12 by... aims to summarize an artist's career in 12 songs. This one features...
I'm doing this "12 by" for Wendy, my fiancee. She loves her some Kenny Loggins. Of course, As a child of the '80s, I can't help but have a soft spot for the king of '80s movie soundtracks. Listening to these 12 songs prove Loggins to be surprisingly versatile and eclectic.
1. "Danny's Song" (from Loggins & Messina Sittin' In, 1972)
A sweet little tune, not to be confused with "Annie's Song" or "Danny Boy" or Anne Murray's version.
2. "Whenever I Call You 'Friend'" (from Nightwatch, 1978)
A duet with Stevie Nicks with a Beach Boyish opening and a Grease-like chorus. But why is the word friend in quotes? Fun Fact: This was co-written by Melissa Manchester, but she and Kenny never got the chance to officially record it together.
3. "This Is It" (from Keep The Fire, 1979)
Is that a little bit of Blacksploitation funk I hear in there? Michael McDonald provides some white soul background vocals and you gotta love any song with a pre-chorus.
4. I'm Alright (from Caddyshack, 1980)
Anyone who can listen to this and not think "Hey everybody, we're gonna get laid!" and then picture a dancing gopher puppet is a better person than me. Bonus, the song is 3 minutes, 49 seconds long.
5. "Heart To Heart" (from High Adventure, 1982)
If you have any doubt about Loggins' vocal prowess, listen to how he transitions out of his falsetto on the verse into the lower range chorus. A jazzy little ditty that's probably my favorite of his songs.
6. "Don't Fight It" (from High Adventure, 1982)
Two Caddyshack soundtrack veterans combined their powers on this rockin' duet with Steve Perry of Journey. Another vote of confidence for the strength of Loggins' voice, that he can hang tough with Perry's legendary pipes.
7. "Footloose" (from Footloose, 1984)
As a 7 year-old I could have cared less about the movie, but I couldn't get enough of the "Jack, get back" part. Kids love songs that involve rhyming names. If you can't guess, I was also a big fan of "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover."
8. "I'm Free (Heaven Helps The Man)" (from Footloose, 1984)
Another great vocal showcase.
9. "Vox Humana" (from Vox Humana, 1985) Obviously feeling his oats and obviously newly possessed of synthesizer technology, Kenny made this weird song that comes on like a new wave and finishes up like country.
10. "Forever" (from Vox Humana, 1985) I can't help but picture 1985 Richard Marx hearing this power ballad and screaming "Eureka!".
11. "Danger Zone" (from Top Gun, 1986)
This is a long way from his soft rock beginnings. Granted, it's not death metal, but it rocks slightly, and gets you pumped up to do some test piloting.
12. "Nobody's Fool" (from Back To Avalon, 1988)
This Outfieldish rocker (seriously, listen to this and "Winning It All" back to back) doubled as the theme to Caddyshack II. It's probably the only thing worth remembering from that film.