Friday, September 18, 2009

Gone but not forgottten

In my profile I joke that I like a great many different styles and performers of music, but no performers who are younger than I. The problem inherent with that preference is that, unfortunately, all of my favored artists will eventually pass away, leaving behind their recordings to be enjoyed in their absence.

One such performer who's already gone was Dan Fogelberg, who first scored a hit back in the '70's with a folk-rock song called "Part of the Plan" and continued to record and sell records successfully into the early 90's. If you were near a radio anytime during the 80's you probably remember his songs "Longer," "Leader of the Band" and "Run for the Roses," and, if you were a real fan, you know as I do that there were many, many more great songs and great concepts in his albums.

At some point, though, it seems that he was no longer a good fit for mainstream record companies (again, probably because he and his fan base were both getting on in years and because he had never sold zillions of records to start with) and he began to put out records independently, and less frequently.

Just a few years ago it became known publicly that Mr. Fogelberg was suffering from advanced prostate cancer and ultimately passed away from that disease in late 2007. His widow has since his death done some very worthwhile things to honor his legacy and to promote awareness of the disease that claimed his life.

Why do I mention all of this now? Because the late Dan Fogelberg just released a new album. It's called "Love in Time" and contains many songs that are just as enjoyable and poignant as his earlier work. How great is that?

It's my understanding that he wrote and recorded these songs (actually, a couple are not his compositions, but are no less worthwhile) after he knew that his end was coming, and left instructions that these songs be released after his death.

Would you want the opportunity to leave something behind that's indelibly yours, that would be so closely identified with you that it would have to have come from you? Quite a legacy, in my estimation.

Fortunately for me and my diverse musical tastes, many of my other favorites are still actively recording and touring, though I haven't been to a concert in a while (as someone who's not quite 50 I simply can't muster up the enthusiasm to pay over $100 to see a concert). Elton John is 62 and just won a Tony for "Billy Elliott," Bruce Springsteen will be 60 this year and continues to tour in support of his latest album, and John Fogerty (you know, the guy who was the leader and voice of Creedence Clearwater Revival--remember them?) is enjoying quite a renaissance and just released an album of country-tinged covers that's great fun.

Way back in the 60's, The Who (yes, they're still around, sort of, as two of the original members still perform periodically) gave us a song called "My Generation," in which the singer utters the words "hope I die before I get old." Selfishly I'm glad that they didn't, and that some of my other "old" favorites haven't, either.

I'll leave you with this thought.....if you're even close to my age, and you look at the Top 10 from the popular music charts, do YOU recognize any of the names? Me, neither......


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