This week’s Free Ride* blog muses on the songs of Kenny Loggins, who turns 64 today. The soft-rock singer-songwriter, who penned hits for artists as diverse as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Michael McDonald, first gained fame in his duo work with Jim Messina of Buffalo Springfield fame in the early 70s. He went on to a successful solo career, perhaps best known for his movie soundtrack work on Footloose and Caddyshack and Top Gun, earning enough mainstream marks to be one of the all star soloists in We Are the World. Three songs come to mind for a look at the freedom theme. First, an anthem from the Footloose movie, which is all about defiantly claiming freedom of expression in a restrictive environment.
Heaven helps the man
who fights his fear
Love’s the only thing
that keeps me here
You’re the reason
that i’m hanging on
My heart’s staying
where my heart belongs
Running away will never make me free. . .
Years earlier, Loggins and Messina recorded a song with a somewhat opposing sentiment to Footloose and its celebration of urban values. While Footloose lauded the liberation enjoyed in city life, in Be Free from 1974′s Mother Lode album, Loggins writes of a changing world where the cement is growing and the traffic is ever more flowing. If I’m Free warns that running away won’t make you free, Be Free is a dream of escape, of getting away from the suffocating city and finding freedom in the country.
My favorite song of Kenny Loggins, though, is one from the debut album of Loggins and Messina. I remember Danny’s Song being one of the first songs I learned on guitar. Loggins wrote it for his brother, Danny, in celebration of the birth of his son. It speaks of the the simple freedom of contentment found in a loving relationship. While I’ve never considered myself a big fan of soft rock, I’ll confess that I sing along with this chorus every time I hear it on a radio, and as hokey as it might sound, it does some serious pulling on my heartstrings, and often does bring a tear to of joy to my eye.
And even though we ain’t got money,
I’m so in love with ya honey,
And everything will bring a chain of love.
And in the morning when I rise,
you bring a tear of joy to my eyes,
And tell me everything is gonna be alright.
Everything’s gonna be alright. Now there’s a message we could use these days.