Best of Old Friends

After almost three decades, '70s duo enjoys Sittin' In Again.

Loggins & Messina Blossom Music Center, 1145 West Steels Corners Road in Cuyahoga Falls 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 9; $25 to $75; call 216-241-5555.

Loggins & Messina cut loose and kick off their Sunday - shoes at Blossom on Tuesday.
Loggins & Messina cut loose and kick off their Sunday shoes at Blossom on Tuesday.
It's been almost 30 years since Kenny Loggins pulled the plug on Loggins & Messina, the soft-rock duo he inadvertently formed with Jim Messina, which ranks among the 1970s' most successful teams. "I was ready to go on my own," Loggins says. "Everything else was just frustrating."

But after performing two recent benefit gigs, Loggins and Messina decided to take the show back on the road. The Sittin' In Again tour (a reference to their 1972 debut, Sittin' In) comes to Blossom Music Center on Tuesday.

"It was very eye-opening," Loggins says of the reunion shows. "We started to harmonize, and there was a level of comfort and familiarity that I'd forgotten about. The sound of our voices together was unlike anyone I've sung with the last 30 years. It was a good feeling to hear that."

Back in the early part of the '70s, Messina was coming off triumphant stints with folk rockers Buffalo Springfield and Poco. Loggins was a young singer-songwriter who landed a contract with Columbia Records (in part due to the songs he wrote for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). Messina, as part of a production deal with the label, was tapped to produce and help shape Loggins' debut. The solo project soon turned into a collaborative piece between the two songwriters. The result was Sittin' In, which includes fan favorites "Danny's Song" and "House at Pooh Corner." "We stumbled into this," recalls Loggins. "It was supposed to be just a one-album deal."

Over the next five years, Loggins & Messina logged three top 10 albums. Seven of them reached gold or platinum status (1976's hits package The Best of Friends eventually sold two million copies). Their songs (like "Your Mama Don't Dance") became radio staples. But by the end of 1976, they'd had enough of each other. "We were 22 years old," says Loggins. "After six years, I was very ready to head off and spread my wings. Plus, I was writing material that was dramatically different from what Loggins & Messina did."

Messina went on to a solo career after the split. Audiences didn't listen. Loggins, however, soared after the breakup. A decade after Sittin' In, he scored hit after hit with movie songs: "I'm Alright" (from Caddyshack), "Footloose" (Footloose), "Danger Zone" (Top Gun), and "Nobody's Fool" (Caddyshack II).

"I was off doing my life," he says. "There are things that happen over 30 years: wives, kids. Jim and I checked in every couple of years, but it never felt right."

Now back together with his old partner (and a full backing band onstage), Loggins says they're connecting all over again. "It's like an old friend coming back into my life," he says.

Still, he cautions against expectations for anything beyond the tour at this point. "We're just acting on intuition," he says. "We think the best thing to do is to see what this feels like. It's like two exes coming together to hang out for the summer. It can be tricky territory. We want to treat it with respect."

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