Yacht Rock Revisted: What Yacht Rock is—and isn't.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by LeftCoastGator, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. HeavensAbove

    HeavensAbove Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sacramento
    Maybe this:



    Very McDonald-era Doobie-esque intro here.
     
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  2. HeavensAbove

    HeavensAbove Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sacramento
    Also, this:

     
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  3. ChrisScooter1

    ChrisScooter1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Roeland Park, KS
    It's been mentioned a few times in this thread, but to help clarify, its worth mentioning again.

    Yacht Rock is an attribute of certain songs first and artists second. Some artists entire ouvres (like Michael McDonald) allow them to be described as largely yacht rock artists, but others (like Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Chicago and Kenny Loggins) have yacht rock songs, but their entire careers are not yacht rock (earlier Steely Dan, most pre-McDonald Doobies, Terry Kath era Chicago/CTA, early and later Kenny Loggins). I had a bit of a go with the Yacht Rock Radio guy on Facebook who described Cliff Richard as a Yacht Rock artist based on "We Don't Talk Anymore" and "Suddenly (Duet with ONJ)." While those tunes arguably are YR, Ole Cliff is DEFINITELY not yacht rock..."Move It" and "Living Doll"...nowhere near YR for obvious reasons.

    EWF have definite Yacht Rock or Yacht Soul songs, but they are by no means a Yacht Rock band. Some of those David Foster produced albums and songs are yacht rock.
     
  4. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    Foster never produced EWF, but was involved heavily in the writing and keyboard playing on I Am. And his influence lasted through the next album, Faces, though he'd already moved on.
     
  5. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector

    I have no personal concern whether or not someone wants to label "Baker Street" a Yacht Rock song. But, I want to point out there is a lot of electric piano in that recording.

    The electric piano is audible most of the sections with vocals. It's especially prominent in the "You used to think that it was so easy" part. There's a high sounding Rhodes rolled chord on beat one of every measure, D minor to A minor. It's pretty loud in the mix, I've noticed it for years. And there's also an accompaniment pattern aligning with the melody going on underneath, reminiscent of a Latin montuno. That part could be on a Rhodes or Wurlitzer piano, it's sometimes hard to tell them apart in the lower register.
     
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  6. LeftCoastGator

    LeftCoastGator Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94501
    As they say, let's go to the tape:



    Well, again as they say, it does appear we have incontrovertible video evidence—this track is in fact lousy with electric piano. Offered, according to Discogs, by one Tommy Eyre. They have it listed as "keyboards," but it looks like the classic Rhodes electric piano in the video.

    So I'm the wrongest wrong that was ever wrong. In my defense, though, electric piano bit under the vocals isn't the usual yacht rock tone, a-la Doobie Brothers—I always assumed it was a Moog or some other synth. And I assumed the keyboard played under the sax solo was an actual piano, but it appears that's not the case.

    Here's an interesting history of the song, which brings to light that the iconic sax riff was almost certainly stolen from jazz saxophonist Steve Marcus:
    The Mystery of 'Baker Street' and Rock's Greatest Sax Riff

    So while, yes, that was a wrong that had to be righted, it does not change one fact: "Baker Street" is not a yacht rock song.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  7. zebop

    zebop Well Known Stranger

    "Baker Street" isn't yacht rock, to me. It's melodic late '70s pop, this song has a different feel, production values and tone than yacht rock.
     
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  8. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector

    That's very interesting to learn about the Steve Marcus' riff, and how the "Baker Street" sax sounds suspiciously similar.

    Regarding the video, there's no guarantee those were the actual instruments that ended up on the final recording. However, the sounds do match up. The video has a Rhodes Suitcase piano, with a Minimoog on top.
    [​IMG].

    Also shown in the video is a Solina String Ensemble, which would have provided the washy orchestral violin like pads in the background.
    [​IMG]

    And though not seen in the video, my ears also tell me there is an acoustic piano playing throughout the song. I agree that the production and arrangement style is not exactly the same as the mostly US made recordings that so many folks consider to be true "Yacht Rock".
     
  9. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA


    23 pages of brilliant Yacht Roch and i have yet to witness this epic yarn. This shall not pass!!
     
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  10. DaverJ

    DaverJ Well-Known Member

    Man, Jay Ferguson went through a change after the great Jo Jo Gunne....

     
  11. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    That station seems to have disappeared. Shame I never got to sample it. I'm guessing either the show/podcast creators or SiriusXM got through to him...
     
  12. LeftCoastGator

    LeftCoastGator Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94501
    That video is epic. How much more yacht can one man look? None. None more yacht.
     
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  13. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
  14. StuHssn

    StuHssn New Member

    Location:
    UK

    Mike McD and the Skunk before it all went too smooth - unbelievable guitar solo
     
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  15. DaverJ

    DaverJ Well-Known Member

    So what do we call the 80s music that followed Yacht? "Smooth Pop Jazz"?

    I'm thinking things like the Foster-produced St. Elmo's Fire theme -- would this be considered post-Yacht?

     
  16. LeftCoastGator

    LeftCoastGator Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94501
    That's a good question. On the R&B front, it morphed into the Quiet Storm, which were those hookless, endless, turgid love ballads that seemed to exist only to determine which singer could perform the longest, most histrionic vocal run.

    On the rock side, I guess it would be called Adult Contemporary, which is where the rock dropped out entirely in favor cloying, edgeless audio vanilla, which probably finally reached its absolute nadir in Celine Dion.
     
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  17. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    Yeah, but Quiet Storm was born out of the Smokey track/album of the same name, which came out in 1975...a year before Yacht.
     
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  18. DaverJ

    DaverJ Well-Known Member

    I have to say - I don't like Yacht. Yet love Steely Dan's Aja + Goucho, have a soft spot for EWF's late 70s output, and even though I think Mr. McDonald ruined the Doobies, sometimes I want to relax to the Minute by Minute album. So maybe I just don't want to admit there's a place for Yacht in my soul? :oops:

    I think about this thread a lot as random tunes pop up. This is one of my favorite threads on this forum.
     
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  19. driverdrummer

    driverdrummer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Irmo, SC
    I've read the genre was called Hi-Tech. Stuff like Kenny Loggins-Vox Humana.
     
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  20. melstapler

    melstapler Forum Resident


    'Gone Too Far' by Eddie Rabbitt
     
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  21. LeftCoastGator

    LeftCoastGator Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94501
    Yeah, but, I don't think that's necessarily the music or era people associate with Quiet Storm. I think an apt comparison might be the term "heavy metal," which was born out of Beatnik poetry and originally used to describe bands like Iron Butterfly and The Electric Flag, which (unless you're the Grammys) isn't how most people would categorize heavy metal today.

    To me, Quiet Storm is the slow, dull, melodramatic love ballads of the mid-80s to early 90s. Here's a classic example:
     
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  22. DaverJ

    DaverJ Well-Known Member

    So to my ears the only thing that separates After the Love Has Gone (Yacht) and Celebrate My Love (Quiet Storm) is the year it was recorded/popular, right?

    Which category does this '81 gem fall into?
     
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  23. LeftCoastGator

    LeftCoastGator Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94501
    Uh, that's the only thing? "After the Love Has Gone" was written by David Foster, Jay Graydon, and Bill Champlin, was recorded by Airplay, has a great bridge and a soaring chorus, cool horns, and great harmonies.

    "Celebrate My Love" is the song equivalent of Ron Burgundy trapped in glass case of emotion! I really don't think they sound similar at all.
     
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  24. LeftCoastGator

    LeftCoastGator Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94501
    Huh. That's… yacht country, I guess? Maybe that's "bass boat rock."
     
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  25. LeftCoastGator

    LeftCoastGator Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    94501
    Ha! it's funny you posted this particular song, because this one is hard to peg—it has Quiet Storm verses but kind of a yachty chorus. Still, I'd probably pass on this one in favor some of his other singles, which are actually great yacht rock:
     
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