Remembering Dan Fogelberg
There is remarkable queue of music known as "easy listening" which has, in my opinion, come down through the ages of history. The storytelling ability of a great songwriter, musician, and singer to impart not only thoughts, but emotions in a musical way, is a gift belonging to the creator of these melodies, and given to the world at large.
Dan Fogelberg was a man of extreme talent in this area of musical adventure. The soft sounds of his voice along with the compelling licks from his playing of varied instruments produced a unique example of the of musical storytelling which left millions aware of his personal thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings we all experience from time to time throughout life. Which many of us are unable to express on our own. Stories we may have overlooked.
"Fogelberg is an incurable romantic, and after one or two songs you're ready for someone to find a cure," wrote Mark Peel in a review of the 1987 album Exiles in Stereo Review. This is only one of the unpleasant reviews Dan Fogelberg received in his career. Even so, his fan base remained strong, he was heard on radio, and concert tickets were bought.
Fogelberg was born on August 13, 1951 to a father that was the band leader who inspired one of his greatest songs, and a mother who was an opera student. So music was in his life from the beginning, growing up in Peoria, Illinois.
He was trained on the piano as a child, before beginning to compose songs with the guitar. He began studies in art at the University of Illinois, but stayed in classes for only two years. He was encouraged to head to the west coast to pursue a recording contract, after becoming a success in the coffee house circuit throughout the Midwest. Then on the West coast Dan looked for studio work, and encountered Van Morrison, who hired him on as part of his touring band.
Eventually Dan signed with Columbia, moved to Nashville, and recorded his first album, Home Free, in 1972. The album hit a high note with critics, but proved to be overlooked by the label, and Fogelberg was soon dropped.
Dan kept at in in Nashville, working with others like Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, Randy Newman, (singer/songwriter and composer), Michael Stanley, (singer-songwriter, musician, and disc jockey), and eventually Dan Fogelberg was signed by Epic Records. At that time he came under direct management of fellow University of Illinois alumni Irving Azoff, who had managed Joe Walsh, and The Eagles.
Under this new management, Dan recorded the album Souvenirsin 1974, with backing by Don Henley, Graham Nash, Glenn Frey, and Joe Walsh. Walsh also produced the album, which went gold and sent Fogelberg into stardom.
He followed Souvenirs with Captured Angel in 1975, Nether Lands in '76, which both went gold, then in '78 he hit platinum with Twin Sons of Different Mothers, a collaboration with flutist, Tim Weisberg. This was followed by Phoenix in 1980, and Innocent Age, a double LP.
Despite becoming reclusive on his ranch near Boulder, Colorado, and never enjoying the involvement with touring, he became a very solid touring performer with his band Fool's Gold, (who themselves cut a couple of somewhat successful LPs). Eventually Fogelberg spent his time between the ranch and a home on Deer Isle off the coast of Maine.
He released Greetings From the Westin '91, another collaboration with Weisberg, in '95 on No Resemblances Whatsoever, which contained a high tech, soft jazz theme. In 1999 his only "holiday" release First Christmas Morning brought out musical sounds reminiscent of European tradition, popular carols, and Fogelberg's own compositions. In 2003, he went back to the folk-rock sound of earlier recordings with Full Circle. Fogelberg's plans of touring to promote Full Circle ended with a diagnosis of prostrate cancer.
In 2005, he recorded one of his last tunes, Sometimes a Song as a gift to his wife Jean. When released as a single, profits went to prostate cancer research. He finished his last album, Love in Time, which included Sometimes a Song, and earlier compositions.
Dan Fogelberg died at his home on Deer Isle on December 16, 2007. A wonderful songwriter, singer, and musian was lost. He is sorely missed.
A petition to have Dan Fogelberg inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been established, and to sign it, please go to the link below.