Documenting Popular Music

Leader of the Band: Remembering Dan Fogelberg with Stories and Insights from His Record Producer

August 19, 201747 min
Dan Fogelberg’s talent was apparent from an early age, and by the time he was 19, he had a recording contract with a major record label.  The man who would produce this young talent was Norbert Putnam, who was only about nine years Fogelberg’s senior.  Together, these two worked on three of Fogelberg’s albums, which would turn out to be some of the most important records in his career.   In an exclusive interview for this radio documentary, veteran journalist Robert Neil speaks with Putnam about creating the albums Home Free, Nether Lands and Phoenix. Included are stories about recording some of Fogelberg’s most famous songs, including “Longer,” “Dancing Shoes,” Netherlands,” “Wishing on the Moon” and others.   In this presentation you’ll also learn how the man who wrote musical scores for The Outer Limits, a sci-fi television show, was instrumental in one of Fogelberg’s albums. Just as important – if not more – was a 14-year-old girl, who let her important father know Fogelberg was a rising star.   The late Fogelberg, who died in 2007, was one of the most talented musicians Putnam says he’d ever recorded, and he is currently working to produce a new tribute album that will feature numerous stars singing Fogelberg’s songs.   The tribute album is just one of several projects focusing on Fogelberg this year, and his widow Jean Fogelberg is hoping those efforts, along with a petition of nearly 50,000 signatures, will help get Dan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  (More info on that project can be found on the Facebook page @Induct Dan Fogelberg into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)   Our thanks to Norbert Putnam for the hours and stories he shared, and to the very busy Jean Fogelberg, who put us in touch with Putnam.

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