Gordon Lightfoot
musician
Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr. CC, OOnt 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.
Biography
Gordon Lightfoot's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Gordon Lightfoot from around the web
My Autistic Son's Journey With Scuba Diving
Huffington Post - 4 months
My son, Jacob, has always loved the water. As an infant, he played in the tub until the bath turned cold. In preschool, he built boats out of the blocks and commandeered the faux fishing boat at the local children's museum. Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 Grammy award-winning song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" set off a 2-year-long obsession with shipwrecks culminating in a trip to the heralded White Fish Point. Jacob's deep love of shipwrecks opened up a keen interest in the underwater worlds. When he was 8 years old, we signed him up for an introduction to scuba course at our local pool. He floated in the pool, blew bubbles, and breathed underwater with the use of scuba gear. Jacob left his class enamored and determined to become scuba certified when he turned 10, the legal age for junior open-water certification. For the next two years we heard all about his quest to become scuba certified so he could visit the many sunken ships he had read about. He was a voracious reader and lo ...
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Huffington Post article
Three Cheers for The Rebound Girl and Alcatraz
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Photo by Bill Flanigin Rebound relationships. The thing about a rebound relationship is that you generally don't realize you're in one until it's all over and you have a little perspective. At first bounce, you think that you've experienced an amazing stroke of good luck. You just found a fantastic girl! You didn't know life could be like this. But first, let's establish my operational definition of a rebound girl. The rebound girl is the one you bounce to after the end of a serious relationship. She can't be a rekindled thing with past ghosts. She can't be a person that actually spans both the old and new relationship. That muddies the waters. The most important ingredient of a rebound girl is that it she makes you feel good again, sometimes in a way you haven't felt in a long time. She's new and exciting. Rebound girls are like inhaling fresh, mountain air. But another part of the operational definition of a rebound girl is that the rebound relationship doesn't take. It ...
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Huffington Post article
Honoring the Blank Spaces (Parshat B'shalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16)
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Walking home from my set at the Jerusalem Folk Evening, I begin to realize that my abs hurt. This feeling after singing -- like I've been overly enthusiastic doing crunches on the first day of a new workout regimen -- is one I know mostly from the end of Yom Kippur; after that prayer marathon, my achy abs (a reminder that I have poured so much physical energy into singing) feel well earned. But I'm amused to find that I've managed to work that hard spending forty minutes singing Gordon Lightfoot and Pete Seeger tunes. Lately, I have been learning new ways to inhale, finding new spaces for my breath to fill the shrinking space available to it as my belly joyously fills up with baby. So it should be no surprise that I am also using more muscle to support my breath and also breathing more frequently during each song. I am very much my own voice student these days, sympathizing deeply with my students as now I too puzzle over how and when to breathe, and how to make it to the end of ...
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Huffington Post article
50 Years Of Music With Gordon Lightfoot
NPR - about 2 years
Gordon Lightfoot has been making music for a long time, and he's still at it five decades later. NPR's Scott Simon talks to him about his 50 Years on the Carefree Highway tour. » E-Mail This
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NPR article
Gregory Weinkauf: Ron Sexsmith: Touring the Forever Endeavour
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Okay, dig: If you're in or around Los Angeles, the charming, smart and hella talented singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith plays Largo at the Coronet tonight, the 5th of June. They don't like it if you're late. Factor in traffic. Get there. Ron Sexsmith. (Look out, Prince.) Speaking of tardiness, I spoke with the "Long Player Late Bloomer" last Copernicus' Birthday -- a holiday not many celebrate, but I do: this year by interviewing a brilliant Canadian troubadour. Here, a mere few months later, we see the evidence. The occasion was made extra special because Mr. Sexsmith was (and still is) promoting his latest album, the rather wonderful Forever Endeavour. It's a poignant, beautiful collection of songs, and I started off by asking him about its gorgeous arrangements. "The arrangements were all Mitchell's," says Mr. Sexsmith, crediting masterful producer Mitchell Froom. "I wrote the songs, and I had a vague idea that these songs might benefit from that sort of approach -- ...
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Huffington Post article
Lee Harvey Osmond: Tom Wilson's Sinning Folk Project
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
Tom Wilson answers his phone while trudging through a bitterly cold Hamilton, Ont. morning on the way to see his grandson. I have to do a double-take. Grandson? Is it possible that Wilson, the hulking figurehead of Hamilton's rough-edged, blue-collar rock scene for the past 30 years, is now a doting granddad? I then remind myself that there have been many misconceptions about Wilson since he rose to prominence in the 1990s fronting Junkhouse a band whose shadow has perpetually lengthened since their break-up in 1998. Back then, Wilson took the band around the globe like a motorcycle gang leader, stalking stages like a buffalo, and leaving crowds of flannel-clad indie kids cowering in their wake. But the reality is that Tom Wilson is a consummate, sensitive artist. His paintings have adorned nearly every album he's put out since the end of Junkhouse, whether with Blackie & The Rodeo Kings — his highly successful collaboration with Colin Linden and Stephen Fearing — or ...
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Huffington Post article
Andy Paris: Baseball And The Power Of 'The Laramie Project'
Huffington Post - about 4 years
When I was 12 years old, I took a trip out West, traveling from my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, to climb 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado and catch some of what was left of the Wild West. Our search for authentic cowboys and ranchers took us to Cheyenne, Wyo., and their famous Frontier Days. We were met with exactly what we were looking for: bucking broncos, rodeo clowns and evening entertainment by Gordon Lightfoot. It was not such a foreign site to me, having ridden horses for most of my life and mucked out stalls, etc. (I was raised partially on a horse farm), so Frontier Days was fun, certainly, and entertaining (though the violence of a rodeo was not really my thing), but I had the overwhelming feeling of being an outsider. This was not my scene. Cornfields and baseball and bowling sat more in my comfort zone. So of course, in Wyoming, an outsider I was. A little over 15 years later, I received a call from Moisés Kaufman. We had just closed a year-and-a-half run of Gross ...
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Huffington Post article
"Lysandre's Theme/Here We Go"
Rolling Stone - over 4 years
This preview of the 2013 solo debut from the ex-Girls frontman is a Seventies soft-rock ballad that would do Gordon Lightfoot proud "If your heart is broken/You will find fellowship with me" he pledges and verily there's no reason to doubt him 
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Rolling Stone article
Guess Who Is Playing The 100th Grey Cup Halftime Show?
Huffington Post - over 4 years
TORONTO - The Canadian Football League is offering a diverse mix of performers for the halftime show of the 100th Grey Cup. Teen heart-throb Justin Bieber, singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, pop-rock group Marianas Trench and pop star Carly Rae Jepsen will perform at halftime of the league's championship game Nov. 25 at Rogers Centre, the CFL announced Saturday. Country artist Johnny Reid and rocker Burton Cummings will headline a special kickoff show before the game. "We are absolutely thrilled to unveil an all-Canadian, all-star lineup that features the biggest pop star in the world, the woman who gave us one of the biggest songs ever, one of the hottest young bands in the country, an iconic balladeer, a rock and roll legend, and one of this country's leading entertainers," CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said in a release. "This array of stars will command a huge and diverse audience, entertaining our most loyal fans and attracting new ones to our game's greatest showcase. ...
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Huffington Post article
Amy Millan: Tour Diary: #1
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Day 1, Sept. 19, Montreal The best way to start a tour is in your hometown. This is the first extensive tour I have taken with my daughter. She is one and a half. Packing for two, for a trip that will cover two months and four seasons is not an easy task. Not to mention packing glamorous show clothes as well as daytime pedestrian apparel. The bus arrives at noon in front of Montreal club, La Tulipe.  This gives me ample time to move half of my life from house to bus over the course of the day. I never thought I could actually fall in love with Rubbermaid, but it happened.  Rubbermaids filled with winter boots and sweaters that we won't need until our Canadian leg of the tour in November. Rubbermaids filled with toys and glue and crayons and Play-Doh and stickers etc... Definitely the most colorful pack I have ever done. Nothing like a good tub to organize your life. Torquil gets on the bus and immediately has a claustrophobic attack because only one of the two windows o ...
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Huffington Post article
The World's Most Beautiful College Dorms
Huffington Post - over 4 years
A few weeks ago we rounded up some of the most beautiful and imaginative public schools in the world. To celebrate the annual odyssey that is going back to school, we decided to take a look at another equally important, but also often sub-par, educational stomping ground: the college dorm. Canadian folk rock legend Gordon Lightfoot summed up the importance of the built world around you when he said "you just get the vibes of your surroundings and it rubs off on you." It has almost become a rite of passage to endure sterile, shoebox-size accommodations that feel more like a jail cell than a nurturing space. But what if your college dorm experience was inspiring instead of distressing or downright depressing? From ultra modern garden apartments complete with gigantic swings to gorgeous student-designed desert structures, click through to check out some of the most stimulating college housing on the planet.
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Huffington Post article
Artwrit: Trisha Brown at the Venice Biennale
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Photo: Alredo Anceschi, 2009, from www.trishabrowncompany.org. By Sandra Orellana Sears. Read the full version of the text on Artwrit.com. Since its inception, the Venice Biennale has expanded to become an interdisciplinary venue for all things contemporary. An ongoing international workshop for the experimental and the cutting-edge, the Biennale has transformed to include art, architecture, music, cinema, theatre and, most recently, contemporary cance. Veteran visitors will affirm that at each subsequent festival they are met with something compelling or disappointing, or perhaps something unexpectedly suspended between these two extremes. At times, the work can be shocking (like Marina Abramović's Golden Lion-winning performance Balkan Baroque, a three-channel projection of images of the artist and her family accompanied by a performance of Abramović, continuously scrubbing the meat and blood off 6,000 pounds of cow bones six hours a day for four days). Sometimes the ...
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Huffington Post article
The music moves on
Asbury Park Press - almost 5 years
Singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot was connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement last year when his appearance at a rally in Toronto sparked headlines, especially in his native Canada. In the final analysis, he was just being a good dad.
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Asbury Park Press article
Gordon Lightfoot is happy to be All Live
Natiobak Post - almost 5 years
The singer is releasing a concert album entitled All Live. After a myriad of health issues and one popular death hoax, it’s an album the iconic folk singer figured he wouldn’t live to see
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Natiobak Post article
Gordon Lightfoot works harder than ever because he feels he’s on ’borrowed time’
Cape Breton Post - almost 5 years
TORONTO (CP) — Whether victimized by an aortic aneurysm or careless newspaper editors, Gordon Lightfoot has danced with death plenty of times before.
Article Link:
Cape Breton Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Gordon Lightfoot
    FORTIES
  • 2015
    On October 23, 2015, Lightfoot was honoured with a 4-meter tall bronze sculpture in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario.
    More Details Hide Details The sculpture, called "Golden Leaves - A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot" features Lightfoot sitting cross-legged, playing an acoustic guitar underneath an arch of golden maple leaves. Many of the leaves depict scenes from Lightfoot's 1975 greatest hits album, Gord's Gold.
    On June 6, 2015, Lightfoot received an honorary doctorate of music in his hometown of Orillia from Lakehead University.
    More Details Hide Details Lightfoot was born in Orillia, Ontario, to Jessica and Gordon Lightfoot, Sr., who owned a large dry cleaning firm. His mother recognized Lightfoot's musical talent early on and schooled him into a successful child performer. His first public performance was "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral" (an Irish lullaby) in grade four, which was broadcast over his school's public address system on a parents' day event. As a youth, he sang, under the direction of choirmaster Ray Williams, in the choir of Orillia's St. Paul's United Church. According to Lightfoot, Williams taught him how to sing with emotion and how to have confidence in his voice. Lightfoot was a boy soprano; he appeared periodically on local radio in the Orillia area, performed in local operettas and oratorios, and gained exposure through various Kiwanis music festivals. He was twelve when he made his first appearance at Massey Hall in Toronto, after winning a competition for boys whose voices had not yet changed. As a teenager, Lightfoot learned piano and taught himself to play drums and percussion. He held concerts in Muskoka, a resort area north of Orillia, singing "for a couple of beers."
    Lightfoot's first tour of the United Kingdom in 35 years was announced in 2015, with 11 dates across England, Ireland and Scotland between May 18, 2016 and June 1, 2016 currently announced.
    More Details Hide Details Gordon Lightfoot's music career has spanned more than five decades, producing more than 200 recordings. He helped define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s, with his songs recorded by artists such as Bob Dylan, Gene Clark, Dan Fogelberg, Jimmy Buffett, and Jim Croce. The Canadian band The Guess Who recorded a song called "Lightfoot" on their 1968 album Wheatfield Soul; the lyrics contain many Lightfoot song titles. Lightfoot's sound, both in the studio and on tour, is centred on Lightfoot's baritone voice and folk-based twelve-string acoustic guitar. From 1965 to 1970, lead guitarist Red Shea was an important supporting player, with bassists Paul Wideman and John Stockfish filling out the arrangements. In 1969 bassist Rick Haynes joined the band, and lead guitarist Terry Clements joined the following year. Shea left the touring band in 1970, but continued to record with Lightfoot until 1975. He hosted his own Canadian variety show, played with Ian Tyson, and became band leader for Tommy Hunter's TV show in the 1980s on CBC. Shea played on most of Lightfoot's early hits. Haynes and Clements remained with Lightfoot and composed the core of his band.
  • 2014
    Lightfoot wed for a third time on December 19, 2014 at Rosedale United Church to Kim Hasse.
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    On June 16, 2014, Lightfoot was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by SOCAN at the 2014 SOCAN Awards in Toronto.
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  • 2012
    On June 24, 2012, Lightfoot was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in a New York City ceremony, along with Bob Seger.
    More Details Hide Details Between 1986 and 1988 Lightfoot's friend Ken Danby (1940–2007), the realist painter, worked on a large (60 x 48 inches) portrait of Lightfoot dressed in the white suit he wore on the cover of the album East of Midnight. The picture was backlit by the sun, creating a visually iconic image of the singer.
    To stay in shape to meet the demands of touring and public performing, Lightfoot works out in a gym six days per week, but declared in 2012 that he was "fully prepared to go whenever I'm taken."
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  • 2011
    He divorced his second wife in 2011 after a separation that Lightfoot said had lasted nine years.
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    Haynes, Keane and Heffernan continue to tour and record with Lightfoot, having added in 2011 guitarist Carter Lancaster from Hamilton, Ontario, a "great player," according to Lightfoot.
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  • 2010
    In February 2010, Gordon Lightfoot was the victim of a death hoax originating from Twitter, when then-CTV journalist David Akin posted on Twitter and Facebook that Lightfoot had died.
    More Details Hide Details Lightfoot was at a dental appointment at the time the rumors spread and found out when listening to the radio on his drive home. Lightfoot dispelled those rumors by phoning Charles Adler of CJOB, the DJ and radio station he heard reporting his demise, and did an interview expressing that he was alive and well. In 2012, Lightfoot continued to tour, telling a sold-out crowd June 15 at Ottawa's National Arts Centre that he still performs sixty times a year. Lightfoot played two shows at the NAC after his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Lightfoot performed at the 100th Grey Cup in November 2012, performing "Canadian Railroad Trilogy," and was extremely well received.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2009
    In late 2009, Lightfoot undertook a 26-city tour.
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  • 2008
    While a tour was being planned for 2008, Lightfoot's manager, Barry Harvey, died at age 56 on December 4, 2007.
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    Three members of Lightfoot's band have died over the years: Red Shea in June 2008 from pancreatic cancer, Clements at 63 on February 20, 2011, following a stroke and original bassist John Stockfish from natural causes on August 20, 2012 at 69.
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  • 2006
    On September 14, 2006, while in the middle of a performance, Lightfoot suffered a minor stroke that eventually left him without the use of the middle and ring fingers on his right hand.
    More Details Hide Details He returned to performing nine days later and for a brief time used a substitute guitarist for more difficult guitar work. Since early 2007, Lightfoot has regained full use of his right hand and plays all of the guitar parts in concert as he originally wrote them. He continues to perform.
  • 2005
    In 2005, he made a low-key tour called the Better Late Than Never Tour.
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  • 2004
    In July 2004 he made a surprise comeback performance, his first since falling ill, at Mariposa in Orillia, performing "I'll Tag Along" solo.
    More Details Hide Details 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. Lightfoot returned to the music business with his new album selling well and an appearance on Canadian Idol, where the six top contestants each performed a song of his, culminating in a group performance – on their own instruments – of his Canadian Railroad Trilogy.
    In January 2004 Lightfoot completed work on his album Harmony, which he had mostly recorded prior to his illness.
    More Details Hide Details 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"
  • 2003
    Also in 2003, Borealis Records, a related label to Linus Entertainment, released Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot.
    More Details Hide Details 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 2003 Lightfoot underwent follow-up surgery to continue the treatment of his abdominal condition.
    More Details Hide Details In November he signed a new recording contract with Linus Entertainment and began rehearsing with his band for the first time since his illness.
  • 2002
    All of his remaining 2002 concert dates were cancelled.
    More Details Hide Details More than three months after being taken to the McMaster Medical Center, Lightfoot was released in December to continue his recovery at home.
    By January 2002 Lightfoot had written 30 new songs for his next studio album.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
  • 2001
    In April 2001 Lightfoot performed at the Tin Pan South Legends concert at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, closing the show.
    More Details Hide Details In May he performed "Ring Them Bells" at Massey Hall in honour of Bob Dylan's 60th birthday.
  • 2000
    In April 2000 Lightfoot taped a live concert in Reno, Nevada—a one-hour show that was broadcast by CBC in October, and as a PBS special across the United States.
    More Details Hide Details PBS stations offered a videotape of the concert as a pledge gift, and a tape and DVD were released in 2001 in Europe and North America. This was the first Lightfoot concert video released.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1999
    In 1999 Rhino Records released Songbook, a four-CD boxed set of Lightfoot recordings with rare and unreleased tracks from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s plus a small hardback booklet for his fans that described how he created his songs and gave facts about his career.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1989
    After being alone for 16 years between marriages, Lightfoot married Elizabeth Moon in 1989.
    More Details Hide Details They had two children: Miles and Meredith.
  • 1988
    Lightfoot rounded out the decade with his follow-up compilation Gord's Gold, Vol. 2, in late 1988, which contained re-recorded versions of his most popular songs, including a re-make of the 1970 song "The Pony Man".
    More Details Hide Details The original had been brisk in pace, acoustic, and about three minutes long. This new version was slower, clocking in at four minutes plus. During the 1990s Lightfoot returned to his acoustic roots and recorded two albums. Waiting for You (1993) includes songs such as "Restless", "Wild Strawberries", and Bob Dylan's "Ring Them Bells". 1998's A Painter Passing Through reintroduced a sound more reminiscent of his early recordings, with songs like "Much to My Surprise", "Red Velvet", "Drifters", and "I Used to Be a Country Singer". Throughout the decade, Lightfoot played about 50 concerts a year.
  • 1987
    In April 1987, Lightfoot filed a lawsuit against composer Michael Masser, claiming that Masser's melody for the song "The Greatest Love of All"—recorded by George Benson (1977) and Whitney Houston (1985)—stole 24 bars from Lightfoot's 1971 hit song "If You Could Read My Mind".
    More Details Hide Details The transitional section that begins "I decided long ago never to walk in anyone's shadow" of the Masser song has the same melody as "I never thought I could feel this way and I got to say that I just don't get it; I don't know where we went wrong but the feeling's gone and I just can't get it back" of Lightfoot's song. Lightfoot later stated that he did not want people thinking that he had stolen his melody from Masser.
  • 1982
    The 1982 American released single "Baby Step Back" marked his last time in the top 50 in that country.
    More Details Hide Details The 1983 album Salute produced no hit singles; the 1986 East of Midnight album had several Adult Contemporary songs like "A Passing Ship","Morning Glory", and "I'll Tag Along" (East of Midnight). A single from East of Midnight, "Anything for Love", made the Billboard Country & Western chart.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1978
    "Sundown" and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" continue to receive heavy airplay on many classic rock stations. In 1978, Lightfoot had another top 40 hit on the United States Hot 100, "The Circle Is Small (I Can See It in Your Eyes)," which reached number 33.
    More Details Hide Details During the 1980s and 1990s Lightfoot recorded six more original albums and a compilation for Warner Bros./Reprise: Dream Street Rose (1980), Shadows (1982), Salute (1983), East of Midnight (1986), another compilation Gord's Gold, Vol. 2 (1988), Waiting for You (1993), and A Painter Passing Through (1998). The album Dream Street Rose has the folk-pop sound that Lightfoot established during the previous decade. In addition to the title song, it includes songs such as "Ghosts of Cape Horn" and "On the High Seas". It also includes the Leroy Van Dyke 1950s composition "The Auctioneer," a bluegrass-like number that was a concert staple for Lightfoot from the mid 60s to the 80s. The album Shadows represents a departure from the acoustic sound of the 1970s and introduces an adult-contemporary sound. Songs like "Shadows" and "Thank You for the Promises" contain an underlying sadness and resignation.
  • 1975
    In late November 1975 Lightfoot read a Newsweek magazine article about the loss of the, which sank on November 10, 1975, on Lake Superior during a severe storm with the loss of all 29 crew members.
    More Details Hide Details Most of the lyrics in his song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", released the following year, were based on facts in the article. It reached number two on the United States Billboard chart and was a number one hit in Canada. Lightfoot continues his practice of meeting privately with the family members of the men who perished in the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking when his touring schedule allows.
  • 1974
    In June 1974 his classic single "Sundown" from the album Sundown went to No.1 on the American and Canadian charts.
    More Details Hide Details It would be his only number one hit in the United States. He performed it twice on NBC's The Midnight Special series. "Carefree Highway" (about Arizona State Route 74 in Phoenix, Arizona) was the follow-up single from the same album. It charted in the Top 10 in both countries. Lightfoot wrote it after traveling from Flagstaff, Arizona on Interstate 17 to Phoenix.
  • 1973
    They divorced in 1973, the marriage ending in part because of his infidelity.
    More Details Hide Details Lightfoot has acknowledged that his musical touring and the difficulty of fidelity in a long-distance relationship contributed to the failure of at least two relationships: The song "If You Could Read My Mind" was written in reflection upon his disintegrating marriage. At the request of his daughter, Ingrid, he performs the lyrics with a slight change now: the line "I'm just trying to understand the feelings that you lack" is altered to "I'm just trying to understand the feelings that we lack." He has said in an interview that the difficulty with writing songs inspired by personal stories is that there is not always the emotional distance and clarity to make lyrical improvements such as the one his daughter suggested.
  • 1972
    In 1972 Lightfoot curtailed his touring schedule after contracting Bell's palsy, a condition that left his face partially paralyzed temporarily.
    More Details Hide Details Despite his illness, Lightfoot had several major hits during the 1970s.
  • 1971
    He has received ASCAP awards for songwriting in 1971, 1974, 1976, and 1977, and has been nominated for five Grammy Awards.
    More Details Hide Details In 1974 Lightfoot's song "Sundown" was named pop record of the year by the Music Operators of America. In 1980 he was named Canadian male recording artist of the decade, for his work in the 1970s. Lightfoot was chosen as the celebrity captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the NHL's 75th anniversary season in 1991–1992. Lightfoot was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 1998. In May 2003 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour. Lightfoot is a member of the Order of Ontario, the highest honour in the province of Ontario. In 1977, he received the Vanier Award from the Canadian Jaycees. In 2007 Canada Post honored Lightfoot and three other legendary Canadian music artists (Anne Murray, Paul Anka, and Joni Mitchell) with postage stamps highlighting their names and images.
    During the 1970s Lightfoot's songs covered a wide range of subjects, including "Don Quixote", about Cervantes' famous literary character, "Ode to Big Blue", about the widespread killing of whales, "Beautiful", about the simple joys of love, "Carefree Highway", about the freedom of the open road, "Protocol", about the futility of war, and "Alberta Bound", which was inspired by a lonely teenaged girl named Grace he met on a bus while travelling to Calgary in 1971.
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  • 1970
    The song was originally featured on his 1970 album Sit Down Young Stranger, which did not sell well.
    More Details Hide Details After the success of the song, the album was re-released under the new title If You Could Read My Mind. It reached No. 5 nationally and the success of the song represented a major turning point in Gordon Lightfoot's career. It also had the second recorded version of "Me and Bobby McGee", as well as "The Pony Man","Your Love's Return", and "The Minstrel of The Dawn". Over the next seven years, he recorded a series of successful albums that established him as a singer-songwriter:
    Lightfoot was signed to Warner Bros./Reprise in 1970 and had a major hit in the United States with his recording of "If You Could Read My Mind".
    More Details Hide Details It had sold over one million copies by early 1971, and was awarded a gold disc.
  • OTHER
  • 1967
    Between 1967 and 1974, Lightfoot toured Europe and was well-received on two tours of Australia.
    More Details Hide Details UA would later consistently release "Best of" album compilations in the 1970s, after Lightfoot became a success on his next label Warner Bros./Reprise.
    He embarked on his first Canadian national tour in 1967, and also performed in New York City.
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  • 1966
    Between 1966 and 1969, Lightfoot recorded four additional albums for United Artists: The Way I Feel (1967), Did She Mention My Name? (1968), Back Here on Earth (1968), and the live recording Sunday Concert (1969).
    More Details Hide Details During those years, he consistently placed singles in the Canadian top 40, including "Go-Go Round", "Spin, Spin", and "The Way I Feel". His biggest hit of the era was a rendition of Bob Dylan's "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", which peaked at No. 3 on the Canadian charts in December 1965. Did She Mention My Name? featured "Black Day in July", about the 1967 Detroit Riots. Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered the following April 4. Radio stations in 30 states pulled the song for "fanning the flames", even though the song was a plea for racial harmony. Lightfoot then stated station owners cared more about playing songs "that make people happy" and not those "that make people think." Unhappy at a lack of support from United Artists, he defected to Warner Bros. Records, scoring his first major international hit in early 1971 with "If You Could Read My Mind".
    In 1966, he released his debut album Lightfoot!, which brought him increased recognition as both a singer and a songwriter.
    More Details Hide Details It featured many now-famous songs, including "For Lovin' Me," "Early Mornin' Rain," "Steel Rail Blues," and "Ribbon of Darkness". On the strength of the Lightfoot! album, which mixed Canadian and universal themes, Lightfoot became one of the first Canadian singers to achieve real stardom in his own country without having to move to the United States. Lightfoot was commissioned by the CBC to write the "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" for a special broadcast on January 1, 1967, to start Canada's Centennial year.
  • 1965
    In 1965 Lightfoot signed a management contract with Albert Grossman, who also represented a significant number of prominent American folk performers.
    More Details Hide Details That same year, he signed a recording contract with United Artists and released his own version of "I'm Not Saying" as a single. Appearances at the Newport Folk Festival, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and New York's Town Hall increased his following and his reputation.
  • 1964
    In 1964, Lightfoot returned again to Canada, appearing at the Mariposa Folk Festival.
    More Details Hide Details During this time he began to develop a reputation as a songwriter. Ian and Sylvia Tyson recorded "Early Mornin' Rain" and "For Lovin' Me"; a year later both songs were recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. Other performers recording one or both songs included Elvis Presley, Chad and Jeremy, George Hamilton IV, The Clancy Brothers, and the Johnny Mann Singers. Established recording artists such as Marty Robbins ("Ribbon of Darkness"), Leroy Van Dyke ("I'm Not Saying"), Judy Collins ("Early Morning Rain"), Richie Havens and Spyder Turner ("I Can't Make It Anymore"), and The Kingston Trio ("Early Morning Rain"). All achieved chart success with Gordon Lightfoot's material.
  • 1963
    Lightfoot has been married three times. His first marriage in April 1963 was to a Swedish woman, Brita Ingegerd Olaisson, with whom he had two children, Fred and Ingrid.
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    In 1963 Lightfoot travelled to Europe where, in the United Kingdom, he hosted, for one year, BBC TV's Country and Western Show.
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  • 1962
    In 1962, Lightfoot released two singles that were local hits in Toronto and received some airplay elsewhere in Canada. "(Remember Me) I'm the One" reached No. 3 on CHUM radio in Toronto in July 1962 and was a top 20 hit on Montreal's CKGM, then a very influential Canadian Top 40 radio station.
    More Details Hide Details The follow-up single was "Negotiations"/"It's Too Late, He Wins"; it reached No. 27 on CHUM in December. He sang with Terry Whelan in a duo called the Two-Tones. They recorded a live album that was released in 1962 called Two-Tones at the Village Corner (1962, Chateau CLP-1012).
  • 1960
    He rented a place in Los Angeles for a time, but missed Toronto and moved back in 1960.
    More Details Hide Details He has lived in Canada since then, though he has done much work in the United States, all under an H-1B visa. After returning to Canada, Lightfoot performed with The Swinging Eight, a group featured on CBC TV's Country Hoedown, and with the Gino Silvi Singers. He soon became known in the Toronto coffee houses promoting folk music.
  • 1958
    Lightfoot moved to California in 1958, where he studied jazz composition and orchestration for two years at Hollywood's Westlake College of Music, which had many Canadian students.
    More Details Hide Details To support himself while there, he sang on demonstration records and wrote, arranged, and produced commercial jingles. He was influenced by the folk music of Pete Seeger, Bob Gibson, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, and The Weavers.
  • 1938
    Born on November 17, 1938.
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