Christopher Cross

  • Singer, songwriter and musician born Christopher Geppert in San Antonio Texas in 1951.
  • His music career began when he was a member of a San Antonio cover band named Flash. In 1978, still an obscure musician, he signed a recording contract with Warner Bros.
  • His self titled debut album was released in 1979. It was an immediate and amazing success. Four singles were released – all broke into the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, with Ride Like The Wind reaching #2 (Blondie’s Call Me kept it from the top spot) and Sailing topping the chart.
  • Cross was the first artist ever to win the 4 most prestigious Grammy awards in the same year – Record, Song and Album of the Year, and Best New Artist. Sailing won the award for Record and Song of the Year, as well as the award for Arrangement of the Year. The album went on to be certified 5x platinum.
  • Sailing became the signature song of a whole new music genre, known as Yacht Rock – the term was coined in 2005 with the on-line video series of the same name, depicting fictionalized stories of the day-to-day lives of soft rock stars from the late 70s and early 80s. Yacht rock is characterized by highly produced songs, with catchy melodies, clean vocals and mellow smoothness. Other artists labeled as Yacht Rockers include The Doobie Brothers (the Michael McDonald version), Steely Dan, Toto, Hall & Oates, Boz Scaggs, 10cc, Little River Band and Robert Palmer.
  • In 1981, Cross co-wrote and performed the song Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) for the soundtrack for the film Arthur. The song became his second #1 hit, and it won an Oscar for Best Original Song.
  • Cross’ second album, Another Page was released in 1983. Given the success of his debut album, the album was highly anticipated, but it marked the beginning of the end of success for Cross. It managed to be certified gold (U.S. sales of 500,000 + copies), with the song All Right peaking at #12 and the song Thinking of Laura peaking at #9. While Thinking of Laura was written as a tribute to a friend who was killed by a stray bullet fired during a fight a block away, it gained popularity when ABC TV used the song to promote their soap opera General Hospital, which included characters Luke and Laura.
  • Two more albums during the 80s – Every Turn of the World and Back of My Mind – were released. They were largely ignored – MTV had changed the landscape of music in the 80s, and the soft rock sound of Cross did not fit the network.
  • Cross released 11 more albums between 1990 and today. Cross was particularly popular in Germany, so singles released in the 90s were only released in Germany, and even today, during his concert tours, he plays at multiple locations in Germany – he will play 7 shows there in November 2018. His most recent album, Take Me As I Am, was released in 2017.
  • Christopher Cross is a great example of the fickleness of the music business, and how hard it is to remain relevant. I found his 2014 effort, Secret Ladder, as well as Take Me As I Am, and I took the time to listen to them. I was surprised to say that I enjoyed them both! Of course, I’m quite fond of yacht rock – and these records definitely are modern versions of the genre.
  • Here’s a video of Cross performing his signature song, Sailing. Just imagine yourself on the lake, drinking pina coladas and listening to it!

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