Daniel Grayling Fogelberg was born on August 13, 1951 in Peoria, Illinois. He has two older brothers Marc, an attorney, and Peter, a graphic artist that live in Chicago and Peoria respectively. His father, Lawrence Peter Fogelberg, was a World War II veteran and worked as a band leader for both Woodruff 1945-1955 and Pekin 1956-1976 High Schools and Bradley University, all in Peoria. He inspired "The Leader Of The Band" which was released a year before he passed away in 1982. Dan's mother, Margaret Young Fogelberg, a Scottish immigrant, is a classically-trained pianist.
While growing up, Dan took piano lessons and taught himself to play an old Hawaiian slide guitar that his grandfather gave him. By age 14, Dan was composing songs and was in his first band, The Clan, which played only Beatles tunes. His second band, The Coachmen, played songs by West Coast bands and even appeared with some national acts like Paul Revere and the Raiders. The group also spent some time at a Peoria- area recording studio, The Golden Voice, and released two songs "Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget" and "Autumn Leaves" as 45s on Ledger Records in 1967. They were even offered $1000 for "Autumn Leaves" by a band called The Cryan Shames but turned it down.
By 16 Dan was through with his band period and his "introverted self came out and started taking over," he has said. For the next two years, he spent a lot of time sitting on a bluff beside the Illinois River singing Gordon Lightfoot songs. But at that time he was actually more interested in painting and even had done some theater in high school.
After being named an Illinois State Scholar and graduating from Woodruff High School in 1969, Dan enrolled at the University of Illinois at Champaign as a theater major but quickly changed to painting. After two years he was becoming so successful playing music in local coffeehouses and around the state that he dropped out of college in 1971 to pursue music full-time.
He went to Los Angeles with friend and manager, Irving Azoff, also an ex-student at the University of Illinois. Irving got Dan a record contract and Home Free, his first album, was released and 1972. In the early 70's, Dan was also a session musician, playing on albums by Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh, Randy Newman, Roger McGuinn and others. Dan's second album, Souvenirs, produced by Joe Walsh, came out in 1974 and got him his first hit, "Part Of The Plan." Dan's painting on the inner jacket shows things mentioned in the title song, such as the key, window sill and sunrise. Items from other songs are shown too, such as the raven and the gambler s card. Also, notice the date circled on the calendar.
Dan wasn't comfortable with the California lifestyle, so he moved to Tennessee where he purchased a farm near Nashville about 1973. After three years, he moved to a place near Boulder, Colorado. His third album, Captured Angel in 1975, was written as a result of the move.
The fourth album, Nether Lands in 1977, recorded at the Caribou Ranch, was about "living on the edge," as Dan describes it. For the song , "Give Me Some Time," Dan needed a flute player and this is how he met Tim Weisberg. Dan's next album Twin Sons Of Different Mothers in 1978 was a collaboration with Tim. Dan said that "We'd rather solo with a melodic purpose than do 85 bars of jamming. The album is what I've musically always wanted to say."
In 1979, Dan released Phoenix , his sixth album. This album contained "Longer" , which made it to #2 on the charts. The Egyptian legend of Phoenix is about a beautiful lone bird that lived in the desert for 500 years and then consumed itself in fire, only to rise again from the ashes to live another long life. Dan equates this in the title song to rising again after losing at love. The album cover shows the Phoenix bird rising, pulling its heart upward as well.
The next album, The Innocent Age was released in 1981. This is Dan's favorite album. This ambitious project was inspired by his thoughts of turning 30 and many of its songs reflect on youth, which is an age of innocence. To write it he went back to his grade school and the woods he played in as a child. The album is song-cycle arranged, it appears, in a progression beginning with songs of creation and youth, and ending with a song about death and the ghosts of days left behind. The album leads us from the cradle, through many experiences, and finally to the grave. The record's cover photo reflects this theme.
In 1982 Dan moved from near Boulder to his current home, a ranch in the southern Colorado Rockies. There he married his first wife, Maggie, from a wealthy family in Memphis. Unfortunately, their relationship lasted less than two years and they were divorced in 1985. The year he moved also marked the release of his Greatest Hits album, followed by Windows And Walls in 1984. The following year came High Country Snows, inspired by a bluegrass festival he attended in Telluride in 1983.
Next came the album Exiles, released in 1987. It has become known as the "divorce album." Meanwhile, he met his second wife Anastasia Savage, a nurse and painter, from Louisiana. Coincidentally, she used to be a private nurse for Georgia O'Keeffe, one of Dan's favorite artists and to whom "Bones In The Sky", from The Wild Places, was dedicated after her death. Dan once said how he had wanted to stop by O'Keeffe's ranch to meet her, but she probably felt the same way about uninvited visitors as he does. He is also a painter and photographer. In 1991, Dan recorded Greetings From The West live at a St. Louis, MO concert. An accompaning video of the concert and an interview was also released.
Dan is an avid downhill skier and sailor. He also has a modest old home on an island off the coast of Maine where he keeps his sailboat and visits in the summer. He built a full recording studio known as "Mountain Bird Studio" (as in Berg = Mountain and Fogel = bird, for those of you that didn't know) on his ranch in the late 80's and now he can ski during the day and work at night. Here he has recorded his last two albums River Of Souls in 1993 and No Resemblance Whatsoever, again with Tim Weisberg in 1995.
Dan Fogelberg has quietly produced one of the more substantial bodies of work of any practicing singer-songwriter. Not to mention best-selling; between 1975 and 1984, eight consecutive albums he released went platinum or gold. Since his 1972 major label debut album Home Free, Fogelberg has managed to carve himself a stylistic niche somewhere between the Crosby, Stills & Nash school of folk-rock harmony, the Harry Chapin/Billy Joel school of blustery lyric realism, and the Tim Hardin school of overwhelming romantic sensitivity. From plaintive ballads to rock material, Fogelberg is a versatile writer and musician who continues to produce credible records and command a loyal cult following.