Recently, after yet another of my friends announced that she was pregnant, I decided that I would do all of my friends and everyone in the world a huge favor by making sure that their children grow up with the positive energy of Kenny Loggins in their lives. Far too often, once-in-a-lifetime musicians like Loggins are passed over by new generations in favor of modern pop crap, and that’s culturally neglectful and morally repugnant.
While so many of us have been celebrating Nicolas Cage’s 50th birthday today, we’ve also passed over the fact that it is Kenny’s 66th birthday, and we simply can’t let the K-Man go unnoticed. Not after he has spent the majority of his life brining us infectious pop and soft rock hits that have often been the theme songs of some of our favorite movies.
In Kenny’s honor, I have included his best movie soundtrack singles below, and by “best” I mean all of them, because Kenny Loggins is a music god and we should all spend this day of his birth celebrating his immortality.
“I’m Alright” – Caddyshack
Nobody was worried about Kenny in 1980, as his solo career was holding strong, and this single for the Caddyshack soundtrack would end up being the foundation of the kingdom he’d eventually build as the angelic voice of 80s movie trailers, closing credits and, most importantly, meaningless filler scenes.
“Footloose” – Footloose
This was the soundtrack coming out party song for Kenny, as there wasn’t a bar mitzvah, wedding, birthday, company office party or any other festive occasion on the planet that didn’t blast this song for a high energy moment after the cake cutting for at least 20 years after Footloose was released in 1984. I’d say that holds true even today, but I’ve been to several weddings in the past year that have been criminally lacking this incredibly catchy good time tune.
Fun fact: The longevity of this video through the late 80s and early 90s allowed me to see it when I was 14 and caused me to steal a pair of bowling shoes from my local alley. Additional fun fact: Stolen bowling shoes are still gross, because they’ve been worn by a million people.
“I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)” – Footloose
Lost in the success of the film’s title song, “I’m Free” is arguably the better song. Haha, I’m just f*cking with you. No Kenny Loggins song is better than any other Kenny Loggins song.
“Danger Zone” – Top Gun
What exactly does “highway to the danger zone mean,” you may wonder. The answer? Anything you want it to mean, because it’s just a badass phrase that Kenny delivered with a series of nonchalant, emotionless faces hidden behind one of the finest-sculpted beards of the 80s and a pair of green-tinted aviators.
“Playing with the Boys” – Top Gun
This awesome song has always been hindered by its pairing with one of the dumbest scenes in movie history, as it’s impossible not to think of it as soon as someone mentions guys playing beach volleyball in jeans. You can go the other route and make jokes about how the scene is gay or whatever, but that’s childish. The fact remains that a guy can suffer a very serious injury by playing such a sport in an article of clothing that limits movements. It was irresponsible for Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott to even suggest such a thing was possible.
That said, “Playing with the Boys” was and still is a radical jam that should always accompany any photo montages from bachelor parties and/or adult rec softball league award ceremonies.
“Meet Me Halfway” – Over the Top
Not to get too far ahead of myself, but there’s a reason that Kenny would only record one more soundtrack song in the 80s before seemingly hanging it up. That reason is the 1987 hit “Meet Me Halfway,” which is a perfect song and could never be outdone by Kenny, even though all of his songs are equally righteous. Part of the reason that it’s so perfect is that it was written for a movie that involves arm wrestling as a means of settling child custody battles. That’s why, when I listen to it in my bitchin’ T-top Trans Am, I always make sure to turn my hat backwards.
“Nobody’s Fool” – Caddyshack II
Consider this song the equivalent of a baseball player so juiced up on steroids that he can only hit 5,000-foot bombs, because that’s what adding a Kenny Loggins song to a terrible horse dump of a movie like Caddyshack II is like. But in fairness to the actual song, this is an incredibly catchy, all-too-perfect pop song. If you can listen to this song all the way through and not find yourself quietly mumbling, “I’m goooooooooing allllllllll the way,” within a few minutes, then you’re a KGB plant and should be shipped back to Mother Russia for your own safety.
Kenny Loggins hates commies!
“For the First Time” – One Fine Day
After the epic one-two punch of “Meet Me Halfway” and “Nobody’s Fool,” Kenny took eight years off from the soundtrack game. Of course, he released “Return to Pooh Corner,” but that wasn’t a soundtrack, much to the disappointment of children everywhere. Sure, kids in ’94 had no clue who Kenny Loggins was, but if they knew that “Pooh Corner” wasn’t a soundtrack their hearts would still know to be bummed.
Anyway, Kenny delivered “For the First Time” less as a ballad for the forgettable One Fine Day, and more as a reminder for us to think back to the first time that we heard one of his incredible songs. Because that’s how we should always celebrate Kenny Loggins – by listening to each song like it was the first time.
(Banner via Getty)