Dan Fogelberg is an American folk-rock singer-songwriter who has released eleven studio albums, six compilation albums, one live album, and three posthumous albums. His songs are primarily about love or relationships. He also wrote two Christmas novelty records that sold millions of copies in the 1970s:The Little Drummer Boy (a cover of Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson’s song) and Jingle Bell Rock

Dan Fogelberg is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is the son of country music songwriters Stan and Judy Fogelberg, who wrote “Leader of the Pack.” Dan was born in Los Angeles on January 14, 1947.

Dan Fogelberg exemplified the late-’70s equivalent of the term singer/songwriter at its most developed and successful, with a string of platinum-selling albums and singles into the early ’80s and a long career afterward, interrupted only by a health crisis that led to his untimely death in 2007. If James Taylor epitomized the definition and the original, late-’60s incarnation of the term singer/songwriter, Dan Fogelberg exemplified the late- Daniel Grayling Fogelberg was born on August 13, 1951, in Peoria, Illinois, into a musical family. His father was a well-known pianist, instructor, and bandleader. His first instrument was the piano, which he picked up quickly, and music was more important to him than the sports that most of the lads around him were interested in. He began storing and listening to old albums when he was ten years old. And if everyone has a “God-shaped place,” Fogelberg’s was filled with music, which his family could have predicted based on how much he enjoyed the music at church but found the lectures boring. Drawing and painting were two of his other major interests. Before he was even a teenager, he had a musical epiphany in the early 1960s. He was introduced to the instrument that would soon replace the piano by his grandfather’s gift of an old Hawaiian guitar, and at the age of 12, he heard the Beatles for the first time, which not only led to a revelation about how electric guitars could sound, but also made him notice for the first time the act of songwriting as something central to what musicians did. He also started to notice the music of Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly, all of whom were, of course, in the Beatles’ repertoire at the time.

Soon after, he began composing songs, and by the age of 13, he was a member of the Clan, a school band that performed mainly Beatles tunes at school functions. He was the only one of the group that stuck with music, and his tastes and interests changed as the music around him changed. He was listening to the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield by the time he was in his mid-teens, and he found inspiration in the sounds and melodies of Gene Clark, Stephen Stills, Chris Hillman, Neil Young, and Richie Furay, among others. His second band, the Coachmen, developed from a dance-oriented R&B group in the manner of Paul Revere & the Raiders to a more progressive folk-rock outfit, even adopting some of Springfield’s more ambitious repertoire. Despite his passion to music, he didn’t jump right into the profession. It may have been different if he had been living in California, in Los Angeles or San Francisco, but in the lack of a very receptive audience, a surrounding coterie of serious musician friends, or much encouragement to study music anyplace in Peoria, he ended up pursuing other objectives. After graduating from high school, he went to the University of Illinois at Champaign to study theater with the intention of pursuing a career as an actor, and then switched to painting.

This was all taking place in the midst of the political turmoil surrounding the Vietnam War, which was still in full swing at the time, and Fogelberg wasn’t immune to the war’s tensions. He got back into music via a buddy named Peter Berkow’s club, The Red Herring, which was one of the few public venues for what passed for a counterculture in central Illinois. Fogelberg was invited to play by the latter, and he quickly built a local following with his sound and songs, and it was from there that he caught the attention of a University of Illinois alumnus named Irving Azoff, who was managing REO Speedwagon at the time and thinking it was time to move up to the next level in the music business. Fogelberg’s solo acoustic guitar performance at an otherwise inebriated fraternity gathering in front of a singularly inattentive crowd sold Azoff on his possibilities and the notion that if he was connected to Fogelberg, his own future could be very positive. He relocated to Los Angeles, and Azoff started the process of signing him. In the meanwhile, he recorded several recordings and even landed a support slot on a Van Morrison tour that also included Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks. Although his demo tape drew the attention of Jerry Moss at A&M Records and David Geffen at the newly formed Asylum Records, it was the famous Clive Davis, who was still at Columbia Records at the time, who signed Fogelberg to a contract.

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Home Free (1972), Fogelberg’s first album, was a musical embarrassment of riches, recorded in Nashville with Norbert Putnam producing. It was a sublimely beautiful melding of country-rock with a singer/personal songwriter’s level, reminiscent at times of Gene Clark’s solo work and also encompassing sounds derived from the likes of Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Neil Young, but never sounding too much like the joint work of those three (or four), and always sounding like Fogelberg. But, like many other excellent debut albums released during Davis’ time at Columbia Records, notably Child Is Father to the Man by the original Blood, Sweat & Tears and Greetings from Asbury Park by Bruce Springsteen, it never produced a smash single to help boost sales. Everyone who heard it liked it, but since it didn’t have a single to promote it on AM radio, few people heard it; in Davis’ opinion, Home Free was a bit too country-ish for mainstream radio, and slipped through the gaps between pop/rock and country playlists. After the triumph of groups like the Eagles a few years later, such differences would be less important, but in 1972, the music industry was so divided artistically. Fogelberg continued to perform as a session musician, appearing on Buffy Saint-MCA Marie’s first LP, Buffy, and Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky, among other albums during the early to mid-’70s. With the assistance of his management, he was able to stay with Columbia. Azoff’s Full Moon label had a production and distribution agreement with Columbia’s Epic Records imprint, and it was via Epic/Full Moon that he was given another opportunity. Fogelberg would record this time in Los Angeles with guitarist/producer Joe Walsh. Fogelberg quickly realized that in Walsh, he had found a sympathetic and enthusiastic collaborator, and everything fell into place, including Graham Nash’s presence (at Walsh’s request) singing harmonies on the resulting album, Souvenirs, which featured a variety of renowned Los Angeles-based musicians. The results were more than golden: “Part of the Plan” hit the Top 20 in 1974, and Souvenirs stayed in the charts for six months, selling consistently for years after that. The album featured a similar blend of components to its predecessor, but it was more generally heard and accepted this time. “Part of the Plan,” “Song from Half Mountain,” “Morning Sky,” and the darker “As the Raven Flies” (which reminded me of Neil Young’s “Ohio”) all appeared to go together nicely.

Captured Angel Fogelberg was now a celebrity, fronting the Illinois-based band Fool’s Gold and traveling nonstop for the next two years. In the middle of it all, he finished his third album, Captured Angel (1975), which showed him expanding his sound in more ambitious areas and in unexpected circumstances. He’d gone home in 1975 to spend time with his father, who had been hospitalized, and while in Peoria, he cut what were meant to be demos of the songs he planned to utilize on his upcoming album, with Fogelberg playing every instrument and performing all the vocals. Instead, when Azoff and Davis heard the recordings, they argued that this was the album, and that he’d never be able to recreate the feeling he’d had working with other musicians on songs like “Comes and Goes.” He eventually worked out a deal with the label to have Russ Kunkel redo the percussion parts, and the final version of Captured Angel featured Norbert Putnam on bass on a few tracks, Al Perkins on pedal steel guitar, David Lindley on fiddle, and Glen Spreen on string arrangements, but it was primarily a Fogelberg solo effort. That record cemented his reputation and made him a favorite of college students (particularly coeds) throughout the nation, and a 1975 tour with the Eagles, who were handled by Azoff at the time, greatly added to his notoriety.

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Nether Lands In the mid-’70s, Fogelberg relocated to Colorado, where he wrote the songs that formed the foundation for his next album, Nether Lands (1977). Ironically, the songs were written towards the conclusion of his first long dry period as a composer. For months, he couldn’t write, and then all of a sudden, he began writing again, but in a much more ornate, intricately planned, classically inspired style. The songs were more daring, both lyrically and musically; the title tune, in particular, was noteworthy for its orchestration by composer/arranger Dominic Frontiere. Even though he was now pushing the audience in some unexpected places, the record was a success, and he was still riding that first wave of fame and the concertizing that came with it. Fogelberg chose to take a step back at this time, get off the wave, and produce something solely for his own artistic pleasure. In 1978, he started work on a record that would be more of a personal pleasure than anything else, Dan Fogelberg’s non-commercial side, akin to the instrumental recordings that Frank Sinatra had released as a conductor a few times throughout his career, or Neil Young’s later Everybody’s Rockin’. For the album Twin Sons of Different Mothers (1978), he joined up with jazz flutist Tim Weisberg, and instead of becoming an oddity or a footnote in his work, it ended up charting high and producing a big hit single in the form of “The Power of Gold” (which, ironically, had been added to the LP at the last minute). The album charted in the Top 20 and was well received by reviewers and the general audience. Fogelberg would ride a creative and commercial whirlwind for the next several years, culminating with his 1980 album Phoenix, which was pushed to platinum status thanks to the number two song “Longer.” He also achieved a long-held professional ambition by performing at Carnegie Hall in New York in front of a sold-out crowd that included his parents the year before.

The Innocent Age Fogelberg’s career in the 1980s took an unexpected turn: although concept albums were popular at the time, most record companies actively discouraged the production of double LPs due to the cost and difficulty of selling and promoting them. But, midway through his next album, with the single “Same Old Lang Syne” already out and record stores and buyers anticipating a new album, he abruptly decided to expand the planned album, writing new songs and effectively doubling its length, as well as delaying it well into 1981, a year longer than the label or his manager had anticipated. The result was his most ambitious project to date, The Innocent Age (1981), a massive project with some high-profile collaborators (including Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris) from which four hit singles were eventually extracted, including the earlier “Same Old Lang Syne” as well as “Run for the Roses,” “Hard to Say,” and “Leader of the Band” (a tribute to his father). That record was his commercial pinnacle, and it appeared to bring an end to a period of his career when he was very popular and prolific. As though to commemorate the shift, Epic issued its first hits collection on Fogelberg the following year, a ten-song LP on which the songs from The Innocent Age occupied four of the slots.

Windows and Walls Fogelberg’s musical tastes developed in new and more specialized areas during the course of three years until his next new album. He shifted his focus to more personal and experimental types of music, none of which was as well received by the public or critics as his 1970s work. Furthermore, in the 1980s, the playing field was radically changed, as it had been for many artists in the 1970s and earlier. MTV and music videos became essential promotional tools for gaining exposure and airplay, and recording artists needed a distinct visual style as well as a sound to rise to the top; additionally, a new generation of music critics, most of whom were hell-bent on slamming most of the previous decade’s or two’s favorite artists, were now speaking out in the press. His 1984 album Windows and Walls fared well with the public and even had a hit with “Language of Love,” but it was met with harsh criticism from reviewers at the time. And his shift to bluegrass music, aided in part by his friendship with Chris Hillman, who’d returned to his bluegrass origins at the time (and recorded Fogelberg’s “Morning Sky” as the title track of his current album), didn’t make him more appealing to mainstream music reviewers. High Country Snows (1985), the resultant album, was a hit and beautifully showcased Fogelberg’s origins, but it did little to boost his mainstream reputation, which had dwindled significantly over the preceding three years.

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The Wild Places In the years that followed, Fogelberg retreated a little, performing in bars around Colorado as part of a band called Frankie & the Aliens, which was founded by Joe Vitale. He seemed to be returning to his adolescent origins while still redefining himself musically. When he resurfaced in the early 1990s with The Wild Places and the worldbeat-flavored River of Souls, he was composing what amounted to current songs about the environment, a subject with which he’d grown more interested after relocating to Colorado permanently. He’d set up a fully equipped home studio at that point, giving him the freedom he wanted, and he was only indebted to the record company as a conduit for his music. Epic, on the other hand, continued to release Fogelberg’s songs, including a fantastic 1991 live album called Greetings from the West, and his older albums were always successful CD editions. Home Free was also heavily remixed by Norbert Putnam for its CD re-release in 1988 (the original mix can be found on BGO’s Home Free/Souvenirs double-CD reissue in the United Kingdom). Indeed, all of Fogelberg’s compact CDs were produced with remarkable care, particularly for Columbia catalog reissues at the time, when the label was frequently simply slapping down the digital masters and churning them out without regard for quality.

No Resemblance Whatsoever In 1995, he and Tim Weisberg released No Resemblance Whatsoever, a follow-up to their 1978 record that appeared to take up exactly where they left off without missing a beat. Portrait: The Music of Dan Fogelberg from 1972-1997, a four-CD career retrospective collection honoring Fogelberg’s prior 25 years of work, was released in 1997 by Columbia. Fogelberg ended the previous century with First Christmas Morning, which saw him travel through several centuries in search of traditional holiday music, evoking sounds that had previously only been heard in the context of pop/rock work from Jan Akkerman’s Tabernakel album and the work of the Amazing Blondel, nearly 30 years before. Finally, with the aptly named Full Circle CD in 2003, Fogelberg returned to the acoustic singer/songwriter style of his early career. This seemed to be the start of a bright new chapter in his work and career. However, Fogelberg’s hopes were shattered in mid-2004 when he was diagnosed with severe prostate cancer, which he eventually died to in late 2007.

Dan Fogelberg was an American singer-songwriter who is best known for his hits “Leader of the Band” and “Longer”. He died in 2003. His songs were featured on the soundtrack to the film Stand by Me. Reference: dan fogelberg funeral.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened to singer Dan Fogelberg?

A: Dan Fogelberg passed away in 2007 after a long fight with Alzheimers.

Was Dan Fogelberg ever married?

A: Unfortunately, Dan Fogelberg was never married. He died in 2007 at the age of 62 years old.

Is Dan Fogelberg dead?

A: No, not at all.

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