(Debuted November 28, 1981, Peaked #9, 19 Weeks on the Chart)
There have been a lot more songs devoted to Mom than there are to Dad. I never really paid attention to that little detail until I became a father. While both parents have an influence -- even if it's by their traits rather than their guidance -- mothers tend to be more hands-on and get more of the credit later on. That's a generalization, I realize (for many, one of the parents just isn't around), but it still leads to more credit to Mom when it comes to songs.
"Leader of the Band" is one of the songs that recognizes the father's influence on how a person turns out. It's a tribute to Lawrence Fogelberg, who really had been a bandleader. Although he states in the song that his two brothers went down different paths in life, he understands that the music that comes to him and his profession was the result of a gift handed down to him from a man who did the same thing. He realizes this, and he managed to get that sentiment on a record while his father was still alive to hear it.
That must have made the elder Fogelberg proud.
"Leader of the Band" was the last Top 10 pop hit for Fogelberg, who churned out four of them in the early 1980s. It did better on the Adult Contemporary chart, hitting #1 (his second of three). As Fogelberg's sound faded from the pop charts, he would continue hitting the AC Top 10 into 1990.