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Where do you go when you get to the end of your dream?

December 17th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg, who epitomized the California soft-rock sound of the 1970s and early ’80s, died yesterday at the young age of 56 after a confrontation with prostate cancer.  Fogelberg, who was ridiculously successful during a nearly twenty-year period when his hyper-romantic ballads were in constant rotation on radio stations throughout the nation (of both pop and country formats), was frequently derided for being either (a) sappy, (b) wimpy, or (c) sappy and wimpy.

But Fogelberg’s early music was frequently groundbreaking, marrying the confessional lyric qualities shared with fellow SoCal troubadours such as Jackson Browne and James Taylor to sweeping and ambitious classically-styled arrangements.  Case in point: his 1977 album Nether Lands, with its dreamlike storyline and lush soundscapes.
Dan Fogelberg: Nether Lands
And for those of us who grew up during that time, and were still too young, innocent or naive to have been into Hendrix, Joplin or Zappa, these songs provided a perfect outlet through which to express ourselves.  I received a vinyl copy of Nether Lands from a female friend in high school (the same friend who received a bright red Star Wars t-shirt from me – we saw the movie together, so give me a break!), the same friend who also gave me an LP of Bread’s On The Waters, which I also hold dear.  But Nether Lands always seemed to be the greater emotional statement, proven by the fact that I can still conjure its melodies and the relative emotions in my head – and heart – on demand.

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Thank you, Dan Fogelberg.

Tags: music

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Charles Nelson // Dec 18, 2007 at 11:31 AM

    Wow, I really connected with Nether Lands also in my youth. Though I haven’t listened to it in years, I still remember its lush landscape that was a very emotional swell. I didn’t know of his illness until his death and I was directed to his website where he has a plea for all men to be checked for prostate cancer. I was saddened by the loss of him to the music world and I immediately thought of my youth sitting in front of my stereo listing to Nether Lands. As he pointed out on his site, he has touched many lives through his music. That, in itself, is the beauty of human artistic creation. The ability to connect with the masses or even one individual.
    He may have been considered “sappy” but maybe we have lost too much of that innocence.

  • 2 spitballarmy // Jan 3, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    Thanks for that thoughtfulness, Chas. I just found that Nether Lands has been remastered in Japan (of course, it’s not available stateside yet), much like those Ry Cooder remasters, which were magnificent. Here is the link to the disc at amazon…it appears to be on a severe shipping delay, but some of their sellers can get it to you immediately. Happy New Year!

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