Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thinking of Jean Fogelberg


  When I was a teenager and in college, long before I had a beloved son named Daniel, I used to listen to the music of another Daniel.   Daniel Grayling Fogelberg was born in Illinois in 1951 to a Scottish mother and a father who was of Swedish descent.  He was the youngest of three sons. Although Dan Fogelberg never reached the pinnacle of fame most of his fans knew he so richly deserved, by virtue of talent, he defined the era with his songwriting, and in his treatment of the songs of others.   He so clearly gave direction to so many other artists. An attendee of The University of Illinois at Urbanna-Champaign, he majored in Theatre and Painting.  By 1972, he released his first album, Home Free, and began touring as an opening act for Van Morrison.  He went on to release a number of other albums Souvenirs, Captured Angel, Netherlands, Twin Sons of Different Mothers with Tim Weisberg. Then came,  The Phoenix, The Innocent Age.   Later,  Windows and Walls, High Country Snows, Exiles, The Wild Places, River of Souls, Portrait,  The First Christmas Morning, and Full Circle.  There are other albums if you include the compilations, work with Tim Weisberg and special CDs.  These albums were filled with everything from intelligent rock, incredible arrangements, to Bluegrass music, as well as the ballads for which he is so well known.  Dan was also a passionate friend of the natural environment, and was steadfastly against nuclear power use.

                Though Dan wrote and sang the music for the relationships and weddings for the rest of us, he found the veritable love of his life later in his life.  He and his wife Jean, also a singer, were happily married when Dan's advanced prostate cancer was 2004.  Dan and his wife left their beloved ranch in Colorado and headed to California for the most advanced treatment. For a time, there had been a remission.  Dan and Jean left the ranch and moved to their home in beautiful Belle Isle, Maine, full time.  Jean has related that for many years their solitude was complete there, as they didn't have a telephone in the home.   I think Dan was always a little uncomfortable with the trappings of fame and that privacy was very important to him. In the mid 2000s, I saw Dan driving a truck in the vicinity of Cary Street in Richmond, Virginia.  I think he was uncomfortable having been recognized and pulled his ballcap farther down over his face. I later learned that he was likely there to visit his close friend Jimmy Buffett (Margaritaville) who lives in the area.  Dan did help to spread awareness of Prostate cancer, and to encourage men, even those under 50, to have a routine periodic PSA test.  Some people, including Dan Fogelberg believed that more lives can be saved if the PSA test, a simple bloodtest, is offered annually for men getting a routine physical every year starting at forty, rather than at 50, as is recommended for most.

                Dan Fogelberg passed at age 56 at home in Deer Isle, Maine, with his wife Jean with him, in December, 2007.  So many people who had never met him grieved knowing that the soundtrack to their own lives had changed forever.   Dan's ashes were scattered off the coast of Maine.

               Of course for me, my own beloved Daniel, died at age 12 1/2 the following year.  My Daniel was certainly familiar during his own life of the large body of work Dan Fogelberg left to us.  When you have time, please listen to some of the music Dan Fogelberg left to the Earth.   He is certainly known for Leader of the Band, and Longer, and many others, but there are far more obscure pieces which you should hear.  I will leave one them below, one less known, and another that is probably already known to you. I hope that my own Daniel has better luck in thanking Dan Fogelberg for all the wonderful music, where they both are now, than I did in Richmond that day.

               I often wonder how Jean Fogelberg is doing.  Life is hard when your Daniel has moved on ahead of you, of this I am sure.

This song was playing in my head all week...

Since You've Asked         ~  Dan Fogelberg's version of this song written by Judy Collins.

Update:  Jean Fogelberg is an accomplished artist and photographer who continues to produce quality work and have it shown. She divides her time between the two places she and Dan loved so much, the Colorado mountains and coastal Maine.  She also does many good works in the field of bereavement and caregiver support, and is notable to me for her great compassion, most of all.    I think her own Dan would be so incredibly  proud of her.   Jean used to be known as Jean Mayer-Dailey and is a co-author of the 1980s song "Power" performed by Berry Gordy, of Motown fame.

This was their home on Deer Isle Maine, until Dan's death.  It was 536 Reach Road.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I haven't thought about Dan Fogelberg in a while, so I enjoyed learning more about him and listening to his songs.

  2. I have always loved listening to Dan's music. His music has a way to turn a bad day into a good and peaceful one. My most favorite album, I would have to say is Pheonix. He will be missed very much. MJM


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