Music News

In Which I Explain Why I Love the Music of Kenny Loggins

My love of all things Kenny Loggins started with The Essential Kenny Loggins. I purchased the two disc collection not too long after it was released in November of 2002 as a suggestion from a friend. I knew a few of Loggins' songs -- "I'm Alright" and "Danger Zone," to name a few -- but I was hardly an expert on the man. It may seem ham-handed to admit such a bold statement, but The Essential Kenny Loggins changed my life.

As time went on, I became more and more familiar with Kenny Loggins' solo career. I appreciate his time spent with Jim Messina, but I believe Loggins truly came into his own once he branched out on his own and released his first solo album, Celebrate Me Home, in 1976. This album marked the beginning of Loggins' relationship with Michael McDonald, as both men co-wrote the song "What a Fool Believes" for Celebrate Me Home. McDonald's version with the Doobie Brothers turned out to be the more famous of the two, yet it wouldn't be the last collaboration between the two musicians.

Not only was Celebrate Me Home a fantastic album, but it started a trend of Loggins posing for some of the best album covers of all time -- a trend which would come to a head in the form of 1979's Keep The Fire.The album -- aside from being one of Loggins finest solo efforts -- features the best album cover of all time. I can't even try to describe its brilliance -- it is serious, mysterious, and incredibly corny all at once. Keep The Fire also contains what many argue to be Loggins' finest song, "This Is It." It's hard to argue such a claim, what with Michael McDonald vocals featured on the track. "This Is It" is the song that made it possible for me to become absolutely obsessed with all things Kenny Loggins -- it's impossible to resist such a silky smooth, super mellow song like "This Is It." Kenny Loggins is a hell of a singer, and adding Michael McDonald to the mix can only make something that was already amazing even more so.

Not long after Keep The Fire was released, Loggins went on to record the theme song to Harold Ramis' 1980 classic Caddyshack -- "I'm Alright." The song began Loggins' brilliant foray into recording for film soundtracks. The song is just as memorable as the various quotes and characters from the movie itself. "I'm Alright" was followed by "Footloose" and "Danger Zone," from Footloose and Top Gun, respectively. As I mentioned earlier, most everyone has heard at least one of Kenny Loggins' songs -- one of those songs is most definitely amongst these three movie soundtrack titans. Hell, Loggins even recorded the theme song to the abysmal Caddyshack II, "Nobody's Fool." While that movie was pretty awful, Loggins still managed to knock it out of the park -- yet again -- with "Nobody's Fool."

Loggins' legacy was gracefully reiterated, albeit however tongue-in-cheek, by J.D. Ryznar and Hunter D. Stair's Yacht Rock online video series. Airing mainly around 2005 to 2006, Yacht Rock opened the adult contemporary/easy listening genre to a whole new slew of fans. It was a brilliant satire of the excess, pompousness, and overall aesthetic of the 1980s, especially as far as the genre of "yacht rock" is concerned. Yacht Rock's main characters were Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. Loggins himself portrayed as an arrogant asshole by Hunter Stair. Yacht Rock was a meticulously crafted homage to a genre of music that many considered to be trite or just plain corny that helped introduce younger fans of music to the wonderment that is Kenny Loggins.

I finally got to see Kenny Loggins live in concert a few years back at the Dodge Theatre (now Comerica Theatre). I've never really been able to describe many things as being full circle, but seeing Kenny Loggins live in concert was about as close as I could hope to get to accomplishing that. It made me think why it is I love the man's music, and I found myself stopping that train of thought in an attempt to not complicate the situation. Like any genre of music or particular musician we like, I enjoy the music of Kenny Loggins because it makes me feel awesome when I listen to it. It harks back to a simpler time when people didn't bitch about the president's birth certificate and Top Gun was tops at the box office. Loggins' music makes me think of a town that bans any and all dancing, only to see one particularly dedicated young man try his hardest to put an end to that restriction.

We should all have something that we are so passionately dedicated to that we often start to blur our own guidelines between what is actually good and what we enjoy immensely with a rather biased, blind dedication. The music of Kenny Loggins is exactly that to me.