╌>

Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot dies at 84

  

Category:  Entertainment

Via:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  last year  •  33 comments

By:   Associated Press

Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot dies at 84

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot dies at 84

800




Gordon Lightfoot performs during the evening ceremonies of Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation, in Ottawa, Ontario, on July 1, 2017. The legendary folk singer-songwriter, whose hits including “Early Morning Rain,” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," told a tale of Canadian identity that was exported worldwide, died on Monday, May 1, 2023, at a Toronto hospital, according to a family representative. He was 84. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)



TORONTO (AP) — Gordon Lightfoot, Canada’s legendary folk singer-songwriter known for “If You Could Read My Mind” and “Sundown” and for songs that told tales of Canadian identity, died on Monday. He was 84.

Representative Victoria Lord said the musician died at a Toronto hospital. His cause of death was not immediately available.

Considered one of the most renowned voices to emerge from Toronto’s Yorkville folk club scene in the 1960s, Lightfoot went on to record 20 studio albums and pen hundreds of songs, including “Carefree Highway,” “Early Morning Rain” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

In the 1970s, Lightfoot garnered five Grammy nominations, three platinum records and nine gold records for albums and singles. In the more than 60 years since he launched his career, he performed in well over 1,500 concerts and recorded 500 songs.

He toured late into his life. Just last month he cancelled upcoming U.S. and Canadian shows, citing health issues.

“We have lost one of our greatest singer-songwriters,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

“Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape. May his music continue to inspire future generations, and may his legacy live on forever.”

Once called a “rare talent” by Bob Dylan, dozens of artists have covered his work, including Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, Anne Murray, Jane’s Addiction and Sarah McLachlan.

Most of his songs are deeply autobiographical with lyrics that probe his own experiences in a frank manner and explore issues surrounding the Canadian national identity. “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” depicted the construction of the railway.

“I simply write the songs about where I am and where I’m from,” he once said. “I take situations and write poems about them.”

Lightfoot’s music had a style all its own. “It’s not country, not folk, not rock,” he said in a 2000 interview. Yet it has strains of all three.

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” for instance, is a haunting tribute to the 29 men who died in the 1975 sinking of the ship in Lake Superior during a storm.

While Lightfoot’s parents recognized his musical talents early on, he didn’t set out to become a renowned balladeer.

He began singing in his church choir and dreamed of becoming a jazz musician. At age 13, the soprano won a talent contest at the Kiwanis Music Festival, held at Toronto’s Massey Hall.

“I remember the thrill of being in front of the crowd,” Lightfoot said in a 2018 interview. “It was a stepping stone for me...”

The appeal of those early days stuck and in high school, his barbershop quartet, The Collegiate Four, won a CBC talent competition. He strummed his first guitar in 1956 and began to dabble in songwriting in the months that followed. Perhaps distracted by his taste for music, he flunked algebra the first time. After taking the class again, he graduated in 1957.

By then, Lightfoot had already penned his first serious composition — “The Hula Hoop Song,” inspired by the popular kids’ toy that was sweeping the culture. Attempts to sell the song went nowhere so at 18, he headed to the U.S. to study music for a year. The trip was funded in part by money saved from a job delivering linens to resorts around his hometown.

Life in Hollywood wasn’t a good fit, however, and it wasn’t long before Lightfoot returned to Canada. He pledged to move to Toronto to pursue his musical ambitions, taking any job available, including a position at a bank before landing a gig as a square dancer on CBC’s “Country Hoedown.”

His first gig was at Fran’s Restaurant, a downtown family-owned diner that warmed to his folk sensibilities. It was there he met fellow musician Ronnie Hawkins.

The singer was living with a few friends in a condemned building in Yorkville, then a bohemian area where future stars including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell would learn their trade at smoke-filled clubs.

Lightfoot made his popular radio debut with the single ”(Remember Me) I’m the One” in 1962, which led to a number of hit songs and partnerships with other local musicians. When he started playing the Mariposa Folk Festival in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario that same year, Lightfoot forged a relationship that made him the festival’s most loyal returning performer.

By 1964, he was garnering positive word-of-mouth around town and audiences were starting to gather in growing numbers. By the next year, Lightfoot’s song “I’m Not Sayin’” was a hit in Canada, which helped spread his name in the United States.

A couple of covers by other artists didn’t hurt either. Marty Robbins’ 1965 recording of “Ribbon of Darkness” reached No. 1 on U.S. country charts, while Peter, Paul and Mary took Lightfoot’s composition, “For Lovin’ Me,” into the U.S. Top 30. The song, which Dylan once said he wished he’d recorded, has since been covered by hundreds of other musicians.

That summer, Lightfoot performed at the Newport Folk Festival, the same year Dylan rattled audiences when he shed his folkie persona by playing an electric guitar.

As the folk music boom came to an end in the late 1960s, Lightfoot was already making his transition to pop music with ease.

In 1971, he made his first appearance on the Billboard chart with “If You Could Read My Mind.” It reached No. 5 and has since spawned scores of covers.

Lightfoot’s popularity peaked in the mid-1970s when both his single and album, “Sundown,” topped the Billboard charts, his first and only time doing so.

During his career, Lightfoot collected 12 Juno Awards, including one in 1970 when it was called the Gold Leaf.

In 1986, he was inducted into the Canadian Recording Industry Hall of Fame, now the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He received the Governor General’s award in 1997 and was ushered into the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2001.

BUZZ NOTE:  There is a gallery of 10 photos of Gordon accessible with an arrow on the article's top photo which can be accessed by clicking on the SEEDED CONTENT link at the top of this page, which will take you to the original source article.  In most of the photos he appears to be very old, and here is one of those photos in which he does not appear old, and is how I remember him. 

1400.webp





Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
[]
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    last year

There is quite a bit I can say about this, because Gordon and I crossed paths many times.  In fact, for a couple of years he lived only 4 doors of where I was living in Toronto.  The article speaks of Yorkville, where hippies, folk musicians and even a few Satan's Choice bikers hung out during the 60s, and I was there as well.  It mentioned Fran's Restaurant where I ate many meals but will always remember the corned beef hash with a poached egg on top.  It speaks of the 1965 Newport Folk Festival where he and his friends Ian and Sylvia performed, where Bob Dylan shocked the folkies by going electric, and I was there too.  It talked of the Mariposa Folk Festival of which I was a director, and in 1972  when Joni Mitchell and Neil Young who were not scheduled went on stage to perform.  Before Neil went on stage he asked me what I would like him to play, and I said "Helpless" which he played, and Joni said to me "We've both come a long way since back then, eh Buzz?" referring to when we first met in 1964.  That was when Bob Dylan unexpectedly showed up with his wife Sarah and their son Jessie (between Dylan snd Gordon in the photo below) just to see the festival he had heard so much about and he chummed around there with Gordon - as shown in this photo taken there;

OIP-C.Y9jGIY_wHC0XrQpHRIl2FAHaFB?pid=ImgDet&rs=1

And not only was I there, but I was the President of the festival that year, and Bob Dylan shook my hand and said (and I will never forget his words) "I really dig your festival, man."

Gordon had two different guitars which he played as he performed, a Martin D-28 6 string and a Gibson B-45 12 string.  I had the identical two guitars, which I gave to my son when I left Canada to teach English on the other side of the world (and I'm still here, almost 17 years later).

The articles about his death didn't explain Gordon's wonderful song "If You Could Read My Mind".  He wrote it when he was leaving his wife Brita, and it was aimed at her.

The world will miss Gordon - he really was one of a kind. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1  Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    last year

Great memories, Buzz and Gordon definitely was one of a kind.

To me his greatest song was the classic, ''Edmund Fitzgerald'' having relatives that worked the ore mines the rails, and the ore boats it was close to home for me and the great water, Gitchi Gumi brings it all home. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @1.1    last year

Can I assume that the youtube you posted was Gordon singing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.1    last year

Yes, it is, Buzz.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @1.1    last year

That song was the featured "Lost Classic" on the oldies station I listen to. That song is so sad

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1.4  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1.3    last year

It's a memorial of a tragedy - but I'll bet it has been appreciated by the families of the victims. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2  Ender    last year

RIP

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ender @2    last year

Although I can't open YouTube I have all the songs mentioned in the article and more on bilibili and Youku.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
2.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @2    last year

We sang this song in County Chorus back when I was in 8th grade. My music teacher directed the chorus for this number...which considering Mrs G who was a spinster and very religious was unusual considering the content of this song

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Trout Giggles @2.2    last year

Gordon wasn't known to hold back what he wanted to say.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    last year

His wasnt quite my style of music in the 1970's, but he definitely had some classics. Rest in peace.

You have some really cool memories about the musicians you knew Buzz. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
3.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JohnRussell @3    last year

I was pretty deeply involved in the folk music scene.  

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
4  sandy-2021492    last year

"If You Could Read My Mind" has been playing in my head all morning.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
4.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4    last year

If a song can be deep, that one is for sure. 

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
4.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.1    last year

"The Wreck Of The Edmond Fitzgerald" has always been my favorite Gordon Lightfoot song.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4.1.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @4.1.1    last year

Did you know that most people think that the song is about an old wreck and not an event that happened in the 70s?

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
4.1.3  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4.1.2    last year

I am very aware of it and distinctly remember when it happened. I had been in the Navy for three years when it happened. Navy chapels held special memorial services.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
4.1.4  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @4.1.1    last year

Did you know that he changed some of the original words at the request of a survivor or survivors because they had thought they were not suitable?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
4.1.5  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4.1.2    last year

Having been up close to those ore ships when I was a little kid, watched them sail by from about 50 feet away, I found it hard to believe that anything so big could be sunk by a storm in the Great Lakes.  

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
4.1.6  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.1.4    last year

I only heard about that about a year or so ago.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4    last year

Love that song!

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
4.2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4.2    last year

A musical history lesson.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
5  Ed-NavDoc    last year

I grew up listening to Gordon Lightfoot and enjoyed every song of his I heard. RIP to a truly great songwriter and talented entertainer. Sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
5.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @5    last year

He composed many more songs than I was aware of - I hope that those entertainers who knew him will hold a tribute concert one day.

I will delete your duplication.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
7  Vic Eldred    last year

It is the song he said he was most proud of that I will always associate with him. To me it was different and unique. 

It's up there in post 1.1

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Participates
8  pat wilson    last year

He was an awesome talent, godspeed Mr. Lightfoot.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
8.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  pat wilson @8    last year

At least he has left us with great music to remember him with .

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
9  Gsquared    last year

My favorite Gordon Lightfoot song by my favorite folk artists, Peter, Paul and Mary.  This is simply magnificent.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
9.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Gsquared @9    last year

Being a long-time and very involved folkie, kind of a folk music purist, I think their sound is somewhat commercial but very easy listening.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
9.1.1  Gsquared  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9.1    last year

There is absolutely nothing wrong with "commercial", especially considering that Peter, Paul and Mary were selling much, much more than records.  They were selling the civil rights movement to America's youth at the time, and nothing was more important than that.  Having lived through that era, I will never forget their significant contribution.  

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
9.1.2  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Gsquared @9.1.1    last year

I didn't say there was anything WRONG with "commercial".  Their music was very popular and they did spread a good message among many.  You don't have to defend them.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
9.1.3  JohnRussell  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9.1.2    last year

lets split the difference

early morning rain - elvis presley

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
9.1.4  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JohnRussell @9.1.3    last year

Let's split it among ALL the covers, and you won't believe how many there are....

Would you believe, MORE THAN 100!!!

LINK ->

 
 

Who is online

JBB


42 visitors