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Friday Song: "Your Mama Don't Dance"
A throwaway song done while waiting for the band became a tandem's signature number
By Kent Anderson
One day, while Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina were waiting for their band to arrive at the studio, they came up with a song about a boy with strict, humorless parents who nevertheless decided to buck his 10 p.m. curfew. Parked in the shadows at the drive-in movie with his date, a cop discovers the two and takes the boy in. His bad luck is all because his mama don’t dance and his daddy don’t rock and roll.
The idea was to pay tribute to the uptight 1950s ethos and songs like “Mama Don’t Allow,” about a boy deprived of a guitar because, well, mama don’t allow.
Loggins and Messina discovered one another after Loggins had secured a solo recording deal, with Messina assigned as his producer. Working through songs, they discovered their voices blended superbly, so decided to try a duo as well.
“Your Mama Don’t Dance” was recorded in 1972, a few months after they noodled on it, and became an instant hit, reaching #4 on the charts. To their dismay, it has endured as their best-known song. The duo considered it a throwaway song, and have said it doesn’t reflect the sound of Loggins & Messina, which is perhaps best heard in other major hits like “Danny’s Song” and “Angry Eyes.”
(I dare you to listen to “Danny’s Song” and not sing along.)
On “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” the voice yelling “Out of the car, longhair” was provided by the drummer.
Poison recorded a hard rock version of the song in 1989, which reached #10 on the charts. I cannot recommend that version.
Enjoy the original!