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We Miss You, Dan Fogelberg

| December 16, 2015 | 67 Comments

Eight years ago today Dan Fogelberg left this earth. I still have a hard time accepting it. Too many of my memories are tied to him; too much of my past is bound up in his songs. So today will be spent listening to his music, singing along to songs that are seamlessly woven into my life, and being grateful for the power of music and the gifts songwriters give us.

Below is an audio version of the tribute I wrote for him. I remember being at the office working late on the night of Dec. 16 when I heard the news. I held off on closing the issue we were working on until I could get this written, so I stayed home the next morning and these were the words that somehow presented themselves to me.

We miss you, Dan.


“In Tribute: Dan Fogelberg”

From “Letters From Lydia”

Category: In Case You Haven't Heard

Comments (67)

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  1. Chris says:

    First, I want to say that I NEVER respond to any of this blog type stuff on the internet, but I feel compelled to respond to your beautiful tribute to Dan Folelberg.

    I was also in college, at Indiana University, when I was living in a dorm with a room mate who played the acoustic guitar. I thought he was really good. He used to pick apart Dan’s albums and try to replay them. I was his captive audience, as I sat and listened. Meanwhile, the newest Van Halen album was blasting through the walls.

    I remember when I went down to Karma Records and bought The Innocent Age. That did it for me. I was really hooked then, and years later, I’ve introduced Dan to my kids.

    A few years ago, I had front row seats for Dan’s concert on a beautiful summer night with my wife at Wolf Trap in Northern VA. It was just him. Nobody else. What a wonderful night, what wonderful memories. Thanks for posting your thoughts. Ironically, because I did not personally know him, he lives on in my mind through his music. It’s as if he’s never left us. I kind of like that.

  2. Donn Ross says:

    For the most part I have come to grips with the fact that Dan Fogleberg is no longer in the world. But still I frequently pause and remember the music that captivated me from the moment I first heard Home Free. I was/am a musician and felt/feel the undeniable connection to those incredible vocals and amazing songs. I was one year ahead of Dan in age and truly felt like I wanted nothing more than to meet and play with the musician that shaped me more than any other (with the possible exception of Joni Mitchell). At the risk of sounding maudlin, I think I died a little the day we lost Dan. However, I understand the truly awesome power of love now. Thanks Dan
    P.S. I met Dan’s mom and wife Jeanne in Peoria 2010. I hope you’re doing well.

  3. Guy Merritt says:

    Many years ago I was traveling the country as a piano player and after a gig at a Ramada Inn in Iowa City, Iowa, I was offered a job with the “house band”. I took the job and the bar manager was a great guy, and, a lousy piano player. After hours, we’d lock up and he’d play the piano and I’d play the drums. He told me a couple of times that I reminded him of his brother because I could “play anything”. He said his brother was a musician, and that was it – for months. One night he said, “Yeah, my brother’s got an album on Columbia but it’s not doing that well – they say he’s not commercial enough….”. I was stunned – I’d assumed that his brother played in a bar, somewhere. Really, I thought he was joking. Anyway, Dan Fogelberg was Pete’s brother. He brought me a copy of “Home Free” the next night to take home and listen… I never had realized what high compliments I’d been paid! Dan was an incredibly talented guy and, from what I knew of Pete, he had a wonderful family. A very tragic loss – may he rest in peace.

  4. P.St.Onge says:

    Thank you for such a touching tribute to Dan. Even though I’m “just a fan”, I feel comfortable calling him Dan, as he was one of my closest confidants during those angst-ridden teen years now decades ago. His music carried me through times I felt as though no one, absolutely no one, understood me…. except Dan. There will always be an ache in my heart when I hear his clear soulful voice singing about the Truth with a capital T.


  5. Jim Graham says:

    I want to add my voice to the many, many people who responded. Thanks for (again) putting words to what so many of us think.
    -Jim G.

  6. Tim Dunbar says:


    Thank you for this. I met Dan once in St. Paul and again a few years later in Milwaukee. He was a very cool guy and didn’t mind posing for a picture, which I still have on the wall in my library.
    I didn’t cry when, at 16 my brother died of leukemia, or when my mother died years later of lung cancer. But I wept the night I heard that Dan had passed. His music helped me grow to be be the man I eventually became. His song were with me along that road and they are in my heart to this day. Your words captured exactly the way I felt about Dan Fogelberg. I miss him, and I miss the music that could have been.


  7. Bret says:

    Superb, Inspiring, thoughtful and certainly something i will return to. Very much enjoyed this and believe it captures the essence of messages Dan Fogelberg left in his music…… Thank You

  8. Ana Cannober says:

    Here we are 10/18/11…I just found out that Dan had passed away…I must have been under a rock or something! I was searching through youtube and looking for the idols of my youth…Cat Stevens, John Denver, Dan…I found quite a few. All those songs…they still make me cry…and here I sit…grieving a man I never met but feeling like he knew me…The songs…the feelings…the heart…

  9. I’m looking ror these three songs as folloew,
    Over Peoria, by Robert McEntee
    Bones In The Sky, by Kevin W. Hivick Sr.
    Go As The Raven Flies, by Kevin W. Hivick Sr.

    Can you help me out?
    John Cotseres / 930 Washington Street / Evanston, Illinois 60202

  10. gary says:

    Guess you have to be a woman to express the feelings that a lot of men have towards Dan.

    Thank you for hitting all the right notes about my feelings and thoughts about that very special time of my life and the many, many hours I tried to play the guitar and piano and sing his songs, to no avail.

    Along with Gordon Lightfoot, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, Ronnie Milsap, Jim Croce, John Denver and a few others I am a devoted fan of, Dan Fogelberg will rank— as they all do to me—as an inspiration that makes life worth living. To have heard them and now to re-visit him 40 years later is something of a miracle.

    Thank you. So much.


  11. Stuart Plant says:

    Dear Lydia,
    What a wonderful tribute. I travelled from the UK to see him in concert in Jacksonville ,FL. It was my 50th birthday gift to myself, back in 1997. His words and music are a continuing inspiration. You know, I miss him…

  12. Melanie Obremski says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man. All of us are in good company.
    I admired him so…………what a wonderful life he led and how lucky he was to have Jean. I am hopeful he knew how much he was and is loved.

  13. Tony D. says:

    Great tribute Lydia.

    One sided relationship says alot for most of Dans fans. He touched us with his heart and he always had the right words to say and now he is With the Leader of the Band.

    I have attached my own musical tribute to Dan written when I found out. Again thanks for your tribute and Dan is smiling down on your words.

  14. Sharon Gavenda says:

    Dear Lydia,
    I just have to write in response to your tribute to Dan Fogelberg. With tears in my eyes, I listened while you put to words what I have felt since Dan left us. Only a Dan Fogelberg fan can truly understand the sadness that others may see as a bit strange, especially for someone we never knew. Yes – his music was part of my life and I felt like I knew him because of it. There are so many times I recall a person or event and Dan’s music is part of that memory. I still think of him every day and listen to his music almost daily. Thank you so much for the beatiful tribute to him!

  15. Susan Gonzalez Baker says:

    Lydia – you are as gifted a writer and READER of writing as I’ve ever heard on NPR or anywhere else. I say that with tears rolling down my cheeks. It’s a snow-in all-schools-closed day today in North Texas–you know, the kind Coloradans call “a regular Wednesday in Februrary.” I’m alone, teen boys out temporarily, husband gone for good. Been rough. So having discoverd Pandora, finally, I put Dan in as I think of those artists I loved in the past and am shocked beyond reckoning to discover so late that he’s left us. Now as I pull out all the dusty records my husband always vetoed (good riddance) and pull up EVERYTHING on youtube, I start listening again. And with what? Of course, “Another Auld Lang Syne.” And I finally realize, at 49, how a young girl can fall in love with someone she’s never met, and why that young girl needs that kind of love. It’s simple – it’s the one kind of love that will never wound or shatter her heart but only strenghen it for the real highs and lows to come. There were years and years when Dan was that one-way love of my life. Especially in college, where you couldn’t go into a girl’s room with seeing Souveniers propped up somewhere SEPARATE from the rest of her albums, where she could stare at his astoundingly beautiful features. And Innocent Age on the turntable… And now that he’s gone, I only hope I get the chance, when my race has run, to tell him how much I love him as I finally meet him and, of course, The Leader of the Band, whom I’m sure is right by his side. Thank you for your kind indulgence in my ramblings. Keep up the excellent work! And bless Jean for understanding, I’m sure, and for keeping the candle burning!

  16. Debi Miles says:

    Words cannot express the grief that I feel over the loss of this truly gifted man. Thank you for your words though, it makes me feel less alone in my grief. We were all truly blessed to have been given the gift of his talent, and I for one will miss him forever. That being said, thank you for your words, they make me feel a little less crazy. I realize I am not alone in how strongly the mans talent touched me.

  17. Yarko Buchynsky says:

    Thank you Lydia, for a truly heartfelt expression of what makes it all make sense.
    If anything, Dan’s lyrics made it all make sense. Relationships of all kinds –
    mothers, fathers, lovers-the indelible intricasies of the impossibilities that we
    all attempt to navigate in our quotidien struggle to make some sense of what is.

  18. Lenny Rello says:

    Lydia, You have spoken the words that all of us “Dan Fans” have been feeling since we first were introduced to him, which for each of us I am sure was a different moment, event, or song. For myself, I remember watching a PBS show back in the early 70’s, maybe Soundstage, and Dan was on and sang “Part of the Plan” and I was hooked from that moment on. I have attended many of his performances over the years and unfortunately never had the pleasure of meeting him in person other than as you say, a fan. Like everyone else my heart sank when I heard the news of his passing. He was not a relative or a close personal friend yet he still had a place in my heart. He gave me so much with his music. “Longer” was the song my wife and I chose for our wedding song 30+ years ago and our best friends followed suit a year after us. I will always cherish listening to his music and will until my time is up. I loved him and miss him dearly!

  19. Alan Barnard says:

    It is with a lump in my throat that I craft this reply. The many comments are all different incantations of my own feelings so I won’t belabor them. I will say that in your words and tribute Lydia, 35 years of my life have washed over me like a warm blanket bringing comfort and solice. While I carry the sadness of losing someone who has been woven throughout a large part of my life, much like John Denver did when he passed, the joy and relevance of Dan’s music and words far overpower the grief. I lived close to him in Colorado and occasionally Dan would drop by the Western dance bar that I frequented and play a set. The sad part is that I always seemed to have missed him by an hour of so and my friends would tell me the next day, “hey Alan, you left 10 minutes before Dan Fogelberg dropped by an performed a few tunes.” So close…. That was in Durango, Colorado in the early 1980’s. I will never think of Colorado, music, love or warm memories without Dan’s music settling like a gentle fog over a clear pond at sundown. God Bless you are a gift we can never repay.

  20. Johnny Good,Seville,Spain says:

    Like the great man you read about Lydia, your words are with eloquence, beauty, meaning and substance. Magnificent!

    Johnny Good, Seville, Spain

  21. tim pastor says:

    ~it amazes me how so many of us kindred souls are still so beautifully affected by dan’s life, his music, ‘his~story’…i’m so honored to be led all these years to follow my own muses upon first experiencing, ‘to the morning’…

    ~dan underscored our paths and truly tapped into the core of our being. flowing from a higher source, it was his honesty ‘n the pureness of melodic magic that vaulted into our hearts.

    ~now he’s safe, like a snowflake landing softly in a dream…we miss you, mountain bird, sweet dreamz+

  22. robin rothe says:

    Dear Lydia,

    I am always humbled and comforted when I discover that I am not alone in how much Dan Fogelberg meant, to me and to so many others. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t listen to his music and think of him. I remember so vividly the first time I heard “Part of the Plan” on the radio. I just had to know who this guy was with the gorgeous voice, and it was the start of a relationship (as you said, one-sided, but wonderful just the same) that will last a lifetime.

    I wish that Dan was still here on this Earth. But I am so grateful to Jean for continuing to share special memories and photos of Dan with us. What a treasure it is to visit the website and find something new posted there just for us. I feel it binds us together as a sort of family and allows us a chance to stay connected, to share our love for this rare, beautiful, and gifted man we all held so dear.

    Thank you for stating so eloquently what we all feel in our hearts. I am glad that you were able to meet him in person and have that memory to cherish. And thanks for sharing it with us.

    Ever on…

  23. Mary Jo Scott says:

    Such a beautiful letter. You expressed how so many of us felt about Dan’s music and the sorrow when he passed away.
    Thank you.

  24. Connie says:

    This brings me back to the early 80s when I saw Dan Fogelberg in concert in Madison, WI. I’ll never forget when he tapped his hand against his guitar with a clunking sound and he said something like “Sorry ladies. Wedding ring” I felt crushed, even though I was married too. What a soulful beautiful person he was!

  25. Debbie says:

    I loved him…twin sons of different mothers drove me emotionally and intellectuality…I sketched and painted many things accompanied by his musidc…I loved him…

  26. Sue says:

    What a beautiful tribute! I also was a big fan of Dan Fogelberg, and understand your comment “He made me want to fall in love in high school.” Your tribute is timeless, and your words could be meant for any of our fallen music heroes. Music accompanies all of our memories…whether happy or sad. And when I hear certain songs, those memories are as vivid as if I was living them now. Thank you for sharing your tribute….a tribute for Dan Fogelberg….but also for all who give, or gave, us their musical gifts to track the memories of our lives.

  27. Mary Romanowski says:

    Thanks for helping me to understand the feelings that I have had for the last three years. It is hard to deal with such strong grief for someone that you met only once. Dan was the sound track of my life, as he was for so many of us fans. His music and words touched my heart like no other artist ever has. I was so lucky to have been able to see Dan in concert many times, due to my wonderful husband who put up with my craziness.

  28. Karen says:

    Lydia- Great job on your tribute to Dan. I just found out he died when I checked out this website. And now I weep, as his songs were a reonating chord in my soul for many years. I had heard and wondered what had happened to him. I will miss him yet cherish his songs and the memories of seeing him at Berkley’s Greek Theater.

  29. Christian Kuschel says:

    You couldn´t have said it better, Lydia.

    That´s exactly how I felt back in December 1997, even though I only found out a day later. Dan was somehow always providing the soundtrack to my own life, and I was always in awe of both his musical and his lyrical capabilities.

    I actually flew over the to the States a couple of times in the late 1990´s and early 2000´s to finally see him perform live, a dream come true after more than 25 years of listening to his music across the continents.

    Thanks for posting this, and let the music play –

    Christian, Frankfurt/Germany

  30. Ray Cipriano says:

    Lydia, you nailed it! Even guys can feel the exact same sentiments about this remarkable singer/songwriter/musician. No doubt that Dan’s music, for better or worse, has had a big role in molding me into the man that I have become. His songs taught me how to really LISTEN to all forms of music and to savor melodies, lyrics, harmonies, chord changes, etc… I too, was inspired to learn guitar and fall in awe with this magical and mesmerizing instrument (especially acoustic). To this day, when I hear some great fingerpicking or powerful strumming, I think of Dan. Dan’s lyrics and rhymes painted the soundtrack of my youth. Fogelberg’s songs encouraged this Texas Boy how to dream and escape. During my 20’s and 30’s, many a night was spent holed up in my room, absorbing and devouring every note and word! Wanting more. Needing more. Art in its’ truest of forms!

  31. Susan Powell says:

    Very beautiful and so real. Thank you for helping me put my thought together as to why I miss him so much. I was so in love with him since 1973. He’s been on all my travels with his music while my ex husband and son were forced to listen over and over to his lyrics. All my videos has his music int he background. While I was at work, my boss told me she thought of me the other day when she heard Dan had passed on. She didn’t know that I didn’t know. I absolutely lost it in front of everyone and had to leave work for the day. I lost my job…since it wasn’t a family death. Yes it was….

    I organized and hosted a kayak fishing tournament last year to raise money for Reel Recovery, men dealing with all forms of cancer. I dedicated it to Dan and had the band play Longer. I lost it again in front of everyone and my ex husband was there and cried with me. I’ll be doing another tournament and my thoughts are for him. I just went thru three tissues. Thank you for your words and feelings….

  32. Lydia says:

    Thanks so much to all of you for your stories and words–it was so great to share the day with you, friends I haven’t met. Dan gave us such gifts with his songs, and his was indeed a life well lived!

  33. Sharon says:

    Thank you Lydia. I could not have said it any better. Everything you said resonates with my life and my love of Dan and how he was a part of my life without ever knowing it! Every song has a memory in it for me, too……Dan touched our hearts and souls and will never leave us. Sharon

  34. Allie Bradshaw says:

    What a beautiful tribute to our Dan. He has been such a strong influence in my life. Through the good times, and the bad times, Dan’s voice would be a constant. I miss him every day. Ever On, Dan.

  35. Joanne Morrison says:

    Thank you, Lydia. Like Ellen, I, too am crying. You expressed our collective grief so beautifully.

  36. Cynthia Moldenhauer says:

    Thank you Lydia for express exactly how I feel, with the words that I seem to have trouble finding. It was part of what I loved so much about Dan’s music. He always seemed to take the twisting, whirling emotions I was feeling and put them into words that made sense of it all.

    Forever a fan.

  37. Tammy Vinsontook a moment of silence out says:

    He did change the world for many of us. It was a kinder gentle place where one could find solcae, comfort, and tears all at the same time. The note take me back to wonderful moments and others where I needed to feel the confort of his lyrics and soothing voice. He will forever be a part of my life and my children now. Thank you for the beautiful words, I reflected in silence at 6 am the moment he left this world. Dan we miss you. Jean and all the Dan fans let’s keep him with us always.

  38. Court Bolger says:

    Dan’s words and music were a soundtrack to a lot of people’s lives. I am amazed and disgusted that Dan Fogelberg is not in the R&R Hall of Fame. He was one of the best and I will listen to his music the rest of my days.

  39. Amy Lambert says:

    Dear Lydia,

    Your tribute is so beautiful. The words struck a chord with me, as I too had my world colored by Dan’s music…to this day I’m an incurable romantic, I’m sure in part because of the poetry in his compositions. My best friend Laurie and I got to meet him and spend some quality time getting to know the true artist and gentleman he was. I also shared the same wide-never-ending grin in the photos we had taken that night…as did she. Thank you.

  40. Jean M. Shea says:


    Thank you for saying it so well for so many of us- “Dan-Fans”.

    I was a fan from 1975 until the day I leave this Earth.

    I was shocked, cried and stunned on 12/16/07 when I learned Dan left us way way too early at only age 56 from as you say- the “insidious” Cancer.

    I still find it very hard to believe he is not with us any longer- here on this Earth-but in Heaven.

    I always wanted to meet him, never got the chance to.

    His music moves me like no one else can.

    His music has been the background for the ups and downs in my life.

    I will always be “in love” with Dan and his music.

    I so so miss him, still.


    Thank you for the gift of your gorgeous music, songs, writing, voice….


  41. I listen to Dan everyday. I faced my cancer with a different approach and thankfully am still here. Each and every aspect of my life involved Dan and his music. Touring on the High Country Snows, meeting Dan face to face and sharing a moment with connection. I feel blessed to have been able to spend days watching Dan enjoy SO much his music and buddies!! Keeping his legacy alive in my heart is easy. There are so many artists, John Lennon, Michael Jackson and many more that will be missed BUT, they know the Secret…what happens when we cross over?

  42. Cindy Titus says:

    Thank you Dan for seeing me through the birth of my first son and the death of my husband 2 days later. If it wasn’t for the sensitivity in your words, the sweetness of your guitar and the sullen sound of your voice, I never would have made it through those rough days, weeks, months and years.
    I will be eternally grateful for you and your songs which are the gifts you left for us to share. I will miss you ever on.
    All my Love,

  43. John Bougae says:

    Thank you Lydia, that was beautiful, and I do know how you feel. When I heard about Dan passing, I woke my wife that morning as I burst into tears. We cried a river together, our hearts were broken so very deeply. He was the “soundtrack” to our lives, Dan WAS the man in our house, nothing will ever change that. His music never leaves me, it lives in my heart and his melodies are embeded in my soul. I consider myself just a fan also, but I did have the pleasure of hanging with Dan a few times in the 90’s. The beer that I was marketing manager for, sponsored the “morning show” in one of the biggest radio metro areas in America, he played there in the city almost every year for 25 years. I have met many famous musicians, but no one “touched” me like Dan did. Meeting Jimmy Buffet, James Taylor, and so many many “stars” was an amazing experiance, but it wasn’t like being around Dan. For Dan was “not of this world”, my wife says, and I know this to be true, that “God” or something had “gifted” something to Dan, and it was as clear as anything I’ve ever experianced. He literally had an aura around him, being next to him would make your skin tingle, and that is a fact. Though we only crossed paths every few years, he never forgot my name, nor did he not have a spare moment to talk about his life, or ask questions about mine. He was such a “nice” man, truly friendly, though in a “shy” quiet kind of way. I have a LP copy of “The Innocent Age” that is mounted within a shadow box made out to my beloved wife by Dan, it hangs in our office in our home, and the lyric book he signed to me. I never had my picture taken with Dan, I thought that was “to much”, but looking back it was a mistake of my own vanity. I didn’t want to appear like every other “fan”, but I was, and I am. And, I thank God that his music and my life collided in such a beautiful way.

    Like Lydia stated, we all know something about cancer, me, way more than I would like. But, one thing that I got from Dan, was “live your life to it’s fullest”,and “take life for all the freedom you can”. As “Scarecrows Dream” closes out from my stereo, I can truly say, Dan you are loved, and that love will never die. Of that you can be assured.

  44. Susan Hescher says:

    Beautiful piece and you speak for so many of us. His music and lyrics are the song to my life.
    He passed way too early and we miss he and his music every day.
    Music to me is a way of life. He made my life better.
    Thank you!

  45. Rhonda Owen says:

    You said it so well. Your words and feelings are so familiar to me, so much like my own, and have been for so long. He is part of my soul. Thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute which so many of us can share and understand.


  46. Linda Lear says:

    I share your feelings about Dan. I loved him for his gentle soul which shown through his art. I admired him greatly for his song writing, his passion, his beautiful singing voice, ability to play so many musical instruments, his visual art, his prowess in his sound studio and…. need I go on? He was the whole package.

    The world is a little colder since his passing. I miss knowing he was out there somewhere in the flesh but know he will be a part of this world in spirit long after we are all but a dim memory.

  47. John Holloway says:

    Very nice, Lydia. Thank you for sharing this with me. Regretfully, I never saw him in concert. However, the Lord blessed me with enough talent to play 2 out of 3 of my favorite songs-Longer and Leader of the Band. One day, his spirit will speak to me and help me to arrive at a guitar version of my 3rd favorite-Old Lang Syne. It’s wonderful to hear from fans as yourself and all of the comments on Facebook to Jean and her family. I’m so glad you mentioned playing guitar and his music. You and I have a unique connection with him knowing the experience of playing his music and developing a unique understanding and letting his spirit sink even deeper into our soul. Thank you again, Lydia.

    My love,

  48. Selma Manizade says:


    I feel the same way about so many of the things you said. And that feeling of having something in common with all who love Dan lead me to his memorial dedication in Peoria over the summer. I sat there and and sang every word to all of his songs at the memorial concert – so many I had not listened to since college. Like you said- it so strange to have this one sided relationship but I grieve for him like I have no other. But I got in touch with the memories that weekend.

    Thanks for your comments. Dan girls are soul sisters.


  49. Peter Iannuzzi says:

    Wow Lydia!!! I don’t know what to say about this great inspirational letter that I just heard…. You are one incredible writer yourself. The letter just touched my heart by listening to your strong and deep thoughts of Dan Fogelberg. He has touched so many people’s lives within and through his unbelievable talent of singing these songs that he wrote for all of these years. He will be missed so very much to many of thousands of fans. I can’t agree with you more than what you had said about cancer…It is one of the nastiest words in our lives and our hearts. I hope that my family won’t have this since one of my grandmother has died back in 2006, she had lung cancer but she was also a horrible chain smoker.I am so blessed to hear your letter that it brought tears today. So as of today and every Dec 16 of every year let’s always remember Dan in our hearts and soul. You can email me at if you would like to keep in touch. Have a blessed day and Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…and always remember that Dan Fogelberg’s music rocks……:)

  50. Ellen Mercier says:

    Thanks so much Lydia. You have said it all, so well. I am crying as I am writing this. He really was real, wasn’t he?

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