Greg Prato

The Yacht Rock Book: The Oral History of the Soft, Smooth Sounds of the 70s and 80s

Published by Jawbone

Jul 12, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Subtitled "The Oral History of the Soft, Smooth Sounds of the 70s and 80s," Greg Prato's The Yacht Rock Book aims to be the definitive document of a genre that has reemerged in the music public's consciousness in the past few years, ironic as it might be. It has come the time when artists such as America, Christopher Cross, Toto, Loggins & Messina, and Air Supply are no longer derided across all music circles but celebrated at least in some, and Prato deigns to explore this concept in his book.

He speaks with many of the main players here, those aforementioned as well as lesser lights such as Player ("Baby Come Back"), Ambrosia ("How Much I Feel"), Orleans ("Still the One"), Robbie Dupree ("Steal Away"), Looking Glass ("Brandy"), and Matthew Wilder ("Break My Stride").

The thesis of the beginning of the book seemed to this reader a bit strained, as Prato examines what he concludes are the trailblazers of what became the yacht rock sound. Bands like The Eagles, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Burrito Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, and even The Beach Boys are discussed in some depth. And while those bands may have possessed a light touch more than a time or two, connecting them even peripherally with artists like Orleans and Air Supply seems a bit disconcerting.

Chapters devoted to yacht rock songwriting, fashion, session musicians, and art work seem more surface that revelatory. But where Prato really seems to dig in is when he lays out the choice tracks of the era, those songs that define what became known as yacht rock. Creating essentially an oral history of each of those songs' creations is where The Yacht Rock Book is most interesting. It's where Prato's concept is laid out most successfully.

Later chapters explore artists and songs that may not be seen as yacht rock exactly but are close, the career of Billy Joel, and what happened to some of these artists after their heydays had past. And Prato concludes by taking the yacht rock term to the streets, as it were, exploring with these artists whether the label is even appropriate or whether some other term would be more apt to describe the music discussed. Far from perfect but ultimately satisfying, The Yacht Rock Book is a well-compiled, well-deserved tome to a genre that had been all but forgotten.


Author rating: 6/10

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Equipo de música
July 27th 2018

This music was incredible, I remember that times