iTunes Diaries, entry #29: “Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg

I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes.  I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale.  Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not.  In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey.  I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site.  With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment. 

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This is a diary entry without a story — just a song and it’s lyrics. A song that makes my heart ache and cry. It’s poignancy eats away at my soul with every listen. It’s a song that I need (we all need), and one that I love, truly.

 

“Leader of the Band,” by Dan Fogelberg (1981)

An only child, alone and wild, a cabinet maker’s son,
His hands were meant for different work and his heart was known to none.
He left his home and went his lone and solitary way
And he gave to me a gift I know I never can repay.

A quiet man of music, denied a simpler fate,
He tried to be a soldier once but his music wouldn’t wait.
He earned his love through discipline, a thund’ring, velvet hand.
His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul.
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man.
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.

My brothers’ lives were different, for they heard another call.
One went to Chicago and the other to Saint Paul
And I’m in Colorado, when I’m not in some hotel
Living out this life I’ve chosen, come to know so well.

I thank you for the music and your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough
And, Papa, I don’t think I said “I love you” near enough.

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul.
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man.
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.
I am the living legacy to the leader of the band.

Dan Fogelberg -- The Innocent Age (1981)
Dan Fogelberg — The Innocent Age (1981)

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