Today would have been the 64th birthday of Dan Seals, one half of England Dan and John Ford Coley, the songwriting duo that had a big hit with "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" and a minor one with "Love is the Answer." He also had a string of chart hits in country music in the '80s and '90s. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2009, but his music lives on with other "yacht rock" from an era in the late '70s when the lighter side of rock music was dominating the portion of the charts not filled with disco songs.
Despite being a softer version of classic rock music, it has been cited as an influence for dozens of rock bands including the Foo Fighters. Anyone who grew up with an inkling of memory from the '70s probably remembers some if not all of the songs on this list I put together in honor of Mr. Seals, who also happened to be a native Texan.
Summer Breeze - Seals and Croft
Dan Seals' old brother, Jim, also had some success in the music industry including this oddly haunting light rock classic that reached number one on the charts and has been covered numerous times over the years.
Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty
Speaking of the Foo Fighters, they did a killer cover of this tune, a soft rock guitar and sax jam by Gerry Rafferty, who sadly passed away from liver failure last year.
How Long - Ace
This smooth groove came from one-hit wonder Ace. Despite the lack of success by the band, you might recognize the singer, Paul Carrack who went on to front both Squeeze and Mike and the Mechanics.
How Much I Feel - Ambrosia
We might have to live with bad band names, particularly in from emo artists, it's hard to imagine names as cheesy as Ambrosia and Bread, both contenders for the light rock crown in the late '70s, but this hit from Ambrosia includes some fairly sophisticated musical and vocal arrangements.
Lady - Little River Band
The term "lady" was used in the '70s like we use girl today. It's sort of quaint in a creepy guy-hitting-on-you-in-a-bar way. Little River Band had a string of hits, but this is my favorite of the bunch.
Baby Come Back - Player
I have to wonder when I hear this song if Hall and Oates dug this or if Player, a one-hit wonder, liked them because there are some uncanny similarities. Either way, this funky "gimme another chance" love song is a classic.
Dance with Me - Orleans
Country-flavored pop and rock music was a big deal in the '70s. Ask the Eagles. Orleans was right in the middle of all that. Although not their biggest hit (ABC would catapult "Still the One" to the top of the charts when they made it their theme song), this made it to number six. Orleans might be best known for one of the more homoerotic album covers of all time.
Sailing - Christopher Cross
Native Texan Cross (check out the Earl Campell Oiler jersey in that video) had a number of hits in the late '70s and early '80s including his rendition of "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)." This was his biggest hit from his first record, however, an album that also included a solo from fellow Texas guitar hero Eric Johnson.
Just Remember I Love You - Firefall
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Yet another of the country-ish rock bands from that era, Firefall never had a number one though "You Are the Woman" made it into the top ten. I always preferred this one and the live performance on the video in Houston doesn't hurt.
Love Will Find a Way - Pablo Cruise
Most people's knowledge of Pablo Cruise is probably confined to their concert shirt worn by Will Ferrell in the movie Step Brothers, but they did come up with a couple top ten hits including "Love Will Find a Way," which is not to be confused by the song of the same name from The Lion King.