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Dan Fogelberg Biography


Home > Music > F > Fogelberg, Dan > Biography


Birth Name: Daniel Grayling Fogelberg
Born: 1951/08/13
Birth Place: Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
Died: 2007/12/16
Years Active: 1968–2007
Genres: Rock, Folk Rock


Dan Fogelberg (born August 13, 1951 – December 16, 2007) was an American singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist from Peoria, Illinois, whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass music.

Using a Mel Bay course book, Dan taught himself to play a Hawaiian slide guitar that his grandfather gave to him. He also learned to play the piano. At age 14 he joined a band, The Clan, which covered The Beatles. His second band was another cover combo, The Coachmen, who in 1967 released two singles, written by Fogelberg, on Ledger Records, “Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget” and “Don't Want To Lose Her.”

After graduating from Woodruff High School in Peoria in 1969, Fogelberg studied theater arts and painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He began performing as a solo acoustic player in area coffeehouses, including the Red Herring Coffeehouse, where he made his first solo recordings as part of a folk festival recording in 1971.

He was discovered that year by Irving Azoff. Fogelberg and Azoff, who started his music-management career promoting another Champaign-Urbana act, REO Speedwagon , moved to California to seek their fortunes. Azoff sent Fogelberg to Nashville to hone his skills, where he became a session musician and recorded his first album, “Home Free,” with producer Norbert Putnam.

In 1972, Fogelberg released his debut album “Home Free” to lukewarm response. He performed as an opening act for Van Morrison. Fogelberg's second effort was much more successful, the 1974 Joe Walsh produced album, “Souvenirs” and its song “Part of the Plan” became Fogelberg's first hit.

After “Souvenirs,” Fogelberg released a string of gold and platinum albums, including 1975’s “Captured Angel” and 1977’s “Nether Lands,” and found commercial success with songs such as “The Power of Gold.” His 1978 “Twin Sons of Different Mothers” album was the first of two collaborations with jazz flautist Tim Weisberg.

1979's “Phoenix” reached the Billboard Top 10, with its single, “Longer,” becoming a #2 Pop hit in 1980. The track peaked at #59 on the U.K. Singles chart his sole entry on the list. The album reached #42 on the U.K. Albums chart, likewise Fogelberg's only entry there. This was followed by a Top 20 hit “Heart Hotels.”

“The Innocent Age,” released in October 1981, was Fogelberg's critical and commercial peak. This double-album song cycle included four of his biggest hits, “Leader of the Band,” “Hard to Say,” “Run for the Roses” and “Same Old Lang Syne,” based on a real-life accidental meeting with a former girlfriend. Fogelberg drew inspiration for “The Innocent Age” from Thomas Wolfe's novel “Of Time and the River.”

A 1982 greatest hits album contained two new songs, both of which were released as singles, “Missing You” and “Make Love Stay.” In 1984, he released the album “Windows and Walls,” containing the singles “The Language of Love” and “Believe in Me.”

Fogelberg released “High Country Snows” in 1985. Recorded in Nashville, it showcased his, and some of the industry's best, talent in the bluegrass genre. Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Doc Watson, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Chris Hillman, and Herb Pedersen were among those who contributed to the record.

1987 heralded a return to rock with “Exiles,” an album that contained the song, “What You're Doing,” a throwback to the old Stax Records sound made famous in Memphis during the 1960s. 1990's “The Wild Places” was a tribute to Earth preservation. In 1991, he released the live album “Greetings from the West.”

“River of Souls,” released in 1993, was Fogelberg's last studio album for Sony Records. In 1997, “Portrait” encompassed his career with four discs, each highlighting a different facet of his music, “Ballads,” “Rock and Roll,” "Tales and Travels” and “Hits.” In 1999, he released a Christmas album, with his release of “First Christmas Morning,” and in 2003, “Full Circle” showcased a return to the folk-influenced 1970s soft rock style of music.

Fogelberg used his music to address social issues, including peace and Native American concerns. He was particularly outspoken about the environment and to finding alternatives to nuclear power. To that end, Fogelberg included “Face the Fire” on the “Phoenix” album and performed at a number of the Musicians United for Safe Energy “No Nukes” concerts in 1979 and 1980.

In 2002, fans showed their appreciation by choosing Fogelberg as one of the first ten inductees into the Performers Hall of Fame at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.

Fogelberg succumbed to cancer on December 16, 2007. He was 56 years old. In tribute to Fogelberg and the entire Fogelberg family, the city of Peoria renamed Abington Street in the city's East Bluff neighborhood “Fogelberg Parkway.” The street runs along the east side of Woodruff High School, Fogelberg's alma mater, and where his father was a teacher and bandleader. A permanent memorial to Fogelberg in his hometown of Peoria, a garden placed in Riverfront Park, was dedicated in a ceremony held in August 2010.