Take it easy with Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan and more! If "soft rock" feels like a pejorative name for it, think again. Gentleness, as you'll read Erin Osmon discuss in her exploration of Fleetwood Mac, was a pivotal, empowering feature of that band's best-known work. Also, consider some of the alternatives. "AOR" feels a bit more business than pleasure. "Yacht rock" is a pretty hip, Steely Dan-like term of endearment for some of this music, but it's a bit niche, which isn't something you could ever say of the Eagles or Linda Ronstadt. And "Guilty pleasures"? Forget it. So if I'm down with "Africa" by Toto we have to... what exactly? Duel? We'll call it soft rock and - as with all the titles in the evolving Ultimate Genre Guide series - think of it as a meeting point, not a straitjacket. Applying some of the confessional modes of the singer-songwriter to a smooth and melodic presentation, this music could involve great harmonies, traces of folk and blues (as in the phenomenally successful work of Fleetwood Mac) or country rock (as with our cover stars the Eagles). It was well-suited to the studio perfectionists (like, say, Supertramp) or to virtuoso musicians (like Steely Dan). It delivered classic albums to a huge public who enjoyed appreciating their subtleties on quality audio systems, and who had the money to buy them in vast quantities. And, as Mark Beaumont will explain, it delivered some fantastic singles too. Hopefully this magazine will be a path to your discovery, or rediscovery of those and much more of this music. Whenever you find your delight, enjoy, and take it easy.