WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Irrepressible QVC program host Shawn Killinger is launching "Q Check,” the home shopping network’s noon segment.
At the top, she teases the appearance of Kenny Loggins. Behind her, the veteran singer-songwriter and his backing trio perform the opening chorus of Donovan’s "First There is a Mountain.” For the next 25 minutes, Loggins stands patiently under the lights on the set while Killinger blitzes through offerings for necklaces ("18-carat gold for under $80,” she marvels), nylon blouses and combo birdfeeder/birdbaths. Then, as promised, Loggins sings two songs. The singer is selling his new album, "All Join In,” at QVC’s madly bustling suburban campus in West Chester. We’re not at Live Aid anymore, kids. Welcome to the brave new world of music marketing. Loggins is among the well-known musicians, from Neil Diamond to James Taylor, who have made the pilgrimage to the mecca for discount beauty products, jewelry and household items to sing for their suppers. Barry Manilow and Alabama set the benchmarks for this strategy, each moving more than 40,000 units in an hour’s time. "We’re not looking for a specific genre,” says Rich Yoegel, QVC’s director of merchandising for sports and music. "What we’re looking for is somebody who has a broad appeal, somebody who has what I would refer to as a cult following.” Loggins fits that designation. Over a nearly 40 year career, he’s created hits from folk ("House at Pooh Corner”) to soft-rock ("Your Mama Don’t Dance”) to soundtrack smashes ("Footloose”). Some musical visitors to QVC really enter into the retail spirit. Dancer turned country star Julianne Hough, for instance, stuck around, spatula in hand, to take a turn behind a backyard grill. Loggins, 61, strives to maintain his dignity. "Basically I came out and did the music,” he says afterwards. "I didn’t get involved in the pitch. I don’t think that’s my job.” His new collection, released on the Disney label, with songs from the Beatles, Randy Newman and others, is music for kids. But Loggins takes pains to identify it as "a family album.” "Most children’s albums are strictly for the children and the parents have to listen to it whether they like it or not,” he says.