William and Paula indicated that they were tired of looking at Putin-beefcake. Can't say I blame them. Can you? Let's try this... I might even get under William's skin even more... We're heading into the Christmas Season, and maybe it was William's Greatest American Rock and Roll Albums post, with some incidental (but well-justified) Eagles-bashing thrown in on the side, or maybe it was the fact that certain Christmas Season memories bring me back to the song Same Old Lang Syne, but something put me in mind of Dan Fogelberg, and I'm wondering how he's doing these days.
My college girlfriend was a BIG Dan Fogelberg fan, so naturally, I followed suit and became a fan too. It was certainly in my interest to do so. You all know how that dynamic works. She liked turquoise jewelry and Southwest art and all of that sort of thing too. What can I say? He was a pretty big star back in the seventies, running off a string of seven platinum albums in a row. Very talented guy. Good lyricist, proficient at harmonies, and adept at both piano and guitar. A lot of his songs were staples on soft-rock stations, but he could rock pretty well when he wanted to. A case in point is a number he wrote when he stayed true to being "green" just at a point in time when it was becoming unfashionable to be that way. From his album Phoenix, in the wake of the Three Mile Island accident, Face The Fire:
Face the Fire
Face the fire
You can't turn away
The risk grows greater with each passing day
The waiting is over
The moment has come
To kill the fire and turn to the sun
They'll take your money
And then take your health
To line their pockets with unequalled wealth
These men are under the power of gold
We won't be safe until we shut them down cold
His career hit a peak with the double-album The Innocent Age in 1981. I saw him in an "alone and acoustic" concert at the Worcester Centrum in 1982. He was great. I'd put that perfomance right up there with any show I've ever seen.
Bottom line: Women really, really went for this guy, and men always had a certain sense that he was playing that up for all it was worth. Nevertheless, I'm a fan...
Jimi Hendrix and Dan Fogelberg... The musical patron saints of the aging Vatican II generation. TM
On the September 25, 2006, episode of the NBC show Late Night with Conan O'Brien, O'Brien concluded his discussion of the controversy over Pope Benedict's public use of a statement by a 14th century Byzantine emperor, and singer Cat Stevens' reaction to the remarks, with the punchline: "So far, no word yet from Dan Fogelberg. [light laughter, then a pause] He was a singer back in the 70s."Seriously speaking, though... I was very saddened and disappointed to hear a couple of years ago that he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2004 and stopped touring and making albums. He underwent hormonal treatments, and went into partial remission. He has an update on his website, but it's quite dated. I don't see any news out there that's very recent. I really do hope that he is doing well.
He had a lot of hits from The Innocent Age, but my favorite song on that album is one that didn't get as much attention. In The Reach, I though he did a pretty good job of capturing the flavor of the state of Maine, as far as it was possible for a guy from Peoria to do.
It's Maine, and it's Autumn, the birches have just begun turning
It's life and it's dying
The lobstermen's boats come returning
With the catch of the day in their holds
And the young boys cold and complaining
The fog meets the beaches and out on the Reach it is raining
It's father and son, it's the way it's been done since the old days
It's hauling by hand ten miles out from the land where their chow waits
And the days are all lonely and long and the seas grow so stormy and strong but...
The Reach will sing welcome as homeward they hurry along
And the morning will blow away as the waves crash and fall
And the Reach like a siren sings as she beckons and calls
As the coastline recedes from view and the seas swell and roll
I will take from the Reach all that she has to teach to the depths of my soul
The wind brings a chill, there's a frost on the sill in the morning
It creeps through the door
On the edge of the shore ice is forming
Soon the northers will bluster and blow
And the woods will be whitened with snowfall
And the Reach will lie frozen for the lost and unchosen to row
Also, in memory of a college classmate from Maine who was lost at sea...
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.