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Music

Loving Kenny Loggins

It's nothing to be ashamed of. Before he performs Friday in Clearwater, we ask him about his long career in pop.

By STEVE SPEARS and SEAN DALY
Published April 12, 2007


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Don't fight it, folks: You know you dig Kenny Loggins. Whether he's soothing you with the soft stuff Heart to Heart, What a Fool Believes or encouraging you to bust it like Kevin Bacon (Footloose), the hirsute hit machine from the '70s and '80s is as comforting as an old pair of sneaks.

In anticipation of his show at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Friday, the Stuck in the '80s podcast team chatted with Loggins about the challenges of soundtracking Caddyshack, his favorite song to perform in concert and raiding Raiders of the Lost Ark.

You recently were honored with a star on Hollywood's RockWalk (on Sunset Boulevard). Tell us about that.

It's a copy of the Walk of Fame, but it's strictly rock 'n' roll. They do the hands in the cement, or whatever else you want to put in the cement. Knowing rockers, it's probably an assortment of body parts.

Which artists are next to you?

Eric Clapton is one space away. I'm right next to the Isley Brothers.

Speaking of legends, you've recorded some classic duets, including hits with Michael McDonald (This Is It) and Stevie Nicks (Whenever I Call You "Friend"). Do you ever talk to Stevie anymore?

We're still friends, but we've gone down different paths. She's terrific. What a talent. I don't think we fully realized even then what kind of talent she had. She's really unique.

How did you generate the chemistry for a song such as Whenever I Call You "Friend"?

I was (Fleetwood Mac's) opening act for a year and a half. It was a huge break. That was during Rumours. I couldn't have picked a better moment to hook up with them.

So the '70s are ending and suddenly you find yourself in the '80s and a new music scene. Your career takes off.

What happened was the movies. During a time when disco was coming in and totally changing radio, I got lucky and took a big step left and went into Caddyshack and Footloose and Top Gun. That just kept the bread on the table for most of the '80s.

How did you come up with I'm Alright for Caddyshack?

What I saw was a rough cut for Caddyshack before they had an ending - which they barely had. I laughed my (bleep) off. I loved that movie. For me, it was the character of Danny (the teen caddy played by Michael O'Keefe) - the character that was trying to figure out where he fit. But at the same time he wanted people to leave him alone and let him find his own way. So I wanted to grab him and summarize that character, and that's what I'm Alright is doing.

Who sang backup on that song? That voice sounds familiar.

Eddie Money had a line in that. That was before he had his hits. He was in the studio working on one of his early records when I was recording I'm Alright. He came in and sang just the one line ("You make me feel good!") He's got such a great voice. It really pulls it forward.

Of all your '80s soundtrack tunes, do you have a personal favorite that you like to play in concert more than the others?

I love to perform Footloose because to me it's such a lighthearted tune. It's like doing a Chuck Berry song every night. I never get sick of it. I'm less inclined to want to do Danger Zone. I didn't write it. It's a good rock 'n' roll song, but I don't think it holds up that well.

We've always loved Don't Fight It with Steve Perry. How did you get that bullwhip sound effect?

Don't tell anyone: The bullwhip is from the locker where they kept the Indiana Jones soundtrack sounds. We snuck in there and we got the bullwhip and we sampled it.

Steve Spears can be reached at sspears@sptimes.com Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life blog is at blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic.

Preview

If you go

Kenny Loggins performs at 8 p.m. Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $39-$80. (727) 791-7400.

On the Web

To hear the complete Kenny Loggins interview, go to Stuck in the '80s at blogs.tampabay.com/80s.

[Last modified April 11, 2007, 11:21:53]


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