The Words and Music of Dan Fogelberg (1951 – 2007)


A Stone at the Dan Fogelberg Memorial Park on the Illinois River in Peoria, IL.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about an especially moving song about death by the American musician Dan Fogelberg. His lyrics often touch on existential themes. Here are some more of his beautiful words and music.

Part of the Plan

I have these moments, all steady and strong
I’m feeling so holy and humble
The next thing I know, I’m all worried and weak
And I feel myself starting to crumble

The meanings get lost and the teachings get tossed
And you don’t know what you’re going to do next
You wait for the sun but it never quite comes
Some kind of message comes through to you
Some kind of message comes through
And it says to you

Love when you can
Cry when you have to
Be who you must that’s a part of the plan
Await your arrival
With simple survival
And one day we’ll all understand
One day we’ll all understand
One day we’ll all understand

There is no Eden or heavenly gates
That you’re gonna make it to one day
But all of the answers you seek can be found
In the dreams that you dream on the way

 The Leader of the Band (a tribute to his father)

An only child alone and wild
A cabinet maker’s son
His hands were meant for different work
And his heart was known to none
He left his home and went his lone
And solitary way
And he gave to me
A gift I know I never can repay

A quiet man of music
Denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once
But his music wouldn’t wait
He earned his love through discipline
A thundering, velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls
Took me years to understand

I thank you for the music
And your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom
When it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness
And the times when you got tough
And, papa, I don’t think
I said, “I love you” near enough

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument
And his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band
I am the living legacy
To the leader of the band

Heart Hotels

Well there’s too many windows in this old hotel
And rooms filled with reckless pride
And the walls have grown sturdy and the halls have worn well
But there is nobody living inside, nobody living inside

Gonna pull in the shutters on this heart of mine
Roll up the carpets and pull in the blinds
And retreat to the chambers that I left behind
In hopes there’s still may be love left to find, still may be love left to find

Seek inspiration in daily affairs
Now you soul is improper and requires repairs
And the voices you hear at the top of the stairs
Are only echoes of unanswered prayers, echoes of unanswered prayers

Well there’s too many windows in this old hotel
And rooms filled with reckless pride
And the walls have grown sturdy and the halls have worn well
But there is nobody living inside, nobody living inside.

Along The Road

Joy at the start
Fear in the journey
Joy in the coming home
A part of the heart gets lost in the learning
Somewhere along the road

Along the road your path may wander
A pilgrim’s faith may fail
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Darkness obscures the trail

Cursing the quest
Courting disaster
Measureless nights forebode
Moments of rest
Glimpses of laughter
Are treasured along the road

Along the road your steps may stumble
Your thoughts may start to stray
But through it all a heart held humble
Levels and lights your way

Joy at the start
Fear in the journey
Joy in the coming home
A part of the heart gets lost in the learning
Somewhere along the road
Somewhere along the road
Somewhere along the road

Dan Fogelberg Memorial Park, Peoria Illinois.

3 thoughts on “The Words and Music of Dan Fogelberg (1951 – 2007)

  1. Thanks for the comment. As a writer myself I so appreciate Dan’s wonderful lyrics.

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