Monday, November 5, 2018

Musical Monday - Sailing by Christopher Cross

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: August 30, 1980.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: August 30, 1980 through September 6, 1980.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

To a certain extent, the last two weeks illustrate one of the major differences between the pop charts in the U.S. and the U.K. While the U.K. had the experimental and quirky David Bowie song Ashes to Ashes at its top, the U.S. had Christopher Cross' kind of milquetoast Sailing in the number one slot. This isn't to say that Sailing isn't a perfectly fine song, but it is a middle of the road soft rock tune that takes pretty much zero chances. It is a polished song, expertly performed, and ably produced with all aspects seemingly geared towards producing a commercially successful piece of music, which makes it pretty much like every other song that Christopher Cross produced in his career.

It is easy to forget what a big deal Christopher Cross was in the early 1980s. He had two number one singles (one of which was this one), five other top twenty hits, and won five Grammy Awards, all within the space of three years. Then, almost as suddenly as he achieved success, Cross all but vanished from the pop music scene. His first two albums peaked at number six and number eleven on the U.S. charts. His third album only made it to number 127. None of his later albums even charted. His last top twenty hit was Think of Laura in 1983. After that, he only has two songs reach the top 100, and the more successful of those only reached as high as number 68. Cross' fall from popularity was so fast, and so complete, that it seems like he kind of got forgotten by a lot of people.

I remember seeing an interview given by Cross in which he asserted that his career was ended by MTV and the rise of the emphasis on visual media over musicianship. There is the possibility that this is true, but on the other hand, it seems to me much more likely that the kind of late Seventies/early Eighties style soft rock he specialized in just got a little too boring for people's tastes, and the musical world left him behind. Note that I am saying this as a person who likes many of Cross' songs like Sailing, I just recognize that he was kind of a one-note act and the act got old.

Previous Musical Monday: Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie
Subsequent Musical Monday: Start! by the Jam

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Magic by Olivia Newton-John
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Upside Down by Diana Ross

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Take Your Time (Do It Right) by the S.O.S. Band
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Upside Down by Diana Ross

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Christopher Cross     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

No comments:

Post a Comment