Sunday, December 16, 2007

We All Become Forefathers by and by: RIP Dan Fogelberg (1951-2007)

http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Music/12/16/obit.fogelberg.ap/index.html


This is my all time favorite Dan Fogelberg song:

"Forefathers"

They came from Scandinavia, the land of midnight sun
And crossed the North Atlantic when this century was young
They'd heard that in America every man was free
To live the way he chose to live and be who he could be

Some of them were farmers there and tilled the frozen soil
But all they got was poverty for all their earnest toil
They say one was a sailor who sailed the wide world round
Made home port, got drunk one night, walked off the pier and drowned

My mother was of Scottish blood, it's there that she was born
They brought her to America in 1924
They left behind the highlands and the heather-covered hills
And came to find America with broad expectant dreams and iron wills

My granddad worked the steel mills of central Illinois
His daughter was his jewel, his son was just his boy
For thirty years he worked the mills and stoked the coke-fed fires
And looked toward the day when he'd at last turn 65 and could retire

And the sons become the fathers and their daughters will be wives
As the torch is passed from hand to hand
And we struggle through our lives
Though the generations wander, the lineage survives
And all of us, from dust to dust
We all become forefathers by and by

The woman and the man were wed just after the war
And they settled in this river town and three fine sons she bore
One became a lawyer and one fine pictures drew
And one became this lonely soul
Who sits here now and sings this song to you

And the sons become the fathers and their daughters will be wives
As the torch is passed from hand to hand
And we struggle through our lives
Though the generations wander, the lineage survives
And all of us, from dust to dust
We all become forefathers by and by

2 comments:

brent said...

I've actually heard "Leader of the Band" quoted from the pulpit. Maybe it's time the Mormons canonized Fogelberg.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Fogelberg had Irving Azoff for an agent. That may have been OK when the Eagles were white-hot, but once they broke up, many of the acts that Azoff had seemingly done wonders for disappeared completely. While Fogelberg was talented, he didn't have the fan base to cross over regularly into another genre, say country music, to sustain his career. His original back-up band left him to record a couple of LP's in the mid-late 70's as the group "Fool's Gold." He also did a very country, bluegrass-tinged LP ("High Country Snows")with Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen and the other guys who eventually became the very popular country group, The Desert Rose Band by the late 80's. How many guys have actually spawned the start-up of 2 bands? Not many, and while I will allow that Fool's Gold was a flash in the pan, the DRB had a solid number of hits in country music over a decade or so. Another thing: while Fogelberg could write with the best of 'em---clearly noted by Mac---and sold a ton of singles in the mid-to late 70's, some of his best work was strictly FM radio material, and there weren't enough good FM stations and DJ's at the time who would play songs like "The Innocent Age" "Empty Cages" "Souvenirs" "Part of the Plan" and "Better Change" (to name a few, mostly from his early years)that might have sustained his career in the limelight after the Top 40 well of songs that he recorded (and there were a good number) ultimately ran dry. His sudden lack of AM Radio success and his subsequent disappearance from many FM playlists, along with the fact that he was not "known" as a skilled musician on one type of instrument(such as Neil Young or Joe Walsh on lead guitar), sort of let Dan Fogelberg slip through our fingers. Then his health went south, and now we have lost him. I loved the wide variety of his music very much...but you won't catch me tying in the lyrics of a Fogelberg song to make a point in a Gospel Doctrine class.