About This Expert
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 Kenny was 7 years old, he watched his two older brothers struggle to write a song. Around a year later, inspired by the film Yankee Doodle Dandy, he realized songwriting was his future.
Kenny, 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.
Halfway through his three-year gig as a Wingate staffer, Kenny met the man who would help shape the early part of his career: Jim Messina. 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. 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 Kenny to cast off on his own.
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 Kenny 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.
The hits just kept on coming. Kenny 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. The pair won a Best Song Grammy – Kenny’s first – for the tune in 1979. The following year, the pair picked up a second Grammy for “This Is It,” off Kenny’s third consecutive platinum solo album, Keep the Fire. As the decade progressed, Kenny kept expanding his musical range, impressively exploring new textures of jazz, rock, and pop with ambitious production.
In the 1980s, Kenny 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 Kenny provided the cult classic’s smash “I’m Alright.” When a pal asked Kenny to write a few songs for an as-yet-unmade picture called Footloose, he whipped up a No. 1 blockbuster. He scored a track on Tom Cruise’s Top Gun (“Playing With the Boys”) and performed that movie’s indelible hit “Danger Zone.”
Kenny also began looking outward, contributing to 1985’s landmark charity single “We Are the World.” Several years later, Kenny – 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, Kenny reunited with his former partner Jim Messina for the Sittin’ In Again Tour in 2005. Playing live has always been – and remains – a key part of Kenny’s life.
Since 2010, Kenny has also been onstage with the country trio, Blue Sky Riders, which he started with Nashville powerhouse Gary Burr and gifted vocalist and singer/songwriter Georgia Middleman. They had such a great time writing and recording, Kenny proposed they start a band. The group released its debut album, Finally Home, on its own record label, 3Dream Records, in January 2013 and hit the road.
Though he’s got 12 platinum albums, a pair of Grammys, and hits on almost all the Billboard charts under his belt, Kenny 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.
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