Album Review — The Eagles, Donna Summer, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Randy Owen and Many Others Pay Tribute to Dan Fogelberg

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Click on the musical notes to listen to the podcast


About this Episode

Cover of the new tribute album to Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg passed away 10 years ago this month.  His memory has been kept alive this year by a number of events, including the release of two new albums, ‘Live At Carnegie Hall’ (a previously unheard performance from 1979) and a tribute album that features a long list of musicians that loved Fogelberg’s music.

This episode of Documenting Popular Music takes a look at the tribute album and artist such as Garth Brooks, who performs “Phoenix” with Trisha Yearwood providing background vocals; the late Donna Sumer, who sings an inspiring version of “Nether Lands” using the same backing track that Fogelberg used for the 1977 classic; Amy Grant and Vince Gill, who provide a duet on “Longer” that gives new life to Fogelberg’s biggest hit; Randy Owen, the legendary voice of the group Alabama – the best-selling country group of all time – sings “Sutter’s Mill,” originally from Fogelberg’s progressive bluegrass album ‘High Country Snows;’ Zac Brown and his band deliver a live version of “Leader of the Band;” and Fogelberg’s good friend Joe Walsh of the Eagles sings “Part of the Plan,” a song he originally produced for Fogelberg for the 1974 album Souvenirs. Fellow Eagles Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmitt sing backing harmonies for the new version of the song.

Other artists on the album include Michael McDonald, Jimmy Buffett, Boz Scaggs, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Richie Furay, the late Dobie Gray, Train, Fool’s Gold (originally Fogelberg’s backing band) and Casey James.

Included in this presentation is inside, background information from Fogelberg’s former record producer, Norbert Putnam, one of the tribute album’s co-producers.  Putnam explains how Brooks and Summer got involved in the project, which is a true labor of love from Fogelberg’s widow, Jean Fogelberg, also a producer on the album.  She has worked hard to create a celebrated year for her late husband, and the tribute album is the final, very satisfying piece to an eventful year.

You can hear more from Putnam about his relationship with Dan Fogelberg in the Documenting Popular Music episode ‘Leader of the Band — Remembering Dan Fogelberg with Stories and Insights from His Record Producer’ released earlier this year.


Coming soon from Documenting Popular Music, a look at Gordon Lightfoot’s career with author Nicholas Jennings; a conversation with Merrilee Rush (“Angle of the Morning”), a look at TV theme songs from the 1970s that became Top 40 hits; and a biographical sketch of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.

Robert Neil’s Show Notes

One of the biggest professional joys I had in 2017 was speaking with Norbert Putnam, a man who has had an amazingly successful career as a musician and producer. Norbert was Dan Fogelberg’s first record producer and Jean Fogelberg was nice enough to put me in touch with him for the radio-documentary we did on Dan’s career this year.  (Just to be clear, Jean Fogelberg was not involved in the documentary.)

I had originally hoped to talk with Norbert for about 40 minutes, but he is a very loquacious man with soo many interesting stories to tell, and we ended up speaking for more than two hours. (Thank you Norbert) During our conversation, he told me about Garth Brooks’ and Donna Summer’s involvement with the tribute album; however, the lineup of stars on the album had not yet been released, and Jean asked that I not use the info for the show.  I’m happy I could use Norbert’s recollections about Brooks and Summer for this review of the tribute album.

You can find more stories from Norbert – who has worked with Elvis, Jimmy Buffett, the Monkees, Joan Baez and soo many others – in his memoir, Music Lessons Vol. 1.  Find it at

Robert Neil


Song Notes


Performed by Garth Brooks

Written by Dan Fogelberg

© 1979 Hickory Grove Music, ASCAP

“Part of the Plan”

Performed by Joe Walsh

Written by Dan Fogelberg

© 1974 Hickory Grove Music, ASCAP


Performed by Amy Grant and Vince Gill

Written by Dan Fogelberg

© 1979 Hickory Grove Music, ASCAP

“Sutter’s Mill”

Performed by Randy Owen

Written by Dan Fogelberg

© 1985 Hickory Grove Music, ASCAP

“Nether Lands”

Performed by Donna Summer

Written by Dan Fogelberg

© 1977 Hickory Grove Music, ASCAP

“Leader of the Band”

Performed by Zac Brown

Written by Dan Fogelberg

© 1979 Hickory Grove Music, ASCAP

Documenting Popular Music’s theme music by composer frankum (, © copyright 2017 and used under a licensing agreement ( via freesound ( No warranties are given for the use of this music.

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