Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou, Kenny Loggins?

Playing with the Boys - Kenny Loggins (mp3)
Down With the Sickness - Richard Cheese (mp3)

We need another Kenny Loggins. We will not find peace and harmony in our lives or on this planet until his replacement is found.

If you wanna know why the world's gone to hell in a handbasket in the past couple of decades, it all goes back to the disappearance of Kenny Loggins from the pop charts. I'm totally serious.

The world is all about balance. Yin and yang. Anyone who watches LOST or studies the martial arts understands these things. And Kenny Loggins was a vital cog in the interworkings of natural balance.

Don't misuderstand here. Even when I was a shrill, gum-chewing ankle-biter, annoying the crap out of my older step-brothers and expressing myself in all the obnoxious ways hyperactive elementary school nerds do, I still thought Kenny Loggins was a tool. In fact, as best I can recall, no one I ever know actually stood up and proudly proclaimed their love of Kenny Loggins.

Why would you stand up and proclaim your love of a tool?

Kenny wasn't just a tool, like, loser tool. He was a tool, like, corporate shill tool. He was a Hollywood wet dream, with the God-given talent of crafting a catchy pop hook around whatever subject matter and theme your movie needed. And he did it over and over. Hell, he even managed to do it in retrospect by making that God-forsaken awful song "Heartlight" in homage to E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, after the movie had already become a blockbuster!

So, including his after-the-fact E.T. song, Kenny wrote songs for six movies. Each time, he had at least one big hit, and each time, the movie kicked ass at the box office.*
  • "I'm Alright" for Caddyshack
  • The theme for Footloose
  • "Danger Zone" and "Playing With the Boys"*** from Top Gun
  • "Meet Me Halfway" from the Sly Stallone arm-wrestling epic worthy of Homer known as Over the Top. Yes, this movie did better than you'd think, money-wise. For a few years, Sly could make movies where all he did was sit on a toilet, and the movie made money (see: Cobra)
Kenny also had a few more legitimate pop gold nuggets in which any fool could believe, including "What a Fool Believes" (performed by the Doobies), "Your Mama Don't Dance," and "This is It" (performed with Michael McDonald).

But back to my point.

I can't recall a single human being, ever, who owned a Kenny Loggins album. No Kenny Loggins posters on anyone's walls. No kids at school announcing that they couldn't wait for Kenny fucking Loggins to roll into town, because they just knew that dude could put on a kick-ass show and rock the motherfuckin' house!!!!!!!


Yet we all listened to his music. We weren't proud of it, mind you. In fact, you're probably reading this right now and shaking your head and denying it. "No, not me. I always hated that dude." Sure buddy. Sure you did.

When people would catch us actually bopping our heads to the beat of "Danger Zone," opening our mouths wide enough to take in a river as we imagined ourselves screeching out those wonderfully cheesy lyrics, we'd play it off, make fun of that tool Kenny, and talk about what a loser he was. No one can ever prove you listened to his songs, that you liked them. That truth is between you, God, and Kenny.

But Kenny knew what he was doing all along. Kenny is King of the Earworms, and I betcha he's made enough money off the eight or so legitimate earworms he crafted to provide a comfortable living for his children, and maybe his children's children. His grandkids will be like the Hugh Grant character in "About A Boy," who lives solely off his father's royalties from a single Christmas song.

Every generation of music lovers and pop addicts needs its Kenny Loggins. He provides a sense of balance to the world. He balances the scales of Musical Justice. He unites all people by creating tunes we secretly enjoy while giving us a symbol of uncoolness to mock. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads... they all mock Kenny Loggins, but none of them can quite seem to punch the dial when "I'm Alright" hits those speakers.

Kenny Loggins is the Yin... and the Yang.

You, Kenny Loggins, are one of the first Real Man of Genius and the obvious inspiration behind its singer. I can't wait to see the hack that one day ascends to your throne.

* -- Well, until Caddyshack II. At which point, Kenny was announced DOA, along with Chevy Chase and the rest of the cast. That one movie was the smoke monster of its time.**

** -- LOST reference. Sorry, but I'm so wrapped up in that show right now, it permeates everything I do. I'm afraid to masturbate right now because I'm so caught up in that whole "Live together, die alone" mantra.

*** -- Sorry for the masturbation reference in **, but I can't help but go there when I hear Kenny's song "Playing With the Boys."


Hank said...

I am a huge Over the Top fan. I have it on DVD and watch it a couple of times a year. They actually came out with action figures based on the movie. Best line: "I drive trucks, break arms, and arm wrestle. It's what I love to do, it's what I do best." Also great performance by the always entertaining Robert Loggia

Hank said...

Interesting OtT fact from IMDB: John Wetton, lead singer of the rock group Asia, sang "Winner Takes It All" for the movie, but after performing the song, it was felt that his voice wasn't "mean" enough, so the song was offered to Sammy Hagar, whose version ended up being the one on the soundtrack.

Bob said...

No mention of Messina??????? That's like talking about Hall without Oates.

Billy said...

Bob, I must respectfully disagree. Hall had only one song that dented the pop charts without Oates. And I'm pretty sure I'm the only person on the planet who still enjoys listening to "Dreamtime."

Loggins, on the other hand, became a hit monster without Messina weighing him down with small details like musicianship and integrity.

Bob said...

I'm convinced the latter Loggins was a different person altogether, some kind of uber-Loggins, perhaps imported from Australia. Those people seem to have no trouble sounding like us when they sing.

My image of the original Kenny is him sitting around the campfire singing:

"Even though we ain't got money,
I'm so in love with you, honey."

Randy said...

I can't think of a more powerful opening-scene-and-song combination than aircraft carriers and Danger Zone.

Just writing that observation gave me chills.

Thom Anon said...

Still sing Danny's Song to my kids.


troutking said...

Although I will admit that I know the words to every song on Huey Lewis' 1st four albums--and quite a few on the 5th, Perfect World, and even bought the next one with Couple Days Off on it---I can honestly say that I have always hated Kenny Loggins and his music and I WILL change the station when any his songs come in. On the other hand, I do like Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts and they're the same people as Loggins and Messina, right?

BeckEye said...

OK, so I had to look this up because it was driving me crazy. I was positive that Neil Diamond sang and wrote the awful E.T.-themed "Heartlight," but when I read this I thought maybe Kenny actually wrote it or something. I didn't even know he had a song called "Heartlight." But according to, Kenny's "Heartlight" was "a tribute to the children's foundation Heartlight." And thanks so much for putting that song in my head, because obviously I had to look it up on YouTube.

Also, my favorite Kenny Loggins song is "Whenever I Call You Friend" with Stevie Nicks. It's one of my dream karaoke songs, if I had any balls to sing karaoke.

Thom Anon said...

Also, doesn't "wherefore art thou" mean "why are you"?

Why are you Kenny Loggins? is a good title, too.


Billy said...

@Thom -- If you're being completely accurate, "wherefore" actually means "for what reason or purpose," which is truncated into "why".

The question, "What is your purpose, Kenny Loggins?" seems quite appropriate. (But yeah, fine, OK, that wasn't really my intention.)

Billy said...

For those of you who've never heard Quentin Tarantino's ingenious breakdown of Top Gun... you need to.

Red's Mom said...

Your blog made me laugh. You were right on about Kenny Loggins. I've had a crush on him since high school and I'm now in my 30s and still LOVE him and being old and all, is my excuse to finally come out in the open and say I'm a big Kenny L. fan :D

Didn't he release an album recently? I saw him on this show, Don't Forget The Lyrics one time and he had a new song or something? not really sure. Anyway, thank you for the good read =D

waterwidget said...

I LOVE HIS MUSIC <3<3 and he was also quite attractive to boot...before he started really razing that beard.