Loggins & Messina are an American rock music duo consisting of Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina. They are noted for popularizing the subgenre of Yacht rock (the form of “soft rock” that was the subject of the video series with that title), which soon became prominent in the 1970s.
In late 1970 Jim Messina, formerly of Poco and Buffalo Springfield, was working as an independent contract record producer for Columbia Records. It was then that he met a little-known studio artist who had written a few songs of his own, Kenny Loggins. Loggins was working as contract songwriter for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Messina decided to produce Loggins’ debut album. By the time all was said and done, Messina had contributed so much to the album, both instrumentally and vocally, that the effort was more of a Kenny Loggins album with Jim Messina sitting in. Thus an accidental duo was born. Their harmonies meshed so well that what was begun as a one-off album became an entity unto itself. So rather than simply producing Kenny Loggins as a solo act, in 1971 they both decided to form a duo, Loggins and Messina.
Over the course of the next four to five years they produced five original material albums, one album of covers of other artists’ material and two live albums. One compilation album, a “best of”, would be released after the duo had separated.
As is natural in most mentor type relationships, Loggins outgrew the duo over time. Within a few years he would feel the need to spread his wings and fly by his own right, and by 1976 the pair separated and pursued successful solo careers, with Loggins soon achieving the super-star status that he sought.
They reunited in 2005 for a compilation album of their greatest hits, which proved so successful that they decided to tour as a group again. The “Sittin’ In Again” tour was launched in mid-2005 and played out the remainder of the year, proving that they hadn’t lost the magic that made them famous in the first place.
Their backing band changed from album to album. Many albums featured backing members who were well know in their own right, such as Stephen Stills who contributed to their self-titled second album. Bryan Adams played guitar on the album Full Sail. John Townsend and Ed Sanford, later of the Sanford Townsend Band (Smoke from a Distant Fire) contributed vocals and songwriting to the Native Sons album.
Music Kenny Loggins”
1978 / With Stevie Nicks / Whenever I call You Friend / # 5 BB
1979 / This is it / # 11 BB
1980 / I’m Alright (from Caddyshack) / # 5 BB
1982 / with Steve Perry / Don’t Fight it / # 17 BB
1982 / Footloose / # 1 BB
1986 / Danger Zone (from Top Gun) / # 2 BB
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 line-up 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 ’70’s 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 ’80’s, with later efforts like 1991’s Leap of Faith, 1997’s The Unimaginable Life, and 1998’s December finding favour 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.