Single by Christopher Cross
from the album Christopher Cross
B-side"Poor Shirley"
ReleasedJune 15, 1980
GenreSoft rock
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Christopher Cross
Producer(s)Michael Omartian
Christopher Cross singles chronology
"Ride Like the Wind"
"Never Be the Same"
Music video
"Christopher Cross - Sailing (Official Music Video)" on YouTube

"Sailing" is a 1979 soft rock song written and recorded by American artist Christopher Cross. It was released in June 1980 as the second single from his debut album Christopher Cross (1979), which was already certified Gold by this time. The song was a success in the United States, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on August 30, 1980, where it stayed for one week.[1][2] The song also won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Arrangement of the Year, and helped Cross win the Best New Artist award.[3] VH1 named "Sailing" the most "softsational soft rock" song of all time.[4]

The song was recorded in 1979, utilizing the 3M Digital Recording System, making it one of the first digitally recorded songs to chart.[5] In his Grammy acceptance speech, Cross acknowledged "Sailing" as his favorite song on the album and that originally it was not meant to be a single.[6] The song was later identified as an archetype of the style that later became known as yacht rock[7] (Cross and similar artists referred to the style as the West Coast sound at the time).[8]


Cross has said in interviews that the song's inspiration was his friendship with an older friend from his high school, Al Glasscock, who would take him sailing as a teenager, just to get away from the trials and tribulations of being a teenager.[9] [10] Glasscock functioned as a surrogate older brother during a tough time for Cross emotionally.[11] Although Cross lost touch with Glasscock, The Howard Stern Show in April 1995 reunited the two after 28 years. Cross acknowledged on the show that his sailing trips with Glasscock had been the inspiration for the song. After that reunion, Cross sent Glasscock a copy of the platinum record he earned for selling more than five million copies of "Sailing."[11]




Chart (1980–1981) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) 46
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[16] 38
Canadian Adult Contemporary (RPM) 1
Canadian Top Singles (RPM)[17] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[18] 21
Italy (FIMI)[19] 12
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[20] 18
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[21] 8
Spain (AFYVE)[22] 24
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 48
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 1
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 10

Year-end charts

Chart (1980) Rank
Canada Top Singles[23] 24
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 32
Chart (1981) Rank
Italy (FIMI)[25] 66

See also


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2010). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (rev. and expanded 9th ed.). New York: Billboard Books. pp. 162, 889. ISBN 9780823085545.
  2. ^ a b Sailing - Chart History Billboard. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Best New Artists Who Also Won Album Of The Year". Grammy.com. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  4. ^ "VH1's 40 Most Softsational Soft-Rock Songs". Stereogum. 2007-05-31. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved 2023-08-28.
  5. ^ Jim McCullaugh (November 1, 1980), "Digital the Major Topic For N.Y. AES Parley", Billboard "The Christopher Cross LP, at number 32, uses the 3M digital technology"
  6. ^ Video on YouTube
  7. ^ Kamp, Jon (October 11, 2015). "Can You Sail to It? Then It Must Be 'Yacht Rock'". The Wall Street Journal.
  8. ^ Cross, Christopher (February 22, 2014). "Hall & Oates Are Genuine Rock Stars in My Book". The Huffington Post.
  9. ^ Tady, Scott. "Ride like the wind to see Christopher Cross in Warrendale". The Times. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  10. ^ Tady, Scott. "Ride like the wind to see Christopher Cross in Warrendale". Beaver County Times. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  11. ^ a b "Transportation News" (PDF). Texashistory.unt.edu. May 2006. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  12. ^ NSYNC (booklet). Trans Continental, RCA. 1997.
  13. ^ Breihan, Tom. "The Number Ones: Christopher Cross' "Sailing"". Stereogum. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  14. ^ Turman, Katherine (May 22, 2020). "How Yacht Rocker Christopher Cross Almost Sank the 1975's New Album". Variety. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  15. ^ Seibold, Witney (April 8, 2022). "Jake Gyllenhaal Came Up With the "Sailing" Duet in Ambulance". /Film. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  16. ^ "Christopher Cross – Sailing" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ "100 Singles" (PDF). RPM. 11 October 1980. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  19. ^ "Christopher Cross – Sailing". Top Digital Download. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Christopher Cross" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  21. ^ "Christopher Cross – Sailing". Top 40 Singles.
  22. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  23. ^ "Top 100 Singles (1980)". RPM. Archived from the original on 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2017-07-21.
  24. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard December 20, 1980: TIA-10
  25. ^ "Top Annuali Single (1981)". Retrieved 2022-01-30.