but flexible beat, a supportive backup choir reinforced by orchestral strings. But Angélica Garcia is singing, in Spanish, “What is the color of pain?” with vocal inflections that hint at both Latin pop and Indian ghazal. PARELES

Vampire Weekend, ‘ Mary Boone ’

“Mary Boone, Mary Boone, I hope you feel like loving someone soon,” Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend sings, name-checking a once-powerful art dealer who recently served a prison sentence for tax fraud. The song itself is a kind of musical mosaic, combining floating atmospherics that recall the band’s “Modern Vampires of the City” with breakbeats and a lush, heavenly choir. ZOLADZ

Arooj Aftab, ‘ Raat Ki Rani ’

The arrangement is largely acoustic, yet there’s almost a trip-hop undertow to “Raat Ki Rani” (Urdu for “Queen of the Night”) by Arooj Aftab , the Grammy-winning, culture-fusing Pakistani singer. One piano note repeats throughout; Asian percussion supplies deep, deliberate syncopation; and Maeve Gilchrist’s harp swirls between verses. Aftab sings about allure and desire in a long-breathed melody suffused with melancholy poise. PARELES

Lila Iké featuring H.E.R., ‘ He Loves Us Both ’

Polyamory gets complicated in this yearning reggae duet. “Don’t be too quick to judge,” the Jamaican singer Lila Iké urges; H.E.R. counters, “You just keep lying to yourself.” Neither of them wanted to “lose a good thing just because,” but that’s all they agree on. The man in question never states his case. PARELES

Usher and Pheelz, ‘ Ruin ’

Usher embraces South African amapiano, with a tinge of Nigerian Afrobeats, in “Ruin,” a track produced by Pheelz, a Nigerian songwriter who adds a rap verse. Mixing accusation, plaint and humblebrag, Usher croons, “You broke me and took your time with it/you gave me all these memories that I regret.” But he also makes clear he has options: “A different girl be on my line/Constantly be calling, every day I still decline.” PARELES

Enrique Iglesias and Yotuel, ‘ Fría ’

In “Fría” (“A Cold One”), the denials and excuses keep coming from Enrique Iglesias, singing, and Yotuel, rapping, over three chords and a perfectly infectious beat set up by lean percussion and rhythm guitar. “I only went out for a cold one,” Iglesias insists. “Your friends lied to you.” It’s so upbeat, they might get away with it. PARELES

Carin León and Kane Brown, ‘ The One (Pero No Como Yo) ’

Country and Mexican music have long been close neighbors across the Texas border. Here, the regional Mexican superstar Carin León welcomes the country singer Kane Brown for a bilingual duet that has León warning someone that no one will love her like him, while Brown proclaims, “Whatever you’re looking for in love/You know I’m the one.” It’s a lean, acoustic Mexican polka underpinned by a sousaphone. PARELES

Hello Mary, ‘ 0% ’

Hello Mary, a three-woman New York City band, whipsaws through a raucous embrace of uncertainty that peaks with the drummer and singer Stella Wave screaming, “I don’t know! I don’t know!” But within less than three minutes the track also jumps amid spindly indie-rock guitar chords, a bruising one-note bass riff and an unexpected dip into folky picking joined by a plinking vibraphone — all while making a waltz sound feral. PARELES

Pearl Jam, ‘ React, Respond ’

Pearl Jam’s LP “Dark Matter” reinforces the band’s longtime strengths: ferocious hard-rock riffs, neo-psychedelic guitar tangles and Eddie Vedder’s urgent moral compass. “React, Respond” hurtles ahead, with guitars blasting in unison and then ricocheting in stereo, as Vedder calls for unified, purposeful action, insisting, “We could be fighting together/Instead of fighting ourselves.” PARELES

Willow, ‘ Big Feelings ’

Willow embraces her outsize emotions in the full-tilt finale of her new album, “Empathogen,” which veers from her old pop-punk into jazz and prog-rock. Her voice sails over choppy piano chords as she announces her “big feelings,” and when she sings, “Yes, I have problems, problems,” she turns “problems” into a six-syllable arpeggio. PARELES

Julia Holter, ‘ Evening Mood ’

​​Julia Holter displays a light touch on the celestial shape-shifter “Evening Mood.” Twinkling keys and Holter’s soft vocals are accompanied by subtle percussion which, in part, features the filtered sounds of her daughter’s heartbeat as recorded on an ultrasound. ZOLADZ

Iron & Wine featuring Fiona Apple, ‘ All in Good Time ’

Somewhere between a hymn and a sea chantey, “All in Good Time” has Sam Beam’s earnest tenor and Fiona Apple’s huskiest alto trading lines about togetherness, estrangement, shared memories and lessons learned: “You wore my ring until it didn’t fit,” Apple observes. Piano chords ring and strings swell as the song’s two ex-partners harmonize to find, if not reconciliation, a mature sense of resignation. PARELES

Adrianne Lenker, ‘ Fool ’

Adrianne Lenker sings about connections — “They say when it’s right it’s right” — that can last or disappear: friendship, infatuation, romance, marriage, family. A six-beat web of picked, manipulated guitar tones are likely to bend, float in, stutter or vanish at any moment: as fragile and needed as the human companionship she longs for. PARELES

Jon Pareles has been The Times’s chief pop music critic since 1988. He studied music, played in rock, jazz and classical groups and was a college-radio disc jockey. He was previously an editor at Rolling Stone and the Village Voice. More about Jon Pareles

Lindsay Zoladz is a pop music critic for The Times and writes the subscriber-only music newsletter The Amplifier . More about Lindsay Zoladz

Find the Right Soundtrack for You

Trying to expand your musical horizons take a listen to something new..

The 40 best songs  of 2024 (so far).

Kendrick Lamar ’s victory lap unites Los Angeles.

Linda Thompson can’t sing her new songs. Her solution? “Proxy Music.”

Hozier  was never a one-hit wonder. But now he has a new smash.

How Cage the Elephant ’s frontman nearly lost it all.

Advertisement

  • Eat & Drink
  • Entertainment
  • Tennessee Event Venues
  • Health & Fitness
  • Kids & Family
  • Local Travel
  • Style and Fashion
  • Things to Do
  • Blackman High School
  • Central Magnet School
  • Eagleville High School
  • La Vergne High School
  • Middle Tennessee Christian School
  • Oakland High School
  • Riverdale High School
  • Rockvale High School
  • Siegel High School
  • Smyrna High School
  • Stewarts Creek High School
  • Blue Raider Sports
  • Real Estate
  • High School Football Scores
  • Tennessee Volunteers
  • Vanderbilt Commodores
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Nashville Predators
  • Nashville Soccer Club
  • Nashville Sounds

Logo

Each week we’re featuring a playlist to get your mind going and help you assemble your favorites. This week we take a deep dive into the soft rock hits of the late ’70s and early ’80s, which have come to be known in some circles as Yacht Rock. The term Yacht Rock generally refers to music in the era where yuppies enjoyed sipping champagne on their yachts — a concept explored in the original web series Yacht Rock, which debuted in 2005 and has developed a cult following. Artists most commonly thought of in the Yacht Rock era include Michael McDonald, Ambrosia, 10cc, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, and Christopher Cross. Yacht Rock has become the muse of a great number of tribute bands and is the current subject of a short-run channel on Sirius XM.

Here is a stab at the Top 100 Songs of Yacht Rock — not necessarily in rank order, with a few more added for honorable mention. We welcome your comments. What songs are ranked too high? What songs are ranked too low? What songs are missing? Make your case. Also, please let us know concepts for playlists you’d like to see — or share a favorite list of your own.

ArtistTitle
1Steely DanHey Nineteen
2Herb AlpertRoute 101
3Robbie DupreeSteal Away
4Jan Hammer GroupDon't You Know
5Blues ImageRide Captain Ride
6Toto/Cheryl LynnGeorgy Porgy
7Gerry RaffertyRight Down The Line
8Paul YoungEvery Time You Go Away
9Boz ScaggsJojo
10Johnny NashI Can See Clearly Now
11Daryl Hall/John OatesSara Smile
12OrleansDance With Me
13Olivia Newton JohnMagic
14Seals & CroftsSummer Breeze
15Lionel RichieAll Night Long
16Fleetwood MacYou Make Loving Fun
17Steely DanDeacon Blues
18Christopher CrossRide Like The Wind
19Little River BandCool Change
20Jackson BrowneSomebody's Baby
2110ccDreadlock Holiday
22Dr. HookWhen You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman
23Boz ScaggsLowdown
24PlayerThis Time I'm In It For Love
25Fleetwood MacEverywhere
26Steely DanPeg
27Todd RundgrenI Saw The Light
28Gerry RaffertyBaker Street
29EaglesOne Of These Nights
30James IngramYah-Mo Be There
3110ccI'm Not In Love
32AmbrosiaBiggest Part Of Me
33Terri GibbsSomebody's Knockin'
34Atlanta Rhythm SectionSo In To You
35Boz ScaggsLido Shuffle
36Steve Miller BandWild Mountain Honey
37Michael McDonaldI Gotta Try
38Matthew WilderBreak My Stride
39England Dan & John Ford ColeyI'd Really Love To See You Tonight
40PlayerBaby Come Back
41Kenny LogginsThis Is It
42Michael McDonaldI Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)
43TotoRosanna
44Daryl Hall/John OatesKiss On My List
45The Doobie BrothersWhat A Fool Believes
46Christopher CrossSailing
47Loggins & MessinaWatching The River Run
48EaglesThe Long Run
49Looking GlassBrandy (You're A Fine Girl)
50BreadEverything I Own
51Steely DanReelin' in the Years
52Joe JacksonSteppin' Out
53Jackson BrowneDoctor My Eyes
54Sanford & TownsendSmoke from a Distant Fire
55Bobby CaldwellWhat You Won't Do For Love
56Fleetwood MacRhiannon
57AceHow Long
58Daryl Hall/John OatesRich Girl
59TotoAfrica
60Steely DanDo It Again
61Bertie HigginsKey Largo
62Rupert HolmesEscape (The Pina Colada Song)
63Little River BandReminiscing
64Jimmy BuffettMargaritaville
65Fleetwood MacDreams
66FirefallJust Remember I Love You
67EaglesI Can't Tell You Why
68EaglesThe Best Of My Love
69EaglesTake It To The Limit
70EaglesTequila Sunrise
71ChicagoSaturday In The Park
72Bob WelchSentimental Lady
73AmericaSister Golden Hair
74AmericaA Horse With No Name
75AmbrosiaHow Much I Feel
76Alan ParsonsEye In The Sky
77Air SupplyLost In Love
78Steely DanDirty Work
79Steely DanOnly A Fool Would Say That
80OrleansStill The One
81Stephen BishopSinking In An Ocean Of Tears
8210ccThe Things We Do For Love
83AmericaVentura Highway
84Al StewartYear Of The Cat
85BreadBaby I'm A Want You
86FirefallYou Are The Woman
87George BensonGimme The Night
88Barbara Streisand/Barry GibbGuilty
89Christopher CrossArthur's Theme
90Marty BalinHearts
91PocoBarbados
92Daryl Hall/John OatesI Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
93Al StewartTime Passages
94Jay FergusonThunder Island
95Dr. HookSexy Eyes
96Donald FagenI.G.Y.
97Michael McDonaldGotta Try
98BreadMake It With You
99Pablo CruiseWhatcha Gonna Do
100Doobie BrothersDependin' On You
101Ozark Mountain DaredevilsJackie Blue
102Pablo CruiseLove Will Find A Way
103StarbuckMoonlight Feels Right
104Billy OceanCaribbean Queen
105Linda RonstadtOoh Baby Baby
106Hues CorporationRock The Boat
107Loggins & MessinaDanny's Song
108Rupert HolmesAnswering Machine
109Stephen BishopOn And On
110BreadThe Guitar Man
111Seals & CroftsDiamond Girl
112Air SupplyEven The Nights Are Better
113AmbrosiaYou're The Only Woman
114George BensonBreezin'
115Daryl Hall/John OatesShe's Gone
116Dave LogginsPlease Come To Boston
117Rickie Lee JonesChuck E.'s In Love
118Captain/TennilleLove Will Keep Us Together
119Dr. HookBetter Love Next Time
120ChilliwackI Believe
121Crosby, Stills & NashSouthern Cross
122Climax Blues BandCouldn't Get It Right
123Gilbert O'SullivanAlone Again (Naturally)
124AmericaDaisy Jane
125Beach BoysSail On, Sailor

Please Join Our FREE Newsletter!

Featured Local Savings

Related articles more from author, grace bowers raises $30k for musiccares® & voices for a safer tennessee, how to attend a free post malone concert in nashville, why the dmp band is the perfect choice for live music at your next event, close to home events, rutherford weekend: 5 happenings this weekend, violent femmes to perform with the nashville symphony, at&t hosting hiring event on june 20, josh ross announces headlining single again tour, gwar to bring the stoned age tour to nashville, what you need to know about monster jam at nissan stadium, nashville venue the eighth room expands hours, debuts renovated patio oasis, close to home news, lane closures and road construction 6-22-26-2024, tennessee’s gottshall & milloy named csc academic all-americans, ribbon cutting: mi patria mexican restaurant ii in murfreesboro, 2024-25 memberships for vanderbilt’s mr. c’s kids’ club now available, ribbon cutting: coadvantage in murfreesboro, two sought in ulta shoplifting in murfreesboro.

Editorial Inquiries 615-807-0805

Advertising Inquiries 615-535-4554

All Other Inquiries 615-899-2447

Email field is required to subscribe.

top 10 yacht rock bands

You Have Successfully Subscribed to the Newsletter

IMAGES

  1. The Docksiders: America's Favorite Yacht Rock Band

    top 10 yacht rock bands

  2. America's Favorite Yacht Rock Band

    top 10 yacht rock bands

  3. Yacht rock bands take a bow in Las Vegas

    top 10 yacht rock bands

  4. Yacht Rock: A tribute to the greatest soft rock songs and bands of the

    top 10 yacht rock bands

  5. Yacht Rock. 100% smooth from Yachty by Nature band

    top 10 yacht rock bands

  6. Yacht rock bands take a bow in Las Vegas

    top 10 yacht rock bands

VIDEO

  1. Yacht Rock 5 HD

  2. Introducing the Yacht Rock-ettes

COMMENTS

  1. The 20 greatest yacht rock songs ever, ranked

    Seals & Crofts - 'Summer Breeze'. Summer Breeze - Seals & Croft #1 Hit (1972) Before The Isley Brothers recorded a slick cover, 'Summer Breeze' was an irresistible folk pop song by Seals & Crofts. While mostly a folk song, its summer vibes and gorgeous melody make for a perfect yacht rock number.

  2. The 25 Best Yacht Rock Songs Of All Time

    Putting aside its self-aware inauthenticity, "Africa" is an infectious, 8x platinum AOR monster. 5. "Reminiscing" by Little River Band. Released in the summer of 1978 and reaching up to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Reminiscing" was guitarist Graeham Goble 's nostalgic take on the swing band era.

  3. Top 100 Greatest Yacht Rock Songs of All Time

    Furthermore, Aja, the album that houses Peg, is one of the most impressive American albums of all time, beyond its Yacht Rock appeal. 3. Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) - Looking Glass. Released in 1972, the one-hit wonder by Looking Glass, Brandy, established a much bigger name for itself than the band ever managed to achieve on its own.

  4. List of yacht rock artists

    Main page; Contents; Current events; Random article; About Wikipedia; Contact us; Donate

  5. Feature: The 101 GREATEST YACHT ROCK SONGS OF ALL TIME for Your Summer

    Officially, to be considered Yacht Rock, the song must have been released between 1976 and 1984, and I adhere to this rule for the 101. That means no songs that are proto-Yacht Rock, such as Seals ...

  6. Yacht Rock: Album, Record Guide

    Carefree bounce from a San Francisco band with the best name ever for a soft-rock act — named, fittingly, after a chill Colorado buddy. "BAKER STREET" Gerry Rafferty, 1978

  7. Yacht Rock

    Yacht Rock - 100 Best Ever - Top Yacht Rock Songs · Playlist · 112 songs · 584 likes.

  8. Sailing: The Best Of Yacht Rock

    Sailing: The Best Of Yacht Rock is the ultimate #YachtRock playlist of the smoothest classic rock songs ever written.

  9. Top 10 Yacht Rock Songs Of All Time

    Of course no Top 10 list, especially one dedicated to such a maligned sub-genre as Yacht Rock, would be complete without a few Honorable Mentions: Top 10 Yacht Songs Honorable Mentions

  10. Playlist of the Week: Top 100 Songs of Yacht Rock

    Artists most commonly thought of in the Yacht Rock era include Michael McDonald, Ambrosia, 10cc, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, and Christopher Cross. Yacht Rock has become the muse of a great number of tribute bands, and is the current subject of a short-run channel on Sirius XM.

  11. Top 100 Yacht Rock Songs

    Top 100 Yacht Rock Songs. A new music service with official albums, singles, videos, remixes, live performances and more for Android, iOS and desktop.

  12. The Best Yacht Rock Songs (That Don't Suck) on Apple Music

    Listen to the The Best Yacht Rock Songs (That Don't Suck) playlist by Rolling Stone on Apple Music. 12 Songs. Duration: 1 hour, 1 minute. ... Often dissed as slick, overly-produced music made by white men in the '70s, Yacht Rock actually resulted in some amazing pop music beyond Christopher Cross' "Sailing." Here are tracks that define the ...

  13. Best Yacht Rock Bands

    Here are who I think are the best Yacht Rock musicians. Not the best musicians total, but who most encompass the Yacht Rock vibe to me. And unlike some jerky sites that make you sift through a long list to get to the top, I'm starting off right at number one. Number 1 - Michael McDonald. I've been bit hard by the McDonald bug.

  14. ‎YACHT ROCK

    70s + 80s Soft Rock for a day on the boat. Island tunes, chill summer hits + nothing but smooth sailing while jamming to hits from TOTO, Looking Glass, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates + more. 99 Songs, 6 hours, 40 minutes

  15. The 25 Best Yacht Rock Songs Of All Time

    6. "Drift Away" by Dobie Gray. Recorded originally by a country-swamp rocker named Jeffrey Kurtz, Dobie's 1973 cover became his biggest hit, reaching #5 on the charts. Though not explicitly nautical, "Drift Away" captures the distinct sensation of cruising at sunset. 7. "Love Will Find a Way" by Pablo Cruise.

  16. 60+ Best Yacht Rock Songs of All Time

    Yacht rock has proven to be a timeless genre that has, for decades, captured the hearts of not only yacht enjoyers and owners, but also music lovers in general. Whether you're a newcomer to yacht rock or a long-time enthusiast of the genre, the top yacht rock songs in this list will offer a glimpse into the melodic, smooth sound that defines ...

  17. Top 100 Yacht Rock Songs

    Share your videos with friends, family, and the world

  18. Best Yacht Rock Songs

    Best Yacht Rock Songs - Ultimate Yacht Rock Music (Playlist Updated in 2024) If you liked this playlist, we recommend you also listen to these music lists: 1...

  19. The greatest Yacht Rock songs of all time

    Toto rightfully has a place in the yacht rock world, but the band also broke into the top-40, FM radio, and MTV mainstream with the release of 1982's Toto IV."Rosanna" was a big reason for the ...

  20. Top 24 Yacht Rock Songs

    Here's my Top 24 Yacht Rock Songs. 24. England Dan and John Ford Coley - I'd Really Love To See You Tonight. 23. Herb Alpert - Route 101. 22. Jay Ferguson - Thunder Island. 21. Boz Scaggs - JoJo.

  21. 100 Yacht Rock Classic Playlist

    Yacht Rock Definitive PlaylistJazz has Smooth Jazz. Rock and Roll has Yacht Rock. It's nostalgic music, if you are of the right demographic, or like to pretend you are. The phrase was started by J.D. Ryznar, who created a series of Yacht Rock videos in 2005/6. A mix of 70s and 80s 'Adult Contemporary' pop,… Read More

  22. 36 Best Yacht Rock Songs You Will Love

    Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) - Looking Glass. Written by the band's lead guitarist Elliot Lurie, pop-rock band Looking Glass is a one-hit wonder thanks to their popular single 'Brandy (You're a Fine Girl).'. The song tells the story of a young "barmaid" in a bustling seaport who brushes off endless propositions as she longs for ...

  23. Def Leppard Debuts Inside The Top 10 With Their New Single

    Def Leppard and Morello earn the second-highest-ranking debut on this week's Hard Rock Digital Song Sales list. They come in behind only Hardy, whose new single "Six Feet Under (Caleigh's ...

  24. The 40 Best Songs of 2024 (So Far)

    One We Missed. Ariana Grande, ' We Can't Be Friends (Wait for Your Love) '. At once strobe-lit and silky, Ariana Grande appropriately channels Robyn — the patron saint of crying in the ...

  25. The Playlist of the Week: Top 100 Songs of Yacht Rock

    Artists most commonly thought of in the Yacht Rock era include Michael McDonald, Ambrosia, 10cc, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, and Christopher Cross. Yacht Rock has become the muse of a great number of tribute bands and is the current subject of a short-run channel on Sirius XM.