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Danny's Song by Loggins and Messina

Album: Sittin' InReleased: 1971
  • Although Anne Murray made it famous in 1973, taking the song to #7 in the US, this is more associated with Kenny Loggins, who wrote the song for his older brother, Dan. Much of the lyric comes from a letter Dan wrote to Kenny soon after Dan's son, Colin, was born. Dan was planning to marry Colin's mom, Sheila, and was in the process of moving his new family to Berkeley, California. They had no money, but plenty of hopes and dreams.

    This happened around 1968, when Loggins was just getting started as a songwriter and musician. It demonstrated his talent for capturing a feeling from a specific moment in time.
  • Loggins first recorded this song in 1970 with a group of studio musicians assembled by producer Dee Barton. The band was dubbed Gator Creek, and was extant for just that one album (Loggins' song "Long-Tail Cat" also made the track list). The Gator Creek version of "Danny's Song" was released as a single but went nowhere.

    Later in 1970, Loggins teamed up with Jimmy Messina; the pair spent much of 1971 working on the Sittin' In album, which was conceived as a Kenny Loggins solo effort (with Messina producing), but ended up being credited to Loggins and Messina. Released at the end of that year, it included a new version of "Danny's Song" that was again released as a single and again went nowhere, although it did earn airplay on FM radio.

    In 1972, Anne Murray, a huge star at the time, released her cover version as a single. In March 1973, it rose to #1 in her native Canada and also topped the US Adult Contemporary chart; in April it made #7 on the Hot 100 and became the title track to Murray's seventh album.

    Over the next few years, the Loggins and Messina version became more prominent, especially after the duo scored a huge hit with "Your Mama Don't Dance."
  • Most people recognize the song by the chorus, "Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you honey," as the title does not appear in the lyrics.
  • Dan Loggins, who inspired this song, played a big role in its success. He was managing a discount record store operated by CBS Records; when his friend Don Ellis, who was running one of the other stores, got promoted to an A&R job at CBS, Dan gave him a demo of Kenny's music, which Ellis passed on to label boss Clive Davis, earning Kenny a record deal.

    Dan also contributed on the creative side - he co-wrote "Vahevala" and "Sailin' the Wind" (the B-Side of the single "Nobody But You") for Loggins and Messina. In the '80s he became a vice president at RCA Records, in charge of A&R.

    Dan's son Colin, also an inspiration on this song, was in a band called Tappan Zee, where he sang and played bass.

    Dan and Kenny had another brother, Bobby, who passed away from a heart attack in 1992.

    Colin also inspired the song "House at Pooh Corner," which Kenny wrote. That one was originally recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and then by Loggins and Messina on Sittin' In.
  • The original Gator Creek version runs 3:25 and omits a verse that is included on the Loggins and Mussina album version, which goes 4:14:

    Seems as though a month ago I was Beta Chi
    Never got high
    Oh, I was a sorry guy
    And now I smile and face the girl that shares my name
    Now I'm through with the game
    This boy'll never be the same


    The single doesn't include the verse and runs 3:08. Anne Murray's version runs 3:03 and also doesn't include it, as the lyric doesn't fit a female vocalist (Beta Chi was a fraternity). Loggins typically omits the extra verse when he performs it.
  • With versions by Vicki Carr, Lynn Anderson, Teresa Brewer and the Indigo Girls, this is a very popular song for female artists to cover, even though it was written and originally recorded by a man. The sentiment and subject matter translate very well across genders. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sara - Silver Spring, MD
  • After Loggins and Messina first got together, it took them about a year to complete the album, mainly because they were also honing their band for live performance. The musicians they used were session players, most with little touring experience, so they had to make sure the songs sounded great not just on the album, but also when they performed them live.

    One musician who played on the album but didn't hit the road with them was keyboard player Michael Omartian, who was also part of the Gator Creek project and played on their original version of "Danny's Song" in 1970. Omartian became a top producer, with clients that include Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston and Clint Black.
  • Anne Murray went back to the well, covering the Loggins and Messina favorite "A Love Song" on her next album, Love Song. Results were similar: It also went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary and Canadian singles charts, and reached #12 on the Hot 100.
  • When Kenny Loggins found out he was going to be a father for the first time, he began introducing this song by saying, "I guess you'll have to call this 'Danny's Song and Kenny's Song.'" His son Crosby was born December 15, 1980.
  • Anne Murray recorded a new version on her 2007 duets album Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends with Martina McBride.
  • The song was covered by The Swon Brothers on NBC's The Voice in 2013. Their version landed at #66 on the Hot 100 after they sung it in the semifinals.
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Comments: 17

Incredibly, Anne Murray and Kenny Loggins never recorded or performed this song together.Arthur - New Jersey
On November 29, 1979, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald performed "Danny's Song" on the Philadelphia-based syndicated television program, 'The Mike Douglas Show'...
Eight years earlier in 1971 "Danny's Song" song was track two of side one on the 'Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In' album, the album peaked at #70 on Billboard's Pop albums chart...
In 1972 Anne Murray covered the song, on December 31st, 1972 her version entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #83, fourteen weeks later it would peak at #7 {for 1 week} and it spent eighteen weekson the Top 100...
It reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on March 11th, 1972 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
And in March of 1973 it also reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on the Canadian RPM Singles chart, plus it peaked at #1 on the RPM Contemporary & Country charts.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
I don't understand why some people believe the lyrics are "quiet and shy." If you listen to the lyrics, it sounds nothing like that. It's Beta Chi. Also, Kenny wrote the song for his brother Dan, who was getting married to a woman named Sheila (which is why it isn't grammatically incorrect when he sings "He will be like She and me," as he was referring to Sheila). He wrote "House at Pooh Corner" when he was still in high school.Renee - Chatsworth, Ca
It's not BetaChi its quiet and shy.....probably reflecting on being somewhere new for the first time and not knowing a lot of people where he was at...e.g. college.Shawn - Rochester, Ny
Dan Loggins was my fraternity brother in Beta Chi at Cal State University in Los Angeles in the mid 60's. Hope this sheds some light on this subject.Stan Friar - South Pasadena, Ca
I have always believed the lyric to be "I was Beta Chi" i.e. I was in a fraternity and look at me now. And it doesn't matter if the real Beta Chi didn't start til 1985, I believe in this song it was a fictional fraternity.Zeech - West Palm Beach, Fl
I think when he says "Beta Chi", and agreeing on Sinc's feeling that the Alpha and Omega were omitted, If you are neither Alpha or Omega as a person, you are incomplete. Some folks feel they are incomplete without that person they are mean to spend their lives with. He could be saying he was just incomplete without her.Curtis - Westerville, Oh
Our alphabet consists of the letters A-Z. Without the A and Z the alphabet would be B-Y. The Greek alphabet without Alpha and Omega would be Beta-Chi. The phrase is evocative and open to our interpretation, but I have no doubt that the person to whom the song was written understands it well.Sinc - Vancouver, Bc
Whatever your lyric interpretation, this is one of those Special Songs. You know, right up there with Paul Stookey's Wedding Song. A perfect marriage of word, music, and emotion that commemorates one of life's passages.Guy - Woodinville, Wa
I'm insanely confused about this lyric myself. The only thing I can come up with is that he had a secure future ahead of him, a paid-for education, the approval of his parents, and was most likely going to make a lot of money with his education. Maybe he spent his time with well off people and his social circle was very shallow and materialistic. Maybe because their education was paid-for and perhaps their majors chosen for them, they really didn't care about the future, only parties, events happenning at school, and relationship drama. Perhaps he was never in love before and it made his priorities change. Then when he knew he was going to be a father he abandoned his comfortable life and the approval of others to work for a living and provide for his family. Just a guess ... I have no idea if this is what it means at all.Melissa - Windsor, Canada
Some people hear the "beta chi" line as "Seems as though a month ago I was a bitter guy ... ."
It sounds like "beta chi" to me, but to me that makes no sense. If it did mean "seems like a month ago I was a frat boy," then the "Never got high" line would seem to be a non-sequitur. ; D
And if it was the Christian fraternity, that might explain the "never got high," but why would that make Danny "a sorry guy?"

I suspect either "beta chi" is some kind of slang that I'm not in on or it's a "mondegreen" (like "there is a bathroom on the right").

Genie, Seattle
Genie - Seattle, Wa
Todd, there's no possible way the Beta Chi lyric is correct; that fraternity wasn't started until 1985!Bob - Farmington Hills, Mi
Some sources claim Anne Murray wrote it first? Is there a clarificationSara - Silver Spring, Md
Recently Anne Murray did this as a duet with Martina McBride on her "Friends and Lovers" album.Sara - Silver Spring, Md
Those are basically the right lyrics - "Seems as though a month ago I was Beta Chi, Never got high, Oh, I was a sorry guy." I think he is referring to how quickly time passes - it seems like only yesterday I was in a college fraternity and now I'm married and going to be a father. The frat could be Beta Upsilon Chi aka Brothers Under Christ, the largest Christian social frat which give further meaning to the "Never got high" lyricsTodd - Atlanta, Ga
Well of course many female artists have sung songs by the opposite gender... Of course Kenny's is the best!Sara - Silver Spring, Md
I checked on the lyrics, because I have never understood what he's saying on the second verse...

"Seems as though a month ago I beta chi,
never got high,
Oh, I was a sorry guy. "

I don't think that's correct.
Philip - Akron, Oh
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