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Saturday, May 28, 2016

A thank you for the music


Daniel Grayling Fogelberg was born in 1951 in Peoria, IL, where his father was an established musician, teacher, and bandleader. His first instrument was the piano, but he gravitated to the guitar in high school and became one of the nation’s pre-eminent singer-songwriters during his lifetime.  He died in 20007, living in Colorado, also my adopted state.

"Leader of the Band" is from his 1981 album The Innocent Age. The song was written as a tribute to his father, Lawrence Fogelberg, who was still alive at the time the song was released but died in 1982.

On this Memorial Day weekend it seemed fitting for Saturday’s Poem.  Widely available in Fogelberg’s and other versions on YouTube, this one is from 2003:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYFVEB4j6zI

And here are the words to

Leader of the Band
By Dan Fogelberg

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

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

My brother's lives were different for they heard another call
One went to Chicago and the other to St Paul
And I'm in Colorado when I'm not in some hotel
Living out this life I've chose and come to know so well

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 a living legacy to the leader of the band
                                                                                         

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