Kenny Loggins and Huey Lewis Talk Taking Over Prince’s Lines in “We Are the World,” the 40th Anniversary of ‘Footloose,’ and More

By the 1980s, Kenny Loggins was “The Soundtrack King,” writing and performing hits for Caddyshack (“I’m Alright”), and Top Gun (“Danger Zone”)he was writing songs with Jim Messina (Loggins and Messina) and would record six albums as a duo from 1971 through 1976 before releasing his debut album, Celebrate Me Home, in 1977. Loggins also wrote two songs for the soundtrack for the 1984 musical drama Footloose, including the title track and “I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man).”

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Footloose, the recent documentary on the making of the star-studded 1985 hit “We Are the World,” and more moments throughout his career, Loggins sat down with Huey Lewis on his Apple podcast for a memorable trip back to the late-’70s and ’80s.

On Lewis’ ‘80s Radio with Huey Lewis on Apple Music, airing Sunday, April 14, Loggins recalls suggesting Lewis sing Prince‘s line on “We Are the World,” being in awe of Stevie Wonder, writing the hits “This is It” and “Heart to Heart,” and more in these exclusive excerpts shared before the episode airs.

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Huey Lewis Sang Prince’s Line On “We Are the World

When Prince bailed out of participating in “We Are the World,” Kenny Loggins suggested to Michael Jackson that Huey Lewis take his place during the January 28, 1985 recording session. In the song, Lewis sings Prince’s line But if you just believe / There’s no way we can fall, which comes in between Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper.

Huey Lewis: I learned for the first time that you’re the guy that recommended me for Prince’s line. It’s in the documentary, but I never knew until then.

Kenny Loggins: It’s funny. Yeah. Michael [Jackson] came up to me and said, “Well, Prince isn’t going to be here. Who should sing the solo line?” I said, “The best singer in here is Huey Lewis.”

[RELATED: 5 Songs You Didn’t Know Kenny Loggins Wrote for Other Artists]

Stevie Wonder: the “Pope” of Music

During the “We Are the World sessions, Loggins and Lewis remember being in awe of Stevie Wonder.

HL: I watched each voice register on Stevie Wonder’s face, and it was amazing. And when we got about halfway around, he went, “Oh, my God. So many stars. So many stars.” The hair stands up in the back of my neck just thinking about it.

KL: Stevie Wonder was one of my gods. He was inventing that whole level of R&B that hadn’t happened yet. He had synthesizers that were brought to him secretly, nobody knew what they were. So, that first time through when I sang my line and I sang … I forget what I sang, but I sang my line and I ended down in the little soul thing down on the bottom, and Stevie goes, “Yeah, man.”

For me, it was like [a] benediction from the Pope.

The Inspiration Behind Loggins’ 1979 Hit “This Is It

Loggins released “This Is It” as the lead single from his 1979 album Keep the Fire. The song featured Michael McDonald, who co-wrote the track with Loggins. “This Is It” went to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1981.

KL: When we finally got to where we were trying to write lyrics into the melody, the lyrics wouldn’t work as a romantic kind of song. My dad went in the hospital for major surgery and I visited him in the hospital morning of the surgery. He and I had a discussion about whether he was going to make it. He told me he was prepared to die on the operating table. That pissed me off. I told him, “You probably have a choice about how this is going to go. You might want to think about it in that way.”

And then I went to work with Michael [McDonald] while I was waiting for the surgery to be over, and we got the line, “You think that maybe it’s over only if you want it to be.” And it was like, “Oh, well this is a life-and-death thing.” So I explained to Mike what I had in mind, and all of a sudden the words started pouring in.

How Lewis’ 1983 Hit “If This Is It” was Inspired by Loggins’ “This Is It

In 1983, Huey Lewis and the News went to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “If This Is It,” from the album Sports, which topped the 200 chart. Lewis recalls how Loggins (indirectly) helped him come up with its title.

HL: I got the melody, but I’m trying to write the lyric, and God, I couldn’t come up with it. It was just so difficult. And I was on the bus. I remember we were touring on the bus. And I’m in my bunk, and I probably—mindful of your song—I don’t know. “This Is It” just works for me.

KL: And those words come out in a certain way. “This-is-it,” comes out as one word.

HL: That’s right. … I apologize for that.

KL: You’ll be hearing from my lawyers.

What Loggins Wrote (Uncredited) For Lewis’ 1986 Album ‘Fore!’

Huey Lewis and the News’ fourth album Fore!, which went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, had two No. 1 hits—”Stuck with You” and “Jacob’s Ladder.” On the album was another deeper cut that Loggins also had a hand in composing.

KL: You said we had a writing story about you and I?

HL: You don’t remember, but it was a progression you had sent to me.

KL: On the guitar?

HL: On the guitar. You had a progression and you sent it to me and we finished it up and I wrote the rest of it, put it all together. And that’s from our album Fore! It’s called “Forest for the Trees.”

KL: No kidding. I should have my lawyer talk to you about this one too.

Huey Lewis on Seeing Kenny Loggins Live For The First Time

Lewis recalls nearly losing his girlfriend to Loggins.

HL: I had a girlfriend that I was dating who was a hairdresser and I got a couple of tickets to your show, which was a big deal, and she was a big fan. We sit down and we’re holding hands and watching the show and, now, when you did “Danny’s Song,” I just lost her. She let go of my hand. She was transfixed by you, and I didn’t exist.


Loggins wrote and performed the title track and “I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)” for the soundtrack to the 1984 film Footloose. The title song topped the Hot 100 and earned Loggins and co-writer Dean Pitchford an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

KL: “Footloose” was completely different from anything I’d ever written because I got the opportunity to write a song that was a rocker that I wanted to. I hadn’t sat and really tried to rock.

Kenny Loggins (l) and Huey Lewis (Photo: Courtesy of Apple Music)

Recording “Heart to Heart” With Michael McDonald And David Foster

In 1982, Michael McDonald and David Foster collaborated on Loggins’ fourth album High Adventure. The album, which also features Steve Perry on “Don’t Fight It,” featured one track Loggins, McDonald, and Foster co-wrote, “Heart to Heart.” The single peaked at No. 15 on the Hot 100 and explores how some loves can stand the test of time.

KL: We get into the studio and Michael [McDonald] doesn’t know how to play the chorus and David [Foster] doesn’t know how to play the verses. So I had a Fender Road set up in the studio for Michael, and I had a piano in the isolation room for David, and Michael would play the verse and stop playing when we got to the bridge.

HL: Oh my God.

KL: David would start playing on the bridge and the chorus.

HL: That’s fantastic.

KL: And so the only time I’ve ever recorded a song that way.

Photos: Courtesy of Apple Music

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