Having learned piano from the age of 14, Daniel Grayling Fogelberg moved to guitar and songwriting. Leaving the University of Illinois in 1971, he relocated to California and started playing on the folk circuit, at one point touring with Van Morrison. A move to Nashville brought him to the attention of producer Norbert Putnam. Fogelberg released Home Free for Columbia Records shortly afterwards. This was a highly relaxed album, notable for the backing musicians involved, including Roger McGuinn, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Despite the calibre of the other players, the album was not a success, and Fogelberg, having been dropped by Columbia, returned to session work. Producer Irv Azoff, who was managing Joe Walsh, signed Fogelberg and secured a contract with Epic. Putnam was involved in subsequent recordings by Fogelberg. In 1974, Fogelberg moved to Colorado, and a year later released Souvenirs. This was a more positive album, and Walsh's production was evident.
From here on, Fogelberg played the majority of the instruments on record, enabling him to keep tight control of the recordings, but inevitably it took longer to finish the projects. Playing support to the Eagles in 1975 helped to establish Fogelberg. However, in 1977, due to appear with the Eagles at Wembley, he failed to appear onstage, and it was later claimed that he had remained at home to complete recording work on Netherlands. Whatever the reason, the album achieved some recognition, but Fogelberg enjoyed better chart success in his native USA than in the UK. In 1980, 'Longer' reached number 2 in the US singles charts, while in the UK it did not even reach the Top 50. Two other singles, 'Same Auld Lang Syne' and 'Leader Of The Band', both from The Innocent Age, achieved Top 10 places in the USA. The excellent High Country Snows saw a return to his bluegrass influences and was in marked contrast to the harder-edged Exiles that followed.
In the late 80s Fogelberg built a full-size studio (Mountain Bird Studio) at his ranch, enabling him to record new albums from his homebase. A steady stream of releases and reissues emerged in the following decades, but the artist's career was put on hold in 2004 when he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer from which he eventually died in December 2007. From plaintive ballads to rock material, Fogelberg was a versatile writer and musician who produced credible records and commanded a loyal cult following.
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