August 13, 2019
Gone Like The Sand and The Foam
The year was 1979 when this artist entered the American consciousness with a song destined to become a wedding favorite. No doubt he never intended for that to be the case but said of the song, which he wrote while vacationing in Maui, that he was “”lounging in a hammock one night and looking up at the stars. It just seems this song was drifting around the universe, saw me, and decided I’d give it a good home.”
The song was Longer. The artist Dan Fogelberg, who was born on August 13, 1951.
Although Fogelberg had another hit song, Part of the Plan in 1974, it was the song Longer which was his most commercially successful song. It peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1980 and created a fan base of twenty-something young women.
This was due to a number of factors: first, he was an incredible songwriter. His true gift was as a storyteller who could set his tales to music. He encapsulated human emotion into concise, memorable lyrics which managed to tug at one’s heartstrings and, often, produced ennui. His voice possessed qualities which carried the listener to another place and time, evoking sentiment and meaning with his rich vocals. And, because so many of his songs were written from personal experience they were believable and relate-able.
In a short time period after Longer – which did top out at number 1 on the Adult Contemporary charts – a series of memorable hits followed.
According the Infallible Wikipedia:
“The Innocent Age, released in October 1981, was Fogelberg’s critical and commercial peak. The double album included four of his biggest hits: “Same Old Lang Syne”, “Hard to Say”, “Leader of the Band”, and “Run for the Roses”. He drew inspiration for The Innocent Age from Thomas Wolfe’s novel Of Time and the River. A 1982 greatest hits album contained two new songs, both of which were released as singles: “Missing You” and “Make Love Stay.” In 1984, he released the album Windows and Walls, containing the singles “The Language of Love” and “Believe in Me.”
While Dan Fogelberg was not a flashy performer, his concerts capitalized on the very qualities I listed above. I was privileged to see him perform live twice. The first time was in 1994 for an acoustic concert at the Paramount in Seattle. It was just Dan and the instruments he played, primarily guitar and piano. He connected with the audience and was passionate about his music but also about his commitment to environmental causes.
The second time was at a Summer Nights at the Pier concert in the early 2000’s. I’m not entirely sure which year it was as he played there in 2000, 2001, and 2002 from what I’ve been able to research.
What I do know is that the hubby and I experienced a magical Seattle evening on Elliott Bay enjoying Dan Fogelberg as he shared his music.
Sadly, he was diagnosed with advance prostate cancer in May 2004 and died on December 16, 2007.
But what gifts he shared with the world. He released 16 studio albums and 21 singles. His greatest success was on the Adult Contemporary charts. Of the 21 singles, four went to number one and a total of 12 were top ten hits.
As one of my favorite ‘hitchhikers’ he often keeps me company in my treks back and forth across the mountains. There are so many great songs that it’s difficult to pick just one. So I’ll pick two instead.
The first one is easy as it was the song of his I fell in love with and that would be Longer. Despite having friends who suggested that having it sung at our wedding would be too predictable (it charted in March 1980 – I was married in August that year), my sis-in-law did a beautiful rendition and the song will forever have a tender spot in my heart.
The second one is also from his Innocent Age album. It was never released as a single (although it was the B-side of Run For The Roses) and, I would guess, most people have never heard it. It is, however, a gorgeous song which showcases his talent. The song is titled The Sand and the Foam and here’s a YouTube link. No flashy video. Just pure, unadulterated music by my favorite artist.
And a couple of links: