Michael McDonald owns his title as the Captain of “yacht rock,” and why shouldn’t he? It’s garnered him a brand-new generation of fans, an invite to play at Coachella and tour dates at a stage in his career when many are put out to pasture.
McDonald, the very embodiment of blue-eyed soul (Literally. Those are some blue eyes.), was a member of Steely Dan AND The Doobie Brothers and has collaborated with many other names you know: Kenny Loggins, Patti LaBelle, David Cassidy, Van Halen, Toto and more recently Thundercat and Grizzly Bear.
Maybe it’s his instantly recognizable voice. Maybe it’s just nostalgia. But who doesn’t hum along with a little extra pep in their step when they hear any incarnation of McDonald in at the grocery store, whether it’s his duet with Patti LaBelle “On My Own,” solo hit “I Keep Forgettin’ (We’re Not in Love Anymore)” or my personal favorite—Doobie Brothers-era “What a Fool Believes.” And perhaps more telling of McDonald’s success, find me a person who doesn’t have a McDonald impersonation—high pitched and cheerful with vibrato. I dare you.
Which brings us back to Yacht Rock. The internet phenomenon lampooned the incestuous relationships between the smooth rockers of the ’70s, and while it was meant as a joke, it caused a resurgence of McDonald, Christopher Cross Hall and Oates and their ilk—making their uncool music cool once again.
And, why not? Easy listening has always been just that. And with the dulcet tones of Captain McDonald at the helm, we’re in good hands.
Michael McDonald plays Eccles Theater Tuesday, November 14. Marc Cohn opens. Tickets available here.