Grammy Award–winning rock-and-roll musician Kenny Loggins isn’t nervous about performing today, at 1 p.m., at the Quarto Publishing Group’s booth (2300, 2301), where the company’s 40th anniversary party will be in full swing. After all, over the past four decades, he’s performed in front of much more raucous audiences and in much larger venues all over the world. What he’s most worried about, Loggins says, is that he is going to mess up the lyrics of “Footloose,” one of several songs he’s scheduled to sing at the in-booth concert.
“There’s a whole lot of lyrics I need to learn between now and then,” he says in a phone interview before BEA. “There’s a lot of fast words. And a lot of chords I gotta learn.” One might wonder why Loggins, 68, would worry about singing correctly the song that he’s been performing since 1984, including on the soundtrack of the eponymous movie, which has assumed a place in popular culture as an anthem to personal freedom.
Loggins arrives at the convention to promote his first children’s picture book, Footloose (Quarto/MoonDance Press, Oct.), illustrated by Tim Bowers. Loggins and his partner, Dean Pitchford, have tweaked the original lyrics so that, instead of blue-collar workers cutting loose by dancing wildly after punching out on the clock, animals in a zoo cut loose by leaving their enclosures and dancing under the light of the full moon.
This time, Jack takes a step forward, rather than back: he’s the zookeeper who “howls with the wolfpack” as, nearby, there are “five rhinos in a row/all jumpin,’ bumpin’ to Mr. DJ Elephant’s funky, hip-hopping grooves.” Joining in the festivities are monkeys, giraffes, kangaroos, and “Milo, teaching them all to tango.”
“It’s just funny to put all these animals in funny situations—we put them in as many of them as we could make up,” says Loggins. He adds that he recently became a grandfather for the first time, which has caused him to look back on the joys of reading aloud to his own five children.
“This book is about getting up and dancing,” he says, adding that Footloose is also a paean to freedom, during a time when politicians in certain states are trying to curtail personal freedoms, particularly for LGBTQ persons. “Nothing speaks so eloquently to people about personal freedoms as rock-and-roll,” Loggins insists. “That’s what it’s been about from the beginning.”
This article appeared in the May 12, 2016 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.