Monday, May 18, 2020

"She Don't Look Back" by Dan Fogelberg

Song#:  3137
Date:  05/30/1987
Debut:  89
Peak:  84
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Between 1972 and 1985, Fogelberg released ten albums. Eight solo, one duet (with Tim Weisberg), and one hits collection. All of them would be certified gold or platinum with four of them going double-platinum. During that time he would also amass eleven Pop Top 40 entries with four of them hitting the Top 10. His 1985 album High Country Snows would take a turn towards country and although it didn't featured any major pop hits, the LP would still be a gold seller. Two years later, Fogelberg would return to his soft rock sound for Exiles. The musical landscape of the late 80s had significantly changed since Fogelberg's chart heydays earlier in the decade and the question was if his style of music was still viable on pop radio and the Pop chart. The question was answered when this first single was released. While the tune did surprisingly well on the Rock chart getting to #13, it was pretty much a non-starter at Pop. It dropped off the chart after circling the bottom for a few weeks. Further singles then failed to reach the Pop chart. On the bright side, Fogelberg's soft rock was in-step with AC radio and two tracks from the LP would be hits there including the #2 "Lonely in Love." With the mixed results, album sales sagged a bit. It could only get to #48 and would be his first to not be certified gold. In the end, this would be Fogelberg's last song to reach the Pop chart. Over the years, he would release three more studio albums plus a Christmas disc and another duet effort with Tim Weisberg. Fogelberg would die of prostate cancer in 2007. In 2009, a posthumous album titled Love in Time would be released. It would reach #117 becoming his first album to chart since 1993. A 1979 concert by Fogelberg would be issued out in 2017 as Live at Carnegie Hall and it would reach #71.

ReduxReview:  Well, it's not like he didn't try. Fogelberg and his co-producer Russ Kunkel did their best to frame this song in a modern way. In fact, it nearly sounds like they used "Footloose" and other Kenny Loggins songs as their inspiration. I thought it turned out quite well. The song had a hooky chorus with a nice transitional bridge, solid 80s production, and Fogelberg even put more of a rock edge to his voice. In addition to Loggins, this is a song that perhaps even Journey might have done at the time. The song was embraced by rock stations and nearly cracked the Rock Top 10, but for some reason it just wasn't clicking at Pop. I'm not sure, but I always thought the song got ignored because it was Fogelberg. He kind of got tagged as a soft rock AC artist and he wasn't necessarily welcomed back with open arms especially after a country album. And frankly, much of the younger MTV crowd had no idea who he was and were not interested in someone their parents liked. Had this been released a few years earlier, it probably would have done much better.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Including 1984's Windows and Walls, Fogelberg wrote every single song for his solo albums save for one co-write. It wasn't until High Country Snows that Fogelberg began to toss in a couple of cover tunes. Exiles contained one, a remake of the Stephen Stills/Manassas song "It Doesn't Matter." That track from the 1972 debut album by Manassas was released as their first single and it got to #61. Fogelberg's next album, 1990's The Wild Places would featured two cover tunes including "Rhythm of the Rain." That song was originally recorded by the vocal group The Cascades and released as a single in 1962. It would reach #3 on the Pop chart and would be the group's only major hit. Although uncredited, Fogelberg's version utilized a bit of The Beatles' song "Rain," which was the b-side to their 1966 #1 hit "Paperback Writer." Fogelberg's "Rhythm of the Rain" would be released as the first single from The Wild Places. It would be his last charting song reaching #3 at AC.


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