He performed with Buffalo Springfield, Poco and the iconic duo Loggins & Messina. This Sunday night, Jim Messina performs live at Rams Head in Annapolis, Maryland.
“We’ll be doing everything from ‘Watching the River Run,’ ‘Pooh Corner,’ ‘Danny’s Song,’ we’ll move through that into some Poco stuff like ‘Follow Your Dreams,’ ‘You Better Think Twice,'” Messina told WTOP. “It moves from an acoustic evening into a country electric evening into really almost Latin jazz with all of the material that I’ve done over the years.”
Born in Maywood, California in 1947, Messina grew up traveling back and forth between living with his father in California and his mother in Texas. He eventually settled in Hollywood to pursue the music business by working behind the scenes at Sunset Sound where he met David Crosby and recorded the first demos of a young Joni Mitchell.
His break came as an engineer for Buffalo Springfield’s second album before joining the band for their third and final album. “I raised my hand for an audition and got the job, so then I was working as their bass player, producer and engineer. That was the start to get me back into music because I didn’t think I’d have an opportunity to be a studio musician.”
Messina and Richie Furay knew Buffalo Springfield wasn’t long for this world. “We knew the group was going to disband. Guys didn’t show up for their sessions. … Neil [Young] didn’t get on the plane; Stephen [Stills] did, but he got lost in the Village. … I was in a taxi and asked Richie, ‘What do you plan on doing after this? Want to form a group?'”
They added multi-instrumentalist Rusty Young, bassist Randy Meisner and drummer George Grantham to form the country-rock Poco with hits like “Crazy Love” (1978).
Shortly after, Clive Davis asked Messina to produce rising star Kenny Loggins, evolving into the duo Loggins & Messina for the album “Sittin’ In” (1979). It featured hits like “House at Pooh Corner” and “Danny’s Song,” the latter of which featuring the singable line, ‘Even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya, honey.'”
“Everybody just loves it; it just resonates,” Messina said. “My daughter was 3 years old … and I said, ‘What was your favorite song?’ She said, ‘Well, I like Danny’s Song.’ I said, ‘Do you know any of the words?’ She said, ‘Yeah — even though we ain’t got honey, I’m so in love with your money!’ She flipped it!”
The duo’s most famous song might be “Your Mama Don’t Dance” (1972).
“Regardless whether Loggins & Messina recorded it or Poison, that song has been recorded by so many artists in so many countries and I can’t think of any other reason other than the generation gap,” Messina said. “Was it Socrates that said, ‘This generation of kids just do not appreciate their parents?’ It’s been going on for a long time.”