Now that may seem like a strange sentiment to most ears, and I don’t blame you, really. Fogelberg’s work really was something — a bit like the Carpenters, which I talked about a couple of weeks back — which wasn’t apparent to me in a conscious sense. His songs just were, and something like “Longer” just makes me think of honestly nice, warm late seventies memories for whatever reason, a familiar cut on the radio. Not much else ever sank in with me per se than said song but I always liked how it would randomly crop up here and there.
Turns out that Fogelberg passed after a long battle with prostate cancer, though, and for that reason I do feel honest sorrow at his passing — this is a cancer which has taken its toll on my own family, killing my grandfather and almost killing my uncle, and which was detected very early on in my dad, though he went through an appropriate operation and is doing fine. Knowing that Fogelberg died at 56 is a little unnerving as a result — I’m nearer to there than to my birth — and without turning this into a PSA, it strikes me that there’s something honest and basic about taking the appropriate tests as one ages. I’ve talked with my own doctor about it and within the next few years it’ll be part of a yearly plan, as it should be.
Meantime, in recent years I’d been able to find examples of Fogelberg’s own unexpected (to me) cachet in odd corners. In a more considered, wry vein was Werner Trieschmann’s great 2006 EMP Pop Conference presentation on “Longer,” where, as he freely confessed, he found himself loathing nearly everything about Fogelberg but finding himself moved by said song. Then there was Kiki & Herb, who performed “Same Old Lang Syne” when I saw them in December 2005 and killed it (unsurprisingly). And doubtless his passing will produce similar ‘hmm, well, you know, not so bad at all’ sentiments of one form or another.
I won’t go that far. But you know, like Trieschmann I’ll take that one song still, and it’s a sad and too early way to pass. Simple as that.