The 10 Best Dan Fogelberg Songs of All-Time

Dan Fogelberg

Our countdown of the Top ten Dan Fogelberg songs looks at some of the great hits from the legendary hitmaker who surely defined the soft-rock era. His music was simple yet powerful. Fogelberg was rarely reliant on the volume of his voice, but his was a soft, tender delivery that featured some poignant lyrics which could distinctly convey his emotions. The Illinois-born musician was born in a musical family, and his dad was the leader of a band as he alludes in his 1982 song, “Leader of the Band.” Here is our countdown of the ten best Dan Fogelberg songs of all time.

10. The Power of Gold

The number ten song on our countdown of the top ten Dan Fogelberg songs is the closing track from his 1978 album, Twin Sons of Different Mothers. The track, which was released as a single, sees Dan Fogelberg team up with Tim Weisberg in a song that talks about greed taking over a person without their knowledge. This beautiful song was used in one of the 1980 Winter Olympics broadcasts and is a timeless classic.

9. Nether Lands

The number nine song on our list is the title track from one of Dan Fogelberg’s greatest albums. The album was quite significant in his career since it showed that he had clearly found his artistic niche. “Nether Lands” is the first song in the album, and what an opening it was. The inspiration behind the title of the song is a place in Colorado called Nederland, where Dan Fogelberg recorded the album. The song contains some beautiful melodies and lush orchestration that you will absolutely fall in love with. The lyrics are masterfully written, and they engage the listener right from the beginning to the end.

8. Longer

Dan Fogelberg wrote this amazing song while on vacation in Maui back in 1979. The song is contained in his sixth studio album, Phoenix. In the song, Dan Fogelberg compares various events with the people he holds close to his heart. The song features an acoustic guitar that Fogeberg plays himself, accompanied by his magnificent vocals and flugelhorn by Jerry Hey. The song also has a heartfelt trumpet solo at the beginning and is one of Michael Jackson’s most favorite songs.

7. Run for the Roses

The number seven-track in our countdown of the top ten Dan Fogelberg songs is a song that speaks to us anytime we need a voice and message of life. The song was written for the Kentucky Derby and contains the famous phrase, “the chance of a lifetime in a lifetime of chance,” which at the time expressed the experience of horse racing and life itself. Since its release, “Run for the Roses’ has been used as the unofficial theme song for the Kentucky Derby.

6. Aspen/These Days

“Aspen/These Days” is the first track from Dan Fogelberg’s 1975 album Captured Angel and probably the best song in the album. The song runs for seven minutes and thirty-six seconds, and what a great song it was from the beginning to the end. The song’s lyrics are meaningful, and Dan Fogelberg sings the words with a lot of emotion. Listening to this song gives me a mesmerizing feeling, and the striking guitar riffs make the song so memorable.

5. The Language of Love

“The Language of Love” is the lead single from Dan Fogelberg’s eighth studio album, Windows and Walls. It was arguably the album’s biggest hit, reaching number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was also Dan Fogelberg’s last top 40 hit and another display of how wide his musical expression could get. The emotional song has a rock tune and features Timothy Schmit on the vocals. Dan Fogelberg really rocks out in this song, and many people argue that this song is one of his best works.

4. Hard to Say

“Hard to Say” was Dan Fogelberg’s third top ten hits that was released in 1981. The song is contained in his seventh studio album, The Innocent Age. The song features Glenn Frey of The Eagles on the backup vocals, and the lyrics were written by Dan Fogelberg while he was recovering from surgery. It turned out to be one of his best compositions ever and his greatest hit in Canada, where it reached number 16 on the Canada RPM Top Singles and top position on the Canada RPM Adult Contemporary.

3. Rhythm of the Rain

After listening to this song for several years, I was surprised to learn that it was a cover of the 1962 song by The Cascades. Dan Fogelberg did a good job on this version and made the song look like his own, setting a standard of how covers should be. Dan Fogelberg’s version of the song was released in 1990 from the album, The Wild Places. The song peaked at number 3 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart.

2. Same Old Lang Syne

Every time Dan Fogelberg stepped on stage to perform, he always drove the crowd wild before he started singing. However, the crowd would remain silent and, at times, emotional when he got going. This romantic ballad was released in 1980, and it is a story about two former love interests who meet at a grocery store on Christmas Eve. The lyrics to the song are beautiful, and it is incredibly difficult to listen to it without feeling a bit nostalgic. The song peaked at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100 and has been played during the Christmas season along with many traditional Christmas songs.

1. Leader of the Band

The number one song on our list of the greatest Dan Fogelberg songs was a loving tribute to his father, who was also a singer but died in 1982. According to Dan Fogelberg, “Leader of the Band” is his proudest moment since he was able to dedicate it to his father before he passed on. The song peaked at position nine on the US Billboard Hot 100 and at top position on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart, becoming his second song to achieve that feat after the song, “Longer.” The song is beautifully crafted and one of the best tribute songs that you will come across.

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  1. This is a great list! But really any list of Dan’s songs would be great. Here’s my choices, in no particular order:

    Since You’ve Asked
    The Last Nail
    Scarecrow’s Dream
    The Innocent Age
    To The Morning
    The Reach

  2. I was fortunate enough to see a few of his concerts. I agree with Lieren but i would put Nexus and Heart Hotels in there. I don’t think Rhythm of the Rain should be included since it was a cover as were a few of the blues songs he recorded. He was an incredible lyricist as well as musician. I think his ability to paint such a lyrical picture was his best attribute.

  3. Lieren pretty much nails it. You dont know Dan unless you go back to Homefree and Souvenirs. Great list Lieren, maybe add Comes and Goes, Changing Horses and Stars

  4. How on earth did you miss “Next Time” and “As The Raven Flies “? amongst many other ms? This is just a cursory overview and very disappointing.
    I guess you had to be there, and you weren’t..
    Dan Fogelberg was The King of Herts. RIP your high
    ness!! 😓💔

  5. I was fortunate enough to see Dan Fogelberg three times, once was a solo performance. I agree, to truly understand him goes all the way back to The River and Souvenirs. The River brought me to tears. I was only 16 years old, but it made a huge impact on me. He is one of the reasons I started putting my poetry to music..

  6. Any list of top Dan Fogelberg songs that doesn’t include “Part of the Plan” cannot be taken seriously!

  7. I love all of his music! Definitely my favorite artist ever, his music speaks to me to this day! I too had a father who was the Leader of the Band … a musician who chose the path of medical school. However he remained heavily involved in the musical arts: Opera, Symphony, the Pops and all children took piano and one followed a musical guitar solo dream similar in style to Dan. I personally would include “In The Passage” and “The Reach”. His writing was beyond poetic! Thank you Dan for your Gift to our world!

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