“Oh hi… I’m Hollywood Steve. You caught me relaxing in my music nook! From 1976-1984 the radio airwaves were dominated by really smooth music, also known… as ‘Yacht Rock’ “
…and so began one of the best, funniest web series’ of recent times. Written, directed and produced by J.D. Ryznar, Yacht Rock took an affectionate, fictionalized (though grounded in some biographical truth) look at the trials and tribulations of the soft rock scene of its chosen era, with actors playing heightened versions of genre stalwarts like Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins and, memorably, Steely Dan, whose portrayal as a pair of evil, scatting overlords was perhaps the show’s highlight. From McDonald’s uncannily immaculate conception of ‘What A Fool Believes’ in the first episode, to his desperate struggle to stay relevant in the era of ‘We Are The World’ in the last (featuring a truly ludicrous cameo from “extraterrestrial” producer Giorgio Moroder), the show was astute, funny and packed with the kind of fanciful detail and genuine love that could only come from real fans.
Yacht Rock lasted 10 episodes as a primetime show on rolling internet-based film festival Channel 101 from 2005 to 2006, but was so popular as a download, and garnered so many YouTube hits, that the creators made two more episodes in 2008 and 2010. By this point, the show had established such a cultural cache that it was able to attract the likes of Kevin Bacon and Jason Lee (aka Earl from My Name Is Earl) to cameo.
Though the music in the show is never actually referred to as ‘Yacht Rock’, its presence has certainly helped a generation of younger fans to come out of the “soft rock closet”, as it were, and take to the streets to declare the likes of Steely Dan and Hall & Oates among their favourite bands. Though I’ve always been open about my love for this type of music, I know not everyone has, so I hope that me re-posting this can assist others in finding the confidence to be themselves. (For further, Dan-specific reading, check out this excellent primer from The A.V. Club).
Here, then, follows a handy (yet probably computer-crashing) compendium of all Yacht Rock‘s 12 fantastic episodes in one place. Of course, mad, mad, crazy props go to JD Ryznar (whose YouTube channel can be found here) and everyone involved in its creation and distribution.
“Accused and tried and told to hang
I was nowhere in sight when the church bells rang
Never was the kind to do as I was told
Gonna ride like the wind before I get old”
Christopher Cross – ‘Ride Like The Wind’