|Cultural origins||Mid to late 1970s|
Yacht rock (initially known as the West Coast Sound) is a broadly-encompassing musical style and aesthetic identified with the soft rock genre. Yacht rock was one of the biggest genres of its era, existing between the late 1970s and early 1980s, when it was then described as "adult-oriented rock". Some of the music may overlap with smooth soul, smooth jazz, R&B, funk, and disco. Common stylistic traits include high-quality production, clean vocals, and a focus on big-hearted melodies.
The term "yacht rock" was coined in 2005 with the online video series of the same name created by J.D. Ryznar, and it was originally used as a pejorative, although its stigma has lessened in later years.
In part, "yacht rock" relates to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, enjoying smooth music while out for a sail. Additionally, since sailing was a popular leisure activity in Southern California, many "yacht rockers" made nautical references in their lyrics, videos, and album artwork, particularly the anthemic track "Sailing" by Christopher Cross. According to IGN's Spence D. and Brian Linder, the song "fits the whole concept of Yacht Rock to a 'T.'" According to AllMusic's Matt Colier:
The key defining rules of the game seem to be: keep it smooth, even when it grooves, with more emphasis on the melody than on the beat; keep the emotions light, even when the sentiment turns sad (as is so often the case in the world of the sensitive yacht-rocksman); and always keep it catchy, no matter how modest or deeply buried in the tracklist the tune happens to be.
Yacht rock existed roughly between the years 1975–82 or 1976–84. Some of the most popular acts included Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Steely Dan and Toto. Ryznar commented that the term was intended to refer to the "more elite studio artists" of the period. David B. Lyons, who co-produced Yacht Rock and played Koko Goldstein, noted that a friend of his devised the term "marina rock" in college to refer to a more "working-class" group of artists that didn't achieve the same high profile, such as Seals and Crofts, Bertie Higgins, Rupert Holmes, and Looking Glass.
List of artists
- Hinkes-Jones, Llewellyn (15 July 2010). "Downtempo Pop: When Good Music Gets a Bad Name". The Atlantic.
- Cross, Christopher (February 22, 2014). "Hall & Oates Are Genuine Rock Stars in My Book". The Huffington Post.
- "AllMusic Loves Yacht Rock". AllMusic. June 25, 2014.
- Berlind, William (2006-08-27). "Yacht Rock Docks in New York". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
- Kamp, Jon (October 11, 2015). "Can You Sail to It? Then It Must Be 'Yacht Rock'". The Wall Street Journal.
- Bray, Elisa (June 5, 2014). "From Haim to Chromeo: The new wave of Yacht-rockers". Independent.
- Crumsho, Michael (2006-01-09). "Finally, a name for that music: "Yacht Rock"". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
- Toal, Drew (June 26, 2015). "Sail Away: The Oral History of 'Yacht Rock'". Rolling Stone.
- Spence D.; Brian Linder (2006-05-30). "Top 10 Yacht Rock Songs Of All Time". IGN. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
- Matos, Michaelangelo (2005-12-07). "Talk Talk: J.D. Ryznar". Seattle Weekly. Archived from the original on 2006-04-14. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
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