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My Favorite Song is an Aging Hippie-Holdover Classic!

Posted on August 28, 2010 | By Robert LaFrance | 3 Comments

This rant was inspired by a song.  It’s a lovely little ditty and I’d like to play it for you now.

That’s right – it’s Dan Fogerlberg’s “Longer Than.” This optimistic ballad was released late in 1979 and gained most of its insane popularity in 1980 and is now my all time favorite song.  A favorite song that I never need to hear again.  In fact, I’d rather puncture my eardrums with porcupine spines than listen to that drivel.  So, I hear you asking yourself, “with all that great music that The Slacker Factor has brought me, how could THIS possibly be his favorite song?”  Well, I will tell you.

“Longer Than” gives me hope.  Not because of its poignant lyrical content, its dreamy melody, or delicately sung vocal.  Nope, in fact those things make me want to reach into the early 80s and pull Dan Fogelberg’s tonsils out through his nose.  I love it for this reluctant hope that it offers.  Hope that if this boat load of crap can reach a peak position of #2 on the Singles Chart in this god forsaken country, then actual quality music might stand a fighting chance.

But, what I really can’t believe is that back in the early 80s, people heard this song for the first time and said to themselves “Wow, what a fantastic little ditty, I can’t wait to hear several more times an hour on my favorite Adult Contemporary radio station.”  Or worse, that those aging hippie holdover baby boomers thought that this was a cutting edge new sound for a new decade and warranted critical acclaim and a place in the rock and roll history books alongside Richard Marx and Bryan Adams.  Why else would it have catapulted his album called Phoenix to platinum status?   There can be no other logical explanation.

Considering I was 9 at the time and have only vague recollections of driving to visit relatives in our brown Volare Startion wagon with the fake wood door panels and those state of the art AM radios with the tinny, two inch dashboard speakers through which  my Mom would blast “Longer Than” … it’s no surprise that this song triggers recessed memories that I am only now beginning to work out in therapy.  So, I had to call and ask…  “Mom, what the hell were you thinking with this pseudo emotional, over the top whispery poppycock?”  Her simple answer, “It’s such a nice song.  I love Dan Fogelberg.”  But Mom, WHY????  I need a detailed explanation of how anyone could have ever liked such crap.  Unfortunately, my mother offered no such explanation.  I guess normal people don’t obsess and analyze popular music to the degree that haunts me.  This is my cross to bear.

I can just imagine him performing this song live in front of a sold out hockey arena.  The gently plucked guitar reverberating throughout the massive space, infiltrating the open orifices of the unsuspecting.  His 70s feathered hair cascading over his ears, still as a statue while his head nods to the completely soulless beat .  His half closed eyes peering into the souls of the innocent.  It’s cliché lyrics penetrate the crowd through the wounds left open by the awful string section and trumpet solo.  Really?  A trumpet solo?  YUCKK!!!!

So, bottom line… Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer Than” represents everything that’s wrong with music not just of today but of all time!  Yet, upon further analysis, every generation is entitled to their own Dan Fogelberg which explains the existence of such K-Tel wonders as Air Supply, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Clay Aiken, David Archuleta , etc.  But, remember, for everyone who listens to this rant and thinks, “Rob is right… this stuff sucks.”  There is hope that they will progress forward through their own musical journey and discover actual GOOD Music.  The End.

< Listen to this rant, and more, on the podcast here or on iTunes >


3 Responses to “My Favorite Song is an Aging Hippie-Holdover Classic!”

  1. Eric Folkerth
    August 30th, 2010 @ 12:13 am

    I don’t know if the timing of your rant is intentional, but if not I at least wanted you to know that large “Fogelberg Weekend” was held this very weekend in Peoria, Il, to dedicate a Memorial in his memory. Dan died of cancer several years back.

    So, although musical opinions are certainly a dime a dozen (and you could learn a lot by learning more than “Longer,” btw…), and everybody is entitled to theirs, I’m going to assume your timing is just a bad coincidence, and not intentional on your part.

  2. Eric Folkerth
    August 30th, 2010 @ 12:15 am

    Here was the front page story in today’s (Sunday’s) Peoria paper:

  3. Robert LaFrance
    September 8th, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

    Totally coincidental, Eric, but thanks for pointing it out! I’ll save my sarcastic thoughts in respect to his death but it’s killing me.

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