Gordon Lightfoot Canadian folk singer dies at 84

Gordon Lightfoot, Canada’s legendary people singer-songwriter recognized for “If You May Learn My Thoughts” and “Sunset” and for songs that advised tales of Canadian identification, died on Monday. He was 84.

Consultant Victoria Lord mentioned the musician died at a Toronto hospital. His reason for dying was not instantly accessible.

Thought of one of the crucial famend voices to emerge from Toronto’s Yorkville people membership scene within the Sixties, Lightfoot went on to file 20 studio albums and pen a whole bunch of songs, together with “Carefree Freeway,” “Early Morning Rain” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Within the Nineteen Seventies, Lightfoot garnered 5 Grammy nominations, three platinum data and 9 gold data for albums and singles. Within the greater than 60 years since he launched his profession, he carried out in effectively over 1,500 concert events and recorded 500 songs.

He toured late into his life. Simply final month he cancelled upcoming US and Canadian exhibits, citing well being points.

“Now we have misplaced one among our biggest singer-songwriters,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon Lightfoot performs onstage throughout 2018 Stagecoach California’s Nation Music Pageant on the Empire Polo Discipline on April 29, 2018 in Indio, California.
Getty Pictures for Stagecoach

“Gordon Lightfoot captured our nation’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped form Canada’s soundscape. Might his music proceed to encourage future generations, and will his legacy dwell on endlessly.”

As soon as referred to as a “uncommon expertise” by Bob Dylan, dozens of artists have coated his work, together with Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Money, Anne Murray, Jane’s Dependancy and Sarah McLachlan.

Most of his songs are deeply autobiographical with lyrics that probe his personal experiences in a frank method and discover points surrounding the Canadian nationwide identification. “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” depicted the development of the railway.

“I merely write the songs about the place I’m and the place I’m from,” he as soon as mentioned. “I take conditions and write poems about them.”

Lightfoot performing on 'In Concert' TV series on the BBC on Dec. 1, 1971.
Lightfoot acting on ‘In Live performance’ TV sequence on the BBC on Dec. 1, 1971.

Lightfoot’s music had a method all its personal. “It’s not nation, not people, not rock,” he mentioned in a 2000 interview. But it has strains of all three.

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” for example, is a haunting tribute to the 29 males who died within the 1975 sinking of the ship in Lake Superior throughout a storm.

Whereas Lightfoot’s mother and father acknowledged his musical abilities early on, he didn’t got down to change into a famend balladeer.

He started singing in his church choir and dreamed of changing into a jazz musician. At age 13, the soprano gained a expertise contest on the Kiwanis Music Pageant, held at Toronto’s Massey Corridor.

“I keep in mind the fun of being in entrance of the group,” Lightfoot mentioned in a 2018 interview. “It was a stepping stone for me…”

The enchantment of these early days caught and in highschool, his barbershop quartet, The Collegiate 4, gained a CBC expertise competitors. He strummed his first guitar in 1956 and commenced to dabble in songwriting within the months that adopted. Maybe distracted by his style for music, he flunked algebra the primary time. After taking the category once more, he graduated in 1957.

Lightfoot performs during Canada Day celebrations at Parliament Hill on July 1, 2017 in Ottawa, Canada.
Lightfoot performs throughout Canada Day celebrations at Parliament Hill on July 1, 2017 in Ottawa, Canada.
Getty Pictures

By then, Lightfoot had already penned his first severe composition — “The Hula Hoop Track,” impressed by the favored children’ toy that was sweeping the tradition. Makes an attempt to promote the track went nowhere so at 18, he headed to the US to review music for a 12 months. The journey was funded partly by cash saved from a job delivering linens to resorts round his hometown.

Life in Hollywood wasn’t a superb match, nevertheless, and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Lightfoot returned to Canada. He pledged to maneuver to Toronto to pursue his musical ambitions, taking any job accessible, together with a place at a financial institution earlier than touchdown a gig as a sq. dancer on CBC’s “Nation Hoedown.”

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

The singer was dwelling with a couple of buddies in a condemned constructing in Yorkville, then a bohemian space the place future stars together with Neil Younger and Joni Mitchell would be taught their commerce at smoke-filled golf equipment.

Lightfoot made his fashionable radio debut with the one ”(Bear in mind Me) I’m the One” in 1962, which led to a lot of hit songs and partnerships with different native musicians. When he began taking part in the Mariposa Folks Pageant in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario that very same 12 months, Lightfoot cast a relationship that made him the competition’s most loyal returning performer.

By 1964, he was garnering constructive word-of-mouth round city and audiences had been beginning to collect in rising numbers. By the subsequent 12 months, Lightfoot’s track “I’m Not Sayin’” was successful in Canada, which helped unfold his title in the USA.

A few covers by different artists didn’t harm both. Marty Robbins’ 1965 recording of “Ribbon of Darkness” reached No. 1 on US nation charts, whereas Peter, Paul and Mary took Lightfoot’s composition, “For Lovin’ Me,” into the US High 30. The track, which Dylan as soon as mentioned he wished he’d recorded, has since been coated by a whole bunch of different musicians.

ightfoot performing at Town Hall on Wednesday night, August 9, 2000.
Lightfoot acting at New York Metropolis’s City Corridor on Aug. 9, 2000.
Getty Pictures

That summer season, Lightfoot carried out on the Newport Folks Pageant, the identical 12 months Dylan rattled audiences when he shed his folkie persona by taking part in an electrical guitar.

As the people music increase got here to an finish within the late Sixties, Lightfoot was already making his transition to pop music with ease.

In 1971, he made his first look on the Billboard chart with “If You May Learn My Thoughts.” It reached No. 5 and has since spawned scores of covers.

Lightfoot’s reputation peaked within the mid-Nineteen Seventies when each his single and album, “Sunset,” topped the Billboard charts, his first and solely time doing so.

Throughout his profession, Lightfoot collected 12 Juno Awards, together with one in 1970 when it was referred to as the Gold Leaf.

In 1986, he was inducted into the Canadian Recording Trade Corridor of Fame, now the Canadian Music Corridor of Fame. He obtained the Governor Normal’s award in 1997 and was ushered into the Canadian Nation Music Corridor Of Fame in 2001.

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