Remembering Dan Fogelberg

17 Dec

BY LESLIE CRISS 

Early this morning a co-worker walked past my desk and told me a bit of news that broke my heart. Dan Fogelberg has died. And with him, a huge chunk of my youth.

With the release of his first album in 1972, I was a freshman in high school. And I fell in love with this soulful musician whose lyrics were pure poetry – of the meaningful kind. I can remember sitting in the high school parking lot during lunch and listening to Dan Fogelberg on my 8-track tape player. His music carried me through high school, college and beyond. Honestly, much of his music served as the soundtrack for my life for at least two decades.

My Dan Fogelberg albums were the very first to be converted to compact discs. I have them all and I still listen to them often. I’ve seen him in concert three times – twice in Jackson. The second time he was in Jackson, I was in college. After the concert, a few of us went to Poet’s restaurant. which was in The Quarter off Lakeland Drive. It was not a place Mississippi College students were supposed to be, but there we sat. As we ate our late dinner, a guy walked in, sat on a stool and started playing a guitar and singing. The voice sounded familiar. It was Dan Fogelberg. He sat and played for free for  about an hour.

The third time I saw him in concert, I was teaching school on the Gulf Coast and he was at the Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. It was to be an evening of acoustic music. No band. Just Dan and his guitar and piano. He came on stage and began to play the piano, and when he started to sing, there were some girls who screamed, louder and louder. Finally, he stopped playing, turned on the piano bench to face the audience and with complete kindness explained that he’d come there to play some nice acoustic music for us, but that if we didn’t want to listen, he’d play some of his harder stuff and we’d go home. The screamers shut up and for more than two hours he played and sang many of my favorites. It remains the best concert I’ve ever attended.

The first two songs on his first album have stayed my most favorite of all his works since 1972. That’s 35 years. “Stars” and “To The Morning.”

When I heard he’d died at 6 Sunday morning, I couldn’t help but think of “To The Morning:”

“Watching the sun
Watching it come
Watching it come up over the rooftops.

Cloudy and warm
Maybe a storm
You can never quite tell
From the morning.

And it’s going to be a day
There is really no way to say no
To the morning.

Yes it’s going to be a day
There is really nothing left to
Say but
Come on morning.

Waiting for mail
Maybe a tale
From an old friend
Or even a lover.

Sometimes there’s none
But we have fun
Thinking of all who might
Have written.

And maybe there are seasons
And maybe they change
And maybe to love is not so strange.

The sounds of the day
They hurry away
Now they are gone until tomorrow.

When day will break
And you will wake
And you will rake your hands
Across your eyes
And realize

That it’s going to be a day
There is really no way to say no
To the morning.

Yes it’s going to be a day
There is really nothing left to say but
Come on morning.”

Thanks, Dan. Thanks for your music and your powerful words…

2 Responses to “Remembering Dan Fogelberg”

  1. Bud J December 17, 2007 at 8:03 pm #

    Beautifully written Leslie. “To the Morning,” is an astoundingly beautiful song. Dan influenced me more than any singer/songwriter ever. I will never ever forget him or his work.

  2. Tupelo Honey December 18, 2007 at 8:42 am #

    Thanks for your powerful words Leslie. Well said.

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