As a singer, writer, guitarist, producer, and engineer, Jim Messina made major contributions to music in the 1960s and 1970s as a key contributor to the Buffalo Springfield at the tail end of their history, as a co-founder of the country-rock band Poco, and as one half of Loggins & Messina. Messina was born in California in 1947, and raised in Harlingen, TX until he was eight years old. As a child, his life was divided between his mother's home in Texas and his father's home in California. His father was a semi-professional guitarist and greatly influenced his son's musical career. Messina began playing the guitar at the age of five. As time progressed, he became interested in the guitar parts on Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson records, and later acquired an interest in surf music, a natural outgrowth of living in California. He was heavily influenced by the hits of such outfits as Dick Dale & the Del-Tones, the Ventures, and the Champs. During his high-school years, he organized a group of his own called Jim Messina & the Jesters, their sound heavily indebted to that of the Ventures, Freddie King, and Duane Eddy, and they were good enough to win a string of local band competitions. They managed to grab the last vestige of the surf music craze, and got an album out in 1966, entitled The Dragsters, on the Audio Fidelity label. The release of an album was an impressive achievement for a teenager, but not much came of that record at the time, the surf music boom having pretty much ended by the time of its release.