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 smooth, 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 Loggins was 7 years old, he watched his two older brothers struggle to write a song, "and I remember thinking, it just can't be that hard," he laughs. Around a year later, inspired by the film Yankee Doodle Dandy, he realized songwriting was his future. "It's a moment that sticks with you," he says, "I knew deep inside that this is something I should do."
Once he started doing it, he never stopped.
Loggins, 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. "I went in and sang a bunch of the songs I'd already written, and they signed me right there," he recalls. One of the first tunes he offered up was the beloved "House at Pooh Corner," which became one of several Loggins-penned hits the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded for 1970's Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy. "I wrote it during finals as a senior in high school," he says. "We were coming on graduation, and it reminded me of the last chapter of the book House at Pooh Corner, where Christopher Robin is about to head out and leave the Hundred Acre Wood behind."
Halfway through his three-year gig as a Wingate staffer, Loggins met the man who would help shape the early part of his career: Jim Messina. "I knew that Jimmy had worked with Buffalo Springfield and that was one of my favorite acts," Loggins says of the producer and onetime Poco member. The two started to work on Loggins' solo debut with Messina behind the boards, and Kenny fell in love with a track his producer had penned called "Same Old Wine." 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, featuring Loggins' own version of "Pooh Corner" and the beautiful ballad "Danny's Song," which he'd written when his brother's wife gave birth to the couple's first child. "That was the beginning of his family," Loggins remembers, "and many of those lyrics were taken right from a letter he wrote me." 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 Loggins to cast off on his own.