By Steve Spears
When you think of Kenny Loggins, what comes to mind first? That he’s the “king of movie soundtracks” or is it his ever-present beard? How about his pre-solo work with Jim Messina? Truth is that while Kenny’s music formed the backbone of the ’80s sound, his music truly spans decades and through different genres. He has consistently reinvented himself since the days where his music dotted movies such as Caddyshack, Footloose and Top Gun.
Here are 5 Things to know about Kenny Loggins before we set sail in March on The 80s Cruise.
- KING OF THE SOUNDTRACKS: Kenny’s contributions to soundtracks actually predate the ’80s. His song “I Believe in Love” was sung by Barbra Streisand in 1977’s “A Star Is Born.” And while we all know his Top Gun tunes (“Danger Zone” and “Playing with the Boys”), Footloose anthems (“I’m Free” and the title tune), and Caddyshack work (“I’m Alright,” “Lead the Way,” “Make the Move” and “Mr. Night”) by heart, he has also created some songs for movies we didn’t love as much. I’m looking your way, fans of Over The Top (with the heavenly “Meet Me Halfway”) and Caddyshack II (with the vastly underrated “Nobody’s Fool”).
- HE’S A MULTIGENERATIONAL ICON: Loggins graduated high school in 1966 – probably closer to the year many of us were born – and released his first recorded singles in 1968. Before he set off on a solo career in the late ’70s, he worked with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and more famously with Jim Messina (formerly of Poco and Buffalo Springfield). Chances are you grew up with parents who listened to their tunes “Danny’s Song,” “House at Pooh Corner” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”
- KENNY COLLOBORATES: He wrote “What a Fool Believes” with Michael McDonald (then with the Doobie Brothers). Kenny released his version of the song before McDonald, but it was the Doobie’s version that scored highest on the charts. The pair also wrote “This Is It” together, a song about Loggins’ ailing father. Other memorable duets include “Whenever I Call You Friend” with Stevie Nicks and “Don’t Fight It” with Journey’s Steve Perry.
- HAND ME THE WHIP: Speaking of “Don’t Fight It,” Kenny told me in an interview back in 2009 that the whip sound effect in the song comes from Indiana Jones’ actual bullwhip. Kenny and Steve found it in an adjacent studio while they were recording their song and agreed they had to use it. (Listen to that full interview here.)
- HE’S STILL HARD AT WORK: Kenny’s soundtrack work didn’t end with the ’80s. His tune “Conviction of the Heart” from 1991’s Leap of Faith was dubbed “the unofficial anthem of the environmental movement” by former Vice President Al Gore. And there have been rumors that Loggins could be invited back to work on the soundtrack for Top Gun 2. In 2013, Kenny formed a country/rock trio called the Blue Sky Riders and released two albums. Will we hear him perform those tunes on The 80s Cruise? I’m not sure, but “I’m Alright” if he does.