Wednesday, June 8, 2016


The music of the late Dan Fogelberg has had a profound influence on my life. A classic 1970's singer/songwriter, Dan's music spoke to my heart from the very first moment I encountered it, when Paula Teague and friends used his brilliant song To the Morning in the first Quaker Lake Camp slide show in 1976 or '77. His music became a staple around camp- especially the Crafts Hut- and was used numerous times for devotions and in slide shows over the next 8 years or so. I purchased all of his albums and saw him in concert 3 times before his death from prostate cancer in 2007. His song Along the Road was featured in the first post on this blog; his lyrics have been used in many other posts along the way. But more than that, Dan's lyrics reside deep in my heart, and on many occasions I find myself turning to his words for consolation, comfort, encouragement and peace. That is still true today.

Dan's music is seldom heard anymore on radio or in movies. His mellow style and comforting voice once caused one of my 1990's Kissimmee students to refer to him as "Dan Fogelfart." Even if you are an old-timer like me, you may not know many of his songs. Songs like Same Old Lang Syne, Part of the Plan, Leader of the Band, Place In the World For A Gambler, Missing You, Language of Love and Power of Love were hits in their day, but few remember them. His great love song Longer is still a favorite at weddings. But for me, the true greatness of Fogelberg is found in listening to entire albums, not singles. Great hidden gems like Wishing On the MoonMorning Sky, Souvenirs/The Long Way, Once Upon A TimeStolen Moments, Scarecrow's Dream, Ghosts and Lessons Learned are deep cuts that are among my favorite songs from any artist. And then there is Stars.

The second cut on his 1972 debut album Home Free (right after To the Morning), Stars is a love song- but it is anything but typical. The lyrics capture those moments so many of us have felt in the reality of romance, somewhere between "She loves me yeah, yeah,yeah" and "She ripped my heart out and stomped that sucker flat!" The reality that everything you feel is honest and true and seems to be the most important thing in your life, and yet the other person just does not feel that all. It is a song about how love can be both "true" and unrequited all at the same time. Love can be one-sided and still be authentic and overwhelming. Which, as Dan notes, makes it almost impossible to give up on. How can that kind of love not be shared, not be mutual? It is a question most young people get to ask over and over again in life. Stars is about that kind of love, about that kind of obsession. And for me, it is simply haunting. Sure, it's been a few years since anyone could spend a dime to make a phone call. But many of us know the feeling of trying catch a falling star with some grand romantic gesture...and having that star fall right on top of us. The lyrics hold up so well. Read them. Listen to the song once or twice. And then try to get it out of your head. I dare ya...

Stood out in the rain
Let it soak me down
Before I called you, I called you
Didn't see me there
Hidden by the rain
Beneath your window, but I saw you

Putting on your face
Before the mirror on the wall
Dreaming that the looking glass was me
Catching your fondest gazes
Living through your fickle phases
I love you

And it's getting easier each day
To weep about you
Harder every night to sleep without you
How many years must I be driven
By this dream of love with you?

Spend my dimes on phones
Trying just to talk
But you don't answer, you let it ring
Spend my nights alone
Catching falling stars to give to you love
They're just for you

For stars fall every time
A lover has to face the truth
And far too many stars have fell on me
And as they trail the skies
And burn their paths upon my eyes
I cry

And it's getting easier each day
To weep about you
Harder every night to sleep without you
How many years must I be driven
By this dream of love with you?
With you
With you

Thanks Dan, for writing songs that make the things we feel seem normal- even when they are not. Most love songs strive to make us wish upon a star. You remind us, to quote another of your songs, that sometimes we have to "Wish upon the moon tonight; there's not a lucky star in sight..."  

Happy Hump Day, my friends!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!