Friday, December 21, 2007

The Innocent Age, indeed

Both Talmadge and Bolivar have written beautiful thoughts about the passing of Dan Fogelberg. I have pondered his passing all week, especially since a friend's husband is battling prostate cancer himself (and if I recall correctly, had surgery this week).

As my own tribute, I've been listening to a nice playlist of his music I put together on Rhapsody. The initial track is "Longer" (which Tal mentioned that I sang in his and Sera's wedding). It was one of my favorite songs anyway, so it was a joy and pleasure to sing that for them. The whole list has been great -- and surely beats the endless barrage of holiday music!!!

I admit that I haven't always been an album person -- I love singles to death, but only about a third of the time am I intrigued enough to get the full album. And so we come to The Innocent Age. Forgive me if you've heard the story before .........

It was spring 1982. WANS-FM came to "Freedom" High School (grades 7-12) and showed a film about the music industry. Lou Gramm of Foreigner was one of the persons featured -- primarily because 4 had been such a HUGE success the previous year. Anyway, I don't remember much about the film except that it highlighted "Jukebox Hero" at the end. And then the DJ said, "I need four people for a trivia contest!" I threw my arms as high as my short 4'11" frame could take them. Other people around me started pointing at me -- "pick her! pick her!" And so they did -- I was the final contestant.

My question: which of these groups has never had a Top Ten hit? My choices .... I forget the first two, but I remember the final two: Van Halen and the Grateful Dead. Okay, I figured that Van Halen had recently (off Diver Down; didn't they?).... so that left the Dead, and I knew somehow that they hadn't. I remembered reading something about it. So I said, "Can you repeat the question?" (quite the little pro, wasn't I?). Everyone laughed, including the DJ and myself. After the repeat I replied, "The Grateful Dead?" ..... AND WON! WOO HOO! My prize: the double album The Innocent Age, on VINYL, by God!

A couple of my friends were like, "Oh girl. You got the booby prize." I knew they were wrong and that I had a treasure. I took it home, and listened to it. I was right -- I listened several times through over a few weeks. I was scared to death to damage the vinyl further, so I put it away and didn't listen except on special occasions. And most of those times, I went back to the singles that I loved -- "Hard to Say," "Run for the Roses" (I'll like it for you, B & T), and "Same Old Lang Syne."

Until this week. In addition to my own playlist, I listened to all of The Innocent Age for the first time in about 25 years. It was as good as I remembered. I also re-discovered a couple of songs that I had liked back then -- the beautiful "Only The Heart May Know" and the title track. I also cyberspun Phoenix a couple of times. Completely beautiful, and I think I'll get the CD of that. I also will be digging out the copy of The Innocent Age that Tal was so kind to burn off my vinyl for me.

And this year, when I decide to take part in "Freedomtown Idol," I'll audition with the song I wanted to use last year anyway ... "Hard to Say."

In pace requiescat, Mr. Fogelberg. Your music was a part of my formative tween/teen years, and I am appreciative of the gift you shared with our world. Like you sang, "I thank you for the music....."


Talmadge G. said...

My question: which of these groups has never had a Top Ten hit? ....Van Halen and the Grateful Dead. Okay, I figured that Van Halen had recently (off Diver Down; didn't they?)

Well, you WERE right with the Dead (their first top-10'er ... indeed, their first TOP 40 single wouldn't come until '87 - "Touch of Grey"), but Van Halen also would've been the correct answer. From what I call my "bible", here were VH's singles to date:

Van Halen (1978):
"You Really Got Me" - #36
"Runnin' With the Devil" - #84

Van Halen II (1979):
"Dance the Night Away" - #15
"Beautiful Girls" - #84

Women and Children First (1980):
"And the Cradle Will Rock" - #55

Have you seen Junior's chart positions?? No singles from 1981's Fair Warning hit the 'hundred.

And, from Diver Down - a current album at the time of this assembly:
"(Oh) Pretty Woman" - #12
and later that Spring:
"Dancing in the Street" - #38.

No top 10 Van Halen hit until "Jump" from 1984. And that'un soared to #1.

--Talmadge Q. Whitburn

PS - "mstapfh" Is this a verification, or an INFECTION??

nettiemac said...

Well, I'll be damned. I thought for sure VH had had a Top Tenner ... so that was why I had picked the Dead. WOW! I'd have been a winner either way!

I was afraid that if I lost, they'd give me a crappy album..... BWAAAAH!