'King of soundtracks' Kenny Loggins cutting footloose at Seminole Hard Rock
Grammy Award winner dishes on possible involvement in 'Top Gun' sequel
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Before his trifecta of movie soundtrack hits in the 1980s, singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins was one half of the rock-pop duo Loggins and Messina.
He'll be mining the catalog of songs from his Loggins and Messina days, as well as his solo career, when the so-called "king of soundtracks" performs Tuesday night at the Hard Rock Event Center at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.
Loggins began his musical career out of high school in 1967 and met Jim Messina, who had recently left Poco to become a producer for Columbia Records, in 1970.
"We thought that we were making a Kenny Loggins record and Jimmy was producing it," Loggins told Local10.com last week in a telephone interview from his home in California.
Loggins recalled that he and Messina began trading songs -- "I loved the stuff he had," Loggins said -- leading to an unplanned partnership.
"One thing led to another and the next thing you know, we had the duo, Loggins and Messina," Loggins said.
Their first album, released in 1971, was aptly named "Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In."
The duo continued on for six more years, combining for familiar radio hits "Danny's Song" and "Your Mama Don't Dance."
Loggins parted ways with Messina in 1976 for a solo career, although they have occasionally reunited through the years.
"We never really hung out together, but we're cordial," Loggins said.
Loggins said they recently performed a benefit concert for a mutual friend who has cancer.
"We do, from time to time, get together and make music," Loggins said.
Although he etched his reputation in the 1980s, Loggins wrote his first song for film in the 1976 musical "A Star Is Born." That's when he struck up a friendship with co-producer Jon Peters.
Peters went on to serve as executive producer on the 1980 comedy "Caddyshack," which was filmed in South Florida.
"Because of our relationship with 'A Star Is Born,' he called me up to ask if I would come by and watch 'Caddyshack' and maybe write something for it," Loggins recalled. "So I loved 'Caddyshack' and I immediately signed on to do three songs for that."
Among them was "I'm Alright," the main theme from the movie. It rose to No. 7 on Billboard's Hot 100.
Then came "Footloose," which Loggins described as "blind luck." That's because his friend Dean Pitchford wrote the screenplay.
"So he and I wrote a couple of songs for 'Footloose,'" Loggins said.
Released in January 1984, a few weeks before the opening of the movie, "Footloose" spent three weeks in the top spot on the Hot 100.
Loggins was part of a "cattle call" to write songs for "Top Gun."
"I chose to write, initially, for the volleyball scene, because I knew nobody else would," Loggins said of the song that became "Playing with the Boys."
Loggins figured producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer wouldn't go for another one of his songs after he struck success with two movie themes in a row. But then he got a call from Giorgio Moroder, who was writing "Danger Zone."
"He thought they had a deal with Jefferson Starship, but the deal fell out," Loggins said.
So Moroder asked Loggins if he would sing it instead.
"I said, 'Is it uptempo?' And he said, 'Yeah, it's a rocker,'" Loggins recalled of the song, released this week in May 1986. "And I said, 'I'm in,' because I'd written nothing but ballads and I needed something to rock for my show, so I signed on to sing 'Danger Zone,' not knowing that ["Top Gun"] was going to be the next huge movie of the year and the song would go on forever."
The song peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 in July 1986.
Loggins wrote and recorded songs for several other '80s movies, including "Nobody's Fool" from "Caddyshack II" and "Meet Me Half Way" from "Over the Top."
"I think the reason I have that reputation of the king of soundtracks is because I hit those three big ones in a row, and then I had about three others that were peripheral that had a lot of airplay," Loggins said.
It helps that "Caddyshack," "Footloose" and "Top Gun" are considered classics of the decade.
"Getting lucky with the right movie at the right time has been the key to success with me to films," Loggins said.
So is there a chance Loggins will record a song for the upcoming "Top Gun" sequel?
"I sure hope so," Loggins said.
He's already got the backing of returning star Tom Cruise.
"I talked to Tom Cruise about it and Tom said he definitely wants me to be a part of it, so we'll see it where we go from there," Loggins said.
The Grammy Award winner said he's looking forward to returning to South Florida for Tuesday's show.
"I love the area," Loggins said. "It's always been fun to come to Florida because it's so much like California. We have a lot in common."
Loggins said his performance "is going to be more of a hits show." He said fans could expect to hear everything from Loggins and Messina through his "Leap of Faith" solo album.
"Ninety percent of that show will be stuff they know and recognize," Loggins promised.
Kenny Loggins will perform at the new Hard Rock Event Center at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood this Tuesday at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $45 to $85. Click here to purchase tickets.
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