I didn't own this album back in 1980, but it sounds like something I would have purchased if the songs hadn't been in constant heavy rotation on the radio stations I listened to. It's a great collection of pop songs. Allmusic says this: "soft rock albums hardly ever came better than this, and it remains one of the best mainstream albums of its time." At the time though, most critics panned this album, but it sold 6x platinum and won 5 Grammy awards including, unfortunately, the dreaded Best New Artist while famously beating Pink Floyd's The Wall for Album Of The Year. The songwriting is good, the supporting cast is top-notch LA studio personnel, and the production by Michael Omartian is tight. My only complaint is that Cross doesn't properly articulate his lyrics. Because of the mushmouth, my 14 year old mind constructed its fair share of mondegreens when listening to the singles on the radio. Two examples:
Actual lyrics: "Lived nine lives, gunned down ten."For this reason, it probably wasn't a good idea to have Michael McDonald sing backing vocals since on many tracks, he steals the show.
What I heard: "Live non-lives. Gunga Din!"
Actual Lyrics: "It's not far back to sanity."
What I heard: "It's not far back to Sante Fe." (How do you sail in Sante Fe?!?)
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #6 (it spent a remarkable total of 116 weeks on the chart)
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #6 (135 consecutive weeks on this chart)
Tracks: 4 of the 9 tracks were Top 40 hits: Say You'll Be Mine (#20), Never Be The Same (#15), Ride Like The Wind (#2), and Sailing (#1). Most of the rest are strong filler. The only song I don't particularly care for is the final track, Minstrel Gigolo.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: the same as for Steely Dan's Katy Lied: Terribly frustrated after a bad day of being micromanaged at work, I sought solace in a local entertainment store, where I went crazy buying CDs from the "$4.99 and under" bin. I probably bought 8-10 discs that day; this was one of them. The music definitely made me feel better.
About 6 months ago, I finally openly admitted my love for the West Coast subgenre of soft rock music of the the late '70s and early '80s. This came about at the same time I discovered the hilarious Yacht Rock web series. I figured if I was going to admit enjoying this stuff, I might as well start buying some of the music. I did my research and discovered I was unfamiliar with many West Coast artists and that much of their music wasn't readily available on CD for a reasonable price (Steve Kipner, Marc Jordan, Pages, Bill Champlin, etc). For these artists, I've either legally downloaded their albums or purchased the LP's off eBay, so they won't be appearing on this blog. However, I picked up this yacht rock classic CD about the same time.