Friday, December 25, 2009

Number 361 - Dan Fogelberg

Number 361

Dan Fogelberg

"Same Old Lang Syne"

................Genre: Singer/Songwriter...............
Dolly made me do it
A poignant song for Christmas? I think so too. "The Innocent Age' by Dan Fogelberg was a huge influence to me as was Joe Jackson's - "Night & Day" & that was almost 3 decades ago. Interestingly, I shot over to Allan Heller's "Definitive 1000 Albums of all Time" just to see where those two particular albums ranked .. Uh Oh for Dan Fogelberg but at least "Night & Day" by Joe made Number 497. The song "Same Old Lang Syne"is a personal favourite of mine and certainly stirs an emotion every time I hear it. It captured not only the essence of a love loss - but also the time of year when yet another year ends with regret/failure or just plain old disappointment. Most people enjoy Christmas, not only for spending time with their families but because they enjoy this time of year. However, this time of the year can be solemn and loneliness for many people. This song is for those people. ~ crowbarred
The Artist
b.13.08.51 ~ d.16.12.07
If James Taylor epitomized the definition and the original, late-'60s incarnation of the term singer/songwriter, Dan Fogelberg exemplified the late-'70s equivalent of that term at its most highly developed and successful, with a string of platinum-selling albums and singles into the early '80s and a long career since, interrupted only by a health crisis in more recent years. He came out of a musical family, born Daniel Grayling Fogelberg on August 13, 1951, in Peoria, IL, where his father was an established musician, teacher, and bandleader. His first instrument was the piano, which he took to well enough, and music mattered to him more than the sports that were the preoccupation of most of the boys around him. At age ten, he was saving and listening to any old records he could find. And if there's a "God-shaped space" in everyone, Fogelberg's was filled with music, something his family might've guessed if they'd seen how much he loved the music in church but was bored by the sermons. His other great passions were drawing and painting. His personal musical turning point came in the early '60s, before he'd reached his teens. A gift of an old Hawaiian guitar from his grandfather introduced him to the instrument that would soon supplant the piano, and at age 12, he heard the Beatles for the first time, which not only led him to a revelation about how electric guitars could sound, but also made him notice for the first time the act of songwriting as something central to what musicians did. It was also at that point that he began picking up on the music of Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly, all of whom were, of course, in the Beatles' repertory. [cont] ~ [Source: Bruce Eder, All Music Guide]
The Innocent Age
Good ole days
With The Innocent Age, Dan Fogelberg created the most ambitious, successful, and creative recording of his career and one that in retrospect was actually quite underrated. A sprawling, conceptual song cycle, the double album traces the stages of life from the cradle to the grave. Beautifully orchestrated, imaginatively conceived, and obviously well thought out, it works as an artistic statement and also includes some of Fogelberg's most universally appealing and commercially successful music. "Leader of the Band" (about his father) and "Same Old Lang Syne" (about an old girlfriend) have a timeless quality and were big hits. As bold as the album was, Fogelberg acknowledged the importance of his influences and those who inspired him to attempt to reach such lofty musical heights by thanking a long list of music notables in the liner notes. A truly outstanding effort and a major work, The Innocent Age is a recording of a caliber that few artists could achieve; and the fact that it was so commercially successful is a testament to the enormous gifts and appeal of this multi-talented artist. ~ [Steve Matteo, All Music Guide]
Song: Same Old Lang Syne
Snow was falling xmas eve
The narrator is reunited with an old flame at a grocery store on a snowy Christmas Eve. She doesn't recognize him at first glance and when the two reach to embrace, she drops her purse causing them to laugh until they cried; this moment foreshadows a bittersweet departure. They eventually decide to have a drink somewhere, but are unable to find any open bar. Settling on a six-pack purchased at a liquor store, they proceed to drink it in her car while they talk. The pair toast innocence of the past as well as the present, all framed in the song's chorus. The subsequent verse describes the two pushing through their initial awkwardness and discussing their current lives. The lover went on to marry an architect and is seemingly content with her life, though it is implied that she married for security instead of love. The narrator then says that as a musician he loves performing but hates touring. After a second toast, the conversation runs its course. They exchange their goodbyes and the woman kisses him before he gets out of the car. As she drives away, the narrator contemplates the good times they'd had long ago, hence the meaning and reference to the song's title: Auld Lang Syne. At the song's most bittersweet moment, the narrator experiences yet another "auld lang syne," as he is reunited with "that old familiar pain" from their break-up at an earlier time in their lives. The snow that surrounds him then turns to rain, signifying a happy time turned quite melancholy.The song ends with a soprano saxophone solo by Michael Brecker based on the melody from the original Auld Lang Syne.
Given the first person narrative of the song, many listeners have frequently wondered how valid the song really is. Fogelberg himself had confirmed on his official website that the song is indeed autobiographical:
"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." After Fogelberg's death in 2007, the Peoria Journal-Star reported that the girlfriend referred to was Jill Greulich (formerly Jill Anderson) who attended Woodruff High School with Fogelberg. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For James Taylor see #820
For the Beatles see #489, #587, #894, #947
For Chuck Berry see #783
For Little Richard see #439
What does RS think of Mr Fogelberg?
Fogelberg's work not only utilizes numberless storybook-romantic platitudes but also every laid-back, folk-rock cliché that's flitted down the Rocky Mountains to Southern California. Those cushioned cascades of breathy backup harmonies, that mournful pedal steel, those pristine EZ-2-Play acoustic-guitar chords, that swishy halo of synthesized orchestration hovering over a quavery lead singer–all sound so pleasantly familiar because they've been heard before on countless records by the Eagles, Poco, America, Bread and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Fogelberg smooshes these various elements together for maximum recognizability. But even at its prettiest – and sometimes it's awfully pretty–his music lacks the core of authentic feeling that makes good icky pop. It's like a copy of a copy of a copy whose original image has become a blur. ~ [Source: Rolling Stone] I wish they would cut to the point and tell us what they really think
For the Eagles see #509
For America see #440, #728
For Bread see #363
For Crosby, Stills & Nash see #660
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '361st Song of all Time' was "Complete Control" by the Clash. The Clash have appeared in The Definitive 1000 of All Time @ see #999
Other songs with reference to the Dan Fogelberg ~ #440, #464
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Dan who?) and the Album ranked at (what band is he from?)
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 80.4 out of 108

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