Daniel Grayling "Dan" Fogelberg (August 13, 1951 – December 16, 2007) was an American singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass music. He is perhaps best known for his 1980 hit "Longer" and his 1981 hit "Leader of the Band".
Dan Fogelberg, the youngest of three sons, was born in Peoria, Illinois, the son of Margaret (née Irvine), a classically trained pianist, and Lawrence Peter Fogelberg, a high school band director, who spent most of his career at Peoria's Woodruff High School and Pekin High School. Dan Fogelberg's mother was a Scottish immigrant, and his father was of Swedish descent. His father would later be the inspiration for the song, "Leader of the Band". Using a Mel Bay course book, Dan taught himself to play a Hawaiian slide guitar that his grandfather gave to him; he also learned to play the piano. At age 14 he joined a band, The Clan, which covered The Beatles. His second band was another cover combo, The Coachmen, who in 1967 released two singles, written by Fogelberg, on Ledger Records: "Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget" and "Don't Want To Lose Her."
After graduating from Woodruff High School in 1969, Fogelberg studied theater arts and painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He began performing as a solo acoustic player in area coffeehouses, including the Red Herring Coffeehouse, where he made his first solo recordings as part of a folk festival recording in 1971. He was discovered that year by Irving Azoff. Fogelberg and Azoff—who started his music-management career promoting another Champaign-Urbana act, REO Speedwagon—moved to California to seek their fortunes. Azoff sent Fogelberg to Nashville to hone his skills, where he became a session musician and recorded his first album, with producer Norbert Putnam. In 1972, Dan released his debut album Home Free to lukewarm response. He performed as an opening act for Van Morrison. Fogelberg's second effort was much more successful—the 1974 Joe Walsh–produced album Souvenirs and its song "Part of the Plan" became Fogelberg's first hit.