Same Old Lang Syne (Happy New Year!)


To ring in the new year, today I wanted to touch on a great song that I heard at a New Year’s party the other day…  “Same Auld Lang Syne” by the late, great Dan Fogelberg. My parents used to play this song, and I’m sure you have heard it:

Happy New Year All !!

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As Fogelberg stated on his official website, the song was autobiographical. He was visiting family back home in Peoria, Illinois in the mid-’70s when he ran into an old girlfriend at a convenience store.

After Fogelberg’s death from prostate cancer in 2007, the woman about whom he wrote the song came forward with her story. Her name is Jill G., and she and Fogelberg dated in high school when she was Jill A. As she explained to the Peoria Journal Star in a December 22, 2007 article, they were part of the Woodruff High School class of 1969, but went to different colleges. After college, Jill got married and moved to Chicago, and Dan went to Colorado to pursue music. On December 24, 1976, they were each back in Peoria with their families for Christmas when Jill went out for eggnog and Dan was dispatched to find whipping cream for Irish coffee. The only place open was a convenience store at the top of Abington Hill where they had their encounter, located at 1302 East Frye Avenue. Today, the store is still in business and is now called Short Stop Food Mart. They bought a six pack of beer and drank it in her car for two hours while they talked.

This is store where they ran into each other and drank a sixer...

This is store where they ran into each other and drank a sixer…

Five years later, Jill heard “Same Old Lang Syne” on the radio while driving to work, but she kept quiet about it, as Fogelberg also refused to reveal her identity. Her main concern was that coming forward would disrupt Fogelberg’s marriage.

Looking at the lyrics, Jill says there are two inaccuracies: She has green eyes, not blue, and her husband was not an architect – he was a physical education teacher, and it is unlikely Fogelberg knew his profession anyway. Regarding the line, “She would have liked to say she loved the man, but she didn’t like to lie,” Jill will not talk about it, but she had divorced her husband by the time the song was released.

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