Origin: Everett, Washington (USA)
Back to Avalon - 1988 (with lyrics)
- Kenny Loggins' remarkable four-decade-plus career has brought him from the top of the charts to the toast of the Grammys. He's had smash hits on Hollywood's favorite soundtracks, rocked worldwide stages, and found his way into children's hearts while bringing his soulful, beautiful voice to platinum albums of a stunning variety of genres. His gift for crafting deeply emotional music is unparalleled, and it's been a part of his life as long as he can remember.
When Loggins was 7 years old, he watched his two older brothers struggle to write a song, "and I remember thinking, it just can't be that hard," he laughs. Around a year later, inspired by the film Yankee Doodle Dandy, he realized songwriting was his future. "It's a moment that sticks with you," he says, "I knew deep inside that this is something I could do."
Once he started doing it, he never stopped.
Loggins, who was born in Everett, Washington, and moved to the Los Angeles area as a young child, began singing and playing guitar in high school, and scored a job as a songwriter for ABC/Wingate out of college for $100 a week after a brief, unlikely stint as a guitarist for psych-rock band the Electric Prunes. "I went in and sang a bunch of my songs I'd already written, and they signed me right there," he recalls. One of the first tunes he offered up was the beloved "House at Pooh Corner," which became one of several Loggins-penned hits the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded for 1970's Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy. "I wrote it during finals as a senior in high school," he says. "We were coming on graduation, and it reminded me of the last chapter of the book House at Pooh Corner, where Christopher Robin is about to head out and leave Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood behind. Ironically, I guess I never did."
Halfway through his three-year gig as a Wingate staffer, Loggins met the man who would help shape the early part of his career: Jim Messina. "I knew that Jimmy had worked with Buffalo Springfield and that was one of my favorite acts of the 60's," Loggins says of the producer and onetime Poco member. The two started to work on Loggins' solo debut with Messina behind the glass, and Kenny fell in love with a track his producer had penned called "Peace of Mind." Before he knew it, the pair of creative partners had morphed into a duo, and Loggins and Messina was born.
Their first album, Kenny Loggins With Jim Messina Sittin' In, came out in 1971, featuring Loggins' own version of "Pooh Corner" and the beautiful ballad "Danny's Song," which he'd written when his brother's wife gave birth to the couple's first child. "That was the beginning of his family," Loggins remembers, "and many of those lyrics were taken right from a letter he wrote me." The prolific recording and touring duo released a studio album every year from 1971 to 1976, wrapping with Native Sons. The time had come for Loggins to cast off on his own.
"When I recorded Celebrate Me Home, I was very excited, I was like an arrow pulled back in a bow. I'd waited 7 years to finally make my solo album," Loggins says. His 1977 Phil Ramone-produced solo debut went platinum and included "I Believe in Love," the song he'd written for Barbra Streisand to perform in the film A Star Is Born. The album came out just in time for Loggins to score a gig opening for Fleetwood Mac on the Rumours tour, and he went from playing large rooms to arenas overnight. He struck up a friendship with Stevie Nicks, who generously offered to sing one of his songs. Loggins wrote the perfect tune with his friend, Melissa Manchester - "Whenever I Call You Friend" from his 1978 LP Nightwatch - which he credits as "the moment that launched my solo career."
The hits just kept on coming. Loggins pulled up for a songwriting session at Michael McDonald's house and heard the opening melody of "What a Fool Believes" coming out of the door. "He stopped playing after 8 bars, but my imagination kept going. So I like to say we were writing together before we met." The pair won a Best Song Grammy - Loggins' first - for the tune in 1979. The following year, the pair picked up a second Grammy for "This Is It," off Loggins' third consecutive platinum solo album, Keep the Fire. As the decade progressed, Loggins kept expanding his musical range, impressively exploring new textures of jazz, rock, and pop with ambitious production.
In the 1980s, Loggins also earned a new title: king of the movie soundtrack. Film producer Jon Peters called him in to see a rough cut of Caddyshack, and Loggins provided the cult classic's smash "I'm Alright." When a pal asked Loggins to write a few songs for an as-yet-unmade picture called Footloose, he whipped up a No. 1 blockbuster: "I had a little up-tempo thing I'd been messing with that I probably wouldn't have written if it hadn't have been for the movie," Loggins says. He scored a track on Tom Cruise's Top Gun ("Playing With the Boys") and performed that movie's indelible hit "Danger Zone."
While Loggins continued to record albums that were deeply personal and introspective (from 1985's Vox Humana to 1988's Back to Avalon), he also began looking outward, contributing to 1985's landmark charity single "We Are the World." "I was fortunate that Michael Jackson and I had become friends, so he invited me join in," Loggins says. "It was a long night, but there was this very rare sense of community in the room. We all knew what we were there to do."
Several years later, Loggins - a deeply committed environmentalist with a long history of advocating for the planet and green parenting - wrote a passionate plea for change called "Conviction of the Heart" that appeared on his 1991 album Leap of Faith. The song was so powerful, it caught the ear of Al Gore, who later called it the "unofficial anthem of the environmental movement."
After a stunning run of solo albums, a Christmas album, and two LPs for children (Return to Pooh Corner and More Songs From Pooh Corner), Loggins reunited with his former partner Jim Messina for the Sittin' In Again Tour in 2005 (the duo toured again in 2009). Playing live has always been - and remains - a key part of Loggins' life. "It's an experience I don't have anywhere else. It is time-travel," he explains. "I make a connection with the audience that is special to me and unique in my life."
Since 2010, Loggins has also been onstage with the country trio, Blue Sky Riders, which features Nashville powerhouse Gary Burr and gifted vocalist and singer/songwriter Georgia Middleman. "I figured the most logical place to write a heartbreak album was Nashville, so I took my journals there," Loggins says. "When Gary and I sang together, we sounded like brothers. The last time I experienced that kind of blend was with Jimmy Messina in 1971." They had such a great time writing and recording, Loggins proposed they start a band. "Then we laughed about it and went about our way." But after a few months Loggins called him back and suggested they find a female voice to form a trio.
The group released its debut album, Finally Home, on its own record label, 3Dream Records, in January 2013 and is currently working on their second album, Why Not.
Though he's got 12 platinum albums, a pair of Grammys, and hits on almost all the Billboard charts under his belt, Loggins is far from done. With more Blue Sky Riders tunes and a children's book in the works, he's still looking forward to what's next. "I feel very lucky that this is the way I make my living, and not a lot of people can say that," Loggins says. "I've been lucky that I love what I do and I get to keep doing it." -
- Kenneth Clark Loggins was born on January 7th, 1948 in Everett, Washington. The youngest of three boys, he was born seven years to the day after his oldest brother, Robert. His father, a traveling salesman, moved the family from Washington to Detroit and back again, before settling in Alhambra, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.
Kenny went to a Catholic school where he kept a low profile. A shy boy, he sought acceptance through music and sports. His middle brother, Dan, taught him to sing harmonies, and later, Kenny learned to play guitar. With the encouragement of his high-school principal, he performed in class plays and organized talent shows. As a teen, he started playing clubs in California.
Kenny's professional career began at age 18, when he was hired as a staff writer with Wingate Music for $100 a week. It was here that Kenny met Jim Messina, who had just the month before, retired from his band, "Poco".
Messina's career had started as a bass guitarist in the final stages of the Buffalo Springfield and continued when he and Richie Furay formed "Poco". The pair, along with future Eagles member, Randy Meisener, began producing demos and searching for a record label. During opening night at the Troubadour, the presidents for Columbia Records, A&M Records and Atlantic Records were present and on December 5, 1968, Poco signed with Epic Records. The group found moderate success, and are best remembered for their hit, "Crazy Love".
In November of 1970, Messina, who was now an independent producer for ABC Dunhill, interviewed Loggins as a songwriter. He had been impressed with several of Kenny's songs, especially "House At Pooh Corner", which he had written in high school as a good-bye to childhood. The song would become a hit for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1971. The pair recorded several of Kenny's songs in the living room of Messina's home, and by January of 1971, they had sorted out most of his material and began to prepare Kenny's solo album. They spent many weeks forming, auditioning, rehearsing and recording demos for Kenny, who was finally signed to Columbia Records. Managers, attorneys and an array of other business relationships needed to be established before Kenny could formally begin his recording and performing career.
The first album was entitled "Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In." It was their intention to use Messina's name and experience to launch Loggins, by introducing him to the audiences that Messina had performed to during the time spent with Buffalo Springfield and Poco. The title "Sittin' In" was appropriate, for the duo intended to record only one record together as artists. However, the album was so well received that Kenny and Jim both chose to create a new entity entitled "Loggins & Messina."
Over the next five years, Kenny and Jim went from obscurity to international fame, amassing seven albums, two gold and five platinum, selling over 4.5 million copies in total. Their hit singles, included "Your Mama Don't Dance", "Watching The River Run", "Danny's Song", "Love Song", and many others. However, due to creative differences, the pair split in 1976 and both Kenny and Jim set out on solo careers.
Kenny's first three solo albums, "Celebrate Me Home," "Nightwatch," and "Keep The Fire" all went platinum. In 1980, "What A Fool Believes" which he co-authored with Michael McDonald, was a major hit for The Doobie Brothers and was awarded a Grammy for Song of the Year. The following year "This is It" took the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal, followed by The Top 20 hit "Don't Fight It", a collaboration with Journey singer Steve Perry. In his 1981 double album "Alive", Kenny gave fans their first taste of his sensational stage show.
During the 80s, Loggins came to prominence as a writer and performer of theme songs for the new breed of Hollywood action movies. Beginning with 1980's Top 10 hit "I'm Alright", from "Caddyshack" and 1984's chart-topping title song from "Footloose", he reached his commercial peak with the soundtrack of the Tom Cruise movie, "Top Gun" in 1986. As well as co-writing several of the songs used in the movie, Loggins recorded the U.S. number 2 hit, "Danger Zone". This was followed by music for 1988's Caddyshack II, including another U.S. Top 10 hit, "Nobody's Fool".
In 1984, he won Japan's International Artists Award and in 1985 his self-produced album "Vox Humana" was certified gold. In that same year, "Footloose" was nominated for an Academy Award. His 1991 album, "Leap of Faith," spawned four Top 5 Adult Contemporary singles.
Kenny's popularity waned a bit at the end of the decade and he managed only a minor hit with "Conviction Of The Heart" in 1991, taken from his 'divorce' album, "Leap Of Faith". In 1993, Kenny released his first live album in twelve years, "Outside From the Redwoods." A video of the concert aired on PBS. His special, "This Island Earth" was broadcast on the Disney Channel in 1992 and was nominated for three Emmys. It won in the categories of Outstanding Achievement in Writing (Special Class) and Outstanding Original Song for "This Island Earth."
Interior Secretary Bruce Babitt used Kenny's "Conviction Of The Heart" in a live broadcast to Latin American on the global environmental crises. Vice President Al Gore declared the song as the unofficial anthem of the environmental movement.
In April 1993, Kenny joined Paul McCartney, k.d. lang and others in a star-studded Earth Day concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. He performed "Conviction Of The Heart" with a 25-voice choir and a six-piece percussion ensemble.
As the father of four children, Kenny saw the need for a record that didn't "sing down" to children, one that both parents and children could enjoy together. He realized that he might be the one to make such a record when he noticed that his last album, "Leap of Faith," was capturing the attention of young children as well as adults.
"I found more and more parents coming up to me saying 'My six-year-old loves this record and plays it over and over again.' And my sense was that there was something happening in my music that was resonating with children as well as adults. And I think that it was a new level of clarity and sincerity in the music that the children were hearing."
Making "Return To Pooh Corner", which he describes as "music to enjoy children by," had a profound effect on Kenny. He called the album "the work of a lifetime" and notes, "in making this record, I've rediscovered simplicity. And I know that the making of this record is going to permeate the next record, even though it won't be a family album."
But that's not to say that Kenny won't be making any more family albums. In describing this record, he's already looking to the future. "Here are the songs that I sing to my children...should I say, Part One?"
"Return To Pooh Corner" was certified gold in 1994 and was nominated for a 1995 Grammy in the Best Children's Album category. It was named one of the best children's albums as part of the National Association of Parenting Publications annual music awards.
Kenny recorded "For The First Time" from the movie "One Fine Day" in 1997, which in turn was nominated for an Academy Award. In this same year, he released "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow", a compilation of 14 of his greatest hits as a solo artist, and "The Unimaginable Life", an album sharing the same title as a book he wrote and published simultaneously with his wife Julia. Additionally, Kenny released "December", his Christmas album, in 1998.
In February, 2001, Kenny's second children's album, "More Songs From Pooh Corner" was nominated for a Grammy Award, but lost to "Woody's Roundup", by Riders In The Sky.
In 2005, Kenny Loggins announced that he and Jim Messina would embark on their first tour as a duo in nearly 30 years with the Loggins & Messina Sittin' in Again Reunion Tour. Kenny told the press, "I remembered who we were. Something magic happens when the two of us sing together." That tour resulted in the CD and two hour long DVD "Loggins and Messina Sittin' In Again".
During 2007, Kenny joined the new recording company, 180 Music, for the release of his "How About Now" LP. That same year he was inducted into Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard RockWalk. On July 31st, 2008, Loggins appeared on the TV program Don't Forget the Lyrics! and performed "I'm Alright" and "Footloose". The following year he recorded a new children's album entitled "All Join In", but it was not released due to conflicts with his record company. Also in 2009 Loggins and Messina successfully toured the USA and Canada, reviving their Sittin' In Again tour.
In 2011 Loggins did a brief solo tour in South East Asia including Manila, Philippines, Singapore and America. He was back in the spotlight again when he appeared at the 2012 Grammy Awards on February 12th. He also had a short list of tour dates lined up for later in the year. -
- While never viewed as an especially cutting-edge performer, Kenny Loggins (b. Jan. 7, 1947, Everett, Wash.) has managed to stay in business, integrity and sales intact, longer than almost all of his contemporaries. From country-rocking folkie to slick pop star to ubiquitous soundtrack presence, Loggins has, in the course of two decades, shifted his approach to music-making skillfully and without much noticeable compromise. Maybe he has gone the soundtrack route once too often--but consistent top 10 singles are, after all, awfully difficult to argue with.
Like many of his contemporaries, Loggins started out in comparative obscurity; he recorded with two little known late-'60s rock bands (Gator Creek and Second Helping) before signing a publishing deal with ABC/Wingate. As a result of that deal, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded four of his songs and scored a small hit in 1971 with "House At Pooh Corner." Columbia Records then stepped in and offered Loggins a recording contract. His first album's slated producer, former Buffalo Springfield / Poco member Jim Messina, became so involved with the recording it was credited to "Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina"--and thus began one of the more lucrative musical partnerships of the '70s. Together through 1976, Loggins & Messina recorded two platinum and five gold albums, and scored a top 5 single in 1972 with the jointly-penned "Your Mama Don't Dance" (which again hit the top of the charts 17 years later when covered by hard rock group Poison).
"It was one of the highlights of my life," Jim Messina said years later of his time with Loggins. "I considered my relationship with Kenny in the beginning very special, and a creative relationship. I learned a lot from him as a singer, and he helped me indirectly as a writer--in the sense that he was a very quality writer. There was a creative competitiveness there, a healthy competitiveness, that I think brought both of us up to a real special place."
Significantly, though, when Loggins and Messina split, it was Loggins' career that took off, while Messina's floundered by comparison. Loggins' first three solo albums each went platinum--Celebrate Me Home, Nightwatch and Keep The Fire, all released between 1977-79--and, maybe more importantly, Loggins was striking up musical relationships with some of the dominant musical forces of the era. To wit: Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, who sang on the top 10 single "Whenever I Call You Friend," and the Doobie Brothers' Michael McDonald, with whom Loggins had written "What A Fool Believes" (a No. 1 Doobies hit in '79) and "This is It," a top 20 hit for Loggins, among many other tracks.
The next phase in Loggins' career is in some ways the most controversial: A series of hit singles from film soundtracks that, despite their success, may have altered the industry's perception of the singer. The onetime album rock staple was hitting top 40 radio regularly with hits from Caddyshack ("I'm Alright"), Footloose (the title track, written by Loggins and Dean Pitchford, topped Billboard's Hot 100 for three weeks and went platinum), Top Gun ("Danger Zone"), Over The Top ("Meet Me Halfway"), and even Caddyshack II (top 10 hit "Nobody's Fool"). What was the downside? First, Loggins had nothing to do with the writing of either "Danger Zone" or "Meet Me Halfway"- Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock did--and secondly, few of those hits were to be found anywhere on his own albums, which had stopped their regular ascension to the top 40 with 1982's High Adventure .
By the time Columbia issued Outside: From The Redwoods, Loggins' live career retrospective of 1993, a notation in the CD booklet mentioned only five albums that were "also available from Kenny Loggins." Curiously not listed were 1980's Alive, 1982's High Adventure, and, most surprisingly, Back To Avalon, a comparatively recent 1988 effort. Did this mean Loggins' audience was vanishing? Not likely--his 1991 album Leap Of Faith had gone gold, after all, and included well-known adult contemporary hits like "I Would Do Anything" and "If You Believe." More likely, Loggins' "adult contemporary" audience was simply growing up and away--and wisely, like other singer-songwriters of his vintage, Loggins was preparing for it. By 1996, the co-writer of "Your Mama Don't Dance" had released Return To Pooh Corner on Sony Wonder, the children's division of his label. -
- Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Kenny Loggins has enjoyed more than three decades of success in the music business, as a songwriter and performer, mostly in a soft rock vein. He was born Kenneth Clarke Loggins in Everett, WA in early 1948, and the family later moved to Detroit, and finally to Alhambra, CA when he was in his teens. He initially turned to music as a way of compensating for his extreme shyness, and found that he was, indeed, a talented guitarist and had a voice. For a time in the late '60s he was based in Pasadena, studying at Pasadena City College. At the end of the decade, Loggins passed through the lineup of a band called Gator Creek, who were good enough to get signed to Mercury Records. The group recorded one self-titled album, which was issued in 1970 and included an early version of "Danny's Song," a track that he later recorded again as part of Loggins & Messina. He also spent time with a short-lived group called Second Helping, and was a member of the stage incarnation of the Electric Prunes during a later phase of that group's history.
Loggins was proficient on the guitar and piano, but it was his songwriting that allowed him to make his first lasting impression on the music industry. He took a job as a staff writer for Wingate Music, for $100.00 a week, and later that year four of his songs ended up on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy. This event was particularly fortuitous, as that album was the first release by the newly reconstituted version of the group, and included what proved to be their biggest hit, "Mr. Bojangles." The presence of the latter helped make Uncle Charlie one of the group's biggest selling long-players; and the exposure generated a second hit in the form of Loggins' own "House at Pooh Corner."
The success of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's recordings brought Loggins to the attention of former Poco member Jim Messina, who was working as a staff producer at CBS. It was Messina's intention to produce Loggins' debut album, but he also ended up playing and singing on the record, and it worked out so well that the two ended up in a duo. Loggins & Messina were among the most popular folk-based soft rock acts of the first half of the '70s and enjoyed a four-year string of successful albums.
Loggins & Messina broke up in 1976, and Loggins retained a strong following in the years immediately after. He went on to solo stardom with such million-selling albums as Celebrate Me Home, Nightwatch (which included the hit "Whenever I Call You Friend"), and Keep the Fire, all in the cheerful, sensitive style he had displayed in Loggins & Messina. Loggins also became known as the king of the movie soundtrack song, scoring Top Ten hits with "I'm Alright" (from Caddyshack), "Footloose" (from Footloose), "Danger Zone" (from Top Gun), and "Nobody's Fool" (from Caddyshack II). During this period, he was also one of the participants in USA for Africa on the benefit recording "We Are the World." His own albums sold less well (and came less frequently) throughout the '80s, with later efforts like 1991's Leap of Faith, 1997's The Unimaginable Life, and 1998's December finding favor primarily in adult contemporary circles; in 1994, he also issued a children's album, Return to Pooh Corner, and released its sequel, More Songs from Pooh Corner, in early 2000. He reunited with Messina in 2005 for a successful tour, album, and concert video, and in 2007, Loggins released How About Now, his first new solo album in four years. It was followed by All Join In in 2009. -