Thursday, December 20, 2007

Peoria's Own

A feeling of sadness and loss accompany the news that Flyover favorite Dan Fogelberg passed away on Sunday.

My multi-part tribute and critique of his albums (starting 2 years ago) never got off the ground. I will say that I was not pleased with a Chicago radio show's description of Dan's career as a "punch line".

Now that I've reached 45, I've come to the conclusion that, as Warhol said, everyone gets 15 minutes. Dan Fogelberg's window was open from 1972 to 1985, and I daresay he made the most of it. While his artistic focus changed from the commercially viable after 1985, it would be wrong to say that he became a joke. Sure, the records didn't sell. But I think he was satisfied with his career and saw no reason to extend it. His money was made and he (I hope) was enjoying his life.

How many artists really have the emotional strength to continue to break new ground all the time? Springsteen, perhaps. Bono, we'll see. As much as the Stones continue to be commercially viable, don't kid yourself -- The Stones stopped breaking new ground in 1980.

Sure, Fogelberg's wistfully romantic songs were fluffy. But we liked them. How many times has "Longer" been played at weddings? A couple of million? Heck, one of my first paying gigs was playing "Longer" at a wedding with two flutists. Twenty bucks was twenty bucks back in 1981. He crossed over from Country-Rock to Rock to Pop to Jazz to Bluegrass to Rhythm & Blues. He could do it all. I guess he could have been HUGE at Branson, but he preferred Colorado and Maine.

Living in the shadows
Of the things that might have been
Torn between the blessing and the curse
You may stop the hunger but you'll never slake the thirst
For the nectar you remember
But you'll never taste again.

The Lion's Share 1981

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