December 16, 2007 – Daniel Grayling “Dan” Fogelberg was born on August 13, 1951 in Peoria, Illinois into a musical family; his father being a high school band director and his mother a classically trained pianist.
So it comes as no surprise Dan’s first instrument, at a very early age, was the piano but he soon took an interest in the Hawaiian slide guitar and when his grandfather presented him with one, he spent hour upon hour teaching himself the skills.
This, combined with his admiration for The Beatles, he taught himself electric guitar and by the age of 13 he had joined his first band, a Beatles cover band, The Clan. This stint was followed by a band called The Coachmen, which in 1967 released two singles “Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget” and “Don’t Want To Lose Her”.
With his third band Frankie and the Aliens he started touring with covering the blues masters .. such as Muddy Waters and the rock of Cream.
After graduating from Woodruff High School in 1969, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study Painting and Drama, it was at this time, while soloing in coffee houses and bars that he was discovered by a young Irving Azoff, who at that time was promoting local bands. After much thought the two musical minds left Illinois to follow their dreams in Los Angeles. Dan began in the studios doing sessions, where he soon got noticed, he went on a part tour in support of Van Morrison, and one of his demos resulted in a contract with Clive Davis at Columbia Records.
Dan released his debut album ‘Home Free‘ in 1972. Although critically acclaimed, Dan had no single for promotion. After many more studio sessions, he recorded his second album, ‘Souvenirs‘ under the direction of his friend, Eagles’ Joe Walsh. He released its single “Part of the Plan” which jumped onto the charts, sending the album double platinum. The next 2 years were filled with continual hard touring with a young band from Illinois, Fool’s Gold. His third album, ‘Captured Angel’ (1975) he wrote, recorded and produced himself originally as a demo disc while back at home with his family in Peoria, when his father was ill in hospital. It was ambitious and strong. Dan sang and played all guitars, keyboards, bass, percussion, banjo and harp on all the tracks. The demo was made into the album, as that raw emotion could never have been recaptured.
Dan then moved to Colorado and released a string of gold and platinum albums, including Nether Lands (1977), and found huge commercial success with songs such as “The Power of Gold”. His 1978 Twin Sons of Different Mothers was the first of two collaborations with jazz flautist Tim Weisberg. 1979’s Phoenix reached the Top 10, with “Longer” becoming a #2 pop hit (and wedding standard) in 1980. The track peaked at #59 on the UK Singles Chart – his sole entry on that chart. The album reached #42 on the UK Albums Chart, likewise his only entry there. It was followed by a Top 20 hit “Heart Hotels”. He also performed at a number of the Musicians United for Safe Energy “No Nukes” concerts in 1979 and 1980.
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.”
Dan was always experimenting with different sounds and moods on each new album, the last being “Full Circle” in 2003. Over a long career his music was inspired by genre as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass and at times he has used his music to address social issues, including Native American concerns, peace and alternatives to nuclear power, e.g.”Face the Fire” on his sixth album “Phoenix“.
In 2001, a Dan Fogelberg signature edition Martin D41-DF guitar was issued and 2002 sees him honored as one of the first 10 inductees into the Performers Hall of Fame at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison.
But in 2004, just months after his last album ‘Full Circle”, Dan was sadly diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He spent the last few years of his life together with his wife, Jean, on their ranch in Colorado, and later their home in Maine bravely fighting a battle with this daunting disease. He underwent hormonal therapy, achieving a partial remission but it failed to completely eliminate the disease.
He died from prostate cancer on December 16, 2007.
“So wealthy the spirit that knows its own flight, Stealthy the hunter who slays his own fright, Blessed the trailer who journeys the length of the light” ~ The Innocent Age: Nexus