Dan Fogelberg – Same Old Lang Syne

From his 1980 album, The Innocent Age. The song peaked at #9 on Billboards Hot 100 chart on February 20, 1981.

From Songfacts.

As Fogelberg tells it on his official website, the song is totally 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 who he wrote the song about came forward with her story. Her name is Jill Greulich, and she and Fogelberg dated in high school when she was Jill Anderson. 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 Christmas Eve, they were each back in Peoria with their families when Jill went out for egg nog 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, at Frye Avenue and Prospect Road, and that’s where they had their encounter. They bought a six pack of beer and drank it in her car for two hours while they talked.

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’s 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 won’t talk about it, but she had divorced her husband by the time the song was released.

Same Old Lang Syne

Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stood behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve
She didn’t recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried
We took her groceries to the check out stand
The food was totaled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation lagged
We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car
We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how
She said she’s married her an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would have liked to say she loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie
I said the years had been a friend to her
And that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasn’t sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude
She said she saw me in the record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
But the traveling was Hell
We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how
We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving, in our eloquence
Another “Auld Lang Syne”
The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away
Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And, as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain
Songwriters: Dan Fogelberg

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