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Sittin' In is the first album by singer-songwriters Loggins and Messina, released in 1972.
It began as a solo album by Kenny Loggins; Jim Messina was with Columbia Records, serving as an independent producer when he met Loggins. In the course of producing Loggins' work, Messina provided backing vocals and guitar, leading to the album's full title, Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In.
This debut album was credited to Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina because the project had begun as a solo record by Loggins being produced by Messina. By the time it was finished, however, Messina had written or co-written six of the 11 songs, contributed "first guitar," and shared lead vocals on many tracks. Messina's "Nobody but You" and "Vahevala," co-written by Loggins' second cousin, Dave Loggins, were the singles chart entries, but today everybody remembers the album for Loggins' "House at Pooh Corner," which had earned Loggins his record contract, and "Danny's Song," which Anne Murray took into the Top Ten the following year. The only thing wrong with this record is that it was too perfect -- with their infectious blend of country, folk, rock and Caribbean music, L&M started out at the top of their game, and although they were able to match some of the material and performances on later records, the team never got any better than this.
Jim Messina, formerly of Poco and Buffalo Springfield, was working as an independent record producer for Columbia Records in 1970 when he met Kenny Loggins, a little-known singer/songwriter who was signed to ABC-Dunhill.
The two recorded a number of Loggins' compositions in Messina's home living room. When Columbia signed Loggins to a six-album contract (with the assistance of Messina), recording began in earnest for Loggins' debut album, with Messina as producer. Messina originally intended to lend his name to the Loggins project only to help introduce the unknown Loggins to Messina's well-established Buffalo Springfield and Poco audiences.
But by the time the album was completed, Messina had contributed so much to the album - in terms of songwriting, arrangement, instrumentation, and vocals - that an "accidental" duo was born.
Their debut album was released November 1971 as Sittin' In. The album's first single release, the Caribbean-flavored "Vahevala" (or "Vahevella"), found top 3 success on WCFL on 18 May 1972.
Although the album went unnoticed by radio upon release, it eventually gained traction by autumn 1972, particularly on college campuses, where the pair toured heavily. Loggins' and Messina's harmonies meshed so well that what was begun as a one-off album became an entity unto itself. Audiences regarded the pair as a genuine duo rather than as a solo act with a well-known producer. Instead of just continuing to produce Loggins as a sole performer, they decided to record as a duo – Loggins & Messina.
"When our first album, 'Sittin' In,' came out, we started receiving a lot of excitement about the music and good sales," Messina recalled in 2005. "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 (then president of the record company) intervened and said, 'You know, I think you'd be making a mistake if you guys didn't take this opportunity. Things like this only happen once in a lifetime. It may merit you sleeping on it overnight and making a decision that will be in your best interest.' He was absolutely correct. Kenny made the decision as well. It delayed his solo career, but it gave him an opportunity, I think, to have one."
Over the next four years they produced five more original albums, plus one album of covers of other artists' material, and two live albums. They sold 16 million records and were the most successful duo of the early 1970s, surpassed later in the decade only by Hall & Oates.
Their work was covered by other artists such as Lynn Anderson who recorded "Listen to a Country Song" released in 1972 and reached #3 on the charts, and perhaps most notably Anne Murray, who reached the U.S. top ten with "Danny's Song" in early 1973 and the U.S. top twenty with "A Love Song" in early 1974. A greatest-hits album, The Best of Friends, would be released a year after the duo had separated. The later studio albums often found both Loggins and Messina more as two solo artists sharing the same record rather than as a genuine partnership. As both Loggins and Messina noted in 2005, their collaboration eventually became more a competition - a frequent, almost-inevitable dynamic of show business duos.
Never really a team of true equals due to the "teacher/apprentice" nature of their music experience levels, the pair had by early 1976 quietly but amicably parted to pursue solo careers, following the release of Native Sons. Messina found solo success elusive, but Loggins went on to become one of the biggest hitmakers of the 1980s.
The two reunited in 2005 to choose tracks for an expanded compilation album of singles and album cuts The Best: Sittin' In Again, which proved successful enough for them to embark on tour together. Their successful "Sittin' In Again" tour was launched in mid-2005 and played out the remainder of the year. They also released an album that year of the tour. "Every couple of years we'd talk about it, but I was having too much fun as a solo artist," Loggins said that summer. "It was very rewarding for me, and I wasn't ready to share the reins. I still had a lot of stuff to do on my own, to prove myself and to express myself, in a way that wouldn't have fit in with Loggins & Messina."
The two were pleased enough to consider future Loggins and Messina projects and the two also toured in 2009. "Like most relationships, we were a moment in time," Loggins said. "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."
Their backing band changed from album to album, with the core members listed below. Many albums featured backing members who were well known in their own right, John Townsend and Ed Sanford, later of the Sanford & Townsend Band ("Smoke from a Distant Fire"), contributed vocals and songwriting to the Native Sons, their final studio album.
Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina were the most successful pop/rock duo of the first half of the '70s. Loggins was a staff songwriter who had recently enjoyed success with a group of songs recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band when he came to the attention of Messina, a record producer and former member of Buffalo Springfield and Poco. Messina agreed to produce Loggins' first album, but somewhere along the way it became a duo effort that was released in 1972 under the title Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In. The album was a gold-seller that stayed in the charts more than two years.
Loggins & Messina In the next four years, Loggins & Messina released a series of gold or platinum albums, most of which hit the Top Ten. They were all played in a buoyant country-rock style with an accomplished band. Loggins & Messina (1972) featured the retro-rock hit "Your Mama Don't Dance." Full Sail (1973), On Stage (a double live album, 1974), and Mother Lode (1974) all hit the Top Ten. So Fine was an album of '50s cover songs. The pair's last new studio album, Native Sons, came out at the start of 1976.
The Best of FriendsLoggins & Messina split for two solo careers by the end of that year, their early catalog completed by a greatest-hits album, Best of Friends, and a live record, Finale. The duo reunited in 2005 and hit the road for a summer tour while the compilation The Best: Sittin' in Again was arriving in stores. The tour itself was documented on Live: Sittin' in Again at Santa Barbara Bowl, which appeared late in the year. [Wikipedia & AMG]
1972 Sittin' In
1972 Loggins and Messina
1973 Full Sail
1974 On Stage (Live)
1974 Mother Lode
1975 So Fine
1976 Native Sons
1976 The Best of Friends (Compilation)
Personnel on this album:
• Kenny Loggins - vocals, guitar, harmonica
• Jim Messina - vocals, guitar
• Lester "Al" Garth - violin, recorder, saxophone, steel drum, backing vocals
• Michael Omartian - concertina, keyboards, steel drum
• Jon Clarke - horn, oboe, saxophone, steel drum
• Larry Sims - bass guitar, backing vocals
• Merel Bregante - drums, backing vocals
• Milt Holland - percussion
01. "Nobody But You" (Jim Messina) – 3:00
02. "Danny's Song" (Kenny Loggins) – 4:16
03. "Vahevala" (Dan Loggins, Dann Lottermoser) – 4:47
04. "Trilogy: Lovin' Me/To Make a Woman Feel Wanted/Peace of Mind" (Loggins, Messina, Murray MacLeod) – 11:13
05. "Back to Georgia" (Loggins) – 3:19
06. "House at Pooh Corner" (Loggins) – 4:25
07. "Listen to a Country Song" (Messina, Al Garth) – 2:49
08. "Same Old Wine" (Messina) – 8:17
09. "Rock 'n' Roll Mood" (Loggins, Michael Omartian) – 3:04