Wednesday, January 3, 2018



Ten Reasons Why You Should Love:


Christopher Cross gets a bum rap.

Back in 1981, this extremely talented singer, songwriter and guitarist found himself in many music critics’ Cross-hairs, so to speak. But why did the elitist music scribes dislike him so much?  I have my theories and they all point away from Mr. Cross and fall squarely upon the shoulders of the music critics themselves:

1.      He achieved great success with his 1979 debut album and sold millions without ‘paying his dues’. This, of course, is nonsense.
2.      He won all four major categories at the 23rd Grammy Awards – Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best New Artist – instead of the artists that they felt deserved to win. 
3.      He was too Jazz for Pop, too Pop for Jazz, too smooth for Rock, etc., which made it difficult to decide which music writer to 'assign' him to.
4.     Herd mentality: a few respected music journos didn’t like him so if you wanted to join the Rock Critic Fraternity, you had to follow suit.

To be fair, there were some critics that just didn’t – and still don’t - like his music and that is perfectly fine. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion. Sadly, within a year or two, it became a cliché for the Punk kids to dislike Christopher Cross’ music.  On the plus side, the music buying public loved him and he sold millions of records. Songs like “Sailing,” “Ride Like The Wind,” and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” are still played on satellite and terrestrial radio today. 

Although he still managed to release further chart hits after the debut album,  Cross was not able to maintain the same level of commercial success... although he certainly gave it his best shot. In some ways, his dip in popularity had more to do with the changes in the musical landscape than it did his albums. Punk, New Wave, Post-Punk, Synthpop and loads of other sub-genres began taking over the charts, pushing aside artists like Cross. Oh, and this little thing called MTV destroyed as many careers as it created. Christopher Cross looked like your average guy at a time when the MTV brigade looked beautiful (yes, even the men). It didn’t help that Cross’ sophomore album ANOTHER PAGE didn’t have songs that caught the attention of radio programmers like “Sailing.” It seemed like Christopher Cross was following his own muse while the rest of the music industry surged forward and embraced the new guard. And, in a sense, he got pushed aside and left behind. 

The music of Christopher Cross has gained a little critical respect in recent years thanks to a new name for a genre that used to be called Adult Contemporary music: Yacht Rock. The soft, mellow and care-free sounds of the ‘70s and early ‘80s (Doobie Brothers, America, Kenny Loggins, Steely Dan, etc.) are seemingly in vogue again.  Christopher Cross' music falls neatly into that category. To be honest, in some ways, Yacht Rock is an apt description of his music. The genre name evokes gentle, classy and wistful sounds that are as pleasant as a summer breeze (pun intended, Seals & Crofts fans). 

Ironically, just as Yacht Rock has raised his profile, Christopher Cross has released TAKE ME AS I AM, his best album since that 1979 debut. The soft Pop and Jazz elements of the album are woven together to create some of his most wonderful melodies to date. But there is a difference between this album and anything that he’s released thus far: built around vocal choruses, the songs are predominantly instrumental! Showcasing his own tasteful and emotional guitar playing, the ‘verses’ feature musical interplay between the instrumentalists, which adds more diversity to the recordings. Those of you who love hooks, the vocal choruses themselves are divine. The album certainly challenges the listener to pay attention to every twist and turn. There is beauty in the grooves and this is an album that will more than satisfy his longtime fans, welcome back his older fans that lost track of him along the way and hopefully attract some new ones!  The captain of Yacht Rock has returned! Full steam ahead!

To celebrate the release of TAKE ME AS I AM, I thought I’d pick 10 of his finest tracks for you to enjoy. I’m including some of his hits plus a few less familiar songs as well as some from the new album. It hurts me to know that I've limited myself to just 10 songs because I haven't touched on some of his albums with this list but hopefully, you will be inspired to investigate further... or pull out those old albums and play them again!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you 10 Reasons Why You Should Love CHRISTOPHER CROSS!

1. "Ride Like The Wind"

2. "Take Me As I Am"

3. "Every Turn Of The World"

4. "Save Your Sadness"

5. "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"

6. "Alvah (In Memory Of Rob Meurer)"

7 "Never Be The Same"

8. "Got To Be A Better Way"

9. "Kind Of I Love You"

10. "Sailing"

Keep on truckin'!
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

Selected titles currently available by Christopher Cross:

1 comment:

David Wilder said...

Christopher Cross makes brilliant music. Good for when you are on a Yacht, in a car, plane, train or feet. Lying down, standing up-infact he makes music you can live your life to and just like life, it always leaves you wanting more X