How Kenny Loggins became the king of soundtracks to 80’s movies

Most musicians would be content to form a pop-in sound one decades – for example, how Elvis Presley shook the 50’s or The Beatles owned the 60’s. But not Kenny Logins. After helping to invent an extremely cool, slightly funky sound known as “yacht rock” in the ’70s, Loggins moved at full speed in the’ 80s and hit the highway to a dangerous area of ​​movie soundtracks. Gambit paid off in large part.

Between 1980 and 1988, Logins was one of the top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits, all from movie soundtracks. The three films he is most associated with:Caddyshack,, Freedomand Top Gun– is one of the most iconic and favorite films of the decade. (Two were even rebooted in the 21st century.) Loggins’ songs were popular not only because the movies were huge; his music helped make these blockbusters what they were.

Kenny Logins

If the yacht is rocking, Kenny Loggins is probably playing. / Michael Putland / GettyImages

Loggins was born in Everett, Washington, on January 7, 1948. Throughout his childhood, he moved with his family before settling in the Alhambra, California. He developed an early love of music, and in the late ’60s, the budding singer and songwriter played with Gator Creek and Second Helping. (Look at “Let Me In.”) Logins later began writing songs for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and eventually contacted guitarist Jim Messina – formerly Poco and Buffalo Springfield – to form the duo Loggins and Messina.

Loggins and Messina released six albums between 1971 and 1976 and hit the top three 20 hits, including “Your Mama Don’t Dance” in 1972, a hit № 4, which was later listed by the metal heroes of the 80’s Poison. The couple divorced in 1976, and Logins soon succeeded on his own. “Whenever I Call You ‘Friend”, his 1978 duet with Stevie Knicks took 5th place in the Billboard Hot 100, while the famous yacht “This Is It” in 1979 almost reached the top 10. (He also co-wrote the 1979 album Doobie Brothers Triumphant “What a Fool Believes,” the mother of all yacht-rock songs.) Loggins didn’t know that his life was about to be changed by a puppet.

Another thing Logins did in the ’70s was write “I Believe In Love,” which appeared in the soundtrack to the 1976 film. The star was born, starring Barbra Streisand and Chris Christofferson. The producer of this film was John Peters, who began working on a comedy about golf Caddyshack about 1980. Peters asked Logins if he would write a song for the film, and Logins agreed to watch the rough version. Despite the fact that the film has not yet appeared a cunning ground squirrel, which would unforgettably torture the character of Bill Murray, Logins liked it. “I laughed,” he said American songwriter.

Logins was commissioned to write a song for the opening scene, where the protagonist of the film, a teenager Caddy Danny (Michael O’Keefe), rides around the suburbs on his bike. As a placeholder, the director got stuck in Bob Dylan’s Gotta Serve Somebody, a choice that Logins found interesting. “It simply came to my notice then that they wanted to portray me [Danny] as a bit of a rebel, although he has not yet reached this character, “said Logins. This led Logins to write “I’m Alright”, which has a refrain: “I’m fine / Nobody worries about me / Why should you give me a fight?” He tried to penetrate into the psychology of the character.

“I thought the angle the director used was a crosshair,” Logins said. “This is a really banal opening scene with a sharper piece of music. It worked quite well. If I could do it, then it would be more attractive. “

Logins’ instincts were just about money. “I’m Alright” became the biggest solo hit in the musician’s career to date, reaching number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Caddyshack was successful in the rental, earning $ 40 million, and Logins rightly considered the whole thing a positive experience. He wanted more of this sweet movie.

A few years later, Logins agreed to help another friend who was making the film. This time the friend was Dean Pitchford, who co-wrote “Don’t Fight It,” Loggins’ 1982 duet with Steve Perry of Journey. Pitchford wrote a screenplay inspired by the city of Elmore City, Oklahoma, which banned dancing in 1898. When local teens finally forced the school board to repeal this rule in 1980, the story hit headlines around the world. Pitchford came up with a great title, Freedomand enlisted Loggins to help him write the title song.

The couple worked on Lake Tahoe, where Logins was recovering from a broken rib and preparing for a tour of Asia. They finished “Footloose” in one night, and both men wrote the words. After Pitchford came up with “Ooh-we, Marie / Shake it, shake it for me”, Loggins introduced “Woah, Milo”. Thus was born the pseudo-rockabilly earworm, which plays in the first titles Freedom. The audience ate it. The film grossed $ 80 million, and the soundtrack, which also includes Logins’ tune “Heaven Helps the Man”, became a reality.

“Footloose” took 1st place in the Billboard Hot 100, and MTV showed a music video around the clock, which contains many shots of dancing Kevin Bacon. “It bonded film and music – one fills the other,” Logins said in an interview with the Library of Congress. “Today you can’t hear the song and not see this scene in your head.” The soundtrack also became another № 1 hit in “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” by Dennis Williams. The album spent 10 weeks on top of Billboard 200.

MTV has certainly played a role in the success Freedom. The network was at the peak of its cultural influence, and it was redefining how pop music was used in film and television. But Loggins believes that there is another reason for the constant popularity of the story, which gave rise to the musical in 1998 and the reboot on the big screen in 2011. “A film about personal freedom,” Logins said [PDF]. “It speaks to this freedom, to the youth, to the ‘rebel for no reason,’ and to the teenagers against the system that, you know, goes back to Elvis. The film – and the song – talk about this element, about the readiness to take on everything. This is a universal topic. “

The last of the huge movie hits of the 80’s Loggins appeared with a song for which he did not receive copyright. On the eve of the 1986 issue Top Gun– Reagan-era fighter about a group of hot US Navy pilots with cool nicknames – Loggins was among the many rockers who were invited to attend the show and send songs for the film. Logins thought that everyone would try to come up with something for a bright opening scene, so instead he focused on the scene where Tom Cruise and company play volleyball.

Again, Loggins had the right idea. His “Playing with the Boys” was chosen for the soundtrack, and while he was recording the song, he received a phone call from Giorgio Moroder, a producer and songwriter known as the pioneer of electronic music in the 1970s for his work with Donna Summer. The looter did his thing Top Gun a track driven by the pop rock guitar “Danger Zone”, and he needed someone to sing that thing.

Several other artists, including Toto, Starship and REO Speedwagon, were considered for the song. But their lawyers obviously couldn’t close the deal, and that allowed Logins to go into the studio and record his vocals in one day. He drew inspiration from one of the greatest of all time. “I was very fond of Tina Turner in the era of her return,” Logins said.

Logins also claims to have written some lyrics and changed some chords, but said Moroder did not want to give him authorship for reasons related to the right to an Oscar. (Tom Whitlock is also considered the author of The Danger Zone.) So Logins took part of the publishing house instead. This probably turned out to be profitable.

Top Gun box office receipts exceeded $ 180 million, and “Danger Zone” – again, thanks to a music video for MTV – took 2nd place in the Billboard Hot 100. The soundtrack, which also included the Berlin “Take My Breath Away”, which topped the hit parades “, rose to № 1 in the Billboard 200. Although” Take My Breath Away “was technically the biggest hit,” Danger Zone “may enjoy greater resilience. Top Gun: Maverickthe long-awaited sequel of 2022 with Tom Cruise in the lead role, contains the “Danger Zone” right in the opening scene.

Kenny Logins

Kenny Loggins has re-entered the danger zone on the red carpet “Top Gun: Maverick”. / Kevin Winter / GettyImages

The trivia “I’m Alright”, “Footloose” and “Danger Zone” made Logins “the king of soundtracks to the movies of the 80’s,” a name he adopted. Going to hell, he proved his worth by making two more hits related to the overall failed box office. “Meet me halfway” from Sylvester Stallone’s 1987 film about arm wrestling. Floorreached 11th place in the Hot 100, and next year “Nobody’s Fool” from the unfortunate Caddyshack IIcrept into the top 10, reaching №8.

In the early 90’s, the creation of hits in Loggins came to an end. But he continued to make music in the new century. In 2021, he also resigned In the moviesa special collection of his vinyl-only soundtrack hits, along with a new version of “Playing with the Boys” recorded with Australian artist Butterfly Boucher.

In an interview on the red carpet for Top Gun: MaverickLogins explained why modern movie soundtracks do not have the same effect as in the 80’s, when he flew higher than the F-14 Tomcat.

“It’s partly because we’ve been so crowded with pop music in movies that it’s not that different,” Logins said. “It simply came to our notice then. There wasn’t really much rock ‘n’ roll in the movies. It made it special, and it created the identity of the film as a teenage or 20-year-old film. ”

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