The concept started as a joke amongst friends, but the roots go much deeper. I've always had a fascination with late 70s, early 80s soft rock. I'm not sure where that came from, as I wasn't exactly exposed to it as a child. I remember some songs being on the radio, and of course some of others are buried in the consciousness of American pop culture. But what really caused me to set sail on this voyage to Yacht Rock? Grab a cool drink and a life preserver, and float with me.
It must have been on MySpace in 2006 or 2007, and I had posted a quote from "What A Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers. A friend of mine and fellow DJ from the Bay Area, Mark 7, messaged me with a resounding "FUCK YOU, LOGGINS!" I had no idea what he was talking about, until he explained this wonderful internet creation from Channel 101 called Yacht Rock.
I was taken aboard a hilarious voyage into the world of Smooth Music. I was stuck. All these songs and memories of childhood came flooding back. I started quoting the show to people, who had no idea what I was talking about. I began playing more of these songs at the 80s club I was spinning at. I wanted into Koko's world, badly. I was sailing.
The idea to make a mix of this stuff had been floating around my head for a while. I had already done a mix called 8-Track Sessions which incorporated similar elements, but a bit more rock feel to it. It didn't really embrace the smooth.
So I held off, buried the idea. Would anyone care? Probably not. I did 5 more volumes of 8-Track Sessions (I'll get into those in another blog), plus numerous other concept and live mixes. My Mixcrate page was getting popular, and I would indulge myself every now and then with a mix that I thought only I would care about, but would often turn out to be fairly well-received.
But it took Lionel Richie to bring it all together.
How, you ask? In 2014 I attended a concert at the Concord Pavilion with Lionel Richie with a group of my closest friends. Some drinks flowed. Somehow I came up with term "a soft rock riot" to describe our evening. That clicked in my head. It was time. Koko's spirit beckoned. (If you don't know who KoKo is, then you need to watch Yacht Rock. Seriously. Watch it.)
Ten days later I dropped Thread Count: A Soft Rock Riot on Mixcrate.
I had the title in my head for a year before I even thought of making a mix. Thread Count. It has a dual meaning, one obvious, one personal. The obvious being the fabric / cloth ratio to softness (soft rock, soft fabric, haha, get it? I'll wait while you bask in my glorious "dad joke") But the second meaning was a subtle shout out to my closest friends, the same ones who attended the show with me. See, we have a long-running Facebook "thread" that we keep private, and full of off-color jokes and just random hilarity. No, you cannot see it. But Thread Count had been circling in my head, and I finally had to get it out.
The first song was the obvious choice. Sailing by Christopher Cross. It sums up everything I want to express in one package. It IS the SMOOTH. So I had a strong starting point. Voyage underway.
So I dug into my archives. I chose about 45-50 songs that I knew fit this genre, and fit the smooth vibe I wanted to create. But I also wanted to throw a little nod to our Lionel Richie concert experience, so I chose a few songs by him that could fit the vibe. It should be Easy. Like Sunday morning.
These are the tracks that might have penetrated your consciousness as a small child, riding in the back of your parents' wood-grain station wagon, or their AMC Pacer, even in the bed of that old Ford side-step pickup. Before CDs or even cassettes, there were 8-track tapes, and they lasted from the late 60s to the early 80s. These mixes are a collection of songs that might have graced your ears during that time.