Loggins c. 1980
|Birth name||Kenneth Clark Loggins|
January 7, 1948|
Everett, Washington, U.S.
Kenneth Clark "Kenny" Loggins (born January 7, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. His early songwriting compositions were recorded with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970, which led to seven albums, performing as the group Loggins and Messina from 1972 to 1977. As a solo artist, Loggins experienced a string of soundtrack successes, including an Academy award nomination for "Footloose" in 1984. His early soundtrack contributions date back to the film A Star Is Born in 1976, and for much of the 1980s and 90s, he was known as "The Soundtrack King". Finally Home was released in 2013, shortly after Loggins formed the group Blue Sky Riders with Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman.
Loggins (born in Everett, Washington) is the youngest of three brothers. His mother was Lina (née Massie), a homemaker, and his father, Robert George Loggins, was a salesman. They lived in Detroit and Seattle before settling in Alhambra, California. Loggins attended San Gabriel Mission High School, graduating in 1966. He formed a band called the Second Helping that released three singles during 1968 and 1969 on Viva Records. Greg Shaw described the efforts as "excellent punky folk-pop records" that were written by Loggins who was likely to be the bandleader and singer as well; Shaw included "Let Me In" on both Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Volume 2 and the Pebbles, Volume 9 CD.
Loggins had a short gig playing guitar for the New Improved Electric Prunes in 1969 before writing four songs for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which were included in their Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy album. During his early twenties, he was part of the band Gator Creek with Mike Deasy. An early version of "Danny's Song" (later recorded by Loggins and Messina and a #7 Hot 100 hit for Anne Murray in 1973) was included in a record on Mercury Records.
Loggins and Messina
Jim Messina, formerly of Poco and Buffalo Springfield, was working as an independent record producer for Columbia Records in 1970 when he was introduced to Kenny Loggins, then a little-known singer/songwriter who was signed to ABC-Dunhill.
The two recorded a number of Loggins' compositions in Messina's home living room. When Columbia signed Loggins (with the assistance of Messina) to a six-album contract, recording began in earnest for Loggins' debut album, with Messina as producer. In addition to providing rehearsal space, equipment and amps, Messina worked long hours with Loggins and encouraged him to purchase an electric guitar to play on his debut album. He also assembled The Kenny Loggins Band by summoning old friends consisting of bassist Larry Sims and drummer Merel Bregante (both formerly of The Sunshine Company, a disbanded 1960's group from Los Angeles), violinist/multireedist Al Garth (tenor & alto saxes, violin, viola, clarinet, recorder, bass clarinet) and multireedist Jon Clarke (tenor, bass, soprano & baritone saxophones, oboe, flute, alto flute, bass flute, bass clarinet). Keyboardist Michael Omartian also played on the album, but despite dropping out on the start of the touring, he continued to play keyboards on the following two albums and Los Angeles-based session percussionist Milt Holland, described by Messina as a "ethnomusicologist", was able to bring different percussion instruments to the mixes and contributed to each of their studio albums.
Messina originally intended to lend his name to the Loggins project only to help introduce the unknown Loggins to Messina's well-established Buffalo Springfield and Poco audiences. But by the time the album was completed, Messina had contributed so much to the album - in terms of songwriting, arrangement, instrumentation, and vocals - that an "accidental" duo was born. Thus, the full name of their first album was Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In. The album's first single release, the Caribbean-flavored "Vahevala" (or "Vahevella"), found top 3 success on WCFL on 18 May 1972.
Although the album went unnoticed by radio upon release, it eventually found success by autumn 1972, particularly on college campuses where the pair toured heavily. The vocal harmonies of Loggins and Messina meshed so well that what was begun as a one-off album became an entity unto itself. Audiences regarded the pair as a genuine duo rather than as a solo act with a well-known producer. Instead of continuing to produce Loggins as a sole performer, they decided to record as a duo – Loggins & Messina.
"When our first album, 'Sittin' In', came out, we started receiving a lot of excitement about the music and good sales," Messina recalled in 2005. "We had a choice. It was either I now go on and continue to produce him and we do the solo career or we stay together and let this work. For me, I did not desire to go back out on the road. I had had enough of that, and I wanted to produce records. But Clive Davis (then president of the record company) intervened and said, 'You know, I think you'd be making a mistake if you guys didn't take this opportunity. Things like this only happen once in a lifetime. It may merit you sleeping on it overnight and making a decision that will be in your best interest.' He was absolutely correct. Kenny made the decision as well. It delayed his solo career, but it gave him an opportunity, I think, to have one."
Both members of the duo were guitarists: Loggins played rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and harmonica and Messina played lead guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin and Dobro. Over the next four years they produced five more albums of original material in the studio, plus one album of covers of other artists' material, and two live albums. They sold 16 million records and were the most successful duo of the early 1970s, surpassed later in the decade only by Hall & Oates. Their work also included Lynn Anderson's "Listen to a Country Song," which was released in 1972 and reached No. 3 on the charts, Anne Murray's "Danny's Song", and "A Love Song", which reached No. 12 in March 1974. A greatest-hits album, The Best of Friends, would be released a year after the duo had separated.
The later studio albums often found both Loggins and Messina more as two solo artists sharing the same record than as a genuine partnership. As both Loggins and Messina noted in 2005, their collaboration eventually became more a competition. The pair had by 1976 quietly but amicably parted to pursue solo careers, following the release of Native Sons and their final concert in Hawaii.
During 1977, Loggins produced his first solo album, Celebrate Me Home, which included the successful song "I Believe In Love", sung originally by Barbra Streisand in A Star Is Born. Nightwatch, a popular album released in 1978, included the hit song "Whenever I Call You Friend", a duet with Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, co-written with Melissa Manchester. He followed it in 1979 with Keep the Fire and in 1982 with High Adventure. The latter contained his rock duet with Journey front man Steve Perry "Don't Fight It", which rose to #17 on the US Billboard Top 100. Although he abandoned playing the harmonica in his solo career, he continued to play guitar, just as he had done with Loggins & Messina.
With Michael McDonald
Loggins also co-wrote the song "What a Fool Believes" with Michael McDonald. Each recorded his own version of the song, with McDonald recording as a member of the Doobie Brothers. Loggins' version was released first, but the Doobie Brothers' version achieved greater success, scoring No. 1 on the pop chart and earning Loggins and McDonald the 1980 Grammy for Song of the Year."
During 1979, Loggins and McDonald wrote "This Is It" for Loggins' ailing father who had to choose between life and death. The song earned Loggins the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. NBC used the song as theme music for its coverage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in 1980 and 1981.
This Is It
Loggins with Michael McDonald
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During the next decade, Loggins recorded so many successful songs for film soundtracks that he was referred to as "King of the Movie Soundtrack". It began with "I'm Alright" from Caddyshack. Hits followed with "Footloose" and "I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man)" from Footloose; "Meet Me Half Way" from Over the Top; and "Danger Zone" and "Playing With the Boys" from Top Gun. Loggins also performed "Nobody's Fool" from the film Caddyshack II. He also performed as a member of USA for Africa on the famine-relief fundraising single "We Are the World", which led to an appearance performing "Footloose" at the Philadelphia leg of the July 13, 1985 Live Aid famine relief dual-venue charity concert and global television broadcast.
During the 1990s, Loggins continued his album career, including the popular 1994 children's album Return to Pooh Corner, which included the title single, a reworking of "House at Pooh Corner", written for his newborn son Luke.
In 1991, Loggins recorded and produced Leap of Faith, which included the single "Conviction of the Heart". Al Gore (Vice President 1993–2001) billed this song as "the unofficial anthem of the environmental movement". On Earth Day 1995, Loggins performed at The National Mall in Washington, D.C. before a live audience of 500,000.
In 1997, Loggins released the album "The Unimaginable Life" based on his book which was co-written by his wife Julia. Tracks include "Now That I Know Love", "The Art of Letting Go", and "One Chance at a Time". The album was produced by Loggins and Randy Jackson with background vocals by Skyler Jett, Lamont VanHook, and Howard Smith.
In 1998, Loggins recorded a version of the popular Sesame Street song "One Small Voice" for the ABC Television special, Elmopalooza, which was included as a track on the Grammy Award winning soundtrack album.
During recent years Loggins has continued to record and produce Adult Contemporary music and scored a No. 1 single on the Billboard AC chart during 1997 with "For The First Time" (his Oscar-nominated song from One Fine Day). His last film song was The Tigger Movie song "Your Heart Will Lead You Home", which he co-wrote with Richard and Robert Sherman. In 1999 he appeared as himself on Dharma & Greg in the episode "Tye-Dying the Knot", performing at Abby and Larry's wedding.
In 2005, Loggins and Messina performed a successful nationwide tour that resulted in the CD and DVD Loggins and Messina Sittin' In Again. Their first tour since 1976, it was 2 hours in length and included an acoustic set in the middle of the show. Complete with a set change that turned the stage into an old gas station setting, the show had a large IMAG video screen that showed old footage of the band, as well as tribute footage of recently deceased former L&M bandmate Jon Clarke.
On July 31, 2008, Loggins appeared on the TV program Don't Forget the Lyrics! and performed "I'm Alright" and "Footloose".
In 2009 Loggins issued a new children's album titled All Join In but it was not released due to complications with his record company.
In 2009 Loggins and Messina successfully toured the USA and Canada, reviving their "Sittin' In Again tour".
In 2011 Loggins performed a short tour in South East Asia including Manila, Philippines and Singapore. Loggins performed Friday, June 3, 2011 at the Arcada Theater in St Charles, IL. He stopped by the Eddie and Jobo Show in Chicago to talk about his music, his personal life and what kind of show you can expect from him.
Loggins appears in the 2013 video game Grand Theft Auto V playing himself as the host of an in-game radio station called Los Santos Rock Radio. He also lends the songs Danger Zone and I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man), and sings station jingles. The song 'Danger Zone' also appears in one of the game's main trailers.
In 2014 Loggins appeared as himself in the episode "Baby Shower" of the fifth season of the animated comedy series Archer, performing a country version of "Danger Zone" as a duet with Cherlene. Loggins stated in a later interview that his in-show nickname 'K-Log' is a complete creation of the show, stating, "It was always a joke. That’s why it works, because it’s so absurd."
Loggins also appeared as himself in the 2014 series finale "The Father/Daughter Dance" of Raising Hope, a critically acclaimed comedy on Fox. Loggins sang "Danny's Song."
The 2016 parody film Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie features an original song from Loggins, entitled "The Art of the Deal," written specifically for the film.
In July 2016, Loggins performed on ABC's Greatest Hits.
Blue Sky Riders
Loggins is a member of Blue Sky Riders, a country music trio also featuring Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman. They released their debut album, Finally Home, on January 29, 2013. The band is due to release their second studio album, Why Not, in 2016.
Loggins turned down the offer to co-star with Barbra Streisand in A Star is Born and shortly before Loggins & Messina's final tour, he accidentally cut his hand while practicing wood carving, seriously enough to require surgery and preventing him from playing guitar on the tour. Loggins was married to Eva Ein from 1978 to 1990; they had three children together: Crosby, Cody, and Isabella. The oldest, Crosby Loggins, produced his first CD in 2007 titled We All Go Home. During 2008, Crosby Loggins was voted the winner of the MTV reality show Rock the Cradle. Cody was born in 1983 and Isabella in 1988. As of 2009, daughter Bella was a music major in college.
When Loggins experienced health problems in 1982, he was referred to Julia Cooper, a colon therapist. They felt an immediate connection and both were unhappy in their relationships, but each was married to someone else; Loggins then had one child and his wife was pregnant with their second. Their relationship was limited to a close friendship for many years. Near the end of the 1980s, Loggins separated from his wife, Eva, at nearly the same time Julia left her husband, and they began a deeper relationship. Loggins' divorce was made final in 1990; he and Cooper married in July, 1992. In 1994, they became involved with Equinox International, a multi-level marketing organization, and created a promotional video for the company, as did Ted Danson and Dave Parker. The couple had two children: Lukas, born in 1993, and Hana, born in 1997. After several years of marriage, they assembled material from the journals that each kept, which included poems, songs and letters. They authored a 1997 book titled The Unimaginable Life about their relationship. Its purpose was to offer an alternative to typical relationships where spouses feel that they cannot be completely honest. Later on, they faced possible bankruptcy.
The couple divorced in 2004. Loggins commented in 2009, "I got pretty blindsided by Julia's decision to leave. She's a very impulsive woman, and she found herself going through a midlife crisis. And she didn't know what to make of it, and it changed her life." Loggins has a home in the hills north of Santa Barbara, California, and has lived there for several decades. He is known locally as a generous fundraiser for numerous charities. Kenny Loggins is a second cousin to singer-songwriter Dave Loggins.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kenny Loggins.|
- Kenny Loggins.com
- Blue Sky Riders official website
- Audio interview with Kenny Loggins, Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman (Blue Sky Riders) on the Sodajerker On Songwriting podcast
- 2011 radio interview with Kenny Loggins