Kenny Loggins has a Tulsa story, but it’s a tale that pre-dates his coronation.
Loggins ascended to the throne of soundtrack king in the 1980s. Let’s review his credentials before he performs Saturday, June 15, at the Osage Casino’s Skyline Event Center:
That’s Loggins you hear singing “I’m Alright” at the end of “Caddyshack.” There are four Loggins songs on the soundtrack.
“Footloose” was a 1984 chart-topper that had everyone dancing, even in towns where dancing was verboten. Another of his songs — “I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)” — from the “Footloose” soundtrack cracked the top 25.
“Danger Zone” from the “Top Gun” soundtrack went to No. 2.
“Meet Me Half Way” from “Over the Top” went to No. 11.
“Nobody’s Fool” went to No. 8. The song was absolutely the best thing about “Caddyshack II.”
Said Loggins: “You’re not the first person to say that.”
When it comes to soundtrack tunes, Loggins is Midas. His touch extended into the 1990s when “For the First Time” from “One Fine Day” reached the top of the adult contemporary chart.
Loggins’ soundtrack impact could have been more staggering. He was asked during a phone interview if he turned down any soundtrack opportunities. He responded by telling a “Flashdance” story.
The “Flashdance” soundtrack is, along with “Footloose” and “Top Gun,” among the biggest-selling albums in soundtrack history. Fueled by two No. 1 singles, the “Flashdance” soundtrack is the album that knocked Michael Jackson’s monstrous “Thriller” off the top of the charts. Maybe the “Flashdance” album would have been even more of a juggernaut if a Loggins song was included. It almost happened.
Loggins said the makers of “Flashdance” brought him in to see a few outtakes. He liked what he saw and started writing. He wrote a song called “No Dancing Allowed.” Why have you never heard this song? It was never finished.
Loggins was scheduled to go on the road, and the timing didn’t work out for him to record the song in time for the movie.
“I fell off the stage in one of the first shows of the tour,” he said. “I fell off about a 15-foot stage and landed on packing cases and broke three ribs. That ended the tour.”
Good break? It gave Loggins time to work on what was supposed to be his “Flashdance” contribution. He went in the studio and cut a version of “No Dancing Allowed.”
“But in the process, I recorded it in too high a key to be able to hit the notes in the chorus,” he said. “I blame Percodan for that. Then I gave up. I realized my ribs weren’t in good enough shape and it was hurting too much and I just gave up. Had I had my wits together, I would have turned it into a duet and given the high notes to a girl.”
Loggins has duet cred, which you know if you have heard “Your Mama Don’t Dance” (with Jim Messina), “Whenever I Call You Friend” (with Stevie Nicks), “Don’t Fight It” (with Steve Perry) and the Grammy-winning song “This Is It,” which featured additional vocals by Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers. Loggins and McDonald wrote “What A Fool Believes,” which became a No. 1 song for the Doobie Brothers.
Loggins said he has always considered himself a collaborator. He was summoned to huddle with Barbra Streisand in 1976, when his song “I Believe in Love” landed on the soundtrack for the original “A Star is Born.”
But Loggins’ biggest collaboration was aligning with other MTV-era megastars for the recording of “We Are the World” in 1985. Seek out the video and you’ll see him standing between Bruce Springstreen and Perry. Any keepsakes from the historic event?
“Everybody had the sheet music and we were asking each other to sign it, but I was a little too shy and didn’t get all the signatures,” Loggins said. “I got some of them. I’m pretty sure I got Bruce. I don’t know if I got Steve. I should pull it out of the frame and run over and have him sign it for me.”
The trip down memory lane, at least as far as this readership is concerned, wouldn’t be complete without Loggins’ Tulsa story.
Loggins said he dropped out of school his second year of college to join a band called the Electric Prunes.
“The second city we went to was Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Leon (Russell) was famously from,” he said. “I went to a club after we played and jammed that night in a Tulsa club, which I still clearly remember being really cool. And that’s my first Oklahoma memory. And from that I wrote a song that, years later, I recorded with Jimmy (Messina) called “Oklahoma Home of Mine,” which, of course, it wasn’t. And we ruined that song. It was a much hipper song when I wrote it.”
Guaranteed to happen: Because Loggins said he played one of his first gigs in Tulsa as a member of the Electric Prunes, someone will emerge to say, “Hey, I was at that show!”
“I would love that,” he said. “They probably wouldn’t know they were there because I wasn’t Kenny Loggins yet. I was a guy in a band that nobody gave a crap about.”