Lori Singer and Kevin Bacon in 1984's Footloose
Everett Collection

On its way to a domestic haul of $80 million 30 years ago this month, Footloose — the musical film about a teenage Kevin Bacon’s efforts to lift a small town’s ban on dancing — spawned a chart-topping soundtrack, which dethroned Michael Jackson’s Thriller from the No. 1 position. Key to the soundtrack’s success was a pair of offerings from Grammy winner Kenny Loggins, known in the 1980s as “King of the Movie Soundtracks” for his contributions to A Star Is Born, Caddyshack, Top Gun, Over the Top and, of course, Footloose. Loggins, currently fronting the trio Blue Sky Riders, reflects on writing the Oscar-nominated single “Footloose.”

“I believe one of the reasons Footloose works is that the music was written specifically for the movie, so the actors actually had the real songs to work with on set. In a lot of Hollywood movies, when there’s dancing to be done, the actors are dancing to temporary music at a completely different tempo, and then the director replaces the music later with some song they think will be a hit. … So before Footloose even was shot, my friend Dean [Pitchford], who wrote the screenplay, and me — we got together to write the song ‘Footloose.’ That whole thing — ‘Please, Louise, pull me off of my knees/Jack, get back, come on before we crack’ — was lovingly inspired by the Paul Simon song ‘50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.’ You know, ‘Slip out the back, Jack/Make a new plan, Stan/You don’t need to be coy, Roy.’ I liked the idea of calling out a name and saying something about it. It worked out really well. I don’t think Dean or I ever could’ve imagined the success we’d enjoy with the song and the movie.”