Dan Fogelberg Tribute Album: Garth Brooks Honors Late Singer - Rolling Stone
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Dan Fogelberg Tribute Album: Garth Brooks, Zac Brown Honor Late Singer

On 10th anniversary of his death, Eagles, Vince Gill and more pay homage to influential artist on new LP

Dan Fogelberg

Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg died 10 years ago this week, on December 16th, 2007.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“I always thought my music had to be flawless,” Garth Brooks told the Boston Globe in 1991. “One of my biggest influences was [Dan] Fogelberg, and if you ever listen to his stuff, it’s particularly flawless – all the harmonies are perfect.”

Dan Fogelberg’s legacy was, without a doubt, bolstered by Brooks’ endorsement, but the singer-songwriter best known for such mellow pop hits as “Hard to Say,” “Longer” and “Leader of the Band,” as well as harder-edged rockers including “Part of the Plan,” “Phoenix” and “As the Raven Flies,” had long been an influence on country music, having emerged from California’s country-rock scene in the Seventies, which gave rise to the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and more. Fogelberg was just 56 years old when he died after a battle with prostate cancer, at his Deer Isle, Maine, home, on December 16th, 2007, 10 years ago this Saturday. But several important projects, long in the making, continue to celebrate his artistry and influence.

Although it took almost a decade to come to fruition, the singer’s widow, Jean Fogelberg, organized a CD tribute to her late husband, with Brooks the first to be contacted and the first to commit to the project. Acclaimed producer-musician Norbert Putnam, whose work with Fogelberg includes his 1972 debut LP, Home Free, recorded in Nashville, is among the producers on A Tribute to Dan Fogelberg, released last month. On it, the tunesmith’s songs are interpreted by Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood (“Phoenix”), Vince Gill and Amy Grant (“Longer”), Zac Brown (“Leader of the Band”), Jimmy Buffett (“There’s a Place in the World for a Gambler”), Michael McDonald (“Better Change”), Alabama’s Randy Owen (“Sutter’s Mill),” Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (joined by Richie Furay on “Run for the Roses”) and more. Perhaps most poignantly, two of the artists involved, Donna Summer and Dobie Gray, have also died since recording their contributions to the remarkable collection, which merely hints at the depth and breadth of Fogelberg’s lyrical and melodic gifts. Watch Zac Brown Band’s 2014 performance of “Leader of the Band” below.

Also on the horizon is Part of the Plan, an original musical written by Kate Atkinson and Karen Harris. Named after Fogelberg’s first hit single, which was itself produced by Joe Walsh, the production was presented on stage in Nashville this fall, earning positive notices from critics at the world-premiere event.

“He was beautiful, an angel,” friend and fellow artist Jackson Browne told Rolling Stone of Fogelberg shortly after his death. “People either don’t know it or don’t remember it, but he had the highest harmonies. He sang above Don Henley and J.D. Souther on those tracks. My favorite song of his [‘Same Old Lang Syne’] was about running into an old lover in a supermarket on New Years — I shouldn’t admit it, but it made me cry. It encapsulated the passing of time and the revisiting of former hopes and dreams. He was a really emotional songwriter and a beautiful singer.”

A Tribute to Dan Fogelberg is available now.

In This Article: Garth Brooks


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