Saturday, 12 November 2016

Dan Fogelberg And Me

Dan Fogelberg (1951-2007) is primarily remembered as a soft-rock singer whose heyday was in the seventies and eighties. He was far more than that, though: he was an excellent blues guitarist, he recorded a bluegrass album, and i would call a lot of what he did “country rock” à la early Eagles. Although i knew his name, i don't think i'd ever actually heard his music until about two years ago. I have since become obsessed with the man, his music, and his life.

The first song of his i ever heard was “Part Of The Plan” (with Graham Nash on backing vocal). John Ulett played it one Sunday morning about two years ago on the KSHE Klassics program – about which i write with predictable regularity. I was immediately struck by both the catchiness of the tune, and the beauty of his voice, and i downloaded the song from iTunes and played it almost every day – and liked it more each time. The lyrics are profound, the message is sincere, and it was his first hit single (1974).

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I went to my local CD shoppe, Video+ -- just on the off chance that they might have something of his and they had a greatest hits collection which i of course snapped up, and, wow, just wow. I was hooked. So many wonderful songs.

When he died, of prostate cancer, many people wrote, in tribute, that he had written the soundtrack of their lives. I don't think that's true for me. He wrote some extraordinarily beautiful music but i'm first of all a blues-rock fan (with prog and folk-rock closely behind). (I would, for the sake of convenience, consider a lot of his music as folk-rock.) But, from beyond the grave, he speaks to me. I don't know how to explain it, but i connected.

I now have around fourteen of his albums and just ordered another one yesterday. This has caused problems. So much great music in so short a time, i am trying very hard to become familiar with all of it, but it's taking time. For instance, there will be a song i really like, but i can't remember what it is or what album it was on!

Somehow, Dan, the city of St Louis and i are interconnected. Intertwined in some way. I first heard him on a St Louis radio station. The only other radio station i can recall ever hearing him on, was a different St Louis station. His concert DVD “Greetings From The West” was recorded at the Fox Theater in St Lou.... (I don't often watch concert DVDs but i've watched this thrice now, may in fact watch it again tonight, it's superb.)

Yet, he wasn't a St Louisan – he was born in Peoria, Illinois. In fact, in the state of Illinois, his birthday, August 10, is officially “Dan Fogelberg Day.” I have a commemorative t-shirt. And one of his best songs was entitled “Illinois,” which includes the lyric “it looks like you're going to have to see me again, Illinois,” and dammit all anyway, don't i feel the same way?

One last thing. His widow, Jean, is an artist (and a very good one). On behalf of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, she designed a set of Christmas cards – very attractive ones, too. I bought a set. Sixty dollars, yikes! (The cards were $20 US, the postage was $25 US, = $60 Canadian. But what the hell, i have more money than i need and it was for a worthy cause.)

Apparently there is “new” album coming out, “Live At Carnegie Hall” (iTunes only, i think) and a biography in the works. I look forward to both.

God bless you, Dan.


Cheryl Curnow said...

I am so thrilled you are on the Dan Fan Wagon. I too find when I listen to him after having not for a while become immersed in his music for months before I can let go. It is like visiting an old friend. I somehow get this hope that if I listen to him long enough it will bring him back to earth. But listening does keep him alive in spirit and he would be pleased knowing that. I'm sure he knew before he passed. How could he not? If I remember correctly December 16 it will be nine years since his death. It is hard for me to believe it is almost a decade for I can still remember the shock when I learned he had died. Love ya Richard! Cheryl FB Buddy :)

Freg said...

Love you right back, Cheryl, and thanks for your comment.