As such, the movie soundtrack is as much a symbol of 1980s cinema as John
Hughes and the Brat Pack. But for the countless voices that pumped
through our Walkman headphones - many of them good but many more
forgettable - there was one singer, one voice who rose above the all
others. His songs might have been catchy and popular, but it was his
sound that hooked us.
His name was Kenny Loggins, and in the 1980s, he was the King of the Movie
Soundtrack. No, really. That’s what he was called. The King of the Movie
It began with the soundtrack to the 1980 golf comedy, Caddyshack,
starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray. Loggins
contributed three tunes to that album, including “Lead
the Way” and “Mr.
Night,” but it’s the film’s iconic theme, “I’m
Alright,” that took the already-successful songwriter and put him on
the ‘80s map.
His next major soundtrack appearance, after performing “You
Don’t Know Me” for 1982’s Personal Best, came in 1984. In
that important cinematic year in the decade, Loggins was the writer and
performer of the
title track for a little movie people call Footloose. That
tune, along with his other entry on the record, “I’m
Free,” not only kept Loggins on the map, it etched him there
permanently. But he wasn’t done.
Loggins’ next major contribution, after offering a track to the Rocky
IV soundtrack (“Double
or Nothing” in 1985), was a pair of tunes for the biggest grossing
film of 1986, the Tom Cruise summer blockbuster,
Top Gun. The film’s jet-fueled anthem, “Danger
Zone,” is synonymous with F-14 barrel rolls and Kawasaki Ninjas
screaming at top speed, and how can you not hear “Playing
With the Boys” and not think of the beefcake beach volleyball match
between teammates Cruise/Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer/Rick Rossovich.
The successes continued for Loggins with 1987’s “Meet
Me Half Way” from the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling movie
Over the Top; and 1988’s “Nobody’s
Fool” from Caddyshack II (a film that not only proves the
rule that sequels are worse than their originals, but also that
sometimes the music is better than the film it appears in).
It’s an impressive resumé, and I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that
without Loggins’ contributions to 1980s film soundtracks, the landscape
of 1980s films would be very different today.
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Part IV: The Slashers