Your Mama Don't Dance

Album: Loggins and Messina (1972)
Charted: 4
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is a homage to the teenage rebellion songs of the '50s. It's about a kid whose parents are on the conservative side, much to his dismay (that 10 p.m. curfew is pretty tight). One night, he parks in the shadows at the drive-in movie with his date, but gets a visit from a cop, who takes him in. Seems he's doomed to be home at night when everyone else is out having fun, and it's all because his mama don't dance and his daddy don't rock and roll.
  • This was influenced by a 1963 song by The Rooftop Singers called "Mama Don't Allow," which is about a kid whose mama won't tolerate guitar playing. It reached #55 in the US that year.
  • Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina wrote this song early on in their partnership, writing it in the studio one day while they were waiting for their band to arrive. They didn't think much of it, but when they recorded it about eight months later, it became a huge hit in America, climbing to #4. Much to their dismay, it endured as their best-known song, which was frustrating because it was sort of a throwaway and didn't represent their sound. Loggins and Messina were both accomplished songwriters and musicians, who along with their top-notch band, made music that was far more complex in both music and lyrics. Tracks like "Angry Eyes" and "Till The Ends Meet" are what they considered far more substantial, but for many listeners, Loggins and Messina are most associated with "Your Mama Don't Dance."
  • Loggins and Messina formed when Kenny Loggins, who was working as a songwriter, got a solo deal with Columbia Records. The label's boss, Clive Davis, had Jim Messina produce him, and it quickly became clear that their voices blended exceptionally well together. The first album they worked on, released in 1971, was titled Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In, and was at first considered a Loggins solo album with Messina in the title because as a former member of Poco and Buffalo Springfield, he had name recognition. That album sold very well, so they recorded another, this time clearly stated as Loggins and Messina. "Your Mama Don't Dance" was part of that set, and made them so successful as a team that they continued their partnership until 1976, even though they were often at odds and never thought of Loggins and Messina as a long-term project.
  • The voice of the cop who orders, "Out of the car, longhair," is Merel Bregante, who played drums in their band. Michael Omartian, who later became a top producer, played the boogie-woogie piano.
  • Elvis Presley sang a few lines from this song as part of a medley in 1974 for his album Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis. Poison returned the song to the chart in 1989 with their cover version, which reached #10 US.
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Comments: 6

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 5th 1972, "Your Mama Don't Dance" by Loggins & Messina entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89; and 11 weeks later on January 21st, 1973 it peaked at #4 {for 1 week} and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #19 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Tracks chart…
    Seventeen years later Poison covered the song; and on April 9th, 1989 their version peaked at #10 {for 1 week} on the Top 100 chart...
    Between April 1972 to October 1975 Loggins & Messina had ten Top 100 records; with "Your Mama Don't Dance" being their only Top 10 record...
    They did have two records make the Top 20; "Thinking of You" at #18 in 1973, then succeeded by "My Music", which reached #16, also in 1973.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, Tx'Outta da car, Longhair!!'
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdIt was not based on "Mama Don't Allow"
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdElvis didn't cover this, he included the first two lines in a medley so it was only "partly covered" by Elvis. Kenny Loggins has sung it in it in his various concerts often interloping other songs in the medley.
  • Garrett from Nashville, TnThis song sounds very influenced by the Everly Brothers.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyJim Messina was working as an "A&R" man for Columbia Records and when they signed Loggins, he was assigned to work with him. During Loggins' first recording sessions for Columbia, Messina was there to help with vocal harmonies and production. The pair worked so well together the album was named "Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sitting In". Columbia was so pleased with the results that they promoted them as a duo and shortened the album name to "Sitting In".
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