Dan Fogelberg, the folk/soft rock singer/songwriter, died in his home on Sunday, December 16, after having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004.
Born Daniel Grayling Fogelberg in 1951, his first album, Home Free (1972), was only was not a huge success. But it can be said that it was his sophmore effort that launched his career, 1974's Souvenirs. With musical assistance from most of the Eagles (Joe Walsh - who also produced the album - Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Randy Meisner) and Graham Nash, the album reached number 17 on Billboard's pop albums, and the song Part Of The Plan reached number 31.
He had his weaknesses: he tended to write slightly higher than the actual range of his voice, and some of his songs (Longer or Leader of the Band) were overplayed to the point of pain. But his evocative lyrics and strong melodic talents brought his music to life.
Much of his most successful career was studded with overly-produced songs that receive far more airplay than they deserved. In his live shows (and I had the honor to attend one), he played beautiful, acoustic melodies with minimal orchestration. And he frequently sang in a lower key than what you heard on the album, too.
With 14 studio albums, he was an avid environmentalist, and performed at a number of "No Nukes" concerts for Musicians United for Safe Energy.
A video of one of his performances can be seen here.