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The Innocent Age

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Album Review

With The Innocent Age, Dan Fogelberg created the most ambitious, successful, and creative recording of his career and one that in retrospect was actually quite underrated. A sprawling, conceptual song cycle, the double album traces the stages of life from the cradle to the grave. Beautifully orchestrated, imaginatively conceived, and obviously well thought out, it works as an artistic statement and also includes some of Fogelberg's most universally appealing and commercially successful music. "Leader of the Band" (about his father) and "Same Old Lang Syne" (about an old girlfriend) have a timeless quality and were big hits. As bold as the album was, Fogelberg acknowledged the importance of his influences and those who inspired him to attempt to reach such lofty musical heights by thanking a long list of music notables in the liner notes. A truly outstanding effort and a major work, The Innocent Age is a recording of a caliber that few artists could achieve; and the fact that it was so commercially successful is a testament to the enormous gifts and appeal of this multi-talented artist.

Customer Reviews

Mild Man of Music

Now that Dan has sadly passed on (16th December 2007), we can start to look back over his career with new eyes. He left a legacy of beautiful music, much maligned for many years, but a style also much copied - Darden Smith, Josh Rouse, Clem Snide - whether intentionally or not. The Innocant Age was a creative peak that few artists have ever achieved and to call it underrated is a huge understatement. Here is a two album song cycle that has meaning, never loses your interest and shows this fine songsmith off at his very best. The acoustic simplicity of the title track; the timeless beauty of the Leader of the Band; the corny but endearing Same Auld Lang Syne (he somehow pulls it off); but for me the album peaks with The Reach - a stunning swirling piece that takes you right to Maine in autumn, where the birches have just begun - "Soon the northers will bluster and blow, and the woods will be whitened with snowfall, and the Reach will lie frozen for the lost and unchosen to row" - stunning. An array of LA friends appear on the album, including Emmylou Harris (with whom Dan duets on Only The Heart Will Now), David Crosby, Don Henley and Glenn Frey. Worth every penny you will spend and it gets better with age. There is no better place to start your appeciation of one of the greatest singer songwriters.

A gem among concept albums

I agree wholeheartedly with iButty's review, and would have written similar sentiments myself had that contributor not got there before me. I first came upon this album by Dan as a result of a random vinyl LP purchase at around 1983 time from a local independent record store in my then home town of Ealing, which is one of the attractive green suburbs of outer London. On first hearing I instantly realised that this was a very special artist with incredible song writing and musical talent. Dan takes you on a very personal journey through his youth and those people, places and events that surrounded him at the time. I absolutely concur with iButty that the rhythmically swirling and haunting melody of 'The Reach' is the outstanding piece on this double album. I can easily relate to the sentiment expressed in the lyrics coupled with the rise and fall in tempo reminiscent of ocean swell. Living as I do now in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, the small maritime English county of Cornwall that protrudes out into the Atlantic ocean with its thousands of years of maritime history and dozens of pretty little fishing villages nestling in quint coves, the song strikes a chord with that universal sea fairing tradition that maritime communities all over the world can relate to. Dan's passing away was indeed a very sad event, but at least we can be thankful that his music lives on and his 'The Innocent Age' album is one of my personal favourites.


Born: 13 August 1951 in Peoria, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

If James Taylor epitomized the definition and the original, late-'60s incarnation of the term singer/songwriter, Dan Fogelberg exemplified the late-'70s equivalent of that term at its most highly developed and successful, with a string of platinum-selling albums and singles into the early '80s and a long career afterward, interrupted only by a health crisis that led to his untimely death in 2007. He came out of a musical family, born Daniel Grayling Fogelberg on August 13, 1951, in Peoria, IL, where...
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The Innocent Age, Dan Fogelberg
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