Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dan Fogelberg--Same Old Lang Syne (1980)

     1980 was arguably Dan Fogelberg's best year in the music industry. It began with the album, "Phoenix" rising up to the #3 spot on the charts, his best selling single, "Longer" reaching #2 and "Heart Hotels" making the top 40 as well. Late that year came the release of, "The Innocent Age" which, although not quite reaching the same heights on the charts (still was #6 at it's peak), spawned four top 20 hits through 1982. One of the reasons several of these songs became classics was the autobiographical nature of his writing. All who are Fogelberg fans know, "Leader of the Band", but the one that always stuck out to me not only because of the song, but it's back story was "Same Old Lang Syne"
     His website admits that this was based on an encounter with an old girlfriend back in the mid-70's. (If your not familiar with the story...I suggest you click on the link below and listen) Because at the time he wrote the song the woman was still married, (he thought)  the singer refused to release her name to the public. There is reason the song is still played during the holidays every year, as old themes of love found and lost and holiday recollection are captured within the melancholy of the tune itself, complete with a sax solo from Michael Brecker.
     The rest of the story comes upon the death of Fogelberg in 2007. A woman named Jill Greulich came forward in December of that year with the story. Back in Woodruff High School in the late 60's  they had dated when her name was Jill Anderson. They went to different colleges and after graduation Jill got married and moved to Chicago and Dan went to Colorado to purse his musical career. On December 24, 1976, the chance meeting in Peoria occurred when both were going to a convenience store to pick up some food items. They bought a six pack of beer and drank it in her car for two hours while they talked.
     Jill remembers the first time she heard "Same Old Lang Syne" while driving to work, but never said anything because she feared that coming forward would disrupt his marriage. Interestingly enough, by the time of the songs release, she had divorced the man described in the song. As with many autobiographical songs, there were a few changes to make the song work. Jill noted two inaccuracies. She has green eyes, not blue, and her husband was not an architect - he was a physical education teacher, and it is unlikely Fogelberg knew his profession anyway.


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