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If, at age 75, Kenny Loggins decided that touring would no longer be a part of his regular life, who could blame the man?
He’s been at this music career for half a century, after all, writing hit songs since the early 1970s as half of Loggins & Messina, followed by a huge run of solo success in the 1980s, an electric period that included several monster soundtrack hits.
And while the chart-toppers haven’t been as frequent in more recent years, he’s stayed busy in the last three decades as a songwriter, with work falling in both the adult realm and in children’s music.
So Loggins would be forgiven for spending time at home or traveling for pleasure, perhaps writing and recording music as time and energy allowed. Loggins may settle into some semblance of that life, but in 2023, he’s venturing out one more time, doing what he is billing as his final extensive tour.
Loggins brings his "This is it! His Final Tour 2023" to the Peace Center, Monday, May 15. Tickets can be purchased here.
He’s bringing his passel of hits to a fan base that’s going to be treated to a set list that incorporates his biggest songs, as well as some deeper cuts. All will be performed with a core band that’s been with him for a good, long while, with a new member, or two, peppered into the group over the past few years. Even the biggest hits get a mild-reworking in tone, pace, color, feel.
The combination of giving the fans what they want, while satisfying his own interests in revisiting classic “is a balancing act,” Loggins suggested in an early March phone interview.
“For me, I want to pull in songs, deep cuts, that have some emotional meaning for me, something that I connect to and want to convey with that song,” he said. “I’m pulling in ‘Keep the Fire,’ or ‘It’s About Time,’ a song co-written with Michael McDonald. Those have a lot of emotional connection for me. So I pick the songs that I really relate to. Luckily, I have a life’s worth of songs that come from the heart.”
Those include, of course, the mega-hits, songs that’re still heard on throwback radio stations, on countless Spotify playlists and even at the more-than-occasional wedding. (Interestingly, Loggins says he’s seen no small amount of plays of “Danger Zone” in wedding videos.)
The run of mega-hits is something he credits to the song “Whenever I Call You Friend,” the 1978 hit from his album “Nightwatch,” performed with Stevie Nicks. A top-five hit in the US, the song opened up a second career for him, following the Loggins & Messina era. Two years later, his song “I’m Alright” was another top-10 hit, compliments of the movie “Caddyshack.”
The film, he says, “was the beginning my end run around disco. That album kept me alive and viable as an artist for maybe six or seven years.
That was a good idea.
"One of the bad ideas is that during that period of time, I had hits with other people and the thought was that ‘as long as he doesn’t write ‘em or produce ‘em, we can have hits with him. Labels wanted to use outside producers, and my biggest hit, ‘Footloose,’ was created by me. That gave me the chance to move forward as my own producer. There’s a pressure to do outside material. I resisted that pressure to (do other people’s material) and wished to write and perform and produce on my own. It can be a slippery slope to continue your own musical direction.
“I felt, at times, that I needed to have hits with other people’s songs,” he said, “but I’ve always wanted a soul connection, a heart connection with my audience.”
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To loop back to the beginning of a long, wide-ranging conversation, Loggins noted that being an established act has always been a challenge for artists.
“Absolutely in this culture, where we fixate so much on the new and the young, we forget artists that’ve been out there a while and who know what they’re doing,” he said. “We as a culture drop attention toward those people. Madison Avenue will tell you that if you put ‘new’ on a box, it’ll sell more. That’s the nature of culture and part of the fun of rock ‘n’ roll. I’m not bitching about that, it’s just the nature of things. Now that I’m in my 70s, I know that appreciation of doing something for 50 years. I’m really good at what I do.”
And to that, he’s excited about the possibility of young songwriters tackling his songs for a compilation album that could see the light of day this year. On it, he’d hope to discuss the songs with each, possibly allowing them a shot at completing unfinished original tracks, or working in tandem with them to create new material from old cloth.
In addition to tours, all these many years on, those moments of creation are what “keep pulling at me."
“As an artist,” he concluded, “I don’t know how to keep still.”
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Kenny Loggins brings final tour to Greenville's Peace Center