The Lost Prince of Yacht Rock
In 1978 he was music’s next big thing. Then his album bombed, he began a long slide into obscurity, and a bizarre fraud sent him to prison. Will Dane Donohue finally get his encore?
Edited by Justin Miller
Picture yourself in 1978, behind the thin plastic steering wheel of your brand-new Chevy Nova, stuck in traffic on the 10 freeway. There’s smog obscuring the L.A. skyline and the smell of exhaust in the air. Over the crackle of the AM radio, the newsreader says something about Iran, a bright-voiced chorus promises that Coke adds life! and a DJ reassures you that you are, indeed, listening to KHJ. You reach for the cigarette lighter as the music starts — a few minor piano chords over soft, driving drums. It’s a mellow groove. An electric keyboard joins in, then a guitar, followed by a sweet, double-tracked tenor voice telling an enigmatic tale. Is it Toto? Jackson Browne? Steely Dan? It sounds kind of like everything else on the radio, but also like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
In a city of mirages, you never know who to trust
This isn’t fantasy, this is us
There’s a fra…