The Very Best Of

Dan Fogelberg

Epic / Legacy, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


“Best of” compilations can be a dicey thing for a record label to put out. On one side, there’s always going to be some song left out that is someone’s favorite -- I mean, unless you put out a box set featuring every song that person ever recorded, someone’s going to be disappointed. On the other hand, you can sometimes put too much into the set, stretching the true definition of the “best of.”

In the case of The Very Best Of Dan Fogelberg, a release from 2001, I’d venture to say that the latter path was chosen. Granted, the label tried to be as all-inclusive as they could be in terms of covering Fogelberg’s discography, and all the songs that people grew up with on the radio are here in their glory, sounding as wonderful as ever. But sometimes, it feels like this disc overstays its welcome by one or two tracks.

I have to admit, opening the disc with “Nether Lands” is a bit off-putting. Sure, it takes into account the earliest days of Fogelberg’s career, but this track just seems to come out from left field, and never really seems at home with the old standbys. Had this disc opened with “Part Of The Plan,” it would have been a logical decision. Even so, having “Part Of The Plan” as the second track works just as well.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Actually, The Very Best Of Dan Fogelberg runs on cruise control for about the next dozen songs, knowing that absolutely no wrong can be done. All the favorites are here -- “Longer,” “Same Old Lang Syne,” “Leader Of The Band,” “Heart Hotels,” up to the shoulda-been hits “Lonely In Love” and “She Don’t Look Back.” (I have to admit, while I’ve never been a fan of the track “The Language Of Love,” it does sound more at home here.)

Now, I know that Fogelberg’s cover of “Rhythm Of The Rain” rightfully belongs on this collection, as it was the last real hit that he scored on the charts (aside from Adult Contemporary placements). But I just never warmed up to his take on this song -- not that I was a tremendous fan of the original version either. It just seems out of place that such a prolific songwriter would need to fall back on a chestnut like this, even if it was paying tribute to the music that shaped his own style.

This is where The Very Best Of Dan Fogelberg makes its only real mistake. I could have argued for ending the collection with “Rhythm Of The Rain.” But the last two tracks, “Magic Every Moment” and “A Love Like This,” while pleasant enough, seem like a bit of overkill by the time you get to them. And, I really hate to say it, but most people who pick up this or any Fogelberg compilation album are really looking for the radio hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s. These two tracks just seem to be tacked on for no really good reason.

Make no mistake, there is plenty to love about The Very Best Of Dan Fogelberg, and it does have a few tracks that the earlier “greatest hits” disc didn’t capture at the time. It’s got everything that both the casual and diehard Fogelberg fan could want -- as well as a little bit of padding.

Rating: B

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© 2008 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic / Legacy, and is used for informational purposes only.