In a canon of personal songs, “Leader of the Band” stands out as one of Dan Fogelberg’s most treasured. The song, which originally appeared on the singer-songwriter’s 1981 album, The Innocent Age, is Fogelberg’s loving ode to his musician father.
On A Tribute to Dan Fogelberg, Zac Brown Band delivers a touching version of the song, filled with the same love and devotion as the original. Brown and his band had already been playing the song live in concert in honor of Brown’s father. They recorded this version at Red Rocks in Colorado, which happened to be Fogelberg’s favorite venue, and Brown gives a shout out to Fogelberg at the end.
The long-gestating album comes out Nov. 17 via BMG and also features Garth Brooks, Eagles, Train, Michael McDonald and Donna Summer, among others, performing songs from Fogelberg’s beloved catalog. The singer/songwriter died of prostate cancer in December 2007 at 56.
The sizzle reel below includes snippets of Brooks’ rocking take on “Phoenix,” Brown’s “Leader of the Band,” Joe Walsh’s faithful “Part of the Plan,” Vince Gill and Amy Grant’s lilting duet of “Longer,” which Billboard premiered last month, and McDonald’s soulful reinvention of “Better Change.”
Billboard is also exclusively revealing Fogelberg’s hand-written lyrics to the song.
Fogelberg’s widow, Jean, produced the album, along with producer Norbert Putnam, Irving Azoff and Chuck Morris, all of whom played seminal roles in Fogelberg’s career.