NEW YORK – Dan Fogelberg, the singer and songwriter whose hits “Leader of the Band” and “Same Old Lang Syne” helped define the soft-rock era, died Sunday at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer. He was 56.
For many of us who came of age in the late ’70’s and ’80’s, Fogelberg was our John Lennon or James Taylor. Fogelberg represented the singer/songwriter genre in a way that resonated with our experiences, and led a bunch of us to pull out our six strings and get to writing.
I was lucky enough to catch a couple of Fogelberg concerts through the years. The best was right after the Souvenirs album came out. Joe Walsh had produced that album, and was doing a concert at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. Half way through the concert, Walsh brought out Fogelberg, who proceeded to do a half hour to an hour of acoustic material. The hard core rocker Walsh crowd didn’t know what to make of it, but it introduced me to a singer/songwriter that I could relate to.
Fogelberg was not without his weaknesses. Let’s just say that humility was not his strong point at times in his career. But his early albums were the soundtrack of my life, and hearing of his death hits close to home.