Backstory: Kenny Loggins’ “Heart to Heart”

By on December 18, 2023

Kenny Loggins is one of the most successful soft rock singers of the 1980s, with hits like “Footloose”, “Danger Zone” and “I’m Alright”. But before he became a soundtrack superstar, he was a soulful singer-songwriter who collaborated with some of the best musicians in the industry. One of his most memorable songs is “Heart to Heart”, a smooth and catchy tune that features the vocals of Michael McDonald and David Foster.

File Photo: Kenny Loggins in 1995. (Photo Credit: Kingkongphoto & from Laurel, Maryland, USA: copyright John Mathew Smith 2001, CC BY-SA 2.0 )

“Heart to Heart” was co-written by Loggins, McDonald and Foster, who also played keyboards and arranged the strings on the track. The song was released in 1982 as the second single from Loggins’ album High Adventure, which was produced by Loggins and Bruce Botnick. The song reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It also topped the Adult Contemporary chart in Canada.

The song is about a couple who are drifting apart and need to have an honest conversation to save their relationship. Loggins sings in the chorus: “We’ve got to have a heart to heart / We’ve got to have a heart to heart / Before we lose it all / Maybe we can break down the walls / And save our love”. The song has a soulful vibe, thanks to the backing vocals of Michael McDonald, who was a former member of The Doobie Brothers and a solo artist in his own right. McDonald had previously worked with Loggins on songs like “What a Fool Believes” and “This Is It”. He also co-wrote another song on High Adventure, called “I Gotta Try”.

Photo of Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers in Concert 2022

Another notable contributor to “Heart to Heart” was David Foster, who played piano and synthesizer on the song. Foster is one of the most successful producers and composers in pop music history, having worked with artists like Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Chicago, Barbra Streisand and many more. He has won 16 Grammy Awards and has been nominated for three Academy Awards. Foster also co-wrote another hit song with Loggins and McDonald, called “Yah Mo B There”, which was recorded by McDonald and James Ingram in 1983. To learn much more about David,

The song also features a saxophone solo by David Sanborn, who is one of the most influential jazz musicians of his generation. Sanborn has played with legends like Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen. He has also won six Grammy Awards and has sold over eight million albums worldwide.

“Heart to Heart” is a classic example of Kenny Loggins’ musical versatility and talent. It showcases his smooth vocals, catchy melodies and soulful lyrics. It also demonstrates his ability to collaborate with some of the best musicians in the business and create a timeless song that appeals to different audiences.