Dan Fogelberg (born Daniel Grayling Fogelberg in 1951 – died in 2007) was an American singer-songwriter and musician who enjoyed the peak of his commercial success in the late 1970s throughout the early 1980s. His most remembered and popular songs are “Leader Of The Band” and “Longer”. After performing at local venues in his home state in Illinois, a discovery by veteran personal manager Irving Azoff led Fogelberg to be sent to Nashville, Tennessee, to develop his talents. His first album Home Free was met with tepid reception, but his sophomore effort Souvenirs in 1974 became much more successful. SinceSouvenirs Fogelberg released albums that became certified gold and platinum –Captured Angel, Nether Lands, Phoenix, The Innocent Age, Windows and Wallsand High Country Snows. HisGreatest Hits released in 1982 was also certified multiplatinum. Many of his singles became successful as well – “Longer”, “Same Old Lang Syne”, “Hard To Say” and “Leader Of The Band”, while more of them were charting high on the adult contemporary singles listings. His last studio album was River Of Souls, released in 1993. In 2007 Fogelberg died of advanced prostate cancer, aged 56.
Early life and career
Mellow folk rock/country singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg enjoyed the peak of his commercial success in the late 1970s throughout the early 1980s. He was born Daniel Grayling Fogelberg in Peoria, Illinois on August 13, 1951. Music was in his blood, as his father was a high school band director and his mother was a classically trained pianist. He learned to play many instruments like the guitar and even dabbled with the Steel Tongue Drum.
While still attending university, Fogelberg began to play in local clubs and venues, along with his own band The Ship. A discovery by veteran personal manager Irving Azoff led Fogelberg to be sent to Nashville, Tennessee, to hone and develop his talents.
His debut album Home Free (1972) was met with tepid reception, but as the years passed it eventually went into platinum. Fogelberg’s second effort Souvenirs (1974) became much more successful, yielding his first charting single “Part of the Plan” which reached the Top 40. Souvenirs would eventually reach double-platinum status.
Taste of commercial success
Fogelberg’s third and fourth albums Captured Angel (1975) and Nether Lands (1977), respectively, were equally successful, both achieving the platinum certification. These albums’ success would pave the way to his next album Phoenix (1979). It brought him his first major hit “Longer,” which reached #2 on Billboard pop chart and topped the adult contemporary singles chart. This love ballad would become a staple of many wedding events, and cemented Fogelberg’s status as a mellow rock/soft rock star. Phoenix sold over two million copies, earning a platinum certification.
In 1978, Fogelberg teamed up with Tim Weisberg to record Twin Songs of Different Mothers, which featured the #24 pop hit “The Power Of Gold.” The album itself went to #8 on the Billboard 200.
Later life and career
Phoenix’s follow-up The Innocent Age (1981) also went double platinum on the strength of the singles “Same Old Lang Syne” (#9 pop, #8 adult contemporary), “Hard To Say” (#7 pop, #2 adult contemporary), “Leader Of The Band” (#9 pop, #1 adult contemporary) and “Run For The Roses” (#18 pop, #3 adult contemporary). Despite The Innocent Age‘s other singles faring relatively better on the charts than “Leader Of The Band,” that song grew to be more enduring each passing year. It was probably because Fogelberg wrote this as a touching tribute to his father who as above mentioned was a high school band director, the “leader of the band.”
In 1982, Dan Fogelberg released his first-ever Greatest Hits compilation, which became one of his best-selling efforts. It sold three million copies and was certified multi-platinum. Greatest Hits also featured two new songs “Missing You” (#23 pop, #6 adult contemporary) and “Make Love Stay” (#29 pop, #1 adult contemporary).
In 1984, he released Windows and Walls, which went gold and featured the top 20 pop single “The Language of Love”. The following year Fogelberg issued his Nashville-recorded bluegrass album High Country Snows, which also went gold. In 1987 he returned to his usual soft rock material with Exiles, which was best remembered for the singles “Lonely In Love” and “She Don’t Look Back”, both of which became minor hits. For a time Fogelberg eschewed his usual theme of love and relationships when he released another LP The Wild Places, which touched on the preservation of the environment. In 1993, he released the world-music-flavored River Of Souls. The year 1995 saw the releases of his second compilation album Love Songs and another album with Weisberg, No Resemblance Whatsoever.
Columbia Records chronicled Fogelberg’s first 25 years in the music business with a four-CD boxed set Portrait, released in 1997. He ended the 1990s with a Christmas album The First Christmas Morning, and in 2003 released his last studio album during his lifetime, Full Circle, which found him returning to his early acoustic career.
The following year, Fogelberg was diagnosed with an advanced prostate cancer. After a three-year battle with the disease, he passed away in late 2007, aged 56. Two years later, a collection of previously unreleased songs made it to the posthumously-released album Love In Time.