Kenneth Loggins, Kenneth C. Loggins, Kenneth Clark Loggins
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Kenny Loggins has enjoyed more than three decades of success in the music business, as a songwriter and performer, mostly in a soft rock vein. He was born Kenneth Clarke Loggins in Everett, WA in early 1948, and the family later moved to Detroit, and finally to Alhambra, CA when he was in his teens. He initially turned to music as a way of compensating for his extreme shyness, and found that he was, indeed, a talented guitarist and had a voice. For a time in the late ‘60s he was based in Pasadena, studying at Pasadena City College. At the end of the decade, Loggins passed through the lineup of a band called Gator Creek, who were good enough to get signed to Mercury Records. The group recorded one self-titled album, which was issued in 1970 and included an early version of “Danny’s Song,” a track that he later recorded again as part of Loggins & Messina. He also spent time with a short-lived group called Second Helping, and was a member of the stage incarnation of the Electric Prunes during a later phase of that group’s history.
Loggins was proficient on the guitar and piano, but it was his songwriting that allowed him to make his first lasting impression on the music industry. He took a job as a staff writer for Wingate Music, for $100.00 a week, and later that year four of his songs ended up on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy. This event was particularly fortuitous, as that album was the first release by the newly reconstituted version of the group, and included what proved to be their biggest hit, “Mr. Bojangles.” The presence of the latter helped make Uncle Charlie one of the group’s biggest selling long-players; and the exposure generated a second hit in the form of Loggins’ own “House at Pooh Corner.”
The success of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s recordings brought Loggins to the attention of former Poco member Jim Messina, who was working as a staff producer at CBS. It was Messina’s intention to produce Loggins' debut album, but he also ended up playing and singing on the record, and it worked out so well that the two ended up in a duo. Loggins & Messina were among the most popular folk-based soft rock acts of the first half of the ‘70s and enjoyed a four-year string of successful albums.