Kenny Loggins takes his career of celebration to Baltimore - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Kenny Loggins takes his career of celebration to Baltimore

In July of 1978 I arrived in Milwaukee, WI, fresh out of the Marines and looking for a place to live. My parents had moved to Northern Wisconsin for their retirement years — they sort of got it backwards, moving north instead of south — so I stayed with my brother and his wife for a few months until I got a job and a place of my own.

In their office were two posters: Ian Anderson from the band Jethro Tull and Kenny Loggins. My sister-in-law loved their music and swooned over their rustic, hippie good looks. We talked about her love of Kenny’s music; I of course more familiar with his work with Jim Messina: “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” and “Angry Eyes” being the most prominent of their hits.

Then in 1977 Loggins embarked on his solo career with the acclaimed album, Celebrate Me Home, a collection of music that launched a new Kenny Loggins. It let the world know he was more than just a rock and roll performer. The title track and “I Believe in Love,” co-written with Marilyn and Alan Bergman, showed versatility with his musical talents. The latter song being very Caribbean jazz and the former a pop song based in jazz.

  • In concert his fans sing along to the chorus of “Celebrate Me Home” without a prompting from the stage — they just sing.

One of his biggest hits was his duet with Stevie Nicks, “Whenever I Call You Friend,” co-written by Melissa Manchester. It was the perfect song to showcase his incredible singing talent; he and Nicks stretching out their vocal abilities on the soaring anthem. Another of his successful collaborations has been with Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers. They co-wrote “What a Fool Believes” and This Is It,” which Loggins wrote for his father who was going through serious health issues at the time.

A couple years later Kenny Loggins became an even bigger star when his music and singing began appearing on movie soundtracks, several becoming megahits. It started in 1980 with “I’m Alright” from the film Caddyshack, then “Footloose” from the 1984 film of the same name, and then the song he might be most known for by the general public, “Danger Zone” from the 1986 classic film, Top Gun — a song he didn’t write.

In the 1980’s Kenny Loggins was the “King of the Soundtracks, performing hit songs in more films than anyone from his generation. To find artists with more soundtrack hits you have to look to Burt Bacharach and Henry Mancini, two composers that made soundtracks their careers.

Kenny Loggins has been creating and performing music for himself and his fans for more than 40 years now and he hasn’t really slowed down much. In the 1990s he became famous all over again by performing music for his children. “Return to Pooh Corner” was written for his son and released in 1994 on the album of the same name.

When he was in high school, Loggins wrote the song, “House at Pooh Corner,” inspired by the A.A. Milne book of the same name. It was first released by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on the album Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy and then on the first Loggins and Messina album, Sittin’ In. Then in 1994 Loggins rewrote it for his son.

In an exclusive interview with the Baltimore Post-Examiner, Kenny Loggins talked about his career, beginning with his popularity over the years. “I think fans at the shows can all expect to have a fun time and hear some of their favorite songs. I know audiences come for certain songs and I always try to deliver them. Male or Female — it makes me feel good to see when my fans are really appreciating what they hear!”

The emergence of his movie soundtrack years brought a different sound for Loggins, almost a complete departure from his previous work. He said, “ As we change over the years, so do our tastes and styles. I was lucky to have hits in both eras. I think it’s every artist’s dream to be aligned with iconic projects like Footloose and Top Gun. I had no idea that it would be such a huge success and it’s really cool to see how the songs have withstood the test of time.”

For Loggins, the years have made him introspective about the hits and the continuing popularity of his music. “Every project for me is a journey, and at the time you never know where it may take you. I’m just glad that we’re still talking about it today, and fans are enjoying the many memories and new journeys music can take us on.”

photo-mainIf you’ve never seen Kenny Loggins perform, or never watched one of his videos on YouTube, you probably wouldn’t know Kenny Loggins can play guitar, I mean he can play guitar. When her performs with a band he always has at least one guitar slinger for the serious shredding, but when it comes to self-accompaniment, he does all right for himself. But, if you ask him about his talent with the instrument, you’d get a surprising answer.

“That’s funny because I’ll be the first to tell you that I really don’t think I’m THAT great of a guitar player! I think the process of collaborating is one I really love, and one that I’m currently in the middle of with Kenny Loggins’ Blue Sky Riders band-mates Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman.

“Gary and Georgia are award-winning songwriters, and performers in their own right, and creating music and harmonizing with them is what keeps things fun and different for me. We were thrilled with the fans response to our debut album, Finally Home, and we’re excited to be writing more songs for our next album releasing in 2015. In terms of chords and finger-picking, we all get to share on that, and it makes for some really great music!”

It’s an album being funded entirely through their Kickstarter campaign. People who contribute can expect at least one great album as a result of the money raised so far.

Of his hit album, Return to Pooh Corner, Loggins said, “Return to Pooh Corner was a huge success for me.  As a father of five children one gets a pretty good idea as to what kids like musically. I’d say it’s both spiritually and creatively fulfilling. I’ve been working on a new lullaby album lately, can’t wait to put together the final product.”

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Kenny Loggins will be in Baltimore to play a benefit for Junior Achievement, a youth program that helps kids succeed in life, through education in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness. What does Kenny Loggins get out of it? “Lending a hand to support programs for young people is always fun and satisfying for me!”

On Friday, November 7, Loggins will perform at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The concert begins at 8 p.m. and ticket prices start at $37. Contact JAJams or the Meyerhoff for more ticket information.

About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.