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Loggins and Messina

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The music of Loggins and Messina - Vahevala, Danny's Song, Your Mama Don't Dance, My Music, Angry Eyes, House at Pooh Corner - swamped radio and permeated society's soundtrack in the early to mid '70s, and was a welcome continuantion of the California country-rock ethos, with musical roots in two of its founding bands. "Angry Eyes," one of their most powerful singles, is extraordinarily reminscent of both the Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) and serves as a consistent reminder of Messina's considerable and unsung contribution to country-rock, via his early and important involvements in two seminal country-rock bands.

By 1971, music industry veteran Jim Messina already had the Buffalo Springfield and Poco on his resume. Starting out with the Springfield as a recording engineer in 1966, by 1967, at the request of Atlantic label head Ahmet Ertegun, Jim joined the band, and then replaced bassist Bruce Palmer. He remained with the Springfield until they split up in 1968. Jim and Richie Furay, one of the main songwriters from the Springfield, formed the first version of Poco, which included Randy Meisner (a founder member of the Eagles in 1971.) Jim stayed with Poco for two years - long enough to leave a lasting influence on the Poco sound - before leaving, in 1971, to go into independent production.

Meanwhile, Kenny Loggins, a local L.A. kid, trying his hand at singing and songwriting, signs a publishing deal with ABC-Dunhill and meets up with Jim Messina. Loggins is looking for a producer. Messina, signed to Columbia for production and recording, is looking for a project to bring to Columbia. Instead of handling Loggins as a solo act, Jim decides to get artistically involved with Kenny, realizing that his involvement will get Columbia interested. Sure enough, Kenny signs to Columbia as an artist, and the debut Loggins & Messina album, Sittin' In, is released in 1971. It becomes an immediate sales and radio smash.

With singles Vahevala, Peace of Mind, Back to Georgia, House at Pooh Corner and Danny's Song slamming into the public's musical consciousness, Loggins & Messina follow in 1972 with their second album, Loggins and Messina. The album contains two more huge hits, Your Mama Don't Dance and Angry Eyes.

Still riding the wave, in 1973, the Full Sail album hit again with the song, My Music. Then, the pace begins to slow. With the 1975 release of On Stage, a live album, the hit parade halts, and Loggins & Messina part ways in 1976. Kenny Loggins goes on to a hugely successful solo career through the '80s and his songs - Footloose, Whenever I Call You Friend, This Is It, Celebrate Me Home - carry him through the '80s. His work with Loggins and Messina and his solo career have created a legacy which Kenny continues to celebrate. His recently released album, It's About Time, and single, With This Ring, is doing respectably on AOR radio. He will tour this year.

Messina, while maintaining his recording interests, continues in a mentoring role. Nowadays, he paints arresting landscapes and runs songwriter seminars.

© 2004