Get your boat shoes out, tie your jumper round your shoulders and listen to Peg by Steely Dan on repeat. Yacht Rock is sailing into Fopp. To celebrate our Yacht Rock promotion, we’re taking a look at 10 of our favourite records from the genre.
Steely Dan – Gaucho
A coolly textured and immaculately produced collection of sophisticated jazz-rock. The Dan lean away from rock on Aja, preferring to fuse cool jazz, blues, and pop together in a seamless, seductive fashion.
Eagles – Eagles
Balance is the key element of the Eagles’ self-titled debut album, a collection that contains elements of rock & roll, folk, and country, overlaid by vocal harmonies alternately suggestive of doo wop, the Beach Boys, and the Everly Brothers.
Toto – Toto IV
It was do or die for Toto on the group’s fourth album, and they rose to the challenge. Toto IV was both the group’s comeback and its peak; it remains a definitive album of slick L.A. pop for the early ’80s and Toto’s best and most consistent record.
Donald Fagen – The Nightfly
Continuing in the smooth pop-jazz mode favored on the final Steely Dan records, The Nightfly is lush and shimmering, produced with cinematic flair by Gary Katz; romanticized but never sentimental, the songs are slices of suburbanite soap opera, tales of space-age hopes and Cold War fears crafted with impeccable style and sophistication.
Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees
Both artistically and commercially, Boz Scaggs had his greatest success with Silk Degrees. The laid-back singer hit the R&B charts in a big way with the addictive, sly “Lowdown”. But Scaggs was essentially a pop/rocker, and in that area he has a considerable amount of fun on “Lido Shuffle” which became a staple of adult contemporary pop radio.
The Doobie Brothers – The Captain and Me
The Doobie Brothers’ third long-player was the charm, their most substantial and consistent album to date, and one that rode the charts for a year. It was also a study in contrasts, Tom Johnston’s harder-edged, bolder rocking numbers balanced by Patrick Simmons’ more laid-back country-rock ballad style.
Seal & Crofts – Summer Breeze
The title track is one of those relentlessly appealing 1970s harmony-rock anthems, and appropriately ubiquitous on the radio and in the memory; the guitar (electric and acoustic) and vocal hooks are all well-nigh irresistible.
Steely Dan – Gaucho
The second Steely Dan album to feature on this list, whereas Aja was cool, relaxed, and controlled; it sounded deceptively easy. Its follow-up, Gaucho, while sonically similar, is its polar opposite: a precise and studied record. Perhaps the tightest, most groove-orientated tracks that the group produced during their career.
Gerry Rafferty – City to City
Gerry Rafferty is a huge talent, but a reluctant star. Setting out in his apocalyptic “Ark,” each song radiates the confidence of a master craftsman cruising in his prime, constructing brilliant pop confections with top-flight support while awaiting the crunch of civilization.
America – America
America’s debut album is a folk-pop classic, a stellar collection of memorable songs that would prove to be massively influential. Lead by the spectrally loping “A Horse with No Name” this album radiates warm melodies, complex acoustic guitar work and sounds as it was written for a roadtrip through the California backwoods.