Without a doubt, Dan Fogelberg is one of the most successful singers of all time. He started the 1980s with a string of platinum-selling albums and singles and continued with a long career afterward.
Dan Fogelberg, an American singer, and songwriter was born on August 13, 1951, to a home filled with music. His father was an established musician and bandleader while his mother was a classically trained singer.
So it’s no longer a surprise when Dan Fogelberg conquered the world of music. He started writing songs at the age of 12, and by the time he was 13, he was already in a band playing in school events with a repertory that mostly composed of Beatles songs.
Ever since then, Dan Fogelberg songs have been all over the radio. His music attracted folk, pop, and rock audience as he achieved mass stardom. His albums sold in the millions. He was what the New York Times called a “lyrical soft rocker.”
So today, buckle your seatbelts as we enjoy this list of Dan Fogelberg songs.
1. Leader of the Band
Dan Fogelberg “Leader of the Band” was a single released at the end of 1981 from his album “The Innocent Age.” The song was a loving tribute to his father, Lawrence Fogelberg, who was a musician and the leader of a band. He died in August 1982.
“I was so gratified that I was able to give him that song before he passed on. In his final years, he was interviewed many times by the national press because of it. He went out in a blaze of glory, which meant a lot to me and my family,” Dan Fogelberg said.
The song became one of Dan Folgelberg’s biggest hits. It peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it became his second No. 1 song on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
2. Same Old Lang Syne
Dan Fogelberg “Same Old Lang Syne” is both a sad and beautiful story of a man running into an old flame at a grocery store on a snowy Christmas Eve. After a few drinks, they exchanged their goodbyes. It turned out she married an architect “who kept her warm and safe and dry.” An old familiar pain flashbacked into him as he turned to make his way back home.
But what’s surprising was that the joyful and painful lyrics really happened in real life. When asked if it really happened, Fogelberg answered, “Yes, absolutely it did.”
He recalled, “In 1975 or 76, I was home in Peoria, Illinois, visiting my family for Christmas. I went to a convenience store to pick up some whipping cream to make Irish coffees with, and quite unexpectedly ran into an old high school girlfriend. The rest of the song tells the story.”
3. Hard to Say
Dan Fogelberg was never a member of Eagles, but “Hard to Say” features backing vocals by singer Glenn Frey of the Eagles. The song quickly peaked at No. 7 and became one of Dan Fogelberg songs to enter Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
4. Run for the Roses
“Run For The Roses” was written for a specific instance, and it was for the Kentucky Derby, a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky. And it was one of the quickest things Fogelberg ever did. It only took him two days to write the song and another two days to record it before handing it to ABC Sports.
“They just asked me to come and perform, and I said, well as long as I’m going’ down there, why don’t I write a song? It was live on television. I just wrote the song in two days and went to L.A. and recorded it about two weeks before the Derby. I like it a lot because I love horses,” Fogelberg said.
The song peaked at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 a year after it was released.
5. The Language Of Love
This emotionally-charged rock tune is one of Dan Fogelberg hits. It was released on the album Windows and Walls and became another top 20 hits for Dan Fogelberg. It peaked at No. 13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Another band member of Eagles once again sang backing vocals for this song, this time it was Timothy B. Schmidt.
Dan Fogelberg’s love songs are also one of the best in the music industry. His song “Longer” is an excellent proof of that, and it is one of Fogelberg’s most enduring love songs. The bold sentimental ballad was written for his then-wife Maggie Slaymaker. “I was laying in a hammock on Maui, Hawaii, on vacation, in 1978, with my then-wife. All seemed right with the world. The song seemed to write itself,” the singer-songwriter said.
Dan Fogelberg “Longer,” which describes a devotion that lived “longer than there have been fishes in the ocean,” had spent two weeks at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in March 1980. It became a standard at wedding ceremonies to date, and this only proves Dan Fogelberg’s music is eternal.
7. Make Love Stay
“Make Love Stay” is one of the most popular songs of Dan Fogelberg. It peaked at No. 29 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1983. It was also Fogelberg’s third song to top the Billboard adult contemporary chart, following his earlier hits “Longer” and “Leader of the Band.”
Fogelberg described this song in the album’s liner notes as “A musical question that, unfortunately, eludes me still.” It was actually inspired by the 1980 novel “Still Life With Woodpecker” by the American author Tom Robbins.
8. The Power Of Gold
Fogelberg released this song as a part of the “Twin Sons Of Different Mothers” album he recorded with jazz musician Tim Weisberg who is known for his brilliant flute playing. It was one of the few songs Fogelberg wrote specifically for the 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,” Fogelberg recalled.
He went home thinking that that wasn’t exactly what they needed to end the album. They needed something that can rock; however, they had already done most of the album. He added, “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.”
9. Nether Lands
Nether Lands is one of Dan Fogelberg’s best songs released in 1977. The song’s title is a wordplay of the place Nederland, Colorado, the location of the studios where he recorded his album. By this time, Dan had moved to Colorado, and his feelings are quite evident in the lyrics of this song.
10. Part of the Plan
In 1974, Dan Fogelberg released his second album entitled Souvenirs. It was during his days in Los Angeles when he was touring with Eagles. It was an incredible album that Showcase Fogelberg’s deep songwriting skills.
“Part of the Plan” was part of this platinum-selling album. The songs seem to show how Fogelberg embraced the consequences and responsibilities of his new celebrity status though the singer explained that it is not really about anyone. “It’s more of a philosophical piece. I suppose it’s about all of us… and none of us,” he said.
Dan Fogelberg was diagnosed with an advanced case of prostate cancer in 2004. Just a few months after, the cancer had already spread to his bones. On December 16, 2007, the singer died at his home in Maine.
He was only 56 then, yet he made a significant impact in the music industry. We may never be able to hear him sing live again, but Dan Fogelberg songs are here to stay.