Worst Songs Ever: Loggins and Messina’s ‘Your Mama Don’t Dance’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Loggins and Messina – “Your Mama Don’t Dance”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #4 in January 1973

A tune so slack, undanceable, and not very rock and roll that Poison made it sound like “God Save the Queen” — surely Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina realized their career ambitions early. Originally a Loggins solo project with producer Messina that turned into a duo, Loggins and Messina cranked out a number of folk rock ditties just fast enough for AM radio and soft enough for the easy listening market.

Set up as a kind of early seventies answer to “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Your Mama Don’t Dance” is ill-equipped to deal with what Chuck Berry saw during the Ike years: generational shifts in listening. Mama won’t dance, and Daddy doesn’t certain rock and roll, but “Your Mama Don’t Dance” does neither. The boogie piano and the hi-hat do their best. But when Kenny and Jim close-mike I hear the old ladies whom they decry for thinking that stayin’ out late is a sin. A forlorn brass section provides a pneumatic excitement. How hilarious that one of the singers tries to understand a Silent Majority member — maybe the character in Merle Haggard’s “The Fightin’ Side of Me” — but the performance is what Andy Williams might approve.

What Kenny Loggins went on to do I’ve already noted.

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