Loggins and Messina

  • Rock duo consisting of guitarists and songwriters Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina, formed in 1971.
  • Messina previously was a member of two successful bands – Buffalo Springfield and Poco. After he left Poco, he was working as an independent producer for Columbia Records. Meanwhile, Loggins was writing songs for a band that he formed named The Second Helping. He also had brief stints with the New Improved Electric Prunes and Gator Creek. After leaving these bands, he was hired as a singer-songwriter for ABC-Dunhill Records. After four of his songs were recorded by the country rock band Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Messina took interest in Loggins and the duo began to record in Messina’s living room in 1971. Messina initially considered working with Dan Fogelberg, because Loggins didn’t have demo tapes or even a guitar. Messina convinced Columbia to sign Loggins to a record deal, and Messina agreed to produce Loggins’ first album.
  • Messina provided equipment and rehearsal space to Loggins, and he helped assemble studio musicians that they planned to call the Kenny Loggins band. Messina put so much creative work into Loggins’ debut album that they decided that they had created an accidental duo. The debut album, titled Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In, was released in November 1971. Two singles managed to break into the Hot 100 – the Caribbean-tinged Vahevala reached #84 and Nobody But You peaked at #86. Slowly, the album gained traction as the duo toured to promote it, particularly with college students. While the album only peaked at #70 on the album chart, it eventually was certified platinum.
  • Sittin’ In included two other songs that were not released as singles but became signature songs for the duo and became popular on classic rock radio. Danny’s Song was written by Loggins as a gift for his brother Danny for the birth of Danny’s son. The song was first released by Loggins’ band Gator Creek, and the most successful cover was done by Anne Murray in 1972, which reached #7 on the Hot 100 chart and received a Grammy nomination for Murray. Sittin’ In also included House At Pooh Corner, written by Loggins and originally released by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Loggins was a 17 year old senior in high school when he wrote the song in 1966.
  • Loggins and Messina needed to decide whether or not to continue as a duo. Messina was tired of touring and preferred to focus on work as a record producer, and Loggins still was interested in a solo career. But, after guidance from the president of their record company, they decided to continue to work together. In 1972, they released the self-titled Loggins and Messina album. It included their highest charting single, Your Mama Don’t Dance, which peaked at #4 on the Hot 100. Another single from the album, Thinking of You, reached #18 on the chart. The album was certified platinum.
  • Four more studio albums were released between 1973 and 1976, as well as live albums in 1974 and 1977. Singles from these album were moderately successful – six singles charted, with My Music peaking at #16, but no other songs cracked the top 40. The later albums evolved to more like albums by two solo artists sharing the same record, and by 1976 they were ready to move on to solo careers. When the live album Finale was released in 1977, the duo had already split up.
  • Messina had limited success as a solo artist, but Loggins became a star in the 80s, particularly with movie soundtracks, releasing hits like I’m Alright (from the film Caddyshack), Footloose (from the film of the same name) and Danger Zone (from the film Top Gun). In 2005, Loggins and Messina reunited for a tour, and a live album was released. A final reunion tour occured in 2009.
  • Loggins and Messina was the most successful duo of the early 70s, selling over 16 million records, and for the entire decade, only Hall and Oates would pass them as the most success duo of the decade. I bought the Your Mama Don’t Dance 45 rpm single when I was twelve years old – one of the first records I ever bought. Here’s a concert clip of the song performed on Midnight Special from 1973.

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