Dan Fogelberg Biography
Daniel "Dan" Grayling Fogelberg (b. Peoria, Illinois on August 13, 1951) is an American singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, whose music has been inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, Classical music, jazz, and bluegrass music.
Fogelberg, the youngest of Lawrence and Margaret (Young) Fogelberg's three sons, learned to play piano as a child. His father was a high school band director who spent most of his career at Peoria Woodruff High School and Pekin High School (and would later be the inspiration for "Leader of the Band") and his mother was a pianist. Using a Mel Bay course book, he taught himself to play a Hawaiian slide guitar his grandfather gave to him. He started his music career at age 14, when he joined his first band, the Clan, which paid homage to The Beatles. His second band was another cover combo, the Coachmen, which, in 1967, released two singles on Ledger Records: "Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget" and "Autumn Leaves."
After graduating from Woodruff High School in 1969, he studied theater arts and painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and began performing as a solo acoustic player in area coffeehouses. There, he was discovered in 1971 by Irving Azoff. Fogelberg and Azoff, who started his music-management career promoting another Illinois act, REO Speedwagon, moved to California to seek their fortunes. Fogelberg became a session musician who played with pop-folk artists like Van Morrison. In 1972, he released his debut album Home Free to lukewarm response. His second effort was much more successful — this 1974 Joe Walsh-produced album Souvenirs and the hit song "Part of the Plan" made him a major star.
Following Souvenirs, Fogelberg released a string of gold and platinum albums and found commercial success with songs like "The Power of Gold," "Longer," which became a wedding standard, "The Language of Love," and "Lonely in Love." His 1978 Twin Sons of Different Mothers was the first of two collaborations with jazz flutist Tim Weisberg. The Innocent Age, released in October 1981, reached the peak of critical and popular acclaim. The double album "song cycle" included four of his biggest hits: "Leader of the Band," a tribute to his musician father, "Run for the Roses," which aired during the 1980 Kentucky Derby, "Hard To Say," and "Same Old Lang Syne," based on a real-life accidental meeting with a former girlfriend. Two of his songs have graced feature films: "There's a Place in the World for a Gambler" (originally on Souvenirs) can be heard in the 1978 movie FM; and "Times Like These" was used in the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy the year before it appeared on The Innocent Age.
In 1985, Fogelberg released High Country Snows. Recorded in Nashville, it showcased his (and some of the industry's best) talent in the bluegrass genre. Vince Gill, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen were among those who contributed to the record.
River of Souls, released in 1993, was Fogelberg's last studio album for Sony. In 1997, Portrait encompassed his career with four discs, each highlighting a different facet of his music: "Ballads," "Rock and Roll," "Tales and Travels," which displayed his talents as a narrative songwriter, and "Hits." In 1999, he fulfilled a career-long dream of creating a Christmas album, and in 2003 Full Circle showcased a return to the folk-influenced, 1970s soft rock-style of music for which he and other singer-songwriters from his era had gained popular recognition.
A very personal songwriter, Fogelberg has also used his music to address social issues, among them peace and Native American concerns. He has been particularly outspoken about his commitment to the environment and to finding alternatives to nuclear power. To that end, Fogelberg performed at a number of the Musicians United for Safe Energy "No Nukes" concerts in 1979 and 1980.
His live concerts won acclaim across the nation over the years. Fogelberg has said that one of his proudest moments came in 1979 when he played at New York's Carnegie Hall for an audience that included his mother and father. (One of his most successful songs, "Leader of the Band," is dedicated to his musician father). Most summers, Fogelberg would perform with a full band or in a solo acoustic setting; the differing formats allowed the artist to show the breadth and depth of his talent as a singer, guitarist, pianist and bandleader. In 2002, fans showed their appreciation by choosing Fogelberg to be one of the first 10 inductees into the Performers Hall of Fame at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, Colorado.
In May 2004, he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. On August 13, 2005, his 54th birthday, Fogelberg announced on his web site that through his first year of treatments they had succeeded in slowing the progression of his prostate cancer. In that same announcement, he thanked his many fans for their support, and noted that he had no immediate plans to return to making music, but was keeping his options open, and was enjoying spending time with his wife, musician Jean Fogelberg.
In June 2005, it was reported that Fogelberg, who, since 1982, lived on Mountain Bird Ranch, 610 acres near Pagosa Springs, Colorado, has put the lavishly appointed property up for sale at an asking price of $17.5 million.