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The 10 best songs for your yachting playlist

15 July 2022 • Written by Tom McGhie

Music is the ideal complement to the sound of the wind and the waves whilst sailing or motoring along. But what to listen to? Here is BOAT International's pick of the 10 best tunes to add to your summer yachting playlist...

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

Kicking things off is the absurdly uplifting Lovely Day. Universally known for its summery groove and life-affirming choruses, the song is an exercise in positivity. The “it’s going to be a lovely day” sentiment certainly holds true when strolling the sun-kissed decks of a superyacht, with nothing to worry about except where your next Long Island Ice Tea is coming from. For those that didn’t know, the 18-second-long note towards the end of the song – “lovely daa-aay” – is the longest-held note in Pop history.

Reelin’ In The Years – Steely Dan

The riff-bending Reelin’ In The Years contains more hooks than most musicians come up with in their entire careers, let alone a single song. Steely Dan’s 1973 hit has a lot going for it, not least the ample opportunity for air-guitar (something best enjoyed a good two metres away from the water’s edge). There’s also something evocative about the reverb drenched solos, perfect for when you’re adventuring miles away from home.

He’s So Shy – The Pointer Sisters

This funk number is everything you could want from a nautical bop. The chorus leaps out at you from the stripped-back verses, and there’s even a synth solo to keep the head nodding. The Pointer Sisters’ “so shy” love interest might be a slight departure from the general perception of superyacht owners, but we’re sure this tune will have you losing your inhibitions on deck when it comes on.

Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac

Does anything trigger a nostalgia trip quicker and more efficiently than Lindsay Buckingham’s sampled Fairlight synthesiser at the start of Everywhere? A few lines of that glistening backing track and bang, you’re back in the 80s. It might not be the band’s biggest hit, but it’s surely their most enduring, just because it’s so singable. The refrain “I want to be with you everywhere” can be hummed at your partner or superyacht interchangeably, so top marks for that.

What a Fool Believes – The Doobie Brothers

Contrary to their stage name, The Doobie Brothers were all actually rather well-behaved chaps. That said, the harmonies on the What a Fool Believes’s chorus do have a somewhat transportive effect on the psyche. Even though it’s one of the few songs on this list in a minor key, it definitely won’t stop the party with its stomping rhythm and relentless groove.

Cool Cat – Queen

One of Queen’s lesser-known ditties, this 1982 banger sees the four-piece trade in their fuzzy tones and stadium-rocking vocals for something a bit more relaxed and soulful. If the rumours are true, legendary Queen guitarist Brian May declined to play on the studio version because he hated the ‘new sound’ the song represented. Well Brian, we’re afraid you’re on your own there. Cool Cat sways with playful assuredness and should have everyone on board strutting around with style.

Everybody’s Talkin’ – Harry Nilsson

Part of Midnight Cowboy’s stunning soundtrack, Everybody’s Talkin’ describes someone’s desire to run away from the city to a more peaceful place. “Sailing on a summer breeze, skipping over the ocean like a stone,” Nilsson, who won a Grammy for this performance, sings. This perspective is one that drives so many to set sail, searching for an easier life among the waves and away from the urban humdrum.

Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers

Nothing summons that high season excitement quite The Isley Brothers’ rendition of Summer Breeze. The song was originally released in 1972 by Seals & Crofts, but the Isley Brothers’ version two years later just shades it. The mesmerising harmonies that the group launch into, combined with that guitar solo in the tune’s final bars make Summer Breeze a must-have in any playlist worth it's salt.

It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere – Alan Jackson feat. Jimmy Buffet

Lethal in its brilliance, It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere’s music video sees Alan Jackson strumming a six string on the back of a 24 metre Merritt Boat Works sportfisher named Hullbilly, before joining Jimmy Buffet (proud owner of 15 metre sailing yacht Drifter) on land for some merriment.

Guilty – Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb

In the first verse, the great Barbara urges the governing class to “make it a crime to be lonely or sad”. We’re all for that. Anyway, it’s quite difficult to be either of those things when you’re lazing on a foredeck sunpad with the ocean breeze gently rippling both margherita and hair. If you were wondering what happens when two of the 80s’ most recognisable voices come together, well, now you do. Pop magic happens.

Read More/On board Drifter, the sailing yacht owned by music legend Jimmy Buffett

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