Angry Eyes

Album: Loggins and Messina (1972)
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina sing about someone looking down at them with angry eyes. It's not clear if this person is a romantic interest, a friend, or a business associate, but there are certainly many angry eyes in the music industry that can create the kind of suspicion and paranoia engendered in this song.
  • Loggins and Messina are best known for their hit song "Your Mama Don't Dance," but "Angry Eyes" is a much better representation of their work. Running 7:37 with a 4-minute instrumental break, it's a very ambitious song credited to both members of the duo. Produced by Messina, it's a great showcase for the top-tier musicians who served as their band: Al Garth (sax, violin), Larry Sims (bass), Merel Bregante (drums), Jon Clarke (flute, sax), Milt Holland (percussion) and Michael Omartian (keyboards). Messina had the instrumental section mapped out for the musicians so they knew exactly what to play. The song was a staple of their setlists.
  • This was released as a single from Loggins and Messina, which was their second album. Cut down to 2:24, it went nowhere, but the full album version did very well on FM radio, helping the album sell over a million copies in America.

    Their first album, Sittin' In, was slated as Loggins' first solo album with Messina serving as producer and guest musician, but their collaboration was so successful they ended up recording another five albums together, each one they thought would be their last as a duo.
  • Messina was working on the score to the 1972 comedy-western TV movie Evil Roy Slade when he came up with the guitar lick for this track. He recalled in a 2018 interview with The College Crowd Digs Me: "There was a scene in the movie where the bad guys were coming into town and we needed something that was just gonna feel ominous. And angry. So I had this guitar lick. I said, 'Well, how about this one?' And they went, 'Oh yeah, that's perfect!' So we recorded a few pieces for the movie."

    Later, Messina modified the lick to make it sound better for a song. When he was almost done writing the track, he brought Loggins in to help him finish.
  • Messina used a pieced-together Telecaster with a microphonic pickup to produce the song's distinct guitar sound. He explained: "A microphonic pickup is when it starts to get on the verge of wanting to feedback. And that in-between time that you're hearing is called microphonic. In those days microphonics were created, at least in a guitar pickup, when you had copper wire and you coated it with something. In those days, they used lacquer to coat the wire.

    What most people did is... they'd put their guitar in the trunk of their car, and the sun would bake it. And as the temperature rises, the lacquer begins to melt. And the layers between the actual copper and the lacquer begin to thin. And as it thins, it allows the magnetism to creep out. The ultimate aspect of that is... it becomes microphonic. And the effect of it... is a very mid-rangey sound that almost becomes poppy. And of course, the way I played it, it overemphasized what that microphonic did. It gave it a sound. And just about everybody who heard that song made comments about the great guitar sound. Who knew, right?"
  • This was used in the 1979 movie The Main Event, starring Barbra Streisand.

Comments: 2

  • Souljay from ColoradoThough I now enjoy and appreciate the skill of the instrumental break musicians on Angry Eyes, my favorite songs back in 1972 (age 15) were certainly not "Your Momma Don't Dance" or "Angry Eyes". I preferred "A Love Song", "Danny's Song", and "Watching the River Run", for their sentimental sound and lyrics.
  • Mike from MannixThe Person to whom the singer is addressing is God. The answer is in the lyrics, "...oh Lord".
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