Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr. CC OOnt (born November 17, 1938) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music, and has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He has been referred to as Canada’s greatest songwriter and internationally as a folk-rock legend.
Lightfoot’s songs, including “For Lovin’ Me”, “Early Morning Rain”, “Steel Rail Blues”, “Ribbon of Darkness”—a number one hit on the U.S. country charts with Marty Robbins’ cover in 1965— and the 1967 Detroit riot-generated “Black Day In July” brought him international recognition in the 1960s. He experienced chart success in Canada with his own recordings, beginning in 1962 with the Number 3 hit “(Remember Me) I’m the One”. Lightfoot’s recordings then made an impact on the international music charts as well in the 1970s, with songs such as “If You Could Read My Mind” (1970) (Number 5 on the US charts), “Sundown” (1974), “Carefree Highway” (1974), “Rainy Day People” (1975), all reaching number 1, and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (1976) (reaching number 2).
Some of Lightfoot’s albums have achieved gold and multi-platinum status internationally. His songs have been recorded by some of the world’s most renowned recording artists, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., The Kingston Trio, Marty Robbins, George Hamilton IV, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Viola Wills, Richie Havens, The Replacements, Harry Belafonte, Tony Rice, Sandy Denny (with Fotheringay), The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Scott Walker, Sarah McLachlan, John Mellencamp, Toby Keith, Peter, Paul and Mary, Glen Campbell, Anne Murray, The Irish Rovers and Olivia Newton-John.
By January 2002 Lightfoot had written 30 new songs for his next studio album. He recorded guitar and vocal demos of some of these new songs. In September, before the second concert of a two-night stand in Orillia, Lightfoot suffered severe stomach pain and was airlifted to McMaster Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. He underwent surgery for a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, and he remained in serious condition in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Lightfoot endured a six-week coma and a tracheotomy, and he underwent four surgical operations. All of his remaining 2002 concert dates were canceled. More than three months after being taken to the McMaster Medical Center, Lightfoot was released in December to continue his recovery at home.
In 2003 Lightfoot underwent follow-up surgery to continue the treatment of his abdominal condition. In November he signed a new recording contract with Linus Entertainment and began rehearsing with his band for the first time since his illness. Also in 2003, Borealis Records, a related label to Linus Entertainment, released Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot. On this album, various artists, including The Cowboy Junkies, Bruce Cockburn, Jesse Winchester, Maria Muldaur, and The Tragically Hip interpreted Lightfoot’s songs. The final track on the album, “Lightfoot”, was the only song not previously released by Lightfoot. It was composed and performed by Aengus Finnan.
In January 2004 Lightfoot completed work on his album Harmony, which he had mostly recorded prior to his illness. The album was released on his new home label of Linus Records on May 11 of that year. It was his 20th original album and included a single and new video for “Inspiration Lady.” Other songs were “Clouds Of Loneliness,” “Sometimes I Wish,” “Flyin’ Blind”, and “No Mistake About It.” The album contained the upbeat yet reflective track called “End Of All Time”
In July 2004 he made a surprise comeback performance, his first since falling ill, at Mariposa in Orillia, performing “I’ll Tag Along” solo. In August he performed a five-song solo set in Peterborough, Ontario, at a flood relief benefit. In November he made his long-awaited return to the concert stage with two sold-out benefit shows in Hamilton, Ontario.
Robbie Robertson of The Band declared that Lightfoot was one of his “favourite Canadian songwriters and is absolutely a national treasure.” Bob Dylan, also a Lightfoot fan, called him one of his favourite songwriters, and in an often-quoted tribute to his fellow songwriter, Dylan once observed that when he heard a Gordon Lightfoot song he wished “it would last forever.” Lightfoot was a featured musical performer at the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (arts) in 1979 and the Companion of the Order of Canada—Canada’s highest civilian honor—in 2003. On February 6, 2012, Lightfoot was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. In June of that same year he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (Source: Wikipedia)
|2||The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald|
|4||If You Could Read My Mind|
|5||The Circle Is Small (I Can See It In Your Eyes)|
|6||You Are What I Am|
|7||Rainy Day People|
|8||Race Among The Ruins|
|9||Talking in Your Sleep|
|11||Dream Street Rose|
|13||Anything for Love|
|14||Baby Step Back|
|15||Summer Side of Life|
|16||I’m Not Sayin’|
|17||Me and Bobby McGee|
|23||Go Go Round|
|24||The Way I Feel|
|26||Black Day in July|
|27||If I Could|
|28||Ribbon of Darkness|
|29||Canadian Railroad Trilogy|
|31||In My Fashion|
|32||I’ll Prove My Love|
|33||Waiting for You|
|35||It’s Worth Believin’|
- Toby Jug Assignment (janayalee.wordpress.com)
- “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” – Gordon Lightfoot (battleofourtimes.com)
- Gordon Lightfoot to play London’s Budweiser Gardens May 10 (metronews.ca)
- Carefree Highway: Gord Lightfoot Road Trip Idea (jamesgreenspan.wordpress.com)