The Story Behind Accidental Duo Loggins and Messina

Loggins and Messina, the hit duo of Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina, started by accident.

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Long before he was known around the world with “Footloose,” Loggins joined forces with musician and producer Jim Messina, most known as part of the bands’ Buffalo Springfield and Poco. Following the breakup of Buffalo Springfield, Messina became part of the country rock band Poco in 1968. In 1969, their debut album Pickin’ Up the Pieces, set the precedent for the emerging country-rock sound. One year later, Messina was working as a producer for Columbia Records when he met a then-unknown Loggins. The former became instrumental in the latter’s career launch, Messina helping Loggins get a record deal with Columbia.

They started recording songs for what was expected to be Loggins’ solo album with Messina serving as producer. Messina’s contributions proved to be so vast and present between the production, writing and instrumentation that he and Loggins felt more like a duo than Messina simply supporting Loggins as a solo artist. When Sittin’ In was released in 1971, it marked the official debut of the pop-rock duo Loggins and Messina. The album featured two of their biggest hits, “Danny’s Song” and “House at Pooh Corner,” both of which were written and sung by Loggins.

Following the album’s release, the duo started building a cult following as they performed at college campuses in the early 1970s. That’s when the duo came to a crossroads in 1972.

“When our first album, Sittin’ In came out, we started receiving a lot of excitement about the music and good sales, ” Messina explained in a 2005 interview with the New Orleans-based newspaper, The Times-Picayune. “We had a choice. It was either I now go on and continue to produce him and we do the solo career or we stay together and let this work. For me, I did not desire to go back out on the road. I had had enough of that, and I wanted to produce records.”

But Clive Davis, who was president of the record label at the time, convinced them to remain as a duo, calling it a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. Over the next four years, the twosome released five more studio albums. Their self-titled sophomore album landed inside the Top 20 on the Billboard 200, while follow-ups Full Sail, which featured hits “My Music” and “A Love Song,” and Mother Lode, both cracked the Top 10 on the all-genre chart. In 1975, they released a cover album of country and rock songs with So Fine. Their final studio album, Native Sons, arrived in 1976, the duo parting ways amicably to focus on their solo careers.

In 2005, they reunited to release the compilation album, The Best: Sittin’ In Again, featuring several of their past hits. They embarked on a reunion tour that same year and toured together again in 2009.

“Like most relationships, we were a moment in time, ” Loggins said to The Times-Picayune about the 2005 reunion tour. “It’s just really fun to be able to go back and celebrate that and just sort of really honor each other as grown men, in a way we never really did back then. We were young and competitive and didn’t realize that it wasn’t necessarily all about getting your way, but you learn that if you grow up.”

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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