Dan Fogelberg

Daniel Grayling Fogelberg[1] (August 13, 1951 – December 16, 2007) was an American musician, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. He is known for his 1980s songs, including "Longer" (1979), "Same Old Lang Syne" (1980), and "Leader of the Band" (1979). Fogelberg recorded “Leader” as a tribute to his father for his 1979 album Phoenix, but felt it was too sentimental for the album and didn't release it until 1981 on The Innocent Age.

Dan Fogelberg
Fogelberg in 1974
Fogelberg in 1974
Background information
Birth nameDaniel Grayling Fogelberg
Born(1951-08-13)August 13, 1951
Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
DiedDecember 16, 2007(2007-12-16) (aged 56)
Deer Isle, Maine, U.S.
GenresRock, folk rock, soft rock, country rock
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, bass, piano, mandolin
Years active1968–2007
LabelsColumbia, Full Moon, Epic, Giant, Mailboat

Early life and familyEdit

Dan Fogelberg was born in Peoria, Illinois. He was the youngest of three sons born to Margaret (née Irvine), a classically trained pianist, and Lawrence Peter Fogelberg, a band director at Woodruff High School in Peoria, at Pekin Community High School in Pekin,[2] and at Bradley University in Peoria.[3] Fogelberg’s mother was a Scottish immigrant, and his father was of Swedish descent.[4] His father was later to be the inspiration for the song "Leader of the Band". Fogelberg often related his memory of his father allowing him to "conduct" the Bradley University school band when he was only four years old.[3]

Using a Mel Bay course book, Fogelberg taught himself to play a Hawaiian slide guitar that his grandfather had given him. He also learned to play the piano. At age 14, he joined a band, The Clan, which covered The Beatles. His second band was another cover band, The Coachmen, who, in 1967, released a single with both tracks written by Fogelberg, recorded at Golden Voice Recording studio in South Pekin, Illinois, and released on the Ledger Record label: "Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget" and "Don't Want to Lose Her".[2][5]

After graduating from Woodruff High School in 1969, Fogelberg studied theater arts and painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while playing local venues with a folk-rock band, The Ship. He began performing as a solo acoustic player in area cafes. One of these included the Red Herring, which is where he made his first solo recordings as part of a folk festival in 1971.[5] He was discovered by Irving Azoff, who started his music management career promoting another Champaign-Urbana act, REO Speedwagon. Azoff sent Fogelberg to Nashville, Tennessee, to hone his skills. There he became a session musician and recorded his first album with producer Norbert Putnam. In 1972, Fogelberg released his debut album Home Free to lukewarm response, although it eventually reached platinum status.[6]

He performed as an opening act for Van Morrison in the early 1970s.[7]

Musical careerEdit

WZZQ, a radio station in Jackson, MS had given Home Free a lot of airplay. Some local promoters secured the City Auditorium in Jackson for a Dan Fogelberg concert. They sold out the show in ten days and when they called Fogelberg's agent to let him know the show sold out, Fogleberg's agent was in disbelief because Dan had been playing in clubs with less than 100 people in attendance.  The gig at the City Auditorium was 2,500 seats, which made it Fogelberg's first big gig. On February 22, 1974, this show was broadcast and recorded by WZZQ and can be found on YouTube.[8][9]

Fogelberg's second effort was successful – the 1974 Joe Walsh-produced album Souvenirs. The song "Part of the Plan" became his first hit. Fogelberg also received contributions from the Eagles throughout the album. He had toured with the Eagles during this time. After Souvenirs, he released a string of gold and platinum albums, including Captured Angel, recorded at Golden Voice Recording Studio, South Pekin, IL[10] (1975) and Nether Lands (1977).

His 1978 Twin Sons of Different Mothers was the first of two collaborations with jazz flautist Tim Weisberg, which found commercial success with songs such as "The Power of Gold".[11] Power of Gold peaked at number 59 on the UK Singles Chart – his sole entry on that chart.[12] The album reached number 42 on the UK Albums Chart, likewise his only entry there.[12]

Phoenix, from 1979, reached the top 10, with "Longer" becoming a #2 pop hit in 1980. This LP eventually sold two million copies.[7] It was followed by a Top 20 hit "Heart Hotels".

In 1980, Fogelberg appeared on the soundtrack to the film Urban Cowboy[13] with his song "Times Like These" and first performed on a live television program.[7]

The Innocent Age, released in October 1981, was Fogelberg's critical and commercial peak. The double album included four of his biggest hits: "Same Old Lang Syne", "Hard to Say", "Leader of the Band", and "Run for the Roses". He drew inspiration for The Innocent Age from Thomas Wolfe's novel Of Time and the River. A 1982 greatest hits album contained two new songs, both of which were released as singles: "Missing You" and "Make Love Stay". In 1984, he released the album Windows and Walls, containing the singles "The Language of Love" and "Believe in Me".

According to MTV, "Fogelberg couldn't capitalize fully on his popularity, due to stage-fright that caused him to cancel live appearances, including a Dodgers Stadium gig with Elton John." This specious claim was later refuted by Fogelberg himself, citing recurrent streptococcal tonsillitis as the cause of his cancellations, and a dramatic improvement in his health after a tonsillectomy.[7]

Fogelberg released High Country Snows in 1985. Recorded in Nashville, it showcased his and some of the industry's best talent in bluegrass. Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Doc Watson, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Chris Hillman, and Herb Pedersen contributed to the record. In a world he defined as "life in the fast lane", Fogelberg described the music as "life in the off-ramp". In late 1985, he switched gears and took to the road with a group of musician friends, including Joe Vitale, Paul Harris, Tino Gonzales, Jeff Grossberg and Rick Rosas, playing blues in small clubs throughout Colorado as Frankie and the Aliens, covering songs by Cream and Muddy Waters, among others.[14] 1987 heralded a return to rock with Exiles, an album that contained "What You're Doing", a throwback to the old Stax Records sound made famous in Memphis during the 1960s. The Wild Places, an album whose theme was the preservation of nature, was released in 1990 followed by a tour. His live Greetings From The West album, and full-length concert film (with interview segments) of the same name, was released in 1991.

River of Souls, released in 1993, was Fogelberg's last studio album for Sony Records. In 1997, the box set Portrait encompassed his career with four discs, each highlighting a different facet of his music: "Ballads", "Rock and Roll", "Tales and Travels", and "Hits".[7] In 1999, he released a Christmas album, The First Christmas Morning, and in 2003, Full Circle showcased a return to the folk-influenced 1970s soft rock style of music.

In May 2017, a live album of Fogelberg's performance at Carnegie Hall, championed by his family and longtime friend Irv Azoff, sourced from a 1979 tape made by his touring sound company, was released. It peaked at No. 71 on the Billboard album chart on June 10, 2017,[15] becoming the first of Fogelberg's live albums to chart on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

Personal lifeEdit

Fogelberg was married three times: to Maggie Slaymaker from 1982 to 1985, to Anastasia Savage, from 1991 to 1996; and to musician Jean Marie Mayer, from 2002 until his death in 2007.[16][17]

From the early 1980s until his cancer diagnosis, Fogelberg lived near Pagosa Springs, Colorado, on a working ranch, which housed a recording studio which he built. He also owned a home in Maine, on Deer Isle, overlooking Eggemoggin Reach.[18]

Cancer diagnosis and deathEdit

In May 2004, Fogelberg was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. After undergoing therapy, his cancer went into partial remission. In August 2005, Fogelberg announced the success of his cancer treatments. However, his cancer returned, and on December 16, 2007, Fogelberg died at home in Deer Isle, Maine, at the age of 56.[19] Fogelberg was cremated and his ashes were scattered into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine.[20]

Fogelberg's widow Jean Fogelberg announced that "Sometimes a Song", written and recorded by Dan for her on Valentine's Day 2005, would be sold on the Internet and that all proceeds would go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The song was released on Valentine's Day 2008 and was also included on a CD released in September 2009 titled Love in Time, a collection of 11 previously unpublished songs.[21] Love in Time became the first Dan Fogelberg album to chart since River of Souls in 1993, reaching number 117 on the Billboard Top 200 on October 10, 2009.[22]


In tribute to Fogelberg, Peoria renamed Abington Street in the city's East Bluff neighborhood "Fogelberg Parkway". The street runs along the northeast side of Woodruff High School, Fogelberg's alma mater, and where his father was a teacher and bandleader. Fogelberg Parkway continues to the intersection of N. Prospect and E. Frye, the location of the convenience store where Fogelberg ran into his high school sweetheart one Christmas Eve – as described in the song "Same Old Lang Syne".[19] A group of Fogelberg fans created a memorial garden in Riverfront Park in 2010.[19]

Fogelberg was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame at its "Rocky Mountain Way" induction concert on August 13, 2017.[23]

Ten years after the singer's death, Jean arranged for a CD tribute to Dan's work, A Tribute to Dan Fogelberg, with performances by his old friend and producer Joe Walsh with the Eagles, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Jimmy Buffett, Michael McDonald, Randy Owen, Donna Summer, Boz Scaggs, Dobie Gray, the Zac Brown Band and other artists.[24] The tribute CD was co-produced by Jean, with major assistance from Dan Fogelberg's friend, producer and arranger Norbert Putnam, Fogelberg's longtime friend and manager Irving Azoff, and Denver music promoter Chuck Morris, who joined Fogelberg as a member of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2018.[25][26] In 2020-21, Jean published a "Covid-19 Serial Memoir" on her website about her time with Fogelberg, including how they managed his cancer, called "All the Time in the World."

Part of the Plan is a musical using the music of Fogelberg. Starring Harley Jay and Kate Morgan Chadwick,[27] it opened September 8, 2017, at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in Nashville.[28]

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James has cited Fogelberg as a musical favorite and an influence, with "Leader of the Band" being the first single he ever bought.[29] James' home studio features a Trident Series 80 recording console that formerly belonged to Fogelberg.[30] Garth Brooks has stated that Fogelberg had an influence on his music. "There are songs that people say are the soundtrack of your life....In college, I would take out my Dan Fogelberg records, and would read a passage (of lyrics) from Fogelberg's work, and go about my day. That was an artist who changed my life, who made me change where I wanted to go and the music I wanted to play, and thus, led me here."[31]


Studio albums


  1. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Artist Biography". danfogelberg.com. Archived from the original on January 4, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Biography". Treehouse.org. Waxahachie, Texas: Wynn Drumm. Archived from the original on July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Leader Of The Band by Dan Fogelberg". SongFacts.com. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  4. ^ Lyons, Dee (June 26, 1987). "Dan Fogelberg: Singer to Shine at Starfest". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved December 19, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "Early Recordings". danfogelberg.com. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  6. ^ "Discography – Home Free". danfogelberg.com. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Dan Fogelberg". MTV.com. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  8. ^ Watkins, Billy. "Fogelberg tribute album stirs memories of when Jackson made him believe in himself". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  9. ^ "Dan Fogelberg, Jackson and WZZQ". Radio Discussions. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  10. ^ Album documentation
  11. ^ The Power of Gold video used in the ABC 1980 Olympics on YouTube
  12. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 206. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  13. ^ "Urban Cowboy (1980)". IMDb.com. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  14. ^ "St. Petersburg Times – Google News Archive Search". News.google.com. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  15. ^ "Dan Fogelberg Live At Carnegie Hall Chart History". Billboard.
  16. ^ "DAN FOGELBERG BIOGRAPHY". sing365.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  17. ^ Biography for Dan Fogelberg at IMDb
  18. ^ Witkowski, Robert (March 2010). "Wild Child". Portland Monthly. Portland, Maine. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  19. ^ a b c "Dan Fogelberg – A Tribute to a Native Son of Peoria, Illinois". Dfpeoria.com. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  20. ^ Dan Fogelberg at Find a Grave
  21. ^ "Dan Fogelberg Official Website". DanFogelberg.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  22. ^ "Dan Fogelberg Love In Time Chart History". Billboard.
  23. ^ "Garth Brooks, Joe Walsh to play 2017 Colorado Music Hall of Fame concert". Denver Post. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  24. ^ "Dan Fogelberg Tribute Album". Rolling Stone. December 15, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  25. ^ Fogelberg, Jean. "Tribute To Dan Fogelberg". Danfogelberg.
  26. ^ "Q&A – Chuck Morris Reflects On His Legendary Career Before Hall Of Fame Induction". 303magazine.com. November 27, 2018.
  27. ^ "TPAC Original Musical 'Part of the Plan' Preview". newschannel5.com. Scripps Media. September 12, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  28. ^ "Home". DanFogelbergMusical.com. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  29. ^ "40 Things You Should Know About Jim James". Fans.com. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019.
  30. ^ "Vertigorecordingservices: with Jim James..." vertigorecordingservies.blogspot.com. February 10, 2011.
  31. ^ Levy, Piet (September 25, 2015). "Nine highlights from Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood press conference". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 18, 2020 – via jsonline.com.

External linksEdit