We lost one of the world’s folk-rock legends last week when Canadian-born Gordon Lightfoot died, so I am taking a break from the music Monday’s rock to pay tribute to him. The lives of many of us played to the background of his easily recognizable and melodic baritone voice and his twelve-string acoustic guitar.
He is credited with helping to define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s and is considered Canada’s greatest songwriter. His songs have been recorded by some of the world’s most renowned musical artists. Lightfoot’s biographer Nicholas Jennings said, “His name is synonymous with timeless songs about trains and shipwrecks, rivers and highways, lovers and loneliness.” Bob Dylan is one of Lightfoot’s many fans, saying, “I can’t think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like. Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever…. Lightfoot became a mentor for a long time.”
Lightfoot was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Canadian Country Hall of Fame in 2001. On June 24, 2012, Lightfoot was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in a New York City ceremony, along with Bob Segar.,
Play any of these that you please…
One of his earliest hits is Early Morning Rain.
Another I must have listened to a million times is If You Could Read My Mind
Many of Lightfoot’s songs about Canadian wildlife, streets and weather doubled as cultural elegies — like his 1976 hit “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” a dramatic retelling of a real-life maritime disaster. I blogged about this a few years ago (see https://saylingaway.wordpress.com/2019/11/20/the-wreck-of-the-edmund-fitzgerald/).
Here he is in concert just a few years ago singing this haunting song.
I hope he is entertaining the masses in heaven, and how lucky we are that he passed our way.