After a whirlwind trip “back home” this weekend, the electricity going off at midnight last night until 4:30am with sub-freezing temperatures, we settled into a couple of warm cups of coffee this morning while Mini-DD scurried around getting ready for his first round of final exams. While I’m checking email, Mr. D peruses the newspaper providing any relevant or interesting information. This morning, he declared the sad headline, “Dan Fogelberg, Dead at 56”. I was stunned. Dan Fogelberg succumbed to an aggressive form of prostate cancer near dawn on Sunday morning, leaving this world as one of the great acoustical folk musician/singers of this generation.
Dan Fogelberg was another of those artists that my brother exposed me to when he was in college and I was just starting high school. Along with James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett and Carole King, Fogelberg was one of those great singer songwriters of the day and I was totally enamored by his free-spirit and natural vibe.
In 1971, Fogelberg signed with Clive Davis at Columbia Records joining artists Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel as emerging artists from Clive’s “stable”. He had recently dropped out of college and with the reluctant support of his father, and traveled cross country from Illinois to Calfornia to pursue his musical dreams. His father, Lawrence, had been a big band leader and what Dan referred to as a “legitimate musician” and no doubt, understood his youngest child’s passion for music.
Dan Fogelberg immortalized his father in the hit, Leader of the Band:
On his trip west, Dan ended up stranded and out of money in Estes Park, Colorado, where he immediately fell in love with the mountains and the natural loveliness of the area. He would later buy a house there when he signed his record deal and that environment was a natural catalyst for writing wonderful music. One of those lovely songs was Longer:
Here are a few other great Fogelberg songs and an outstanding cover.
Run for the Roses
Believe in Me
Probably the song that Fogelberg “kun-NECK-ted” best with listeners was Same Old Lang Syne. Many people identify with the “lost love” story and the song ended up in the top 10 in 1981. I vividly remember this song and relating so strongly to this song. That’s what good songs (and good songwriters) do. They relate. They kun-NECK.
Same Old Lang Syne
Dan Fogelberg was truly a gentle, sensitive soul who helped shape the music of the seventies with great musicianship and wonderful songwriting. He will be missed and always remembered as one of the great singer-songwriters in the great proliferation of them from that decade.
I’m always amazed how even though a great talent and warm soul leaves this earth, it still keeps spinning. Even though “the world stops for no man”, it would seem that when somebody like Dan Fogelberg passes on, the world just might skip at least one beat.
ETA: Read Bob Lefsetz’s comments on Dan Fogelberg and a particularly poignant dissection of Same Old Lang Syne. Exactly.