Monday, December 17, 2007

R I P Dan Fogelberg

My heart sank when I read the news. I knew he was sick, but I heard he was getting better. There were very few singers that were played any more in the Raley household than Dan. When I first heard "Part Of The Plan" in 1973, I thought this guy was pretty special. He was a particular favorite of the audience of KFMH, my first full time rock radio job. His "Captured Angel" CD made me a true fan and "NetherLands" is probably on my top ten list. He will constantly be linked with "Longer", a song that not only brought him to a worldwide stage but also type cast his career. To me, "Same Old Lang Syne" is his quintessential masteriece. The song came out when I was madly in love with who, I thought, was going to be the next Mrs. Raley in the winter of 1980. Unfortunately, that didn't happen but, to this day, I can't hear that song without thinking of her, some 27 years later. He can bring me to tears "Leader of The Band", make me think "Face the Fire" and just cool me down after a long, stressful week. He was one of those guys who knew my life better than I did. Although his revelance with me faded as the 80's became the 90's, I keep all of those old albums near and dear. As a side bar, when I took the job in Nashville, the melody from the song "False Faces" haunted me daily. From his first album "Homefree" to "The Innocent Age" in 1981, I relished his music and followed his career. I never got to see him live for some reason, but in the age of "youTube", you can enjoy him. Thank you so much, Dan, for all you gave, thanks for pouring out your heart. Thanks for knowing my life better than me. You will be missed. Godspeed.
My favorite Dan Fogelberg songs.

1. "Same Old Lang Syne"-for reasons described in this post.

2. "Tell Me To My Face"-A Hollies song from many years ago released in 1977 at a time when this song stuck in my heart.

3. "Part of The Plan"-first impressions are always the best

4. "Old Tennessee"-a great word song.

5. "Leader of The Band"-a song about MY father,too.

6. "Netherlands"-the sweeping orchestration summed up what I felt when I visited the studio in Nederland Colorado, miles above sea level.

7. "There's A Place In The World For A Gambler"- let it shine, oh let it shine

8. "Illinois"- a song meant for a guy born in Illinois trying to find his way

9. "To The Morning"-never has there been a better song to listen to at 4am on a crisp winter morning

10. "Give Me Some Time"-perfect.

The wikipedia entry for those who knew little about him...
Daniel Grayling Fogelberg (August 13, 1951December 16, 2007) was an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, classical, jazz, and bluegrass music.
Early life and family
Dan Fogelberg, the youngest of Lawrence and Margaret (Young) Fogelberg's three sons, was born in Peoria, Illinois. His father was a high school band director who spent most of his career at Peoria Woodruff High School and Pekin High School, and his mother was a pianist. His father would later be the inspiration for the song "Leader of the Band". Using a Mel Bay course book, Dan taught himself to play a Hawaiian slide guitar his grandfather gave to him; he also learned to play the piano. He started his music career at age 14 when he joined his first band, The Clan, which paid homage to The Beatles. His second band was another cover combo, The Coachmen, which, in 1967, released two singles on Ledger Records: "Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget" and "Don't Want To Lose Her."
Early musical career
After graduating from Woodruff High School in 1969, he studied theater arts and painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and began performing as a solo acoustic player in area coffeehouses. There, he was discovered in 1971 by Irving Azoff. Fogelberg and Azoff, who started his music-management career promoting another Illinois act, REO Speedwagon, moved to California to seek their fortunes. Fogelberg became a session musician who played with pop-folk artists like Van Morrison. In 1972, he released his debut album Home Free to lukewarm response. His second effort was much more successful: the 1974 Joe Walsh-produced album Souvenirs and its hit song "Part of the Plan" made him a major star.
Musical career
Following Souvenirs, Fogelberg released a string of gold and platinum albums Captured Angel in 1975; his masterpiece Nether Lands in 1977 and found commercial success with songs like "The Power of Gold," "The Language of Love," and "Lonely in Love". His 1978 Twin Sons of Different Mothers was the first of two collaborations with jazz flutist Tim Weisberg. 1979's Phoenix was his most successful with "Longer" which became a wedding standard. The Innocent Age, released in October 1981, reached the peak of critical and popular acclaim. The double album "song cycle" included three of his biggest hits: "Leader of the Band," "Hard To Say," and "Same Old Lang Syne," based on a real-life accidental meeting with a former girlfriend. In 1984 he rocked again with Windows And Walls.
In 1985, Fogelberg released High Country Snows. Recorded in Nashville, it showcased his (and some of the industry's best) talent in the bluegrass genre. Vince Gill, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen were among those who contributed to the record. in 1987, a return to rock with Exiles then a tribute to Earth preservation with 1990's Wild Places and 1991's live Greetings From The West
River of Souls, released in 1993, was Fogelberg's last studio album for Sony Records. In 1997, Portrait encompassed his career with four discs, each highlighting a different facet of his music: "Ballads," "Rock and Roll," "Tales and Travels" (which displayed his talents as a narrative songwriter) and "Hits." In 1999, he fulfilled a career-long dream of creating a Christmas album called "First Christmas Morning" and, in 2003, Full Circle showcased a return to the folk-influenced, 1970s soft rock-style of music for which he and other singer-songwriters from his era had gained popular recognition.
A very personal songwriter, Fogelberg also used his music to address social issues, among them peace and Native American concerns. He was particularly outspoken about his commitment to the environment and to finding alternatives to nuclear power. To that end, Fogelberg performed at a number of the Musicians United for Safe Energy "No Nukes" concerts in 1979 and 1980.
His live concerts won acclaim across the nation over the years. Fogelberg said that one of his proudest moments came in 1979 when he played at New York's Carnegie Hall for an audience that included his mother and father. Most summers, Fogelberg would perform with a full band or in a solo acoustic setting; the differing formats allowed the artist to show the breadth and depth of his talent as a singer, guitarist, pianist and bandleader. In 2002, fans showed their appreciation by choosing Fogelberg to be one of the first 10 inductees into the Performers Hall of Fame at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.
Final years
In May 2004, Fogelberg was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He underwent hormonal therapy and achieved a partial remission, which did not eliminate his cancer, but reduced it and stopped its spread. On August 13, 2005, his 54th birthday, Fogelberg announced the success of his cancer treatments and he thanked fans for their support. He said that he had no immediate plans to return to making music, but was keeping his options open and enjoying spending time with his wife, musician Jean Fogelberg.
Fogelberg, who since 1982 lived on Mountain Bird Ranch, 610 acres near Pagosa Springs, Colorado, put the lavishly appointed property up for sale at an asking price of US$15 million in 2005.
Fogelberg died of cancer on December 16, 2007 at his home in Maine with his wife, Jean, by his side.


Dave Morris said...

Randy, I'm practically having to take the day off. I feel the same.

And your line about him knowing you better than you know yourself - gosh, I couldn't have said it better. I think he was in my head when he wrote "Heart Hotels."

Ken Dillon said...

As you saw from my post when he was diagnosed, and know from knowing MY musical tastes, I feel the same. Lyrically, he was often very much inside my head and heart.
"Let It Shine, Oh, Let It Shine" indeed.

Anonymous said...

I was an announcer on the public radio station in Wichita in 74, I played the sh*t out of his music. I was lucky on a trip to KC to see Vassar Clements and Freinds tour with no mention of an opening act. Dan came out and spent an hour sharing his music, I can not for the life of me remember if he had a band with him. My heart sank a bit when I read about his demise.

Matt said...

Coincidentally, I had perused his website on Saturday, just after hearing "Same Auld Lang Syne," hoping to read some good news from Dan or his website manager. I was really saddened by the news Sunday night. "Along The Road" is still one of my favorites, and particularly poignant at this time. Farewell, Dan.

Anonymous said...

Dan's music spoke to me in ways that only a few artists can. I will miss him. Rest in peace, Dan. Thank you for the music.

Brian Holland said...

Based on all the glowing tributes I've read on DF by my fellow bloggers, it looks like I may need to re-examine his body of work. Sounds to me like he was typecast by his Saccharine Soft Rock ballads because that's basically all I knew of his music, although I did like "Part Of The Plan" and especially "Power Of Gold". I'd totally forgotten "These Days" until I clicked on it on YouTube--I hadn't heard that song in probably 25 years. Seems it might behoove me to give Dan's music another look...

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