Yacht rock art: prehistoric carvings found in Norway may be oldest nautical images in the world

Two life-size outlines of boats are thought to have been etched into the grey rock face 10,000 years ago—and more could still await discovery.

A digital tracing of the first boat carving at Valle shows it was probably a life-size image like others found at the site Tracing: Jan Magne Gjerde

A digital tracing of the first boat carving at Valle shows it was probably a life-size image like others found at the site Tracing: Jan Magne Gjerde

Carvings of boats found at Valle, Norway, may be the oldest known examples in Europe, and are perhaps among the earliest in the world, according to a new study published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology . The two images are thought to have been made around 10,000-11,000 years ago, 3,000 years before other boat carvings in northern Europe.

First identified in 2017, the boats appear as white outlines carved into the grey rock surface, and can only be seen clearly under the right light and weather conditions. One boat originally measured around 4.3 metres in length, though only one end now remains due to erosion. It was probably a life-size representation, like nearby carvings of animals, which include seals, reindeer, a possible porpoise, and perhaps even a polar bear. A second boat image is less well-preserved, with only around three metres still visible.

yacht rock art

The boats appear as white outlines carved into the grey rock surface, and only be seen clearly under the right weather and light conditions Photo: Jan Magne Gjerde

In the research paper, Jan Magne Gjerde , an archaeologist with the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, suggests that the boat carvings may represent Arctic skin boats, a type of vessel often made from seal hides that helped early Scandinavians to settle the area. These boats were light enough to be carried, could hold multiple people and items, and were fast when hunting on water. “Such a vehicle would be ideal for colonizing the seascapes in northern Norway during the Early Mesolithic,” Gjerde writes in the paper.

yacht rock art

Hunters using an umiak, an Arctic skin boat, while on whale patrol in Alaska © S.R. Bernardi Photographs (UAF‐1959‐875‐13), Photographic archives at Elmer E Rasmussen Library at the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives in Fairbanks, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Gjerde argues that similar large examples of rock art at other sites may have acted like “signposts imbued with information” or “reference points” visible from a great distance. “Socializing the seascape by making highly visible rock art would be an important means of communication for the pioneer people in this area,” he writes.

Other carvings may still await discovery at Valle. “Considering the critical impact of the weather and light (sun) on the visibility of the rock art, it is very likely that there are more figures at Valle and more sites with rock art in the Ofoten area in northern Norway,” Gjerde writes.

If the Yacht Is a Rockin': Riding the Yacht Rock Nostalgia Wave

By maggie serota | jun 12, 2020.

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina making some waves on the cover of 1973's "Full Sail" album.

It’s not often that an entire genre of music gets retconned into existence after being parodied by a web series, but that’s exactly what happened after writer, director, and producer J.D. Ryznar and producers David B. Lyons and Hunter D. Stair launched the Channel 101 web series Yacht Rock in 2005. Hosted by former AllMusic editor “Hollywood” Steve Huey, the series was a loving sendup of the late '70s/early '80s smooth jams to which many Millennials and late period Gen-Xers were likely conceived.

The yacht rock aesthetic was innovated by a core group of musicians and producers including, but not limited to, Christopher Cross, Steely Dan, Robbie Dupree, Kenny Loggins, Toto, David Foster, and hirsute soft rock titan Michael McDonald, along with scores of veteran session musicians from the Southern California studio scene.

The Yacht Rock web series was perfectly timed to coincide with a contemporary renaissance of smooth music from the late '70s, the kind that was previously considered a guilty pleasure because it fell out of fashion in the mid-'80s and was soon thereafter regarded as dated and square compared to other burgeoning genres, like punk rock and hip-hop.

Yacht Rock's Early Years

The yacht rock era began roughly around 1976, when yacht rock pillar Kenny Loggins split up with songwriting partner Jim Messina to strike out on his own. That same year, fellow yacht rock mainstay Michael McDonald joined The Doobie Brothers. The two titans of the genre joined forces when Loggins co-wrote the definitive yacht rock hit “What a Fool Believes” with McDonald for the Doobies. They collaborated several times during this era, which was par for the course with such an incestuous music scene that was largely comprised of buddies playing on each other’s albums.

"Look at who performed on the album and if they didn’t perform with any other yacht rock hit guys then chances are [it's] ‘nyacht’ rock,” Ryznar said on the  Beyond Yacht Rock podcast, referencing the pejorative term frequently used to describe soft rock songs that just miss the boat.

"The basic things to ask yourself if you want to know if a track is yacht rock are: Was it released from approximately 1976 to 1984? Did musicians on the track play with Steely Dan? Or Toto?," Ryznar said. "Is it a top 40 radio hit or is it on an album meant to feature hits?" And, of course, does the song celebrate a certain breezy, SoCal aesthetic?

Building the Boat

There are certain key ingredients necessary for a track to be considered yacht rock. For starters, it helps (though is not necessary) to have album art or lyrics that specifically reference boating, as with Christopher Cross's landmark 1980 hit “Sailing.” The music itself is usually slickly produced with clean vocals and a focus on melody over beat. But above all else, the sound has to be smooth . That’s what sets yacht rock apart from "nyacht" rock.

"Its base is R&B, yet it’s totally whitewashed," Ryznar explained on  Beyond Yacht Rock . "There [are] jazz elements. There can be complex, challenging melodies; the solos are all cutting-edge and really interesting. There’s always something interesting about a true yacht rock song. It goes left when you expect it to go right."

Yacht rock’s complex musicianship can be attributed, in part, to the session players on each track. Musicians like percussionist Steve Gadd, guitarist and Toto founding member Steve Lukather, and Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro don’t have much in the way of name recognition among casual soft rock listeners, but they’re the nails that hold the boat together. Steely Dan, “the primordial ooze from which yacht rock emerged,” according to Ryznar, famously cycled through dozens of session musicians while recording their 1980 seminal yacht rock album Gaucho .

"These musicians were not only these slick, polished professionals, but they were highly trained and able to hop from style to style with ease,” Huey explained on  Beyond Yacht Rock . “Very versatile.”

Steely Dan has been described as "the primordial ooze from which yacht rock emerged."

In Greg Prato’s 2018 tome, The Yacht Rock Book : An Oral History of the Soft, Smooth Sounds of the 70s and 80s , Huey broke down “the three main defining elements of yacht rock,” explaining that it requires “Fusing softer rock with jazz and R&B, very polished production, and kind of being centered around the studio musician culture in southern California … It’s not just soft rock, it’s a specific subset of soft rock that ideally has those elements."

Soft rock untethered

Whereas the music of the late 1970s and early ‘80s is often associated with the anti-establishment music of punk pioneers like the Dead Kennedys and the socially conscious songs being written by early hip-hop innovators like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, yacht rock is the antithesis of the counterculture.

Yacht rock occupies a world that is completely apolitical and untethered to current events. Between the oil crisis, a global recession, and inflation—not to mention the fact that the U.S. was still licking its wounds from the loss of the Vietnam War and the disgrace of Watergate—the late '70s were a dark time for Americans. Yet yacht rock, at its heart, is a tequila sunrise for the soul, whisking the listener away to a world where they have the time, and the means, to idle away the hours sipping piña coladas at sea while decked out in flowy Hawaiian shirts and boat shoes.

Yacht rock was never edgy, nor did it ever feel dangerous. Yacht rock didn’t piss off anyone’s parents and no one ever threatened to send their kid to boot camp for getting caught listening to Kenny Loggins's “This Is It.” Yacht rock tracks are more of a siren song that invite your parents to join in on the chorus anytime they hear Toto’s "Rosanna."

Yacht rock songs are meant to set the soundtrack to a life where the days are always sunny, but as Ryznar pointed out on Beyond Yacht Rock , there’s “an underlying darkness”—just not the kind that’s going to derail a day of sailing to Catalina Island. No, yacht rock has elements of low-stakes heartbreak with sensitive male protagonists lamenting their own foolishness in trying to get back together with exes or hitting on women half their age.

The aspirational aspect of the genre dovetailed nicely with the overarching materialism defining the Reagan era. “Yacht rock was an escape from blunt truths, into the melodic, no-calorie lies of ‘buy now, pay never,’ in which any discord could be neutralized with a Moog beat,” Dan O’Sullivan wrote in Jacobin .

Some Like it Yacht

Although the cult comedy series Yacht Rock ceased production in 2010, the soft rock music revival it launched into the zeitgeist is still going strong. For the past few years, SiriusXM has been running a yacht rock station during prime boating season, or what those of us without bottomless checking accounts refer to as the spring and summer months. Yacht rock tribute acts like Yacht Rock Revue are profitable business endeavors as much as they are fun party bands. There’s also a glut of yacht rock-themed song compilations for sale and a proliferation of questionably curated genre playlists on Spotify.

Whether you believe yacht rock is an exalted art form or the insidious soundtrack to complacency, any music lover would probably agree that even a momentary escape from the blunt truths of life is something we could all use every now and then.

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This Is the Definitive Definition of Yacht Rock

By Timothy Malcolm July 12, 2019

yacht rock art

Michael McDonald. One might say the smoothest mother in music history.

Image: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

About 10 years ago , somebody showed me a YouTube video of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins writing a song that’s smoother and more polished than anything else on the airwaves.

That video—lovingly spoofing the writing of the Doobie Brothers' 1978 hit “What a Fool Believes”— was the first episode of a series called Yacht Rock . Premiering in 2005 on the Los Angeles-based television incubator Channel 101, Yacht Rock struck a chord with a generation of music nerds who attempt to compartmentalize and categorize the songs they heard as children. The term “yacht rock” itself grew out of the video series, permeating our culture today as much as the music had back in the late 1970s and early '80s.

But here’s the thing about terms that permeate our culture today: They get compromised and bastardized to fit other people’s cozy narratives, typically based on their own nostalgia. Google “yacht rock” and you’ll find articles from across the media spectrum attempting to define the term , failing hard because these writers just don’t get it. There’s even a new BBC series about yacht rock , and while it went into great detail providing context on the emergence of the musical style, it still turned out to be one person’s definition that included songs that were—as some of us might say— nyacht rock.

I’m here to set the record straight—or smooth. Yacht rock is music, primarily created between 1976 and ‘84, that can be characterized as smooth and melodic, and typically combines elements of jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock. You’ll hear very little acoustic guitar (get that “Horse With No Name” out of there) but a lot of Fender Rhodes electric piano. Lyrics don’t get in the way of the song’s usually high musicality (some of the finest Los Angeles session players, including members of the band Toto, play on many yacht rock tunes.) The lyrics may, however, speak about fools. The songs are as light and bubbly as champagne on the high seas, yet oddly complex and intellectual.

And just to hammer this home: Fleetwood Mac is not yacht rock. Daryl Hall & John Oates are 98 percent not yacht rock. Those folkie songs from America, Pure Prairie League, and Crosby, Stills & Nash? Nope. Rupert Holmes's "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)"? Too wordy and not musically interesting—not yacht rock. How about "Summer Breeze" by Seals & Crofts? A little too folky, but close.

I’m not affected by personal nostalgia (I was born in 1984, just as the yacht rock era was ending); instead, I’m an objective music lover who just so happens to have been researching yacht rock for the past several years. I know the men who coined the term “yacht rock” ( they have a great podcast and actually rate whether or not a song is yacht rock ), and they can back me up on this. 

So whether you’re docked for the summer or about to set sail on an adventure, allow me to steer you in the right direction. I've crafted for you the definitive yacht rock playlist—below are a few highlights:

“What a Fool Believes,” The Doobie Brothers

I won’t get any nerdier, I’ll just say that this is the song that epitomizes yacht rock. It’s effortlessly melodic, bouncy, and bright, features a prominent Fender Rhodes electric piano, and includes an ultra-smooth vocal from Michael McDonald.

“Heart to Heart,” Kenny Loggins

Loggins never quite knew whether to be a jazzy folkie or a rocker, but in between those two phases were a couple yachty gems, including this cool breeze on a warm summer day, from the 1982 album High Adventure . Just listen to Loggins’s vocal—it’s butter.

“FM,” Steely Dan

Steely Dan brought a New York edge and a habit of wanting the best players on their records to Los Angeles. In time their sound morphed into the whitest smooth jazz on the planet, aka yacht rock. “FM,” from 1978, has both that snarky exterior and smooth center, but look up the band’s classic albums Aja and Gaucho for a number of yachty delights.

“Human Nature,” Michael Jackson

Once you get to know yacht rock, you can begin traveling into yacht soul—smooth songs from top studio players that lean just a little harder on the R&B. This classic song from the 1982 album Thriller was written and performed by Toto. Jackson provides the gorgeously breezy vocal.

“Rosanna,” Toto

Speaking of Toto, these guys were and still are awesome musicians. The 1982 hit “Rosanna” proves this in spades—the drum shuffle is iconic, the twists are remarkable, and the sound is smoother than a well-sanded skiff.

“Nothin’ You Can Do About It,” Airplay

Who is Airplay? A one-album band created by mega-producer David Foster and session guitarist Jay Graydon. These guys wrote Earth, Wind & Fire’s “After the Love Has Gone,” then this absolute stunner from 1980, a bouncy, giddy, and gentle pop classic.

“I Really Don’t Know Anymore,” Christopher Cross

Emerging out of nowhere with a Grammy-winning album in 1979, Cross is the perfect yacht rock figure, a normal-looking white dude who just so happens to sing like the wind on a summer’s evening. This song, from that debut album, is essential yacht rock with a noticeable background singer—of course, Michael McDonald.

If you want to catch McDonald and sing along to some of his yacht rock classics, he’s performing Friday night at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands. Chaka Khan—who also has a few yacht rock tunes in her catalog—will open. Tickets start at $39.50; prepare accordingly with this  summer yacht rock playlist on Spotify . You’re welcome.

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Toto; Joni Mitchell; Steely Dan.

I can go for that: five essential yacht rock classics

Katie Puckrick’s new TV doc reappraises the smooth, sad and seedy side of the maligned genre. Here she reveals the best tracks

  • Modern Toss on yacht rock

Christopher Cross: Ride Like the Wind (1979)

With its urgent pace and aim to “make it to the border of Mexico”, Cross sums up the exhilaration of escape so essential to yacht. The power of the genre lies in the longing, so it’s most effective when heard in a landlocked location a million miles away from the nearest marina. Since aspiration crosses class, it doesn’t matter whether one’s home turf is the country club or a trailer park: listening to this song has the same effect – it nurses that ache for freedom.

The Doobie Brothers: What a Fool Believes (1979)

A YR hallmark is “upbeat-downbeat”: an approach that folds life’s bittersweet complexities within happy-snappy musical flourishes. A great example of upbeat-downbeat is this Doobie Brothers classic, showcasing the misplaced optimism of a wounded romantic. Singer Michael McDonald is in full fuzzy-throated throttle. Those are his BVs on Ride Like the Wind, and on any number of Steely Dan tracks, including …

Steely Dan: Hey Nineteen (1980)

The frisson of yacht rock derives from its blend of bourgie feelgood bounce crossed with a shiver of thwarted desire. Steely Dan self-deprecatingly called their work “funked-up muzak” but, lyrically, there are none more acidic than these egghead jazzbos with tales of grown-up screw-ups. Thanks to LA’s session musician elite, Hey Nineteen is polished to a sheen, but the narrator’s regretful realisation that he is too old to mack on teenage girls makes for uneasy listening.

Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)

Generally, female musicians didn’t focus their talents on the yacht genre: its palette was too limiting for the era’s sophisticated female artists beyond a song or two. In 1975, Mitchell made what’s considered “accidental yacht rock”. This chilly saga of tarnished love concerns a woman trapped in a big house and a loveless marriage. Mitchell made the misery of rich people seem glamorous, creating “dark yacht” in the process.

Toto: Africa (1982)

By the time the 1980s rolled around, black musicians had reclaimed the surging soul and quiet storm of yacht that was rightfully theirs. Artists such as George Benson, Lionel Richie and Raydio raised the bar by turning this “funked-up muzak” into a dance party. Ironically, an anthem called Africa turned out to be helmed by a clump of the whitest dudes going. With its questing lyrics and triumphant chorus, it became a blockbuster smash for the ages, proving that yacht rock is for ever.

I Can Go for That: The Smooth World of Yacht Rock begins Friday 14 June, 9pm, BBC Four

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Yacht rock  

From the art and popular culture encyclopedia.

" Yacht rock " is a name used to retrospectively describe the soft rock format that peaked in popularity between the years of 1975 and 1984. In part, the term relates to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, enjoying smooth music while out for a sail. Additionally, since sailing was a popular leisure activity in Southern California, many "yacht rockers" made nautical references in their lyrics, videos, and album artwork, particularly the anthemic track " Sailing " by Christopher Cross. Notable artists also include Michael McDonald , Kenny Loggins , Boz Scaggs , Steely Dan and Toto .

Ryznar commented that the term was intended to describe the "more elite studio artists" of the period, such as Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. David B. Lyons , who co-produced the show and played Koko Goldstein, noted that a friend of his devised the term "marina rock" in college to describe a more "working-class" group of artists that didn't achieve the same high profile, such as Seals and Crofts , Rupert Holmes , and Looking Glass . However, despite the show's intentions, music journalists have begun using the term "yacht rock" to describe all of the similar-sounding music of the period, including bands such as Ambrosia , 10cc , Pablo Cruise , Firefall , England Dan & John Ford Coley , Orleans , Ace , and Player . The artists retrospectively grouped under the yacht rock umbrella dominated the Grammy Awards , with Christopher Cross and Toto sweeping the major awards in 1981 and 1983 respectively. However, these artists were not a hit with most rock critics at the time, who dismissed it as being corporate rock that was overproduced, generic, and middle of the road , instead favoring punk and new wave acts such as The Clash , Blondie , Patti Smith , and Elvis Costello .

While Ryznar and the show popularized the term "yacht rock," it had existed previously. Its earliest-known appearance came in 1990 from Dave Larsen, popular music critic for the Dayton Daily News , describing an upcoming Jimmy Buffett concert in Cincinnati.

The roots of yacht rock can be traced to the music of the Beach Boys , whose aesthetic was the first to be "scavenged" by acts like Rupert Holmes, according to Jacobin 's Dan O'Sullivan. Captain & Tennille , who were members of the Beach Boys' live band , won "yacht rock's first Best Record Grammy" in 1975, for " Love Will Keep Us Together ," a song that composer Neil Sedaka acknowledged was inspired in part by a Beach Boys riff. O'Sullivan also cites the Beach Boys' recording of " Sloop John B " (1966) as the origin of yacht rock's predilection for the "sailors and beachgoers" aesthetic that was "lifted by everyone, from Christopher Cross to Eric Carmen , from ' Buffalo Springfield ' folksters like Jim Messina to ' Philly Sound ' rockers like Hall & Oates."

Some of the most popular yacht rock acts (who also collaborated on each other's records) included Michael McDonald , Kenny Loggins , Steely Dan and Toto .

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That '70s Week: Yacht Rock

David Dye, host of World Cafe.

Talia Schlanger

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Donald Fagen (left) and Walter Becker of Steely Dan. Danny Clinch/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

Donald Fagen (left) and Walter Becker of Steely Dan.

  • The Doobie Brothers, "What A Fool Believes"
  • Christopher Cross, "Sailing"
  • Sade, "Smooth Operator"
  • Nielsen/Pearson, "If You Should Sail"
  • Ned Doheny, "Get It Up For Love"
  • Iron & Wine, "Desert Babbler"
  • Young Gun Silver Fox, "You Can Feel It"

What's the best way to become the unchallenged expert on a particular genre of music? Invent it. Enter JD Ryznar, Hunter Stair, David B. Lyons and Steve Huey: coiners of the description "yacht rock," creators of a hilarious web series of the same name and now de facto captains of the genre. Broadly speaking, yacht rock is an ocean of smooth, soft-listening music made in the late '70s and early '80s by artists like Toto, Hall & Oates and Kenny Loggins — music you can sail to. But as David and Talia learn in this conversation with the arbiters of Yacht Rock , the waters are much murkier than that.

For example, according to Ryznar, "There's also a common misconception that just because it's about a boat, or the ocean, or sailing, that it's yacht rock. That is most definitely nyacht true." Thankfully, on their Beyond Yacht Rock podcast, our guests have developed a sound system of logical criteria to define what is "Yacht" and what is "Nyacht." They employ their patented "Yachtzee scale" to examine a song's "Yachtness" based on a number of factors, including its personnel (is there a Doobie Brother in there?), amount of jazz and R&B influence, geographic origin (Southern California is a plus) and lyrical obtuseness.

Listen as Ryznar and Lyons steer us towards the musical marina with a buoyant "Yacht or Nyacht" debate that includes Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Sade and the most serious discussion you can have about the proper soundtrack for standing shirtless on a deck wearing boat shoes and a sailor cap. Dive on in --the water's great.

Listen: JD Ryznar's Yacht Rock Primer

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Ultimate Classic Rock

Top 50 Yacht Rock Songs

Yacht rock was one of the most commercially successful genres to emerge from the '70s and yet has managed to evade concise definition since its inception. For many listeners, it boils down to a feeling or mood that cannot be found in other kinds of music: Simply put, you know it when you hear it.

Some agreed-upon elements are crucial to yacht rock. One is its fluidity, with more emphasis on a catchy, easy-feeling melody than on beat or rhythm. Another is a generally lighthearted attitude in the lyrics. Think Seals & Crofts ' "Summer Breeze," Christopher Cross ' "Ride Like the Wind" or Bill Withers ' "Just the Two of Us." Yes, as its label suggests, music that would fit perfectly being played from the deck of a luxurious boat on the high seas.

But even these roughly outlined "rules" can be flouted and still considered yacht rock. Plenty of bands that are typically deemed "nyacht" rock have made their attempts at the genre: Crosby, Stills & Nash got a bit nautical with "Southern Cross," leading with their famed tightly knit harmonies, and Fleetwood Mac also entered yacht rock territory with "Dreams" – which, although lyrically dour, offers a sense of melody in line with yacht rock.

Given its undefined parameters, the genre has become one of music's most expansive corners. From No. 1 hits to deeper-cut gems, we've compiled a list of 50 Top Yacht Rock Songs to set sail to below.

50. "Thunder Island," Jay Ferguson (1978)

Younger generations might be more apt to recognize Jay Ferguson from his score for NBC's The Office , where he also portrayed the guitarist in Kevin Malone's band Scrantonicity. But Ferguson's musical roots go back to the '60s band Spirit; he was also in a group with one of the future members of Firefall, signaling a '70s-era shift toward yacht rock and "Thunder Island." The once-ubiquitous single began its steady ascent in October 1977 before reaching the Top 10 in April of the following year. Producer Bill Szymczyk helped it get there by bringing in his buddy Joe Walsh for a soaring turn on the slide. The best showing Ferguson had after this, however, was the quickly forgotten 1979 Top 40 hit "Shakedown Cruise." (Nick DeRiso)

49. "Southern Cross," Crosby, Stills & Nash (1982)

CSN's "Southern Cross" was an example of a more literal interpretation of yacht rock, one in which leftover material was revitalized by Stephen Stills . He sped up the tempo of a song titled " Seven League Boots " originally penned by brothers Rick and Michael Curtis, then laid in new lyrics about, yes, an actual boat ride. "I rewrote a new set of words and added a different chorus, a story about a long boat trip I took after my divorce," Stills said in the liner notes  to 1991's CSN box. "It's about using the power of the universe to heal your wounds." The music video for the song, which went into heavy rotation on MTV, also prominently displayed the band members aboard a large vessel. (Allison Rapp)

48. "Jackie Blue," the Ozark Mountain Daredevils (1974)

Drummer Larry Lee only had a rough idea of what he wanted to do with "Jackie Blue," originally naming it after a bartending dope pusher. For a long time, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils' best-known single remained an instrumental with the place-keeper lyric, " Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh Jackie Blue. He was dada, and dada doo. He did this, he did that ... ." Producer Glyn Johns, who loved the track, made a key suggestion – and everything finally snapped into place: "No, no, no, mate," Johns told them. "Jackie Blue has to be a girl." They "knocked some new lyrics out in about 30 minutes," Lee said in It Shined: The Saga of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils . "[From] some drugged-out guy, we changed Jackie into a reclusive girl." She'd go all the way to No. 3. (DeRiso)

47. "Sailing," Christopher Cross (1979)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more quintessential yacht rock song than “Sailing.” The second single (and first chart-topper) off Christopher Cross’ 1979 self-titled debut offers an intoxicating combination of dreamy strings, singsong vocals and shimmering, open-tuned guitar arpeggios that pay deference to Cross’ songwriting idol, Joni Mitchell . “These tunings, like Joni used to say, they get you in this sort of trance,” Cross told Songfacts in 2013. “The chorus just sort of came out. … So I got up and wandered around the apartment just thinking, ‘Wow, that's pretty fuckin' great.’” Grammy voters agreed: “Sailing” won Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Arrangement at the 1981 awards. (Bryan Rolli)

46. "Just the Two of Us," Bill Withers and Grover Washington Jr. (1980)

A collaboration between singer Bill Withers and saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. resulted in the sleek "Just the Two of Us." When first approached with the song, Withers insisted on reworking the lyrics. "I'm a little snobbish about words," he said in 2004 . "I said, 'Yeah, if you'll let me go in and try to dress these words up a little bit.' Everybody that knows me is kind of used to me that way. I probably threw in the stuff like the crystal raindrops. The 'Just the Two of Us' thing was already written. It was trying to put a tuxedo on it." The track was completed with some peppy backing vocals and a subtle slap bass part. (Rapp)

45. "Sara Smile," Daryl Hall & John Oates (1975)

It doesn't get much smoother than "Sara Smile," Daryl Hall & John Oates ' first Top 10 hit in the U.S. The song was written for Sara Allen, Hall's longtime girlfriend, whom he had met when she was working as a flight attendant. His lead vocal, which was recorded live, is clear as a bell on top of a velvety bass line and polished backing vocals that nodded to the group's R&B influences. “It was a song that came completely out of my heart," Hall said in 2018 . "It was a postcard. It’s short and sweet and to the point." Hall and Allen stayed together for almost 30 years before breaking up in 2001. (Rapp)

44. "Rosanna," Toto (1982)

One of the most identifiable hits of 1982 was written by Toto co-founder David Paich – but wasn't about Rosanna Arquette, as some people have claimed, even though keyboardist Steve Porcaro was dating the actress at the time. The backbeat laid down by drummer Jeff Porcaro – a "half-time shuffle" similar to what John Bonham played on " Fool in the Rain " – propels the track, while vocal harmonies and emphatic brass sections add further layers. The result is an infectious and uplifting groove – yacht rock at its finest. (Corey Irwin)

43. "Diamond Girl," Seals & Crofts (1973)

Seals & Crofts were soft-rock stylists with imagination, dolling up their saccharine melodies with enough musical intrigue to survive beyond the seemingly obvious shelf life. Granted, the lyrics to “Diamond Girl,” one of the duo’s three No. 6 hits, are as sterile as a surgery-operating room, built on pseudo-romantic nothing-isms ( “Now that I’ve found you, it’s around you that I am” — what a perfectly natural phrase!). But boy, oh boy does that groove sound luxurious beaming out of a hi-fi system, with every nuance — those stacked backing vocals, that snapping piano — presented in full analog glory. (Ryan Reed)

42. "What You Won't Do for Love," Bobby Caldwell (1978)

Smooth. From the opening horn riffs and the soulful keyboard to the funk bass and the velvety vocals of Bobby Caldwell, everything about “What You Won’t Do for Love” is smooth. Released in September 1978, the track peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to become the biggest hit of Caldwell’s career. It was later given a second life after being sampled for rapper 2Pac's posthumously released 1998 hit single “Do for Love.” (Irwin)

41. "We Just Disagree," Dave Mason (1977)

Dave Mason's ace in the hole on the No. 12 smash "We Just Disagree" was Jim Krueger, who composed the track, shared the harmony vocal and played that lovely guitar figure. "It was a song that when he sang it to me, it was like, 'Yeah, that's the song,'" Mason told Greg Prato in 2014. "Just him and a guitar, which is usually how I judge whether I'm going to do something. If it holds up like that, I'll put the rest of the icing on it." Unfortunately, the multitalented Krueger died of pancreatic cancer at age 43. By then, Mason had disappeared from the top of the charts, never getting higher than No. 39 again. (DeRiso)

40. "Crazy Love," Poco (1978)

Rusty Young was paneling a wall when inspiration struck. He'd long toiled in the shadow of Stephen Stills , Richie Furay and Neil Young , serving in an instrumentalist role with Buffalo Springfield and then Poco . "Crazy Love" was his breakout moment, and he knew it. Rusty Young presented the song before he'd even finished the lyric, but his Poco bandmates loved the way the stopgap words harmonized. "I told the others, 'Don't worry about the ' ooh, ooh, ahhhh haaa ' part. I can find words for that," Young told the St. Louis Dispatch in 2013. "And they said, 'Don't do that. That's the way it's supposed to be.'" It was: Young's first big vocal became his group's only Top 20 hit. (DeRiso)

39. "Suspicions," Eddie Rabbitt (1979)

Eddie Rabbitt 's move from country to crossover stardom was hurtled along by "Suspicions," as a song about a cuckold's worry rose to the Top 20 on both the pop and adult-contemporary charts. Behind the scenes, there was an even clearer connection to yacht rock: Co-writer Even Stevens said Toto's David Hungate played bass on the date. As important as it was for his career, Rabbitt later admitted that he scratched out "Suspicions" in a matter of minutes, while on a lunch break in the studio on the last day of recording his fifth album at Wally Heider's Los Angeles studio. "Sometimes," Rabbitt told the Associated Press in 1985, "the words just fall out of my mouth." (DeRiso)

38. "Moonlight Feels Right," Starbuck (1976)

No sound in rock history is more yacht friendly than Bruce Blackman’s laugh: hilarious, arbitrary, smug, speckled with vocal fry, arriving just before each chorus of Starbuck’s signature tune. Why is this human being laughing? Shrug. Guess the glow of night will do that to you. Then again, this is one of the more strange hits of the '70s — soft-pop hooks frolicking among waves of marimba and synthesizers that could have been plucked from a classic prog epic. “ The eastern moon looks ready for a wet kiss ,” Blackman croons, “ to make the tide rise again .” It’s a lunar make-out session, baby. (Reed)

37. "Same Old Lang Syne," Dan Fogelberg (1981)

“Same Old Lang Syne” is a masterclass in economic storytelling, and its tragedy is in the things both protagonists leave unsaid. Dan Fogelberg weaves a devastating tale of two former lovers who run into each other at a grocery store on Christmas Eve and spend the rest of the night catching up and reminiscing. Their circumstances have changed — he’s a disillusioned professional musician, she’s stuck in an unhappy marriage — but their love for each other is still palpable if only they could overcome their fears and say it out loud. They don’t, of course, and when Fogelberg bids his high-school flame adieu, he’s left with only his bittersweet memories and gnawing sense of unfulfillment to keep him warm on that snowy (and later rainy) December night. (Rolli)

36. "Eye in the Sky," the Alan Parsons Project (1982)

Few songs strike a chord with both prog nerds and soft-rock enthusiasts, but the Alan Parsons Project's “Eye in the Sky” belongs to that exclusive club. The arrangement is all smooth contours and pillowy textures: By the time Eric Woolfson reaches the chorus, shyly emoting about romantic deception over a bed of Wurlitzer keys and palm-muted riffs, the effect is like falling slow motion down a waterfall onto a memory foam mattress. But there’s artfulness here, too, from Ian Bairnson’s seductive guitar solo to the titular phrase conjuring some kind of god-like omniscience. (Reed)

35. "Somebody's Baby," Jackson Browne (1982)

Jackson Browne 's highest-charting single, and his last Top 10 hit, was originally tucked away on the soundtrack for the 1982 teen comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High . That placed Browne, one of the most earnest of singer-songwriters, firmly out of his element. "It was not typical of what Jackson writes at all, that song," co-composer Danny Kortchmar told Songfacts in 2013. "But because it was for this movie, he changed his general approach and came up with this fantastic song." Still unsure of how it would fit in, Browne refused to place "Somebody's Baby" on his next proper album – something he'd later come to regret . Lawyers in Love broke a string of consecutive multiplatinum releases dating back to 1976. (DeRiso)

34. "Still the One," Orleans (1976)

Part of yacht rock’s charm is being many things but only to a small degree. Songs can be jazzy, but not experimental. Brass sections are great but don’t get too funky. And the songs should rock, but not rock . In that mold comes Orleans’ 1976 hit “Still the One.” On top of a chugging groove, frontman John Hall sings about a romance that continues to stand the test of time. This love isn’t the white-hot flame that leaves passionate lovers burned – more like a soft, medium-level heat that keeps things comfortably warm. The tune is inoffensive, catchy and fun, aka yacht-rock gold. (Irwin)

33. "New Frontier," Donald Fagen (1982)

In which an awkward young man attempts to spark a Cold War-era fling — then, hopefully, a longer, post-apocalyptic relationship — via bomb shelter bunker, chatting up a “big blond” with starlet looks and a soft spot for Dave Brubeck. Few songwriters could pull off a lyrical concept so specific, and almost no one but Donald Fagen could render it catchy. “New Frontier,” a signature solo cut from the Steely Dan maestro, builds the sleek jazz-funk of Gaucho into a more digital-sounding landscape, with Fagen stacking precise vocal harmonies over synth buzz and bent-note guitar leads. (Reed)

32. "Sail On, Sailor," the Beach Boys (1973)

The Beach Boys were reworking a new album when Van Dyke Parks handed them this updated version of an unfinished Brian Wilson song. All that was left was to hand the mic over to Blondie Chaplin for his greatest-ever Beach Boys moment. They released "Sail On, Sailor" twice, however, and this yearning groover somehow barely cracked the Top 50. Chaplin was soon out of the band, too. It's a shame. "Sail On, Sailor" remains the best example of how the Beach Boys' elemental style might have kept growing. Instead, Chaplin went on to collaborate with the Band , Gene Clark of the  Byrds  and the Rolling Stones – while the Beach Boys settled into a lengthy tenure as a jukebox band. (DeRiso)

31. "Time Passages," Al Stewart (1978)

Al Stewart followed up the first hit single of his decade-long career – 1976's "Year of the Cat" – with a more streamlined take two years later. "Time Passages" bears a similar structure to the earlier track, including a Phil Kenzie sax solo and production by Alan Parsons. While both songs' respective album and single versions coincidentally run the same time, the 1978 hit's narrative wasn't as convoluted and fit more squarely into pop radio playlists. "Time Passages" became Stewart's highest-charting single, reaching No. 7 – while "Year of the Cat" had stalled at No. 8. (Michael Gallucci)

30. "I Go Crazy," Paul Davis (1977)

Paul Davis looked like he belonged in the Allman Brothers Band , but his soft, soulful voice took him in a different direction. The slow-burning nature of his breakthrough single "I Go Crazy" was reflected in its chart performance: For years the song held the record for the most weeks spent on the chart, peaking at No. 7 during its 40-week run. Davis, who died in 2008, took five more songs into the Top 40 after 1977, but "I Go Crazy" is his masterpiece – a wistful and melancholic look back at lost love backed by spare, brokenhearted verses. (Gallucci)

29. "Biggest Part of Me," Ambrosia (1980)

Songwriter David Pack taped the original demo of this song on a reel-to-reel when everyone else was running late, finishing just in time: "I was waiting for my family to get in the car so I could go to a Fourth of July celebration in Malibu," he told the Tennessean in 2014. "I turned off my machine [and] heard the car horn honking for me." Still, Pack was worried that the hastily written first verse – which rhymed " arisin ,'" " horizon " and " realizin '" – might come off a little corny. So he followed the time-honored yacht-rock tradition of calling in Michael McDonald to sing heartfelt background vocals. Result: a Top 5 hit on both the pop and adult-contemporary charts. (DeRiso)

28. "Africa," Toto (1982)

Remove the cover versions, the nostalgia sheen and its overuse in TV and films, and you’re left with what makes “Africa” great: one of the best earworm choruses in music history. Never mind that the band is made up of white guys from Los Angeles who'd never visited the titular continent. Verses about Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti paint a picture so vivid that listeners are swept away. From the soaring vocals to the stirring synth line, every element of the song works perfectly. There’s a reason generations of music fans continue to proudly bless the rains. (Irwin)

27. "Hello It's Me," Todd Rundgren (1972)

“Hello It’s Me” is the first song Todd Rundgren ever wrote, recorded by his band Nazz and released in 1968. He quickened the tempo, spruced up the instrumentation and delivered a more urgent vocal for this 1972 solo rendition (which became a Top 5 U.S. hit), but the bones of the tune remain the same. “Hello It’s Me” is a wistful, bittersweet song about the dissolution of a relationship between two people who still very much love and respect each other a clear-eyed breakup ballad lacking the guile, cynicism and zaniness of Rundgren’s later work. “The reason those [early] songs succeeded was because of their derivative nature,” Rundgren told Guitar World in 2021. “They plugged so easily into audience expectations. They’re easily absorbed.” That may be so, but there’s still no denying the airtight hooks and melancholy beauty of “Hello It’s Me.” (Rolli)

26. "Smoke From a Distant Fire," the Sanford/Townsend Band (1977)

There are other artists who better define yacht rock - Michael McDonald, Steely Dan, Christopher Cross - but few songs rival the Sanford/Townsend Band's "Smoke From a Distant Fire" as a more representative genre track. (It was a Top 10 hit in the summer of 1977. The duo never had another charting single.) From the vaguely swinging rhythm and roaring saxophone riff to the light percussion rolls and risk-free vocals (that nod heavily to Daryl Hall and John Oates' blue-eyed soul), "Smoke" may be the most definitive yacht rock song ever recorded. We may even go as far as to say it's ground zero. (Gallucci)

25. "Dream Weaver," Gary Wright (1975)

Unlike many other songs on our list, “Dream Weaver” lacks lush instrumentation. Aside from Gary Wright’s vocals and keyboard parts, the only added layer is the drumming of Jim Keltner. But while the track may not have guitars, bass or horns, it certainly has plenty of vibes. Inspired by the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda – which Wright was turned on to by George Harrison – “Dream Weaver” boasts a celestial aura that helped the song peak at No. 2 in 1976. (Irwin)

24. "Reminiscing," Little River Band (1978)

The third time was the charm with Little River Band 's highest-charting single in the U.S. Guitarist Graeham Goble wrote "Reminiscing" for singer Glenn Shorrock with a certain keyboardist in mind. Unfortunately, they weren't able to schedule a session with Peter Jones, who'd played an important role in Little River Band's first-ever charting U.S. single, 1976's "It's a Long Way There ." They tried it anyway but didn't care for the track. They tried again, with the same results. "The band was losing interest in the song," Goble later told Chuck Miller . "Just before the album was finished, Peter Jones came back into town, [and] the band and I had an argument because I wanted to give 'Reminiscing' a third chance." This time they nailed it. (DeRiso)

23. "Heart Hotels," Dan Fogelberg (1979)

Ironically enough, this song about debilitating loneliness arrived on an album in which Dan Fogelberg played almost all of the instruments himself. A key concession to the outside world became the most distinctive musical element on "Heart Hotels," as well-known saxophonist Tom Scott took a turn on the Lyricon – a pre-MIDI electronic wind instrument invented just a few years earlier. As for the meaning of sad songs like these, the late Fogelberg once said : "I feel experiences deeply, and I have an outlet, a place where I can translate those feelings. A lot of people go to psychoanalysts. I write songs." (DeRiso)

22. "Year of the Cat," Al Stewart (1976)

Just about every instrument imaginable can be heard in Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat." What begins with an elegant piano intro winds its way through a string section and a sultry sax solo, then to a passionate few moments with a Spanish acoustic guitar. The sax solo, often a hallmark of yacht-rock songs, was not Stewart's idea. Producer Alan Parsons suggested it at the last minute, and Stewart thought it was the "worst idea I'd ever heard. I said, 'Alan, there aren’t any saxophones in folk-rock. Folk-rock is about guitars. Sax is a jazz instrument,'" Stewart said in 2021 . Multiple lengthy instrumental segments bring the song to nearly seven minutes, yet each seems to blend into the next like a carefully arranged orchestra. (Rapp)

21. "How Long," Ace (1974)

How long does it take to top the charts? For the Paul Carrack-fronted Ace: 45 years . "I wrote the lyric on the bus going to my future mother-in-law's," he later told Gary James . "I wrote it on the back of that bus ticket. That's my excuse for there only being one verse." Ace released "How Long" in 1975, reaching No. 3, then Carrack moved on to stints with Squeeze and Mike and the Mechanics . Finally, in 2020, "How Long" rose two spots higher, hitting No. 1 on Billboard's rock digital song sales chart after being featured in an Amazon Prime advertisement titled "Binge Cheat." (DeRiso)

20. "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)," Looking Glass (1972)

Like "Summer Breeze" (found later in our list of Top 50 Yacht Rock Songs), Looking Glass' tale of an alluring barmaid in a busy harbor town pre-dates the classic yacht-rock era. Consider acts like Seals & Crofts and these one-hit wonders pioneers of the genre. Ironically, the effortless-sounding "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" was quite difficult to complete. "We recorded 'Brandy' two or three different times with various producers before we got it right," Looking Glass' principal songwriter Elliot Lurie told the Tennessean in 2016. The chart-topping results became so popular so fast, however, that Barry Manilow had to change the title of a new song he was working on to " Mandy ." (DeRiso)

19. "I Can't Tell You Why," Eagles (1979)

Timothy B. Schmit joined just in time to watch the  Eagles disintegrate. But things couldn't have started in a better place for the former Poco member. He arrived with the makings of his first showcase moment with the group, an unfinished scrap that would become the No. 8 hit "I Can't Tell You Why." For a moment, often-contentious band members rallied around the outsider. Don Henley and Glenn Frey both made key contributions, as Eagles completed the initial song on what would become 1979's The Long Run . Schmit felt like he had a reason to be optimistic. Instead, Eagles released the LP and then promptly split up. (DeRiso)

18. "Sentimental Lady," Bob Welch (1977)

Bob Welch  first recorded "Sentimental Lady" in 1972 as a member of Fleetwood Mac . Five years later, after separating from a band that had gone on to way bigger things , Welch revisited one of his best songs and got two former bandmates who appeared on the original version – Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie – to help out (new Mac member Lindsey Buckingham also makes an appearance). This is the better version, warmer and more inviting, and it reached the Top 10. (Gallucci)

17. "So Into You," Atlanta Rhythm Section (1976)

Atlanta Rhythm Section is often wrongly categorized as a Southern rock band, simply because of their roots in Doraville, Ga. Songs like the seductively layered "So Into You" illustrate how little they had in common with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd . As renowned Muscle Shoals sessions ace David Hood once said, they're more like the " Steely Dan of the South ." Unfortunately, time hasn't been kind to the group. Two of this best-charting single's writers have since died , while keyboardist Dean Daughtry retired in 2019 as Atlanta Rhythm Section's last constant member. (DeRiso)

16. "Dreams," Fleetwood Mac (1977)

Stevie Nicks was trying to channel the heartbreak she endured after separating from Lindsey Buckingham into a song, but couldn't concentrate among the bustle of Fleetwood Mac's sessions for Rumours . "I was kind of wandering around the studio," she later told Yahoo! , "looking for somewhere I could curl up with my Fender Rhodes and my lyrics and a little cassette tape recorder." That's when she ran into a studio assistant who led her to a quieter, previously unseen area at Sausalito's Record Plant. The circular space was surrounded by keyboards and recording equipment, with a half-moon bed in black-and-red velvet to one side. She settled in, completing "Dreams" in less than half an hour, but not before asking the helpful aide one pressing question: "I said, 'What is this?' And he said, 'This is Sly Stone 's studio.'" (DeRiso)

15. "Minute by Minute," the Doobie Brothers (1978)

Michael McDonald was so unsure of this album that he nervously previewed it for a friend. "I mean, all the tunes have merit, but I don't know if they hang together as a record," McDonald later told UCR. "He looked at me and he said, 'This is a piece of shit.'" Record buyers disagreed, making Minute by Minute the Doobie Brothers' first chart-topping multiplatinum release. Such was the mania surrounding this satiny-smooth LP that the No. 14 hit title track lost out on song-of-the-year honors at the Grammys to "What a Fool Believes" (found later in our list of Top 50 Yacht Rock Songs) by the Doobie Brothers. (DeRiso)

14. "Lonely Boy," Andrew Gold (1976)

Andrew Gold’s only Top 10 U.S. hit is a story of parental neglect and simmering resentment, but those pitch-black details are easy to miss when couched inside such a deliciously upbeat melody. Gold chronicles the childhood of the titular lonely boy over a propulsive, syncopated piano figure, detailing the betrayal he felt when his parents presented him with a sister two years his junior. When he turns 18, the lonely boy ships off to college and leaves his family behind, while his sister gets married and has a son of her own — oblivious to the fact that she’s repeating the mistakes of her parents. Gold insisted “Lonely Boy” wasn’t autobiographical, despite the details in the song matching up with his own life. In any case, you can’t help but wonder what kind of imagination produces such dark, compelling fiction. (Rolli)

13. "Baby Come Back," Player (1977)

Liverpool native Peter Beckett moved to the States, originally to join a forgotten act called Skyband. By the time he regrouped to found Player with American J.C. Crowley, Beckett's wife had returned to England. Turns out Crowley was going through a breakup, too, and the Beckett-sung "Baby Come Back" was born. "So it was a genuine song, a genuine lyric – and I think that comes across in the song," Beckett said in The Yacht Rock Book . "That's why it was so popular." The demo earned Player a hastily signed record deal, meaning Beckett and Crowley had to assemble a band even as "Baby Come Back" rose to No. 1. Their debut album was released before Player had ever appeared in concert. (DeRiso)

12. "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," England Dan & John Ford Coley (1976)

There aren't too many songs with choruses as big as the one England Dan & John Ford Coley pump into the key lines of their first Top 40 single. Getting there is half the fun: The conversational verses – " Hello, yeah, it's been a while / Not much, how 'bout you? / I'm not sure why I called / I guess I really just wanted to talk to you " – build into the superpowered come-on line " I'm not talking 'bout moving in ...  ." Their yacht-rock pedigree is strong: Dan Seals' older brother is Seals & Croft's Jim Seals. (Gallucci)

11. "Hey Nineteen," Steely Dan (1980)

At least on the surface, “Hey Nineteen” is one of Steely Dan’s least ambiguous songs: An over-the-hill guy makes one of history’s most cringe-worthy, creepiest pick-up attempts, reminiscing about his glory days in a fraternity and lamenting that his would-be companion doesn’t know who Aretha Franklin is. (The bridge is a bit tougher to crack. Is anyone sharing that “fine Colombian”?) But the words didn’t propel this Gaucho classic into Billboard's Top 10. Instead, that credit goes to the groove, anchored by Walter Becker ’s gently gliding bass guitar, Donald Fagen’s velvety electric piano and a chorus smoother than top-shelf Cuervo Gold. (Reed)

10. "Rich Girl," Daryl Hall & John Oates (1976)

It’s one of the most economical pop songs ever written: two A sections, two B sections (the second one extended), a fade-out vocal vamp. In and out. Wham, bam, boom. Perhaps that's why it’s easy to savor “Rich Girl” 12 times in a row during your morning commute, why hearing it just once on the radio is almost maddening. This blue-eyed-soul single, the duo’s first No. 1 hit, lashes out at a supposedly entitled heir to a fast-food chain. (The original lyric was the less-catchy “rich guy ”; that one change may have earned them millions.) But there’s nothing bitter about that groove, built on Hall’s electric piano stabs and staccato vocal hook. (Reed)

9. "Fooled Around and Fell in Love," Elvin Bishop (1975)

Elvin Bishop made his biggest pop-chart splash with "Fooled Around and Fell In Love," permanently changing the first line of his bio from a  former member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to a solo star in his own right. There was only one problem: "The natural assumption was that it was Elvin Bishop who was singing,” singer  Mickey Thomas told the Tahoe Daily Tribune in 2007. Thomas later found even greater chart success with Starship alongside Donny Baldwin, who also played drums on Bishop's breakthrough single. "A lot of peers found out about me through that, and ultimately I did get credit for it," Thomas added. "It opened a lot of doors for me." (DeRiso)

8. "Baker Street," Gerry Rafferty (1978)

Gerry Rafferty already had a taste of success when his band Stealers Wheel hit the Top 10 with the Dylanesque "Stuck in the Middle With You" in 1973. His first solo album after the group's split, City to City , made it to No. 1 in 1978, thanks in great part to its hit single "Baker Street" (which spent six frustrating weeks at No. 2). The iconic saxophone riff by Raphael Ravenscroft gets much of the attention, but this single triumphs on many other levels. For six, mood-setting minutes Rafferty winds his way down "Baker Street" with a hopefulness rooted in eternal restlessness. (Gallucci)

7. "Dirty Work," Steely Dan (1972)

In just about three minutes, Steely Dan tells a soap-opera tale of an affair between a married woman and a man who is well aware he's being played but is too hopelessly hooked to end things. " When you need a bit of lovin' 'cause your man is out of town / That's the time you get me runnin' and you know I'll be around ," singer David Palmer sings in a surprisingly delicate tenor. A saxophone and flugelhorn part weeps underneath his lines. By the time the song is over, we can't help but feel sorry for the narrator who is, ostensibly, just as much part of the problem as he could be the solution. Not all yacht rock songs have happy endings. (Rapp)

6. "Ride Like the Wind," Christopher Cross (1979)

“Ride Like the Wind” is ostensibly a song about a tough-as-nails outlaw racing for the border of Mexico under cover of night, but there’s nothing remotely dangerous about Christopher Cross’ lithe tenor or the peppy piano riffs and horns propelling the tune. Those contradictions aren’t a detriment. This is cinematic, high-gloss pop-rock at its finest, bursting at the seams with hooks and elevated by Michael McDonald’s silky backing vocals. Cross nods to his Texas roots with a fiery guitar solo, blending hard rock and pop in a way that countless artists would replicate in the next decade. (Rolli)

5. "Summer Breeze," Seals & Crofts (1972)

Jim Seals and Dash Crofts were childhood friends in Texas, but the mellow grandeur of "Summer Breeze" makes it clear that they always belonged in '70s-era Southern California. "We operate on a different level," Seals once said , sounding like nothing if not a Laurel Canyon native. "We try to create images, impressions and trains of thought in the minds of our listeners." This song's fluttering curtains, welcoming domesticity and sweet jasmine certainly meet that standard. For some reason, however, they released this gem in August 1972 – as the season faded into fall. Perhaps that's why "Summer Breeze" somehow never got past No. 6 on the pop chart. (DeRiso)

4. "Lowdown," Boz Scaggs (1976)

As you throw on your shades and rev the motor, the only thing hotter than the afternoon sun is David Hungate’s sweet slap-bass blasting from the tape deck. “This is the good life,” you say to no one in particular, casually tipping your baseball cap to the bikini-clad crew on the boat zooming by. Then you press “play” again. What else but Boz Scaggs ’ silky “Lowdown” could soundtrack such a moment in paradise? Everything about this tune, which cruised to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, is equally idyllic: Jeff Porcaro’s metronomic hi-hat pattern, David Paich’s jazzy keyboard vamp, the cool-guy croon of Scaggs — flexing about gossip and “schoolboy game.” You crack open another cold one — why not? And, well, you press play once more. (Reed)

3. "Lido Shuffle," Boz Scaggs (1976)

Scaggs' storied career began as a sideman with Steve Miller  and already included a scorching duet with Duane Allman . Co-writer David Paich would earn Grammy-winning stardom with songs like "Africa." Yet they resorted to theft when it came to this No. 11 smash. Well, in a manner of speaking: "'Lido' was a song that I'd been banging around, and I kind of stole – well, I didn't steal anything. I just took the idea of the shuffle," Scaggs told Songfacts in 2013. "There was a song that Fats Domino did called 'The Fat Man ' that had a kind of driving shuffle beat that I used to play on the piano, and I just started kind of singing along with it. Then I showed it to Paich, and he helped me fill it out." Then Paich took this track's bassist and drummer with him to form Toto. (DeRiso)

2. "Peg," Steely Dan (1977)

"Peg" is blessed with several yacht-rock hallmarks: a spot on Steely Dan's most Steely Dan-like album, Aja , an impeccable airtightness that falls somewhere between soft-pop and jazz and yacht rock's stalwart captain, Michael McDonald, at the helm. (He may be a mere backing singer here, but his one-note chorus chirps take the song to another level.) Like most Steely Dan tracks, this track's meaning is both cynical and impenetrable, and its legacy has only grown over the years – from hip-hop samples to faithful cover versions. (Gallucci)

1. "What a Fool Believes," the Doobie Brothers (1978)

Michael McDonald not only steered the Doobie Brothers in a new direction when he joined in 1975, but he also made them a commercial powerhouse with the 1978 album Minute by Minute . McDonald co-wrote "What a Fool Believes" – a No. 1 single; the album topped the chart, too – with Kenny Loggins and sang lead, effectively launching a genre in the process. The song's style was copied for the next couple of years (most shamelessly in Robbie Dupree's 1980 Top 10 "Steal Away"), and McDonald became the bearded face of yacht rock. (Gallucci)

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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff

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75-plus fun things to do in June in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Punta Gorda

Festivals, circuses, concerts, comedy shows, stage productions and art exhibitions taking place in june in sarasota, manatee and charlotte counties..

yacht rock art

While the slowdown of events that started in May will continue through June, as snowbirds flock back home for the summer, there'll still be plenty of things to do for those who live in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties year-round.

The first weekend alone will feature the start of local Pride Month festivities and Sarasota Music Festival concerts that'll continue throughout June, along with other month-long events including laser light shows set to music in Bradenton and summer movie nights in North Port (which also celebrates its 65th birthday this month.) Then about midway through June, a summer circus show spanning multiple months will make its return.

There'll also be all the concerts, stage productions, art exhibitions and other events that our area hosts year-round. Here's our list of more than 75 events set to take place in June in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, listed in chronological order. Event details are subject to change.

75-plus fun things to do in May in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Punta Gorda

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Ann Hood book chat

Ann Hood, the best-selling author of more than a dozen books including “The Book That Matters Most” and “The Knitting Circle” will talk about her new novel “The Stolen Child” and sign copies. 11 a.m. June 1; Bookstore1Sarasota, 117 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; free;  sarasotabooks.com

Michael Ruhlman book signing

Michael Ruhlman, author of chef Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry Cookbook,” puts a focus on drinks with “The Book of Cocktail Ratios: The Surprising Simplicity of Classic Cocktails.” Ruhlman will talk about those drinks and sign copies of his book. 12:30 p.m. June 1; Bookstore1Sarasota, 117 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; free; sarasotabooks.com

Tommy Davidson

The stand-up comedian is also known for his roles on the TV shows "In Living Color" and "Between Brothers." 6 and 9:30 p.m. June 1; Visani Italian Steakhouse and Comedy Theater, 2400 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte; $25-$30; 941-629-9191;  visani.net

Grand Carnival in Bloom

Project Pride SRQ hosts this event featuring live music by Brady Riley and Lou Ridley, an open bar, light bites and dancing. 7-11 p.m. June 1; Circus Arts Conservatory, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota; $85, $125 VIP;  ppsrq.org

Savor Sarasota

The 19th annual event features nearly 30 local restaurants offering multi-course menus for lunch and dinner. June 1-14; various locations; $25 per person lunch, $40 per person dinner; visitsarasota.com

‘Director’s Cut’

FST Improv gives the audience the chance to sit in the director’s seat, deciding which stories that the performers are telling will continue and which ones end up on the cutting room floor. 7:30 p.m. Saturdays June 1-28; Bowne’s Lab, 1265 First St., Sarasota; $15-$18; 941-366-9000;  floridastudiotheatre.org

Laser Light Nights

June's lineup of laser light shows set to music includes Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Outkast, No Doubt, Taylor Swift, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Queen, U2, Van Halen, The Beatles, The Doors, KISS, AC/DC, Journey, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Beastie Boys, The Rolling Stones, Rush and hip-hop and rock medleys. 7 and 9 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays June 1-29; The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton; $15; 941-746-4131;  bishopscience.org

Sarasota Music Festival New Beginnings

The summer chamber music festival, which brings 60 young musicians to study with professionals over three weeks, launches its 60th season with a concert that features Francois Couperin’s “Le Rossignol en amour,” which was performed in the festival’s first program in 1964. It also features works by Bohuslav Martinu, Jane Antonia Cornish and Anton Arensky. Festival director Jeffrey Kahane performs on harpsichord. 4 p.m. June 2; Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $30-$42; 941-953-3434;  sarasotaorchestra.org

Celtic Throne

Featuring a score by Golden Globe-nominated composer Brian Byrne, this show "explores the ancient origins of Irish step dance and celebrates the millennia-long journey of a music-and-dance-loving people as they migrate from the ancient Near East to Ireland, Scotland, England and the United States." 7:30 p.m. June 2; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $25-$65; 941-263-6799;  vanwezel.org

Summer Movie Nights

CoolToday Park hosts this series with movies shown on the scoreboard that includes "Wonka" on June 2, "Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie" on June 9, "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning" on June 16, "Barbie" on June 23 and "Back to the Future" on June 30. 5 p.m. June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; CoolToday Park, 18800 W. Villages Parkway, North Port; $7, $3 ages 4-9, free ages 3 and under; 941-413-5004;  cooltodaypark.com/movies

Andy Aledort

The guitarist who played in late Allman Brothers Band co-founder and longtime Sarasota County resident Dickey Betts ' group Great Southern and co-wrote the book "Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan" will play the music of Vaughan, Betts and Jimi Hendrix. 7 p.m. June 3; McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; $44; 941-925-3869; mccurdyscomedy.com

Dickey Betts: Allman Brothers Band guitarist, dies at 80: 'Dickey was larger than life'

Trixter/Enuff Z'Nuff/Pretty Boy Floyd

The trio of '80s/'90s glam metal groups has a catalog of songs including "Give It to Me Good" and "One in a Million" for Trixter, "New Thing" and "Fly High Michelle" for Enuff Z'Nuff, and "Rock and Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire)" and "I Wanna Be with You" for Pretty Boy Floyd. 7 p.m. June 4; Big Top Brewing Company, 975 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota; $25; 941-371-2939; bigtopbrewing.com

Squeaky Wheel Fringe Festival

This weekend festival of varied performances returns for its second season with nine different programs over four days. It features five shows created by Sarasota area artists, including Moving Ethos Dance, Scott Keys, Gabriele Keusch and more, and four more from Florida, New York and Vancouver. June 4-9; Cook Theatre, FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; squeakywheelfringe.org

‘Doubt: A Parable’

Lemon Bay Playhouse closes its 2023-24 season with John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a rigid nun who serves as principal at a Catholic school in the Bronx and suspects that the progressive parish priest has gotten too close with one of her students. Stacy Katz directs. June 5-23; Lemon Bay Playhouse, 96 W. Dearborn St., Englewood. $25, $20 for students; 941-475-6756;  lemonbayplayhouse.com

‘The World Goes ‘Round’

Florida Studio Theatre celebrates the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb with its third production of this off-Broadway hit revue that features songs from such shows as “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “70 Girls 70,” “The Act,” “Woman of the Year” and more. June 5-30; Gompertz Theatre, 1265 First St., Sarasota; $39-$59; 941-366-9000;  floridastudiotheatre.org

‘Two, Three, Four’

The first Artist Showcase of the 2024 Sarasota Music Festival features Maurice Ravel’s Violin Sonata No. 2 and works by Jean Francaix, Erwin Schulhoff and Grazyna Bacewicz. The program includes a performance by the Borromeo String Quartet. 4:30 p.m. June 6; Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $30-$42; 941-953-3434;  sarasotaorchestra.org

‘Wonder: Human Experience and the Arts’

The Ringling presents a four-day symposium about “wonder as a source of creative inspiration, artistic medium and physical and social well-being.” It will feature keynote talks from Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art (6 p.m. June 6); artist Shinique Smith, whose exhibition “Parade” is on display through Jan. 5 (6 p.m. June 7); and Erin Clabough, a neuroscientist (6 p.m. June 8). There will be a Ringling WONDERground party 8-11 p.m. June 7, and Family Art Making Wonder Walk 10 a.m.-noon June 8. June 6-9; $289 full symposium, $45 individual keynotes, other events free, but tickets are required; ringling.org/wonder-symposium

‘Standing at the Beach’s Edge: London to Sarasota’

Playwright Chris Bush, the Olivier Award-winning writer behind the British hit musical “Standing at the Sky’s Edge,” talks about her work as a playwright and as the 2024 winner of the Hermitage Major Theater Award. She will share the stage with Hermitage CEO and Artistic Director Andy Sandberg. 6:30 p.m. June 7; Hermitage Beach, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood; $5 registration;  hermitageartistretreat.org

Music on Main

The free monthly concert series and block party on Lakewood Ranch's Main Street features Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones in June, along with food vendors, beer trucks and kids' games and activities. 6-9 p.m. June 7; 8100 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch; free; 800-307-2624;  lakewoodranch.com/music-on-main

Fresh Fridays

The monthly event will return in June with an Ebb & Flow on Palm theme, featuring live music by We Are Yacht Rock on downtown Sarasota's Palm Avenue. 7-10 p.m. June 7; Palm Avenue next to Art Ovation Hotel, 1255 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota;  downtownsarasotadid.com/fresh-fridays

Adam Ezra Group

The Boston folk band has collaborated with musicians including John Oates of Hall & Oates fame and Grammy-winning dobro/lap steel guitar player Jerry Douglas. 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show June 7; Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota; $28, $24 members, $14 students; 941-894-6469; fogartyville.org

‘Bach and Beyond’

The first Festival Fridays concert of the Sarasota Music Festival features faculty members, fellows and the Borromeo String Quartet. It includes movements from faculty member Jeff Scott’s “Passion for Bach and Coltrane,” along with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 and Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Minor/D-sharp Minor from “The Well-Tempered Clavier” and Mozart’s String Quintet No. 4. 7:30 p.m. June 7; Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $29-$50; 941-953-3434;  sarasotaorchestra.org

‘Beyond the Grave’

The Gothic Library marks its first anniversary with its latest live radio theater production. “Beyond the Grave” features adaptations of W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw,” Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Body Snatcher” and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” by Vincent Pearson and direction by Ren Pearson. 7 p.m. June 7-8; Bookstore1Sarasota, 117 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $25; sarasotabooks.com

Robert Kelly

The comedian is known for roles such as Louis C.K.'s brother in "Louie," hosting podcasts including "You Know What Dude" and releasing specials such as "Kill Box," filmed in St. Petersburg. 7 and 10 p.m. June 7 and 6 and 9:30 p.m. June 8; Visani Italian Steakhouse and Comedy Theater, 2400 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte; $25; 941-629-9191; visani.net

Bradenton Boat Show

Guests can shop for new boats at discounted show prices, fishing gear and more, with fishing tips and hands-on learning from experts at Captain Joe Fishing School. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June 7 and 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 9; Bradenton Area Convention Center, One Haben Blvd., Palmetto; $6, free ages 12 and under; bradentonboatshow.com

‘Spring Awakening’

The young performers in the Rise Above Performing Arts program present the Tony Award-winning musical by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, based on a 19th century German play by Frank Wedekind. It’s a coming-of-age rock musical about teenagers discovering the challenges they face as adolescence arrives and the decisions parents make that will impact their children for years. Must be at least 16 years old to attend unless accompanied by an adult. June 7-15; Crossings at Siesta Key, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $25-$35; 941-702-4747; riseabovearts.com

Jack Dowd: Last Call

Ringling College Galleries presents Jack Dowd’s installation, with its 22-foot mahogany bar and 13 life-sized characters conversing, drinking and working. It was designed to evoke people gathering at a New York City tavern. The bar is made up of 26 pieces with cutting-edge lighting and sound systems. Noon-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays June 7-Aug. 16 (opening reception 5-7 p.m. June 7); Stulberg Gallery, Ringling College, 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 941-359-7563; ringling.edu/galleries

Silver Pride

Project Pride SRQ, Senior Friendship Centers and Golden Girls Solutions present this event celebrating senior members of the LGBTQ+ community with live music, vendors, food trucks and more. Noon-5 p.m. June 8; Senior Friendship Centers of Sarasota, 1888 Brother Geenen Way, Sarasota; free;  ppsrq.org

Big Top Brewers Collective Food Truck Extravaganza

June's food trucks will be Below716, 88 Live Piano Bar, Grace's Taste of Poland, Currywurst Truck SRQ, Untamed Kitchen and Spelltacular Sweets. 5-9 p.m. June 8; Big Top Brewers Collective, 2519 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton; 941-708-2966;  facebook.com/bigtopbrewerscollective

‘Festival Firsts’

First-time performances highlight this Sarasota Music Festival program, including conductor Stephanie Childress leading music by Indian-American composer Reena Esmail. Festival alumna Rachel Breen makes her festival solo debut with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The program closes with Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 1. 7:30 p.m. June 8; Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $30-$70; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

Matthew Curry

The singer-songwriter and guitarist has shared stages with the Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton, and Steve Miller Band, and appeared in the David Spade comedy "Joe Dirt 2" as the late Lynyrd Skynyrd singer and Jacksonville native Ronnie Van Zant. 8-10 p.m. June 8; Troll Music, 628 E. Venice Ave., Venice; $20; 941-484-8765; trollmusic.com

Downtown Sarasota Spring Craft Fair

The fourth annual two-day outdoor craft fair will take place in the heart of downtown Sarasota on Central Avenue and First Street. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 8-9; Selby Five Points Park, 1 Central Ave., Sarasota; free admission; 561-746-6615; artfestival.com

‘Rising Stars’

The first of the Sarasota Music Festival programs that puts a focus on the fellows who are studying with master musicians will include music by Brahms, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and more. 2:30 p.m. June 9; Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $15-$25; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

‘Coconut Cake’

Melda Beaty’s comedy about four retirees who spend their days debating the mysteries of life over coffee and chess games at McDonald’s was named the winner of the Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin Rolling World Premiere Award at the 2022 National Black Theatre Festival. Westcoast Black Theatre is one of five theaters across the country presenting the play this year. June 12-23; Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota; $35; 941-366-1505; westcoastblacktheatre.org

The comedian came in third place on season six of "Last Comic Standing" in 2008 and has hosted TV shows including Fox's "Who the Bleep is That?" 8 p.m. June 13, 7 and 10 p.m. June 14, 6 and 9:30 p.m. June 15; Visani Italian Steakhouse and Comedy Theater, 2400 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte; $25; 941-629-9191; visani.net

Jimmy Shubert

The stand-up comic was part of Sam Kinison's Outlaws of Comedy and appeared on "Last Comic Standing" season eight in 2014. 7 p.m. June 13 and 16, 6:30 and 8:50 p.m. June 14-15; McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; $28; 941-925-3869;  mccurdyscomedy.com

‘Happy Dale’

The Sarasota Players presents the winner of the 2023 New Play Festival, a comedy by Sarasota writer Dan Landon. “Happy Dale” is about a retired English teacher who has been angry and despondent since his wife’s death. He is sent to live at an assisted living facility, where he works with his roommate to break out. June 13-23; Sarasota Players, Crossings at Siesta Key, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 1130, Sarasota; $28-$30, $13 for students 24 and younger; 941-365-2494; theplayers.org

‘Murder by the Book’

The Royal James Theater makes its local debut with this mystery about a real event in the life of mystery writer Agatha Christie that made front-page headlines around the world. The play is by Chicago writer and critic B.J. Mohr, who also created the theater company performing it. June 13-23; Manatee Performing Arts Center, Bradenton Kiwanis Theater, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton; $29; 941-748-5875; manateeperformingartscenter.com

Sunset Pride Cruise

Kicking off this year's Big Gay Weekend, the celebration on Sarasota Bay will feature DJ music, dancing, drinks plus snacks available for purchase, prizes and giveaways. 6:30-9 p.m. June 14; LeBarge Tropical Cruises, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota; biggayweekend.com

Greg Billings and the Stay Up Lates

Greg Billings used to play in the band Stranger and has since released music under his own name including 2016's "Boom! Boom! All Night," featuring AC/DC singer and Sarasota resident Brian Johnson and Cheap Trick member and Pinellas County resident Robin Zander. 7-10 p.m. June 14; Big Top Brewing Company, 975 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota; free; 941-371-2939; bigtopbrewing.com

‘Tales and Tributes’

This Sarasota Music Festival program offers stories and tributes, including Jeff Scott’s “Trail of Tears,” which tells the story of his great-great-grandfather, who was among 60,000 Native Americans ejected from their homes in the 19th century. The program also includes Antonin Dvořák’s String Quintet in G Major, Op. 77, which was written in 1876 and dedicated “For My Nation.” Richard Strauss’ Serenade and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending” round out the program. 7:30 p.m. June 14; Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $29-$50; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

Summer Circus Spectacular

Circus Sarasota and The Ringling join together for what has become an annual summer tradition in the Historic Asolo Theater. This intimate circus production features contortionist Uranbileg Angarag, the Bello Sisters acrobatic hand balancing, a hair hang act by Camille Langlois; slack wire by Antino Pansa and clowning by the returning Renaldo. Jared Walker serves as master of ceremonies. June 14-Aug. 17; Historic Asolo Theater, The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota; $20, $15 children age 12 and younger, $75 opening night; 941-360-7399; ringling.org/event/fy25-summer-circus-3

Dad's Day Block Party

The annual event will feature free Father's Day activities, sports player meet-and-greets, more than 40 vendors, giveaways/raffles and more. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 15; The Mall at University Town Center, 140 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota; free entry/parking; 727-674-1464; floridapenguinproductions.com

The reptile and exotic animal convention returns to Sarasota. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 15; Sahib Shrine Center, 600 N. Beneva Road, Sarasota; $10, $5 ages 5-12, free ages 4 and under; repticon.com/florida/sarasota

Big Gay Beach Party 9

The party brings together Sarasota's LGBTQ+ community and allies to North Lido for a day at the beach. Bring your own beach amenities and clean up after yourself. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 15; North Lido Beach, 1-85 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; free;  biggayweekend.com

Fishermen's Village Electric Blues Extravaganza

Fishermen's Village hosts this blues music festival featuring performances by The Cedrick Talton Experience, The Dukes Project, Keanu Reed, Reggie King Sears, Dottie Kelly and Rock the House Band, and Carnival Xhibition. Noon-9 p.m. June 15; Fishermen's Village, 1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda; 941-639-8721; fishermensvillage.com

‘American Soundscapes’

Sarasota Music Festival Director Jeffrey Kahane says this Festival Saturday concert epitomizes the spirit of this year’s event, with work highlighting improvisation and new interpretations. It includes Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, which was written for Benny Goodman. Tessa Lark and Mike Block duet with traditional fiddle tunes. Block’s “Iniche Cosebe,” a partially improvised work, and Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” are also on the program. 7:30 p.m. June 15; Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $30-$70; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

J.P. Soars and the Red Hots

The group earned four Blues Music Award nominations in 2022 including Band of the Year, Instrumentalist — Guitar and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year for J.P. Soars, and Instrumentalist — Drums for his bandmate Chris Peet. 8-11 p.m. June 15; Celtic Ray Public House, 145 E. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda; 941-916-9115;  celticray.net

Downtown Venice Craft Festival

The two-day outdoor craft festival takes place along Downtown Venice's Miami Avenue. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 15-16; 200 W. Miami Ave., Venice; free admission; 561-746-6615; artfestival.com

Splash! Pride Pool Party

Big Gay Weekend ends with this pool party with a DJ set, drag performances, local artisans and vendors market and prizes donated by local businesses. 1-7 p.m. June 16; The Sarasota Modern, 1290 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota; $20, cabanas/lounge sets additional; biggayweekend.com

This Sarasota Music Festival concert highlights the fellows with a program of chamber works by Beethoven, Dvořák, Schubert and more. 2:30 p.m. June 16; Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $15-$25; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

North Port 65th Birthday Celebration

The City of North Port celebrates its 65th birthday with this free, family-friendly event featuring activities including taking a photo with a replica hot air balloon representing our city's history and leaving their mark on a community art project. 4-6 p.m. June 18; City Center Front Green, 4970 City Hall Blvd., North Port; free; northportfl.gov/65

‘The Music of Laurel Canyon’

A cabaret revue saluting some of the great music that emerged in the 1960s and early 1970s from such rising stars as Joni Mitchell, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Mamas and the Papas and more. June 18-Aug. 25; Florida Studio Theatre Court Cabaret, 1265 First St., Sarasota; $18-$42; 941-366-9000; floridastudiotheatre.org

Levin Lecture

During each Sarasota Music Festival, pianist and former festival director Robert Levin takes time to talk about aspects of music featured in that year’s program. This time, he’ll be talking about the art of improvisation, and he’ll be demonstrating by taking audience suggestions. 1 p.m. June 19; Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $15-$25; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

‘Lustrous Sounds’

In this final Artist Showcase of the 2024 Sarasota Music Festival, faculty members are highlighted. Violinist Benjamin Beilman performs Bach’s Violin Partita No. 3 with improvised ornamentation. The program also includes Francis Poulenc’s jazzy 1932 Sextet, Ilari Kaila’s “Hum and Drum” and Ernst von Dohnanyi’s Serenade. 4:30 p.m. June 20; Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $30-$42; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

Drag Queen Bingo

Georgia Moore hosts this Pride edition of the event featuring prizes, callouts and spontaneous dance-offs. 6:30-9 p.m. June 20; Mellow Mushroom, 6727 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $10 per person (two-person minimum, 21-and-up only); 941-388-7504; facebook.com/mellowmushroomsarasota

Preacher Lawson

The comedian who started in Orlando landed in the Top 10 of "America's Got Talent" season 12 in 2017 and Top 5 of "America's Got Talent: The Champions" season one in 2019. 8 p.m. June 20, 7 and 10 p.m. June 21, 6 and 9:30 p.m. June 22; Visani Italian Steakhouse and Comedy Theater, 2400 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte; $30-$35; 941-629-9191; visani.net

This final Rising Stars concert of Sarasota Music Festival season, featuring fellows performing favorite chamber pieces, features compositions by Mendelssohn, Francaix, Brahms and more. 2:30 p.m. June 21; Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $15-$25; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

Friday Fest

Van Wezel's free summertime outdoor concert series, held on the venue's lawn, continues with Kettle of Fish in June. Blankets and lawn chairs are allowed, but outside food and beverages or coolers are not, with food and beverages from local vendors available for purchase at the event. 5 p.m. June 21; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; free admission; 941-263-6799;  vanwezel.org

‘Romantic Reveries’

Sarasota Music Festival fellows perform with faculty members in this program that highlights music of 19th century Romanticism and includes faculty members Sheryl Staples, Brinton Smith and Robert Levin. The concert features Beethoven’s Octet, Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence” and César Franck’s Piano Quintet. 7:30 p.m. June 21; Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $29-$50; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

Suncoast Summer Fest

The third annual series of summer fundraising events organized by Suncoast Charities for Children kicks off in June with the Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic on June 21, Disco & Dice Party on June 28, and Fun Run on June 29. June 21-July 4; various venues; prices vary;  suncoastsummerfest.org

‘Passion and Pride’

The 2024 Sarasota Music Festival comes to a close with director Jeffrey Kahane conducting and playing piano on Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major. Cellist Karen Ouzounian is featured in the Sarasota premiere of Anna Clyne’s “Shorthand,” which had its world premiere in 2022. The festival concludes with Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. 7:30 p.m. June 22; Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $30-$70; 941-953-3434; sarasotaorchestra.org

‘Stealing the Show: Broadway, Beach and Beyond’

Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, who was nominated for a Tony Award this season for her role as Lady of the Lake in a revival of “Spamalot,” is also a writer, composer and lyricist who has been developing projects at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. She talks about and performs songs you know and things yet to be heard. 6:30 p.m. June 26; Hermitage Beach, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood; $5 registration; hermitageartistretreat.org

John Caparulo

The comedian has appeared on "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show," "Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Next Generation" and "Chelsea Lately." 7:30 p.m. June 26, 8 p.m. June 27-28, 6 and 9:30 p.m. June 29; Visani Italian Steakhouse and Comedy Theater, 2400 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte; $25-$30; 941-629-9191;  visani.net

‘We Were the Universe’ book chat

Author Kimberly King Parsons, author of the short story collection “Black Light,” talks about her latest work, her forthcoming debut novel “We Were the Universe,” in this program with the Hermitage Artist Retreat. 6 p.m. June 28; Bookstore1Sarasota, 117 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $5 registration; sarasotabooks.com

Classic Movies at the Opera House

The screening series of classic movies at Sarasota Opera House continues with the 1944 Judy Garland musical "Meet Me in St. Louis." 7:30 p.m. June 28; Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $12; 941-328-1300; sarasotaopera.org

Ben Prestage

The Florida-raised "Deep South Swamp Music" performer is known for his inventive approach to instrumentation, simultaneously playing multiple instruments, including the diddley bow, which earned him a Blues Music Award nomination for Instrumentalist — Other. 4-7 p.m. June 29; Celtic Ray Public House, 145 E. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda; 941-916-9115;  celticray.net

Ordinary Boys

The group paying tribute to The Smiths and Morrissey will perform with Joy Division/New Order tribute act New Dawn Fades. 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show June 29; Oscura, 816 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton; $15 advance, $20 day of; 941-201-4950;  oscura.live

Drag Queen Bingo Extravaganza

Tamiami Trails and special guest stars perform at this variety show that also includes three games of bingo called throughout the show. 8 p.m. June 30; McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; $26; 941-925-3869;  mccurdyscomedy.com

Asolo Repertory Theatre

Reginald Rose’s classic drama “Twelve Angry Men,” about jury deliberations in the case of a teenager accused of killing his father, is now a musical with a jazzy score by Michael Holland and a book by David Simpatico. Producing Artistic Director Peter Rothstein stages the show. Through June 9; 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $35-$98; 941-351-8000; asolorep.org

Florida Studio Theatre

The cabaret show “The Flip Side,” a revue of songs that take a humorous look at life, runs through June 16 in the Court Cabaret, 1265 First St., Sarasota; $37-$46; 941-366-9000; floridastudiotheatre.org

The Ringling

“Skyway 2024: A Contemporary Collaboration,” with exhibitions at five museums on both sides of the Skyway Bridge, begins at The Ringling and will include the Sarasota Art Museum for the first time. Through Jan. 26. skywaytampabay.com . “On the Road,” a showcase of work by photographers Jill Freedman and Randal Levenson, who captured the lives of carnival and circus performers in the 1970s, continues through Aug. 25 in the Searing Galleries. The newly restored “Michele Oka Doner: The True Story of Eve” continues through June 2 in the Monda Gallery. “Mountains of the Mind: Scholars’ Rocks from China and Beyond” continues through June 23 in the Chao Center for Asian Art. “Embodied,” highlighting the human figure with pieces from the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art, continues through Sept. 21, 2025. “Shinique Smith: Parade,” focused on European artistic tradition, continues through Jan. 5, 2025; “Shared Vision: Art and Empathy,” a project with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Manatee County, is on display through Aug. 8 in the Community Gallery. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota; 941-359-5700; ringling.org

Sarasota Art Museum

“Impact: Contemporary Artists at the Hermitage Artist Retreat” continues through July 7, highlighting work by 10 artists who have been fellows at the artist retreat on Manasota Key. “The Truth of the Night Sky,” a collaboration between multimedia artist Anne Patterson and composer and sound artist Patrick Harlin, who also have ties to the Hermitage, continues through Sept. 29. Molly Hatch’s “Amalgam,” a display of ceramics that covers walls on two floors, continues through April 26, 2026. 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 941-309-4300; sarasotaartmuseum.org

Urbanite Theatre

Urbanite Theatre presents the world premiere of “OAK” by Terry Guest, who had a hit at the theater with his play “At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen.” This new work is set in a small town where residents are warned about the red-eyed monster who is snatching up people looking to enjoy the freedoms he promises. Through June 30. 1487 Second St., Sarasota. $42 adults, $28 under age 40, $5 students. 941-321-1397; urbanitetheatre.com

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

Sheldon Rhoden returns as soul singer Marvin Gaye in the fourth staging of Nate Jacobs’ biographical revue “Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul.” Extended through June 2. 1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota. $50, $20 students age 25 and younger/active military. 941-366-1505; westcoastblacktheatre.org

Farmers markets for Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties

Sarasota farmers market.

The year-round market in downtown Sarasota features vendors selling produce, plants, artisan goods, and food and drink, also featuring live music and other entertainment. 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays; 1 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota; sarasotafarmersmarket.org

Venice Farmers Market

The year-round market features farm, food-related, artisan and greenery vendors. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays; 401 W. Venice Ave., Venice;  thevenicefarmersmarket.org

Newtown Farmers Market

The market offers fresh local produce, including seasonal fruits and vegetables, and other goods. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and first and third Fridays; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, 2523 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota; newtownnation.com  

Siesta Key Farmers Market

The market located in Siesta Village features fresh produce, art, clothing and more. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays; 5211 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key;  facebook.com/siestakeyfarmersmarket

Fresh Harvest Farmers Market

The Downtown Wellen farmers market features nearly 40 different vendor booths offering locally grown and produced food including herbs, spices, cut flowers, teas, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, syrups, baked goods, pickled foods, fresh seafood, meats, poultry, eggs, milk and prepared food and beverages, as well as a limited selection of craft vendors. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays; Downtown Wellen, 19745 Wellen Park Blvd., Venice; wellenpark.com/events/fresh-harvest-farmers-market

Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch

The year-round market features more than 100 local vendors offering organic produce, flowers, specialty spices/rubs, honey, bread and other baked goods, prepared foods, pet products, jewelry and more. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays; 1561 Lakefront Drive, Lakewood Ranch; themarketlwr.com

Email entertainment reporter Jimmy Geurts at [email protected].   Follow Jay Handelman on Facebook ,   Instagram  and  Twitter . Contact him at [email protected].   Support local journalism   by  subscribing .

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Avett Brothers Musical ‘Swept Away’ Heading To Broadway This Fall

By Greg Evans

NY & Broadway Editor

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The Company of 'Swept Away,' Arena Stage

Swept Away , the musical with music and lyrics by roots rock band The Avett Brothers , will arrive on Broadway this fall following previous stagings at California’s Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Washington’s Arena Stage.

Although the Broadway production will be at a Shubert theater, a venue and specific production dates are yet to be released.

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The synopsis: Set in 1888, Swept Away follows four survivors – a young man in search of adventure, his big brother who has sworn to protect him, a captain at the end of a long career at sea, and a worldly first mate who has fallen from grace – after a violent storm sinks their whaling ship off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts. How far will they go to stay alive? And can they live with the consequences?

Although Broadway casting has not officially been confirmed, the Avett Brothers on Friday welcomed to the concert stage the principal actors from the Berkeley Rep and Arena Stage productions – John Gallagher Jr., Stark Sands, Adrian Blake Enscoe and Wayne Duvall – introducing the actors as the “the cast of the soon-to-be-officially Broadway show.”

The Swept Away creative team includes music arranger & orchestrator Chris Miller, music arranger & orchestrator/music supervisor Brian Usifer, music director Will Van Dyke, set designer Rachel Hauck, costume designer Susan Hilferty, lighting designer Kevin Adams, and sound designer John Shivers.

Swept Away is produced by Matthew Masten, Sean Hudock, and Madison Wells Live and executive produced by Wagner Johnson Productions.

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The Night That Sotheby’s Was Crypto-Punked

The auction that was supposed to be an art world coming-out party for NFTs instead exposed the instability at the heart of the crypto world.

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A person on a bicycle rides by the outside of Sotheby’s at night.

By Zachary Small

This article is adapted from a chapter in the forthcoming book “Token Supremacy: The Art of Finance, the Finance of Art and the Great Crypto Crash of 2022.”

It would have been the greatest insult to rock the Upper East Side on any normal night, but instead the private equity heir Holly Peterson could only laugh. Why had a Sotheby’s official denied her access to a bidding paddle?

In February 2022, Ms. Peterson, an author and art collector, was surrounded by a new clientele: the crypto nouveau riche, who made a temporary home of the art market. Their purchases occurred through the trendy innovation of NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, which registered the ownership of often digital artworks on the blockchain. Collectors then used the NFTs as rapidly appreciating investments to build their crypto fortunes.

The young collectors arrived in sweatpants and greeted one another by their Twitter handles. It was supposed to be another banner evening for the booming art market, where NFTs had come to represent almost half of the industry’s $65 billion valuation in only a couple of years. The marquee lot included 104 CryptoPunks, a selection of algorithmically generated portraits of pixelated people that epitomized the rise of blockchain-based collectibles. They were estimated to sell for $20 million to $30 million, and, for the first time, Sotheby’s had devoted a major sale to just a single lot of NFTs. It was a rare honor — one that hadn’t even occurred when the auction houses had a $450 million Leonardo da Vinci on their hands.

The night received all the marketing gusto that a company serving billionaires and their baubles could muster. Sotheby’s had described the event, called “Punk It!”, as “on par with the most significant and high-profile sales for contemporary and modern art.”

But there were early signs that the NFT market was crashing — a spectacular implosion that would shine a spotlight on the government’s failure to regulate the art market.

Ms. Peterson was one of many traditional collectors who attended the auction to purchase their first NFT. Her father was Peter G. Peterson, the private equity billionaire who founded Blackstone and served as a Museum of Modern Art trustee. And she was a trustee at the Studio Museum in Harlem and on several acquisition committees for organizations like the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum and Centre Pompidou.

But none of that pedigree could prepare her for the bizarre scene at Sotheby’s.

Ms. Peterson looked around and saw these new collectors who reminded her of little toddlers with paddles, she recalled in an interview. “What’s going on?” she said. “I’m a Park Avenue woman with a fancy art collection and I couldn’t even get a paddle.”

Buyers could pay in cryptocurrencies or regular dollars. A panel that preceded the sale included Kenny Schachter, a rabble-rousing collector and columnist at Artnet News, who, from his brownstone on the Upper East Side, had situated himself as a communicator between the crypto and traditional art worlds. (He had his own NFT project to promote.) A bulldog for the digital art movement, he managed to corner Max Hollein, the Met Museum director, one evening in Central Park, recalling that the museum executive said that his curators were too scared of the new technology to partake.

Speaking to the V.I.P. attendees at the Sotheby’s auction, Mr. Schachter waxed poetic about the promises of NFTs, saying they had “changed the history of art without even intending to be an art piece in the first place.”

An audience that included celebrity influencers like the rapper Ja Rule and Snoop Dogg’s son Cordell Broadus clapped. Behind the scenes, employees were scrambling to salvage what was supposed to be a historic sale.

According to three people close to the sale, there had been signs of trouble from the beginning of the auction house’s relationship with the seller, who operated from behind the username 0x650d . There was virtually no public information about him; his digital identity was created to promote his CryptoPunk collection, which he purchased in 2021 for around $7 million, saying that he acquired the NFTs “because I choose wealth.”

But he also said that he would never sell them, which should have been Sotheby’s’ first warning sign.

Sotheby’s had been the collector’s second choice to sell his CryptoPunks after he initially failed to secure a deal at Christie’s. And unlike the traditional collectors who attended the auction ready to buy the newfangled art, there was a lack of enthusiasm from crypto collectors. These NFTs were known as “floor punks,” meaning that they lacked certain attributes that gave other CryptoPunks their higher market prices. The algorithm that generated the entire collection of 10,000 images had statistical rarities baked into the code; for example, there were only nine punks dressed as aliens and 24 who looked like apes. (In March 2024, someone reportedly purchased an alien punk for $16 million.) But 0x650d’s collection contained only basic, run-of-the-mill examples of the NFTs originally created by Larva Labs, a studio run by the Canadian software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson.

So there was little incentive for a serious NFT collector to buy this suite of tokens, especially at a time when purchasing a single CryptoPunk at floor price would have cost about $150,000. A simple calculation would have made clear that at $30 million, Michael Bouhanna, a digital art specialist at Sotheby’s, had overpromised on the total value of the lot by nearly double the high estimate of what a retail trader could find online, where a group of CryptoPunks this size would have gone for around $15 million. And then there was the matter of poor timing. Cryptocurrencies had just taken a nosedive with news that Russia had invaded Ukraine; risky assets looked less enticing with interest rates rising. There was still an appetite for speculation, but perhaps not as much when everyone’s wallets had suddenly depreciated in value. Risk needed some promise of reward.

NFTs Were a Symptom of the Unregulated Art Market

The NFT boom coincided with the art market’s growing reputation as a Wild West where paintings by artists like Marc Chagall and René Magritte turned into vehicles for sanctions evasion, money laundering and fraud, disguised by shell companies.

In 2020, for example, Senate investigators found that auction houses and dealers had allowed two sanctioned Russian oligarchs, the brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, to buy and sell art using shell companies fronted by an art adviser. Their report concluded that brokers went through with the sale despite a failure to determine the true identities of their clients.

Despite that congressional scrutiny, a new era of deregulation was approaching, happening just in time for NFTs to thoroughly scramble the relationship between artistic merit and financial value.

The auction at Sotheby’s took place just weeks after the federal government had shied away from enforcing the Bank Secrecy Act on the art industry, which would have increased the scrutiny of financial transactions and ended the use of shell companies to conceal the true identities of buyers and sellers.

When Congress commissioned a report in 2021 to address concerns that the art market had become a safe haven for a number of financial crimes, the responsibility fell upon the Treasury Department and its aptly named deputy assistant secretary for strategic policy: Scott Rembrandt (no relation to the old Dutch master of the same name), who was unfamiliar with the financial esoterica of the art world.

Dealers were prepared for the worst after regulators in the European Union and Britain banned straw purchases — the practice of buying something on behalf of a secret purchaser — and other schemes that cloaked the true parties behind a painting’s sale.

Anxiety rolled into the next year as the New York attorney general’s office accused Sotheby’s of an alleged tax fraud scheme in which more than a dozen clients obtained false resale certificates to pose as dealers and avoid paying millions in tax revenue on their purchases. A judge allowed the investigation to proceed, saying there was enough evidence that senior members of the auction house “willfully turned a blind eye” to the scheme.

Tight-lipped dealers were not afraid of making noise when their profits were threatened; galleries and auction houses spent nearly $1 million over the past two years on lobbying federal officials in Washington on regulatory issues.

When the Treasury Department released its highly anticipated report in February 2022, it did not recommend immediate government intervention, despite clear evidence of criminal activity.

“We have found that while certain aspects of the high-value art market are vulnerable to money laundering, it’s often the case that there are larger underlying issues at play, like the abuse of shell companies or the participation of complicit professionals” who might look the other way, Mr. Rembrandt said in an interview, implying that art crime was more a byproduct of a flawed financial system than a characteristic of the industry.

But the Treasury official had relied on bad statistics. Mr. Rembrandt said that only $3 billion in money laundering and other financial crimes flowed through the art market every year. That was an errant number, which could be traced back to an unattributed claim from a 1990 article in The Independent by the British journalist Geraldine Norman about the antiquities market. (The Treasury Department did not respond to a request for comment.)

The lack of original research in the Treasury report demonstrated the government’s failure to deeply scrutinize the art market.

NFTs were, in some ways, a result of that oversight. They were more easily abused as vehicles for fraud than other kinds of art by virtue of their digital existence. Sales happened within seconds and without nosy customs officials or know-your-customer practices to impede criminals.

And although Mr. Rembrandt was unwilling to bring federal oversight to the art market, he still specifically called out the rising danger of NFTs in his report, warning: “These types of contracts can create an incentive to shape a marketplace where the work is traded repeatedly in a short period,” and adding that “traditional industry participants, such as art auction houses or galleries, may not have the technical understanding of distributed ledger technology required to practice effective customer identification and verification in this space.”

What happened only a few weeks later at Sotheby’s would illustrate the problems that Mr. Rembrandt raised and highlight the Treasury’s failure to establish new oversight regulations on the art market that would have required the auctioneer to perform more due diligence on its clients.

A Rug Pull to Remember

Back in the salesroom, the audience eagerly looked toward an empty podium where the auctioneer should have started the bidding nearly a half-hour ago. Instead, officials announced that the consignor had withdrawn the lot; everyone was still welcome to enjoy the after-party and listen to the sick beats of D.J. Seedphrase. Stunned, the young crypto investors sipped their last drops of champagne and exited out the auction houses’s revolving doors onto York Avenue. It looked like 0x650d had sized up the money he stood to make at auction and decided that it was unlikely to add up to the number he was looking for.

“The whole evening was totally surreal,” said Ms. Peterson. “The auction definitely made me think that something was rotten.”

For market rainmakers like Amy Cappellazzo, a former Sotheby’s executive, the event was even more significant. “It was an early sign that the crypto market was in trouble.”

NFT collectors needed strong sales to continue their momentum. But catastrophes like the Sotheby’s auction broadcast that the NFT industry’s best days were behind it. Traditional collectors like Ms. Peterson, who might have joined the digital art collectathon, were now backing away while skeptics celebrated proof of the blockchain’s impotence.

“Collectors from the old economy are afraid that their marketplace will be disrupted by these crazy, wacky forces,” Ms. Cappellazzo said. “There is nothing more tried and true than owning a hard asset like a painting and putting it on the wall. But anything that softens a hard asset will make them feel uneasy.”

The anonymous consignor, 0x650d, tried to salvage his online reputation. He posted on Twitter at 7:41 p.m., nearly an hour after pulling the lot, to announce his decision to “hodl,” cryptospeak for holding on to digital assets. About an hour later, he shared a meme that featured the musician Drake, saying he was “taking punks mainstream by rugging Sotheby’s.”

By “rugging,” he meant rug-pulling, a scheme in which crypto developers intentionally attract investors to a project, only to disappear without handing over a product.

Of all the crypto scams that deflated the NFT market, rug pulling was the most notorious and frequent because it transformed good will into a liability; there were at least four such scams that totaled more than $11 million in lost investments involving projects that imitated the Bored Ape Yacht Club , a high-profile set of NFTs. .

But the failed Sotheby’s auction was an unusual moment in which the provocative behavior of the crypto world bled into the art market.

And there was very little strategic benefit to the consignor’s public mocking of the world’s largest auction house; his rug-pull could only be bad for crypto’s reputation.

In the short term, it was clear that 0x650d believed he’d made a smart move. After the auction fiasco, his accounts on social media went silent for nearly a month, until April 2022, when he announced that his CryptoPunks collection would be used as collateral for an $8.32 million loan, unlocking the liquidity of his NFTs while allowing him to “retain upside exposure” through the collectibles. That loan appeared to be 40 percent of the low estimate that Sotheby’s had given for the value of his collection, indicating that 0x650d was able to use the auction house’s appraisal to legitimize the value of his NFTs. It let him keep his punks, so that he could, theoretically, sell them for more than he would have made at Sotheby’s — and use them as a piggy bank for liquidity in the meantime. It looked as if he’d used the art world as a mark.

But two years later, thanks in large part to the art world’s distrust of NFTs, Crypto Punks are worth far less. 0x650d appears to still hold his lot, which is now worth about $12.3 million, a significant decrease from the $20 million that he turned his nose up at Sotheby’s.

Zachary Small is a Times reporter writing about the art world’s relationship to money, politics and technology. More about Zachary Small

Inside the World of Cryptocurrencies

Customers of the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX are poised to recover all of the money they lost  when the firm collapsed in 2022 and receive interest on top of it, the company’s bankruptcy lawyers said.

Changpeng Zhao , the billionaire founder of the giant cryptocurrency exchange Binance, was sentenced to four months in prison , a much lighter penalty than other crypto executives have faced since the industry imploded in 2022.

Two years after the cryptocurrency market crashed, there are signs that crypto is booming again in the Philippines , long a center of crypto activity.

Pushed by a nonprofit with ties to the Trump administration, Arkansas became the first state to shield noisy cryptocurrency operators from unhappy neighbors. A furious backlash has some lawmakers considering a statewide ban .

Ben Armstrong, better known as BitBoy, was once the most popular cryptocurrency YouTuber in the world. Then his empire collapsed .


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  21. Rock Art Depicting Boats And Cattle Found In Sudanese Desert

    Atabi Survey Project/Yale University The Atbai Desert is an extremely hot and dry place, so the discovery of rock art depicting boats and cattle came as a surprise. This Sudanese rock art was discovered deep in the Atbai region of the Sahara Desert, about 60 miles from the city of Wadi Halfa and Lake Nubia. According to a study just published ...

  22. A $200 Million Superyacht Belonging to a Sanctioned Oligarch and Art

    Art collector and pro-Russian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk's superyacht will be auctioned to benefit Ukraine. The 300-foot-long vessel is owned by the pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk. Price ...

  23. Rock music in Russia

    e. Russian rock music originated in the Soviet Union in the 1960s based on the influence of Western rock music [1] and bard songs, and was developed by both amateur bands and official VIA . The "golden age" of Russian rock was during the 1980s (especially the era of perestroika ), when the Soviet underground rock bands became able to release ...

  24. Best things to do in June near Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice

    The monthly event will return in June with an Ebb & Flow on Palm theme, featuring live music by We Are Yacht Rock on downtown Sarasota's Palm Avenue. 7-10 p.m. June 7; Palm Avenue next to Art ...

  25. Avett Brothers Musical 'Swept Away' Heading To Broadway This Fall

    May 20, 2024 6:21am. The Company of 'Swept Away,' Arena Stage Julieta Cervantes. Swept Away, the musical with music and lyrics by roots rock band The Avett Brothers, will arrive on Broadway this ...

  26. CHIKARA, Who was under the masks? : r/SquaredCircle

    ADMIN. CHIKARA, Who was under the masks? I've posted this a few times in the past, but I've always been fascinated by the Chikara and its secret identities. I appreciated the secret/kayfabe of it while it was active, but now that its LONG dead and buried, I've been trying to collect all the known identities. That said, here's what I've come up ...

  27. The Night That Sotheby's Was Crypto-Punked

    The marquee lot included 104 CryptoPunks, a selection of algorithmically generated portraits of pixelated people that epitomized the rise of blockchain-based collectibles. They were estimated to ...