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Remembering Dan Fogelberg

| August 13, 2013 | 85 Comments

Most of my readers know about my deep, abiding and often embarrassing love for Dan Fogelberg and his music. He filled the soundtrack of my youth, made me want to learn to play the guitar, was the model for all the moody musicians I fell for in college, and trying to figure out how to meet him—when I’m being ridiculously honest—is the real reason I started Performing Songwriter magazine in 1993.

My brilliant plan worked and I did get to meet Dan. I interviewed in him 1994, and had my dreams come true when I spent almost two hours talking to him about art and artistry, music and musicianship. He told me about his love of Georgia O’Keefe and stories his then-wife—who was O’Keefe’s nurse—shared with him; of sailing around with Jimmy Buffett, drinking Heinekens and penning “Domino College,” his only co-write; of the inspiration he found in Tom Robbins’ book Still Life With WoodPecker; and how overlooked Paul Simon’s Hearts and Bones was and that he thought “René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War” was Simon’s greatest piece of work.

Today Dan would have turned 62 years old, and I thought a good way to celebrate would be to go back to that conversation I had with him 19 years ago and share a few of his thoughts on his early albums—including The Innocent Age which, unbelievably, turned 31 last year.

Thanks for all the great songs and memories you left us Dan, and we celebrate your birth. You are truly missed.

What is your perception of your first album, Home Free, now?

It just strikes me as a very young man; very innocent. It was my first record in Nashville and I was having a wonderful time. I still like the songs on that album, I just wish I could have sung better when I was younger. I mean it was just always this high falsetto. And nobody knew what they were doing (laughs). We were all just kids, you know, doing a lot of drugs and having a lot of fun. And that’s the truth. When people come to me and say Home Free‘s their favorite, I just wince. But there’s something about that innocent quality that still translates to people. It’s like my first born, you know. I’m always going to love it, but I don’t hear from it often (laughs).

Do you remember writing “To The Morning?”

Yes I do, very vividly. It was the first real piano song that I ever wrote. And I had come back from college my freshman year in the summer and I sat down at my mother’s piano at her house, I was home for the summer, and I remember being up in the morning and looking out through the venetian blinds, and it was a lovely sunny summer day, and I just wrote this song. It was very heavily influenced by Joni Mitchell. And it was all done in one morning. And it’s still one of my favorites, I still play it in concert and it still holds up. I think it’s a very good song for what it is.

What about “Wysteria?”

I don’t know where that came from. I think that was just a college drug haze, because it doesn’t make much sense. It’s this really weird thing about a vampire; a dead woman. I used to ask the audience what they thought this song was about and nobody knew. (Laughs) Wysteria is dead, it’s a ghost. And this guy’s still hung up on this ghost. Listen to it in that context (laughs). It’s a weird song. I think I remember lying in a hallway of some dumpy house I lived in in college and this thing came out. And I didn’t even know what the name “Wysteria” meant. I was at a head shop and I saw a candle or some incense called Wysteria, and I thought it was a great word (laughs).

What does your second album, Souvenirs, represent to you?

That was my L.A. days, running with The Eagles. They were all over that record, we were buddies and we were touring. The thing that I’m most proud of with that record is that it opened the door to the people I wanted to work with. And Joe Walsh got me Russ Kunkel. I always looked up to Russell immensely from his James Taylor and Carole King work. And I was just drooling to work with this guy. And Walsh just called him and he came down, and here I had him and Al Perkins from Manassas and Graham Nash came in. So I got to work with a lot of my heroes on that record. And it opened the door for me in L.A. as far as not just being the kid anymore, but being one of the guys. So I remember that one as a real good time … probably way too good a time. It’s a miracle we survived that record.

What about your album, Captured Angel?

If I only had one record to take back and redo it would be Captured Angel. I can’t even listen to that one. That was done as demos. I played everything, I did everything. My Dad was in the hospital having open heart surgery and he was really sick, and I was living with my Mom in Peoria. And while I was there I had nothing to do so I booked this little funky studio, and I would just go in and work. I would go see my dad and hang with him until they kicked us out of the hospital, and then I’d go to this studio and work till dawn. And I made all these demos that I was going to take to L.A. and redo, and I played them for everybody, and everybody said, “why bother, they’re good enough. We’ll have Russell play some drums on it and add another bass player, but we think the tracks are there.” So it came out that way. And in retrospect it was a mistake, because it could have been a much better record. Again, I like the songs on the record, I still perform “Old Tennessee” and “The Last Nail” and “Next Time.” I think there was some good writing, but I just think that the production was miserable. Because, again, I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought I did (laughs).

How was “Old Tennessee” inspired?

That was a funny song. This is interesting because I never told this stuff. I wrote “Old Tennessee” as really a “cop,” as a joke. James Taylor was real popular at this point, and I was hearing this kind of … in James’ writing there was a lot of similarity. There was this east coast folky type of thing. And I said, “Well, hell, anybody can write something like that,” (laughs). So I wrote that and it’s really just a send up of early James Taylor work. And I just wrote about whatever was happening at the time, you know, about this girl I was with at the farmhouse who left, and all this sort of thing. So it wasn’t anything I did seriously, I just thought it was a send up of a particular style. (Laughing) Now I’ll probably get a letter from James.

What about your album, Nether Lands?

That was a real seminal record. I think that was the first mature record I ever made. To me when I listen to the first three, that’s a kid. I think Nether Lands was the man growing up. And I think it was musically mature, but also the lyrics finally had some real depth and philosophical strength to them that I’d never had before.

The song “Nether Lands” was a pretty grand musical undertaking.

You have no idea (laughs). I cut the track solo and then I hired Dominic Frontiere, the arranger, and I worked with him for a couple of days. And then we went in and they had a 69-piece orchestra. We played the chart, and then I freaked out and ran out and re-wrote the whole thing (laughs) at the session. This thing went like eight hours with 69 pieces. You wouldn’t be able to do that today, it’s cost prohibitive. I mean we were just nuts (laughs). My friend Norbert Putnam, who produced it, and I were having a great time. He bought a whole cooler of Dom Perignon and we were saying, “Boy, this is gonna be great, isn’t it.” And here are all these people and we’re out at the Burbank Sound Stage where they do the movies. We’re drinking champagne before the thing even started, thinking we were just going to sit there and listen. And I heard the first chart and just went, “Oh my God!” It sounded like a train wreck. So I was half lit to begin with, and then I had to go out and try and tell these guys what I wanted them to play. It was a long night (laughs). It was a great night in retrospect.

Tell me about that Twin Sons of Different Mothers with Tim Weisberg.

That was a real quickie. I had called Tim in to work on Nether Lands on a track. We just hit it off and I really liked his stuff, and it would be interesting to see what we could come up with. So I just started thinking about writing without lyrics, which is something I love to do. I started composing all of these pieces and asked Tim if he was interested. And he listened and said, “let’s do it.” So it was about six months, start of finish.

That album did really well, didn’t it?

Yeah, that just blew the top off the whole thing. And I was embarrassed to even put it out, you know. I mean, I liked it but I just thought it would be torn to shreds and ignored. And so I said, “Irving, you hold it for a week, I’m going to Europe,” (laughs). “I don’t want to be around when it comes out.” And then I got these calls in Amsterdam saying I had a hit record with it.

And “The Power of Gold” was the single from that?

Yeah. That was one of the few things that I’ve written specifically for radio that worked. We had this whole thing of all this instrumental bossa nova and other stuff—a pretty eclectic mix of music—and we had this big huge grandiose symphonic piece that I had written and actually tried to record. And I went home thinking that that wasn’t what we needed to end that album with. We needed something that rocked. And we had already done most of the album. So I remember just going home and banging this thing out in a day or two and calling Tim and saying let’s cut this other track. And we did it, threw it on there, and the next thing you know it was on the radio.

High Country Snows was a real departure for you. Was it a really fulfilling album for you to make?

It’s the most fun I ever had in the studio, and I think that comes across on the record. It was just a joy, a pure joy from day one to the finish.

How long had you toyed with the idea of making a bluegrass album?

It happened really pretty quickly. I had been listening to a lot of bluegrass because I was building my ranch in southern Colorado and I was driving a lot between my old house near Boulder and this place. And I was listening to bluegrass because it seemed like great music to be driving through the mountains listening to (laughs). And so I renewed my interest just kind of on my own. And then I went to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1984, I think, just to hang out. I showed up and Chris Hillman and Al Perkins were there, and Herb Peterson had missed his flight. They were supposed to do a trio, so Hillman asked if I wanted to be in the band—actually he didn’t ask, he said “you’re in the band” (laughs), and I hadn’t done any of that kind of stuff in a long time. So we worked up some chestnuts backstage and went out and did a show. And I started thinking about how I really enjoyed this music when I was younger. It’s really complex, it’s really challenging, and it’s a whole genre of singing and playing. So I just came back and said this is my wish list of musicians and it turned out that all went for it. So I didn’t have a choice, all of the sudden everybody was saying, yeah, let’s do it. And all of the sudden I had this phenomenal band ready to go, so I thought I’d be an idiot not to do this. I had a hard time convincing the record company, though.

“Same Old Lang Syne” is one of your most popular songs. What was the writing of that like?

That was really a joke. It was just an exercise in songwriting. It took a long time to write that thing. And what I had done was I took Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, that riff, and I wrote it in C major and played it with a Floyd Cramer feel, which I thought was funny to begin with. And then I threw this 6 minor chord in, which to musicians I thought would be a very funny thing to do. So I was just going to throw this at my friends in the studio as a joke. And then I thought, “Okay, I’m just going to exercise my craft here, and let’s see if I can do a song about nothing. About something so inconsequential.” So I was thinking about what that could be, and I thought, “Okay, you just came back from your mom’s, you ran into your high school girlfriend, see if you can write a song about that.” And so I started writing it and just laughing about it, that it was actually fitting into this song (laughs). And then I came up with the title, which I thought was a good pun. And suddenly I realized that there was a great poignancy developing in the song that I never intended. And it started taking on a life of it’s own. And it kept drawing me back over a year. And I’d work on it and write one verse or two lines or something. And finally after the whole time I had this big piece, and I went “My God, this is actually good,” (laughs). And I never intended it to see the light of day, I never intended it to be a serious piece of writing. You just never know what people are going to take a liking to (laughs). I thought it would just help me write other, better songs. But I don’t know that I’ll ever write a better song than that. It’s a darn good one, it’s still a powerful performance piece, and I never get tired of it.

What about “The Leader of the Band,” was that something you had been wanting to write for a while?

That was totally spontaneous, it was a one-day wonder, I just happened to sit down with the guitar and bingo, that thing was done. I mean I never consciously wanted to write a song to my father. If I had consciously thought about it, I never would have done it. Because I thought it was too obscure and certainly non-commercial. That for me was a real great moment, because whether or not that song was ever a hit, it meant a great deal to my father. He got to hear it, and it said things that neither one of us could say to each other. We weren’t real communicative males, you know, we’re midwestern (laughs). So that song was so timely because he only lasted about another year after that. That’ll always be a real special song to me.

—By Lydia Hutchinson

Photo by Henry Diltz

From Performing Songwriter Issue 10

Category: In Case You Haven't Heard

Comments (85)

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  1. Carol E. says:

    I don’t have the words. In another time and place, he would be my love.

    I feel like I knew him. I never met him.

    When he passed away, the first thought that went thru my head was, “I never got to meet him. I love him.”

    Not just his music. He touched my life, too, with the way he was. He was my virtual soul mate.

    Carol

  2. Gary O says:

    I’m so glad I found this interview. It was great to imagine Dan talking about his songs. He was gone way too soon! The body of work that he left us is evidence of his mastery. I was a freshman at college, struggling to adjust and just dumped by my high school girlfriend, when I discovered Home Free. I wore the grooves out of that album. I particularly liked Dan, because his singing voice was like mine. I still sing with the girls in the choir. I probably spent way too much time singing along with Home Free when I should have been studying. Stars, Be On Your Way and Looking for a Lady were the first songs I learned to sing and finger pick on the guitar. I’m glad to hear that he thought the songs from that album held up, even if he wasn’t so thrilled with the performance. That music still means a lot to me. When I first heard Another Auld Lang Syne, I imagined that’s what may occur if I ever ran into my old, high school girlfriend. In many ways it seemed that he sang my life. Dan may be gone, but his music will endure the ages!

  3. Mark Thacker says:

    This man was the Mozart of our time. He could do it all. So few take the time to listen to the beauty, writing, vocals, and guitar work and piano playing. HE COULD SIMPLY DO IT ALL. His humor was second to none. He will never be given the credit he deserved, simply because people just hear the love songs on the radio. He could play any type of music. I saw him approximately 30+ times, he always gave everything he had, he is and will always be in a league of his own. So few know the true depth of his talent, but a “few” of us do and are so blessed to see it. Rock, Blues, Ballads, Etc. HE COULD DO IT LIKE NO OTHER. The people out there who saw him “live” know his talent, if he makes it into the “Hall of Fame” who cares, he was simply in a class above. To this day, sit down and listen to Netherlands, The Innocent Age, singles Place in the World for a Gambler, Nature of the Game, He was simply the damn best, and again those of us who are lucky enough to hear it and understand it for what beauty it is are the lucky ones. THE MAN, he could do it ALL. Thanks God for letting my brain and ears hear the beauty of all of it. His music gave me so many good times in my life, and I will never forget him. “CLASS ACT FROM BEGINNING TO END”

  4. Jeep Lewis says:

    Wow, what a moving interview. Thank you, Lydia, for the laughs and tears. I grew up loving the music of Dan and Harry (Chapin). “Same Auld Lang Syne” and “Taxi” are two of my favorite ‘shower songs’. I rarely get through either one without choking up a little.

  5. Debbi Doutt says:

    I have lung cancer which mestatized to my brain and bones and Dan’s songs soothe me, give me a reason to go on through chemo and radiation. Knowing he also fought cancer gives me strength to go on. I can close my eyes, listen to the music and words and know what whatever comes it will be okay-except for when I get my treatments, I’m never okay after that. My husband, who died 13 years ago, also a guitarist I know is playing with Dan. Debbi

  6. I attended the University of Illinois in Champagne-Urbana in 1970, and at that time Dan Fogelburg was the most prominent folk performer in town. I heard him a number of times at the Red Herring Coffee House. The only number I remember from those shows was a solo instrumental banjo piece called “The National Guard is Coming”. The prior year there’d been big anti-war protests on Campus and the National Guard had been called out.
    He would have been 19 or 20 at the time. He was good enough to impress me even then.

  7. Karen says:

    I, too, spent hours/days/weeks as a teenager listening to his albums; writing down the lyrics so I could sing along at the top of my lungs. Also, quite in love with him. Just bought some of his CDs (I had all the LPs). He will always be with me. Wish I could’ve met him.

  8. gordon hominick says:

    I’ve always been a helpless romantic, and a helpless musican. I still
    “well up” in tears, and emotion whenever I sing and play any of Dan’s
    music. This article and accompanying songs takes me to another “place”.
    I recently returned from a Fogelberg tribute in Boulder, CO. The “players” were tremendous; and I shed more tears during the performances. He was our “Captured Angel”, who made us all cry, believe, and share deeper thoughts about life and love, than I never would have come up with. He left us way to early; I can only imagine the music he could have continued with;
    Thank you Dan, RIP
    Slygord

  9. Lori says:

    I’m seeing this superman born in Peoria Illinois, and raised in bluegrass and classic American rock and roll. So he swept up a few ladies with his love songs, the fact is he was a superior songwriter and theologist. My learning and experience with his gift, was unreportable. This man will be held in my brain/heart until I die.

  10. Phyllis Viola says:

    I wept too when Dan passed away. That sadness always waves over me each December in Sun Valley watching the snow fall on Baldy.
    My husband and I were married 32 years ago today. One of my favorite things he does is pick up his guitar and play Fogelberg.

    RIP Dan.

  11. Jeff Short says:

    I also cried when Dan died. The lingering effects have been like something I have never felt in my life..he had a profound effect on me. His music was so direct and true. I had a chance to chat with him once in Tennessee. He invited me to his concert and was in seventh heaven. I hope he is well in heaven, we miss him. Thanks Dan….your my hero!

  12. L Perry says:

    No fuss about it, Captured Angle was one of the greatest albums ever released, but I still have a committed heart to the HOME FREE album!! Every song was real and fresh. I miss this man, I have no new songs to practice, or sing. RIP Dec.2007 Mr. Fogelberg.

  13. Jim says:

    Steve – you said it so succinctly. I would second you if it were Robert’s Rules. Dan’s words and tunes are there for so many of life’s changes. I wish he were her to keep me going through middle age.

  14. Steve Uelk says:

    Got married to Netherlands, divorced to The Next Time. Very powerful connection. To the Morning my day to day anthem. God Bless.

  15. Nate says:

    I am familiar with Dan Fogelberg songs because of my parents. Thanks for sharing this because it gives smile on my face while I remember my parents thru his songs.

  16. Jim says:

    I don’t know how I stumbled on this blog. Nice to read the notes of people who understand. Dan was there at the beginning of my adulthood with Home Free and Souvenirs, my first heartbreaks with Netherlands and Phoenix, and all along the way has been part of my life’s soundtrack. His death was the beginning of understanding my mortality (i’m 53 now).
    I love that there are so many men he was able to touch and get blubbering like babies. But let us not also forget that the man could rock with the best as well. This article is a wonderful reminder of his many talents.
    Thanks.

  17. Debbie Werbel says:

    I’ve loved his music since I was 18…now I’m 59. But for some reason, for the past two weeks, I’ve had his music on my mind and have been singing it like crazy. I’ve never had a total stranger touch my life in such a profound manner. I don’t really think there’s anyone writing music today with the same depth, talent and sensitivity that all of his work seemed to have. Miss you Dan.

  18. Greg says:

    Lydia, many thanks for posting this and doing the interview. I’be been feeling rather sad the last few weeks over his passing and sometimes I find it hard to listen to his music because I miss his gift so much. Just as much as I miss my parents who have passed on. He was such a tremendous talent (singer, songwriter,accomplished musician) but it was hos words that had such a profound affect on all his fans. We miss him dearly and there will never be another. Godspeed

  19. Steve Uelk says:

    They say God works in strange ways, but come on! We all know that She just wanted a private concert. Dan’s Netherlands got me through my secnd, wasn’t meant to be wedding, my leaving note was a total rip-off of “The Next Time. Now my grandkids are learning about love,love lost, love found, lessons in life by listening to Dan. Forever grateful, Steve

  20. Mark5 says:

    Dan will always be my favorite musician, singer, song writer. Like so many who have commented here, he helped me express those emotional sides of myself that I kept hidden from the world. Still brings tears to my eyes.

    I’ve listened to him since I was 15 and now I’m 42. Wow, time flies! But in this space of time I have listened to Fogelberg nearly every month of every year, sometimes more. And now my daughters, 15 and 13 have become musicians. They’re favorite musician, singer, songwriter? It’s not Rihanna or Taylor Swift. It’s Dan Fogelberg. And they seem to have the same diversity to their music. His music lives on! And will continue from generation to generation. We love you Dan! You’ve left this world, but your music lives on!

  21. NICK says:

    Embarressed?? Why? I went to high school in the seventies. SInger songwriters were in…Stevens, Croce, etc. DF music was ALWAYS the most emotionally vulnerable of all…..it seemed he felt a lot like I did, when I was stripped of all the tough guy “for show” stuff me and so many others in my school were burdened with.

    NOw, his songs, especially those found in HOME FREE, are NOT just lyrics with notes, but reminders of some of my fondest memories. Some happy, some sad, but ALL important milestones in my growing to be a young adult.

    Just listened to HOME FREE, and shed tears for the first time in years. I had forgotten how nice it is to feel.

    Thanks to DF for not letting me forget.

  22. Timothy Phelps says:

    Dan Fogelberg has been my favorite recording artist since I was 16. I am now 51 and my love and passion for his music has not waned in the least. Like so many thousands of others, I still feel very emotional, after all this time, especially when i sit quietly and listen to him sing. He was simply the best and is too good for the rock and roll hall of fame!

  23. Cathy says:

    The first album of Dan’s I ever bought was the Innocent Age. I played it so much (back then when we had stereos with needles) that I wore it out and I had to go buy a second one. I remember thinking I could listen to him all day long.

    Dan has written so many hits and so many quality songs in his career that it would be hard to say (no pun intended) which are my favorites. Certainly I love everything on the Innocent Age, but also songs like Tucson, Arizona, Heart Hotels, Wishing on the Moon, The Next Time and Lonely in Love, Part of the Plan to name a few.

    Dan had very high standards for quality in his work, so his albums as well as his concerts always sounded highly professional. In addition to being an accomplished musician on both the guitar and the piano, he was a talented vocalist and a songwriter.

    I recall sitting at one of Dan’s concerts a long time ago when I was interested in becoming a songwriter and admiring the depth, diversity, the sincerity and truthfulness in his writing. I very much respected him, and wanted to “be like him” as a songwriter.

    I have more to share I’ll send in an email to your website.

  24. Cathy says:

    Hunt

    Oh, a new Learn to Play DVD. Now I get it!

    If you want my opinion on something, it’s alright to email me off board, and just ask.

    When you hunt sideways, the answer you get could accidently be upside down:(
    In other words, it’s a wearisome vigil, searching for signals, you could be misled…

    Cathy:)

  25. Cathy says:

    Hunt,

    I agree that Dan was absolutely fantastic at crafting an album. I’m also amazed how much technique and musicianship was involved.

    I guess when I saw his comments about Captured Angel, I wasn’t clear that he was talking about the “musical production”.

    I appreciate your explanation and insight.

    What are your thoughts on Gretsch country rock guitars?

    Cathy

  26. Lin says:

    I have been listening to Dan’s music for well over 30 years. I must admit to being a shallow teen and upon seeing his handsome face on the Souvenirs album cover, immediately bought the album. What a pleasant surprise when the music inside captured that special place in my soul. No other artist has ever had that effect before or since. Dan’s music does something to my psyche I just cant properly describe. It still awes me at the powerful talents this man had. I listen to other artists, but none grab my attention like his music does, then and even now. Because Dan mastered many different genre of music–I can find songs to fit any mood.
    I do prefer his earlier works–I think his genius show through in the young, innocent and untapped well that was clamoring to be released. IMO, The Innocent Age is a masterpiece from start to finish and his instrumentals on Twin Sons of Different Mothers are superb. It still saddens me that he is gone so young and I am glad I was blessed that day to find his music.

  27. Jen says:

    Hi guys – love reading these comments / memories / observations of his music.

    To Paul: I love Captured Angel as well, and “The Last Nail!”

    If you e-mail me off-board, I can e-mail you the lyrics to a song I wrote in Dan’s memory… (not recorded yet

    My e-mail is

    spiderweb1@sbcglobal.net

    .

  28. Paula says:

    I remember the day that Performing Songwriter came in the mail. Everything stopped, I squealed a little, dinner be damned & I sat down to pour over your wonderful interview with Dan. Yet another of my great Fogelberg memories. Thanks for providing it!

  29. Hunt Sidway says:

    Cathy,

    I agree with you, although I think I understand what Dan wanted to do. That’s some of his best songwriting on Captured Angel, IMO. For acoustic guitarists, it’s a marvel. I absolutely love playing The Last Nail, Old Tennessee, These Days and Crow. Interesting too that he wrote a song — These Days — with the same title as a Jackson Browne song (a little good-natured competition, perhaps?), and Old Tennessee was a deliberate spoof or pastiche of James Taylor’s style.

    The piano songs are fantastic also; Next Time is just a perfect pop ballad, which has just a bit of Broadway show tune feel to it. Then there’s the very bold, AOR (album oriented rock) pairing of Man In The Mirror/Below The Surface, the latter with some of Dan’s best studio electric guitar work, eloquently phrasing an Allman Brothers’ style dual harmony lead.

    Aspen is a lovely little piece to open the album; Dan was a master at crafting his albums, and many of them have either an instrumental opening (Aspen, Aurora Nova, Half Moon Bay), or the lead track (Nether Lands, To The Morning, etc.) serves the same function of setting the initial tone, tempo and feel. I once heard a harper play Aspen at a wedding, which was stunning, magical. I could see an enterprising Celtic harper doing a DF tribute album!

    There’s such warmth, life, love, humor and fun on Captured Angel. For instance, if you are familiar with Nashville music, you can listen to The Last Nail and clearly hear Dan paying tribute to Floyd Cramer’s signature piano style in the opening guitar riff which sustains the entire song. It’s like an inside joke to his musician buddies and fans, which became of course one of his classic pieces. Throughout his career, he continued to honor and recapitulate the many musicians and styles he loved so dearly, from ‘The Innocent Age’ with Richie Furay singing those Byrd-like harmonies, to the gorgeous Gretsch country-rock guitar sound on Full Circle and Love In Time, there are dozens of examples.

    I think Dan was disappointed with the production quality of Captured Angel, and would likely have wanted to take more time ‘crafting’ his many guitar parts. Even then he was pressing forward towards the production values he achieved with The Innocent Age. We can hear him getting much closer with Nether Lands and Phoenix, but by The Innocent Age, he has mastered his ‘sound’. Personally, I think Captured Angel is Dan’s “indie” album. He jams, rocks, does it all, and it has a live energy and feel to it. Thank God he left it as it is! :-)

    Hunt

  30. Cathy says:

    Lydia,

    After reading Dan’s interview about redoing Captured Angel, I just had to comment.

    Captured Angel is fine the way it is! Can’t see any point in changing it.

    Cathy

  31. Hunt Sidway says:

    Lydia, thanks so much for sharing this online. I still have and treasure that issue, especially as it marked my rediscovery of Dan’s music. My college roommate turned me on to Dan in 1980, but I didn’t buy anything after Innocent Age, and really preferred his earlier albums. Then in January 1993 I decided to make a long drive to Iowa for an art exhibit opening to see one of my photos which had won a juror’s prize, and decided to get some new music. Lo and behold, I discovered The Wild Places and Greetings From The West, and was amazed at this new vein of music from Dan! That journey stood out too, because I made a detour to visit the girl I should have married (a real heartbreaking story, which played out like a true DF song!). Anyway, I was hooked anew, got caught up on the 80s albums, got to see Dan live several times thru 2003, and got to meet and interview him in 1997 on the 25th Anniv Tour. A very memorable event. He is deeply missed… May his memory be eternal. — Hunt

  32. James Hughbanks says:

    Thank you so much for your work to preserve an absolutely great moment where we can see behind Dan’s inner thoughts which led to creation of his timeless music. My life revolves around his words and sound… 90% of what I listen to.. and I am exposed to about every type of music out there…

  33. Gordon A says:

    Lydia: Thank you for that piece. Having insight into the mind of THE songwriter is so very rare. And Dan-boy could spin words and music like few others. Some time ago while he was in his early 50’s, he played in my home town. Although having listen and bought most of his albums, some decades ago, his talent and performance were still superb. My wife and I shared that evening with some (ahem) younger friends who had heard his music but had no idea as to his talent. I am sure it was just another of his 1000 performances, but for me, it is something I will treasure for a life time. Happy B-day, Dano.

  34. Carol Bilderback says:

    I as all of you, have been touched by the beauty of Dan Fogelberg’s music and the deep devotion to him since 1975… Been through many challenges in life, all reflected with a particular album or song from him. He could reach your inner soul. I don’t know of any other artist that has had such a profound role in so many people’s lives.
    Thank you Dan and may you continue to live in spirit in our hearts! R.I.P.

  35. Alle L'Eveille says:

    Dan Fogelberg really touched my life with his music I was lucky to see him live at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO. It was unforgettable. What an amazing talent.

  36. bramble says:

    Lydia- I met him when I was in 8th grade and a friends sister was on the events committee at our local college. She got tickets for us and we must have had off that day because we got to help w/ set up, etc… Dan came in and was sick but intent on doing the show. We ran around getting anything we thought would help him feel better tea, soup, tissues who knows what all.At no time was he anything other than nice, appreciative and a gentleman. That night as we sat and hung on every note he played, he was amazing. Right before he played the last song he said “Where are my angels? Stand up girls and take a bow, you made all the difference tonight. Thank you X,Y & Z”. Stunned he had remembered our names let alone thought to thank us I have always remembered he as a great performer and a class act.

  37. David Holtzclaw says:

    Thanks so much for this Lydia. Dan & his music have been an inspiration to me for a lot of years.I’ve always thought he deserved more praise for his body of work. So glad you got to meet & interview him!
    I always wanted as well.

  38. Jen says:

    Hi everyone:a Thanks for this article, Lydia!+ 62nd birthday. I, too, am a serious Dan fan and also a singer-songwriter (I play the piano.)+

  39. So strange to finally read the inside stories of songs that have been part of my psyche for decades. I bought every album Dan Fogelberg made. “Part of the Plan” enlightened me as no other song in its day did with subject matter and guitar playing possibilities I didn’t know were possible to a songwriter, just as I was becoming a professional singer & songwriter. Now, a year younger than Dan would be, and more than than 6,000 pro performances later, I carry a little of Dan’s optimism and joy with me in each performance I give. Lydia, I totally get his importance to you. Throughout the 70s and into the 80s, because of the powerful influence his music had on my friends and me, he was often like the other person always in the room with you, influencing conversations… because his music and messages were so pervasive in our circles.

  40. Lydia says:

    And Robin — so glad you got a chance to watch the videos while you were in BR this week. Been thinking about all of you and I’ll talk to you soon. Rock on, Dan, indeed.

  41. Lydia says:

    Oh, Chris, I can’t believe you still remember that! I recently found the photo I took of him walking past us in the baseball cap. Those were the days. Hope you’re doing well and am so glad we share so many of those memories!

  42. Chris says:

    I remember hoping to meet him at the airport one day back in college. A good friend of mine knew the private pilot bringing him to town. We were the only two there. He walked right by us. While completely disappointed, my friend did get to spend quality time with him…years later. His music still resonates. Thanks, Lydia for more than one memory of DF.

  43. Robin says:

    Sitting in Baton Rouge listening to these posted tracks. So special. I’ll never forget our love (and obsession) with Dan Fogelberg. I do credit YOU with introducing him to all the youth of First Methodist Church to his wonderful sounds and words.
    Rock on Dan!

  44. tony murray says:

    I found Dan’s music in 1974….by accident the fellow I was jamming with that year brought Home Free to our session and I was immeadiately hooked.Covering his music has enhansed and built my acoustic guitar foundation .He took me to the next level and is still the major influence with my gift of music. I will always be a kindred spirit as a result of his work. I awake very day and have a Dan song in my head.I thank god for bringing this special artist into all of our lives.Having returned from my second visit to Peoria I feel even closer to what he brought us over the years….he will live in our hearts till our hearts quit beating…and we get the opportunity to see him again….ever on..bro and thank you for being yourself

  45. Karen says:

    Dan Fogelberg was the first musician that really touched my heart in my teen years. My boyfriend at the time (husband now) introduced his music to me. We loved his songs and were fortunate to attend a few of his concerts. We still play his music and sing right along with him. It’s amazing how many memories and youthful delights are conjured up whenever I hear his music. It was sad to have him leave us all at such a young age, but his lyrics and sweet spirit will be remembered and cherished for years to come!!

  46. lin says:

    My initial exposure to Dan Fogelberg pretty much was going into the record store. Searching through the albums, I came upon a picture of this seriously hot guy staring back at me with these soulful eyes! Well, I didnt know who he was, but bought the album anyway, I bought it home and started listening and was spellbound by the beautifully written songs! Dan’s voice mesmerized me! Finding his album that day and buying it in ignorance, was plain fate and a blessing because since that day I have been an avidly huge Dan fan. I listen to his music every single day and have never ever tired of any of it and I think that speaks volumes! This man was mega-talented and captivating. Dan will always be my most fave musician/vocalist/songwriter til my last day. Happy Birthday, Dan–still missing you so much…

  47. Bev says:

    Lydia, I, too have just returned from the 2nd Annual Dan Fogelberg weekend in Peoria! What an incredible weekend of glorious music! Dan would be proud! Thank you for posting this interview. I love reading Dan’s own words! He is still inspiring all of us!!!

  48. Diana says:

    Hi Lydia. Thanks for this. I just returned from the 2nd Dan Fogelberg Memorial Weekend in Peoria where we celebrated Dan’s 60th birthday and the 30th anniversary of “The Innocent Age.” Were you there?

  49. Nancy Kelel says:

    This presentation of Dan Fogelberg was superb. Awesome interviews. His voice still tears at my heartstrings. Thank you for sharing this collection and these slices of his life.

  50. Charles King says:

    I cried like a baby the day Dan died.. I have since made an effort to see live performances of musicians that move me, because I never saw Dan, and don’t want to make that mistake again. I was ridiculed as a 17 year old young man for listening to his Netherlands album, but it was the most beautiful collection of songs I had ever heard, (perhaps I was sheltered?) so I took the abuse and kept listening..He never lost my support or admiration after that.. He was a genious, and is missed terribly.. Happy Birthday Dan!!

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