16 December 2007

Part of the plan?

I sit here, reminiscing about Dan Fogelberg, of all people. Earlier today, he lost his fight with prostate cancer.

Yes, I know the jokes. I've told a few a time or two myself, especially on my old classic rock show back in Alabama, Thursday on the Rocks.

To many, Fogelberg helped personify the 'wimped-out singer/songwriter' idiom during much of the 1980s, thanks to balladeer hits like "Leader of the Band", "Make Love Stay", "Same Old Lang Syne" ("...and we ripped off our clothes in the Chef Boy-Ar-Dee aisle, then proceeded to screw each other silly in front of Toucan Sam...") , and of course, the ever-popular wedding standard "Longer." (which we had sung, nicely, by Nettiemac at the Tal/Sera joining in '01).

But it's not completely fair to throw Fogelberg into the "oatmeal" pile. He could rock out, a lot more often than many give him credit for.

My favorite DF album would have to be his second effort, the Joe Walsh-produced Souvenirs (1974). It was notable for the backup musicianship he used -- Joe Walsh himself (guitars), Graham Nash (harmony vocals), Al Perkins (steel guitar), and damn near every member of The Eagles. It was a fantastic record, and one I still enjoy listening to. "Part of the Plan" was the album's one hit release (and Fogelberg's first top 40 single), and it also contained tracks like the very Eagles-ish "Someone's Been Telling You Stories", "There's a Place in the World for a Gambler", and my favorite - "As the Raven Flies."

I was also somewhat fond of 1978's Twin Sons of Different Mothers, the first of two collaborations with jazz flutist Tim Weisberg. "The Power of Gold" was the single release (peaked at #25), but "Tell Me to My Face" was one for the "rock" column.

Phoenix (1980) was a mixture -- part rock and a creeping hint of his eventual slide into the cream-of-wheat. Ditto for his next effort, 1981's The Innocent Age. Now there's an album full of memories, recalling happy times in latter-day Cape Girardeau.

It was the rock-leaning Fogelberg which got lots of airplay in and around Cape, especially KYMO and the old Q-99. The Q went very deep into The Innocent Age, an album unfairly tarred for the sappy hits (like "Run for the Roses" - ecch!). Dig deeper into that album and you'll hear a great deal of rock.

Y'know, the 1970s were a great time for singer/songwriters. Elton John, Billy Joel and Kenny Loggins -- all were at the top of their game in the '70s, but something happened around the time Ronald Reagan took his oath of office. It's as if all of 'em lost their gonads ... just as what would eventually happen to Dennis (Styx) DeYoung, Lou (Foreigner) Gramm and Kevin (R-E-O Wheelchair) Cronin. '70s = hip, laid-back rock; '80s = sappy AC oatmeal, waitin' for Delilah to enter the room. Again, Fogelberg wasn't as guilty as others .... but he wasn't totally blameless either, I'm afraid.

But what a voice!! In memory of a fallen name from my adolescent musical tapestry, here are 15 of my favorite Dan Fogelberg tracks:

15) "Lessons Learned" (Nether Lands - 1977)
14) "Missing You" (one of two new tracks released in 1982 as part of his 'greatest hits ' package)
13) "Wishing on the Moon" (Phoenix)
12) "Someone's Been Telling You Stories" (Souvenirs)
11) "Once Upon a Time" (Nether Lands)
10) "Empty Cages" (The Innocent Age)
9) "The Last to Know" (Phoenix)
8) "Stolen Moments" (The Innocent Age)
7) "The Innocent Age" (The Innocent Age)
6) "Face the Fire" (Phoenix)
5) "Nexus" (The Innocent Age)
4) "Illinois" (Souvenirs)
3) "Tell Me to My Face" (Twin Sons...)
2) "As the Raven Flies" (Souvenirs)
1) "Tullamore Dew/Phoenix" (Phoenix)

The voice brings a whole lot back for me. A whole lot of good memories.

As trite as it might sound, thanks for the music. Yes, even the sappy songs.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "His Blood Runs Through My MP3 player" Gleck


nettiemac said...

I was truly bummed to learn of his passing. If I haven't told you already, remind me in January to tell y'all how I got my copy of "The Innocent Age" .... the start of the Nettie Legend.

And sorry, but I will love "Run for the Roses" and "Same Old Lang Syne" for you. I am partial to "The Language of Love," "Hard to Say," and "Heart Hotels." Yeah, I'm a sap.....

Talmadge G. said...

I think you mentioned that story (you won that LP on the radio, didn't you? I seem to recall seeing the gold 'promo' stamp on your copy)

Be my guest ... like RFTR all you want. I can take or leave the more ballad-esque DF, but "Run for the Road Apples--er, um, ROSES" just leaves me feeling like I blew $6.00 on a combo bet in the second race. (@$#%!!! Why didn't I think to bet on "Cream of Magnesia" instead of "McPartland's Crowsfeet"?)

nettiemac said...

Yep, WANS came to the high school, showed a movie about the music industry (with Lou Gramm), and I got called onstage as part of the trivia contest. That still has the gold stamp on it..... sweet memories.

Tonight on NBC Nightly News, they told of his passing and faded out to commercial with "Longer" -- very sweet (and I swear, I figured they'd do "Leader of the Band" but kind of glad they didn't).

A dang shame, however, that he died so young. Especially given that one of my friends' husbands is going in tomorrow for prostate surgery himself. His PSA levels were elevated and they caught it in time. But still.... not the sort of news you want knowing you've got a friend facing it.