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Old 05-01-2023, 10:10 PM   #1
Rob1956
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Default R.I.P Gord

https://torontosun.com/entertainment...dead-at-age-84

Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot dead at age 84
Author of the article:
Jane Stevenson
Published May 01, 2023 • Last updated May 02, 2023

Gord’s gone.

Canadian folk icon Gordon Lightfoot — arguably one of the greatest songwriters our country ever gave to the world — died Monday night at the age of 84, according to his tour publicist.

The Orillia, Ont.-born Lightfoot, known for such hits as The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald and dozens more dating back to the ‘60s, had recently cancelled all of his North American tour dates due to “health issues” that weren’t specified.

The publicist would only say he died of natural causes at Sunnybrook Hospital.

Lightfoot’s family released an official statement late Monday night.

“It is with profound sadness that we confirm that Gordon Meredith Lightfoot has passed away. Gordon died peacefully on Monday, May 1, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. He died of natural causes. He was 84 years old.”

Lightfoot, who lived in a mansion in Toronto’s Bridle Path with his third wife Kim Hasse, had been a rigorous health nut (aside from smoking) for the last two decades with daily workouts since recovering from a September 2002 stomach aneurysm in Orillia while preparing for the second show of a two-night stand there.

He is survived by his wife, six children — Fred, Ingrid, Eric, Galen, Miles and Meredith — as well as several grandchildren.

In my last interview with Lightfoot in December 2022, he said his entire career was launched by fellow Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson, who died last year at the age of 89 in Alberta, when Ian and Sylvia covered his tune, Early Mornin’ Rain.

“He was the first person to record a Gordon Lightfoot song and that was Early Mornin’ Rain,” Lightfoot told me.

“The next thing I knew I was getting launched into the music business. I’ve always been eternally grateful to (then folk duo) Ian & Sylvia for getting me started in this business.”

Lightfoot, who was subsequently signed by A-list manager Albert Grossman, whose stable of talent included Bob Dylan, first saw Tyson, the composer of the Canadian folk classic Four Strong Winds, performing in Toronto’s then-vibrant Yorkville folk scene in the early 60s which Lightfoot also frequented.

Other Lightfoot-penned Canadian folk classics included Carefree Highway, Sundown, 14 Karat Gold, Beautiful, Baby Step Back, and If You Could Read My Mind.

Lightfoot’s songs were covered by dozens if not hundreds of artists — everyone from Elvis Presley to Dylan.

Along the way he got married three times and had a half-dozen children and was even the subject of a 2010 death ho

I last saw Lightfoot perform on Nov. 26, 2021, during the second of a three-night stand at Massey Hall, which had been recently renovated and was nicknamed “Gord’s room” long ago because he played there so often.

Lightfoot had been the last performer at the venue in July 2018 and before his first show on Nov. 25, 2021, he received the key to the city on the newly christened Allan Slaight stage commemorating the troubadour’s 170th performance at the venue.

“It was an emotional experience for which I am deeply honoured,” tweeted Lightfoot afterwards.

The singer-songwriter and his four-man band delivered an efficient 70-minute set consisting of just 15 songs after he broke his wrist that August during fall at home.

He told me in an November 2021 interview promoting the Massey Hall gigs: “It became my place for me to worship the crowd. Not for them to worship me.”

But worship Lightfoot we did.
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Old 05-01-2023, 11:23 PM   #2
3pennies
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

I'm gonna find me a smilin' angel
Yes Lord to lead me home
I'm gonna get me a smilin' angel
Yes Lord to lead me home
And when he takes me by the hand
I know the Lord will understand
I'm gonna get me a smilin' angel to lead me home
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Old 05-01-2023, 11:50 PM   #3
charlene
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i was called an hour after his passing and this is the OFFICIAL RELEASE from the office; Official Statement

It is with profound sadness that we confirm that Gordon Meredith Lightfoot has passed away. Gordon died peacefully on Monday, May 1, 2023 at 730 p.m. at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. He died of natural causes. He was 84 years old.

He is survived by his wife Kim Hasse, six children– Fred, Ingrid, Eric, Galen, Miles and Meredith, as well as several grandchildren.
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Old 05-02-2023, 12:11 AM   #4
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I'm gutted....I loved Gordon and his music so much. He gave us everything he had ....;and, like Don Quixote, he bravely and honorably titled at windmills, the real and the imagined,
'till he could no longer....

R.I.P Gordon....

Last edited by horizonfound; 05-02-2023 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 05-02-2023, 12:13 AM   #5
OldDan
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

Very sorry to hear of Gordon's passing. I've been a fan of his since 1970 after hearing the song "Poor Little Allison" on local AM radio. Later "If You Could Read My Mind" would become the big hit off the "Sit Down Young Stranger" album. I had the opportunity to meet him after shows a number of times over the years. I had seen him in concert at the Rialto Square Theater in Joliet, IL back in September and I wondered then if that would be the last time I would see him in live performance. Sadly, it was. Gordon Lightfoot's music was the soundtrack of my life and his 'legend' will live on through all the wonderful music he has left to the world. Rest In Peace, Gordon.
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Old 05-02-2023, 06:23 AM   #6
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RIP, Gordon! I heard this sad news first on my home from work on the radio here in Sydney, Australia. Strangely, Richard Glover, who runs the drive show, chose a song not by Gordon to go with the story. Afterwards he explained: It was a song Keith Potger of "our" Seekers had composed and written, a tribute song for GLs 82nd birthday:
https://soundcloud.com/seekerfant/th...for-soundcloud

Last edited by Gunter; 05-02-2023 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 05-02-2023, 06:29 AM   #7
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Thank you, Charlene!
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Old 05-02-2023, 06:43 AM   #8
Dave, Melbourne,Australia
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I heard it from my sister a few hours ago. I have since seen articles on websites of Australian newspapers The Herald Sun (Melbourne), the West Australian and our national capital's Canberra Times:
https://www.canberratimes.com.au/sto...ot-dies-at-84/


I'll think of more to say later. I was already dealing with the loss of a 62-year-old friend on Apr17 (attending funeral May3) and my favourite Australian musician Broderick Smith on Apr30. It's all so sad.
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Old 05-02-2023, 11:01 AM   #9
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I've been preparing for this ever since all his 2023 shows were canceled. I saw him for the last time May 2022 in Columbia MO, a show that had been rescheduled at least 3 times. I've seen him about 40 times in nearly 50 years all around the midwest.

First heard him on the radio in 1971 with If You Could Read My Mind and was hooked. Been my favorite songwriter/musician ever since.

Rest in Peace to the Minstrel of the Dawn.
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Old 05-02-2023, 12:08 PM   #10
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I heard the news last night, and the grief for the stilling of this eloquent voice is deep. Memories play like a film of concerts shared with old and new friends, of chances taken, chances failed, lovers won and lost, life goes on as it must.
So much time spent on the newsgroup and Corfid - pick a potato...
Saving my babysitting money so I could run buy the newest album.
Convincing our high school French teacher to take our class to a concert so we could hear "Nous Vivons Ensemble" live.
Posting setlists in a Lightheaded haze.
Driving my mother crazy playing albums over and over.
Listening late at night to the college FM radio station playing deep cuts long after I should have been asleep.
Over half a century of following the music has been intertwined with life's events.
I'm grateful for this tribe of Lightfoot lovers and for the people who have given us places to share this devotion. My thoughts turn to those who made the music: the band members whose tenure was short or long, and all those who worked behind the scenes.
"Time passes, love remains." So does the music. Thank you, Gordon, we love you.
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Old 05-02-2023, 05:40 PM   #11
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Rest In Peace Gordon. I believe you know how much you touched your fans lives and we are all eternally grateful to have had you and your music in our lives.

To everyone here at corfid, those I've met at concerts and shared meals with and those I've only met online here. may Peace Be With You. Until our paths cross somewhere in the future please take care of yourself and others.

Peace,
Bill
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Old 05-02-2023, 10:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

I will miss seeing Gordon every couple years. MY condolences to the Band, to Kim and his children. He was one of a kind and really cared about his fans. Fortunately he left us so much great music to listen to. RIP Gordon.
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Old 05-03-2023, 06:27 PM   #13
charlene
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https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/01/a...PyX3HBB-I6UUa0

Gordon Lightfoot, Hitmaking Singer-Songwriter, Is Dead at 84

His rich baritone voice and songs like “Sundown,” “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “If You Could Read My Mind” made him a top artist of the 1970s.

By William Grimes
Published May 1, 2023Updated May 2, 2023

Gordon Lightfoot, the Canadian folk singer whose rich, plaintive baritone and gift for melodic songwriting made him one of the most popular recording artists of the 1970s, died on Monday night in Toronto. He was 84.

His death, at Sunnybrook Hospital, was confirmed by his publicist, Victoria Lord. She did not specify a cause, but Mr. Lightfoot had had a number of health problems in recent years.

Mr. Lightfoot, a fast-rising star in Canada in the early 1960s, broke through to international success when his friends and fellow Canadians Ian and Sylvia Tyson recorded two of his songs, “Early Morning Rain” and “For Lovin’ Me.”

When Peter, Paul and Mary came out with their own versions of those songs — their “For Lovin’ Me” was a Top 40 hit — and Marty Robbins reached the top of the country charts with Mr. Lightfoot’s “Ribbon of Darkness,” Mr. Lightfoot’s reputation soared. Overnight, he joined the ranks of songwriters like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton, all of whom influenced his style.

Mr. Dylan in turn held Mr. Lightfoot in high regard. He once said, “I can’t think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like,” adding, “Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever.” Mr. Dylan included a version of “Early Morning Rain” on his 1970 album “Self Portrait.” (Among the other singers to have covered that song is Elvis Presley.)

When folk music ebbed in popularity, overwhelmed by the British invasion, Mr. Lightfoot began writing ballads aimed at a broader audience. He scored one hit after another, beginning in 1970 with the heartfelt “If You Could Read My Mind,” inspired by the breakup of his first marriage.

That song — which begins with the memorable lines “If you could read my mind, love,/What a tale my thoughts could tell./Just like an old-time movie,/’Bout a ghost from a wishing well” — reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been covered by Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Cash and numerous others.

In quick succession he recorded the hits “Sundown” (his first and only No. 1 single), “Carefree Highway” (“Let me slip away, slip away on you”), “Rainy Day People” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” which he wrote after reading an article about the sinking of an iron-ore carrier in Lake Superior in 1975, with the loss of all 29 crew members.

For Canadians, Mr. Lightfoot was a national hero, a homegrown star who stayed home even after achieving spectacular success in the United States and who catered to his Canadian fans with cross-country tours. His ballads on Canadian themes, like “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” pulsated with a love for the nation’s rivers and forests, which he explored on ambitious canoe trips far into the hinterlands.

His personal style, reticent and self-effacing — he avoided interviews and flinched when confronted with praise — also went down well. “Sometimes I wonder why I’m being called an icon, because I really don’t think of myself that way,” Mr. Lightfoot told the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail in 2008. “I’m a professional musician, and I work with very professional people. It’s how we get through life.”

May 2, 2023

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. was born on Nov. 17, 1938, in Orillia, Ontario, to Gordon and Jessie Vick (Trill) Lightfoot. His father managed a dry-cleaning plant. As a boy, he sang in a church choir, performed on local radio shows and shined in singing competitions. “Man, I did the whole bit: oratorio work, Kiwanis contests, operettas, barbershop quartets,” he told Time magazine in 1968.

He played piano, drums and guitar as a teenager, and while still in high school wrote his first song, a topical number about the hula hoop craze with a catchy last line: “I guess I’m just a slob and I’m gonna lose my job, ’cause I’m hula-hula-hoopin’ all the time.” His attempts to sell it were unsuccessful.

After studying composition and orchestration at the Westlake College of Music in Los Angeles, he returned to Canada. For a time he was a member of the Singing Swinging Eight, a singing and dancing troupe seen on the television show “Country Hoedown.” But he soon became part of the Toronto folk scene, performing at the same coffee houses and clubs as Ian and Sylvia, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen.

He formed a folk duo, the Two Tones, with a fellow “Hoedown” performer, Terry Whelan. The duo recorded a live album in 1962, “Two Tones at the Village Corner.” The next year, while traveling in Europe, he served as the host of “The Country and Western Show” on BBC television.

As a songwriter, Mr. Lightfoot had by then advanced beyond the hula hoop, but not by a great deal. His work “didn’t have any kind of identity,” he told Irwin Stambler and Grelun Landon, the authors of “The Encyclopedia of Folk, Country and Western Music,” published in 1969. When the Greenwich Village folk boom brought Mr. Dylan and other dynamic songwriters to the fore, he said, “I started to get a point of view, and that’s when I started to improve.”

In 1965, he appeared at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island and at Town Hall in New York. “Mr. Lightfoot has a rich, warm voice and a dexterous guitar technique,” Robert Shelton wrote in The New York Times. “With a little more attention to stage personality, he should become quite popular.”

A year later, after signing with Albert Grossman, the manager of Mr. Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary, Mr. Lightfoot recorded his first solo album, “Lightfoot!” The album, which included “Early Morning Rain,” “For Lovin’ Me,” “Ribbon of Darkness” and “I’m Not Sayin’,” a hit in Canada in 1963, was warmly received by critics.

Real commercial success came when he switched to Warner Bros., initially recording for the company’s Reprise label. “By the time I changed over to Warner Bros., ’round about 1970, I was reinventing myself,” he told the Georgia newspaper Savannah Connect in 2010. “Let’s say I was probably just advancing away from the folk era, and trying to find some direction whereby I might have some music that people would want to listen to.”

Accompanying himself on an acoustic 12-string guitar and singing in a voice that often trembled with emotion, Mr. Lightfoot gave spare, direct accounts of his material. He sang of loneliness, troubled relationships, the itch to roam and the majesty of the Canadian landscape. He was, as the Canadian writer Jack Batten put it, “journalist, poet, historian, humorist, short-story teller and folksy recollector of bygone days.”

His popularity as a recording artist began to wane in the 1980s, but he maintained a busy touring schedule. In 1999 Rhino Records released “Songbook,” a four-disc survey of his career.

Mr. Lightfoot, who lived in Toronto, is survived by his wife, Kim Hasse, six children — Fred, Ingrid, Miles, Meredith, Eric and Galen — and several grandchildren. His first two marriages ended in divorce. His older sister, Beverley Eyers, died in 2017.

In 2002, just before going onstage in Orillia, Mr. Lightfoot collapsed when an aneurysm in his abdominal aorta ruptured and left him near death. After he spent two years recovering, he recorded an album, “Harmony,” and in 2005 he resumed his live performances with what was billed as the Better Late Than Never Tour.

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He suffered a minor stroke in 2006 that temporarily affected his ability to play guitar, but he continued touring. Ten years later he performed 80 concerts and told The Canadian Press, “At this age, my challenge is doing the best show I can.” But just last month, he announced that he was canceling all his scheduled concerts for health reasons.

In an interview with the CBC in 2004, Mr. Lightfoot said he wanted to be like Willie Nelson and other veteran performers: “Just do it for as long as humanly possible.”
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Old 05-03-2023, 06:28 PM   #14
charlene
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OBITUARY:

LIGHTFOOT, GORDON MEREDITH (World Renowned Singer, Songwriter, & Entertainer) passed at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, Ontario on Monday, May 1, 2023 in his 85th year. Gordon Lightfoot, of Toronto and formerly of Orillia, beloved son of the late Gordon & Jessie Lightfoot is predeceased by his elder sister, Beverley Lightfoot Eyers.
One of the most celebrated singer-songwriters of his generation, Gordon is remembered for a decades long career that saw him achieve international renown. A national treasure, his songs have become part of the Canadian cultural fabric, earning him legions of fans at home and around the globe.
He is survived by his cherished wife Kim Lightfoot, children Fred, Ingrid, Eric, Galen, Miles and Meredith, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The late Gordon Lightfoot will rest at the St. Paul's United Church, 62 Peter St., N., Orillia. The public is invited to pay their respects at St. Paul's United Church on Sunday, May 7, 2023 from 1 P.M. until 8 P.M. Memorial donations to the United Way (Simcoe County Area) would be gratefully appreciated and may be made at the Mundell Funeral Home, 79 West St., N., Orillia Ontario L3V 5Cl (705 325-2231). Messages of condolence are welcome at

www.mundellfuneralhome.com
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Old 05-03-2023, 08:45 PM   #15
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Thanks Charlene
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Old 05-03-2023, 08:53 PM   #16
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

Thanks so much, Charlene. The lyric that comes to mind might be from Gord's point of view:
"All is well
I made my peace, my highways never end.
Yesterday's a memory, today is just a friend..."

RIP, Gord. You blessed us with so much music, thoughts...even your own "sillyosophy".
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:19 AM   #17
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VIDEO AND PICTURES AT LINK:
https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/waterlo...-Mtd-NcB08nzzU

Waterloo’s Ed 'Peewee Charles' Ringwald looks back on 16 years of making music with Gordon Lightfoot

A wall of gold and platinum records paint a wall inside Ed Ringwald’s Waterloo home.

The pedal steel guitar player, known musically as “Peewee Charles,” never could’ve imagined that level of success. He already had it pretty good playing on the CTV-produced Ian Tyson Show.

Then the call came. Gordon Lightfoot wanted Ringwald to play on an upcoming album.

“‘Would you like to be part of it?’ And I was like uh yeah, I think so,” Ringwald said, laughing.

He clearly left an impression because he was later asked to join the band. It’s where he sat behind the strings for 16 years.

The steel guitar is known for its sound of loneliness in country music rather than folk. But Lightfoot didn’t care.

“He was a great guy to work for and he taught us all so much about music. Me playing steel guitar, I had to play a different style of music,” said Ringwald.

That style worked for them, leading to the highest of accolades in the music world. And they never forgot to have some fun along the way, especially when it came to music videos.

“Blackberry Wine … we were all dressed up. I was dressed up as Caesar,” Ringwald said. “And then the one we were playing poker, all the smoke I was telling you about. We had to smoke cigars, I was green after the video take.”

So when Ringwald’s wife told him his former front man had died, all the memories came flooding back, saying it didn’t feel real.

“She said that Gord had passed away and my heart just sunk. I know some day it happens to all of us but you never expect it,” Ringwald said, listening to old performances with Lightfoot.

Now, all Ringwald is left with is the memories. But some of the moments he holds closest are performing in his hometown of Kitchener, alongside the Canadian folk legend.

“He was the first act to open Centre In The Square when it opened. And I remember that. It was quite a long time ago,” said Ringwald.

Last month, Lightfoot’s health issues led to the cancellation of his entire 2023 tour. The only Canadian stop was set for Kitchener’s Centre In The Square. It’s just one many cities where Lightfoot left his footprint – imprinted on Canada’s identity forever.
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:20 AM   #18
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From Kenyon..
TEXT: Photos at website.. https://www.thestar.com/entertainmen...star_web_ymbii

Those stories and that voice. Why Gordon Lightfoot’s music hit home for me and so many Canadians
Lightfoot’s gifts created devoted, decades-long fans around the world, but for Kenyon Wallace, the emotional connection — forged early — was even closer.
Kenyon Wallace
By Kenyon WallaceInvestigative Reporter
Mon., May 1, 2023
When I was five years old, like many kids that age, I was obsessed with trains.

Many a Saturday morning was spent with my father and brother down at Toronto’s Cherry Street railway bridge beneath the switching tower, watching passenger trains come and go from Union Station.

So intense was my obsession that my dad even made me mixtapes of songs about trains (this was 1985, before CDs appeared).

One of those tapes had three Gordon Lightfoot songs with locomotive references: “Steel Rail Blues,” “Early Morning Rain,” and “Sixteen Miles (To Seven Lakes).”

I must have listened to that tape hundreds of times while falling asleep at night, and I can only assume that the stories in those songs, and the voice of the man singing them, worked their way deep into my unconscious mind.

As I grew up, I became aware that this voice was the same one often coming from the radio or my dad’s record player, filling the air with beautiful melodies and words that somehow spoke to me, even if I didn’t fully understand them.

Over time, it began to occur to me that many of the songs were about where we lived: the Great Lakes, maritime waters, rivers, streams, forests, mountains, autumn hills and even my hometown of Toronto. The way the words and the melodies weaved together seemed to paint pictures of the Canadian landscape like no other music did.

The songs were about us, too: miners, truckers, sailors, rich men, poor men, old soldiers, down and out ladies, fortune tellers and lovers, lost and won.
CBC
Gordon Lightfoot in his own words
14 hours ago 2:10
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN...
Legendary folk singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot dies at 84
Canada

Lightfoot had that rare gift of being able to take the struggles, triumphs and emotions of people from all walks of life — our stories — and articulate them in a relatable way with a voice that, at its peak, was unmatched in popular music, in my humble opinion.

His was a voice that just seemed to always be there, accompanying us through life, a source of comfort, and, in the tradition of all great troubadours, teaching us lessons about the hubris of humankind.

Consider the captain of the American steamship Yarmouth Castle, who left in a lifeboat as the ship burned with 87 passengers still on board while en route from Miami to Nassau in 1965. Lightfoot wrote about the disaster, still one of the worst in North American waters, in his 1969 masterpiece “Ballad of Yarmouth Castle.”

Or recall the tanks ordered by U.S. president Lyndon Johnson to go rolling in against Black demonstrators during the Detroit riot in the summer of 1967, resulting in 43 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries. The riots were chronicled by Lightfoot the following year in “Black Day in July,” a song that was banned by several U.S. radio stations for being too controversial.

Picking up the guitar as a teenager, I was immediately drawn to Lightfoot’s intricate fingerpicking style, the rhythmic, pulsating strumming of that signature, booming Gibson 12-string and his deceptively simple arrangements adorned by always talented sidemen. I voraciously learned as many songs as I could.

Then there were the lyrics. Oh, the lyrics.

The Canadian writer Peter C. Newman once told me that he believed Lightfoot was, at heart, a poet. I’m inclined to agree.

Reading the lyrics of Lightfoot’s songs, one realizes that even if he hadn’t put them to music, they stand as brilliant works of poetry on their own.

Take this line from the 1976 chart-topper “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”:

Does anyone know where the love of God goes

when the waves turn the minutes to hours.

Or this line from “Peaceful Waters,” the last song on his flawless debut album “Lightfoot!”:

The dead leaves of autumn that cling so desperately

Must fly before the cold October wind

Their simple life is ended

Must they be born to die again?
part 2-next post
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:20 AM   #19
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part 2
Or this line from the tender ballad of unrequited love “The Last Time I Saw Her Face” from his 1968 Grammy-nominated album “Did She Mention My Name?”:

The last time I saw her face

Her eyes were bathed in starlight and her hair hung long

The last time she spoke to me

Her lips were like the scented flowers inside a rain-drenched forest

But that was so long ago that I can scarcely feel

The way I felt before

And if time could heal the wounds

I would tear the threads away

That I might bleed some more.

Or this line from “Restless,” the opening song from his underappreciated 1993 album “Waiting For You,” that evokes the coming of the winter:

The lake is blue, the sky is grey and the leaves have turned to gold

The wild goose will be on her way, the weather’s much too cold

When the muskie and the old trout too have all gone down to rest

We will be returning to the things that we do best.

I could go on. But you get the picture.

Listening to how Lightfoot married these words rich with imagery and feeling to equally beautiful and original melody lines was a revelation, at least to my teenage brain.

Now in the mid-1990s, when I was in high school, Gordon Lightfoot wasn’t exactly considered cool. I often wonder where all the fans who are my age now were when I seemed to be the youngest person lining up outside Massey Hall in 1998.

It wasn’t until the year 2000 when I stumbled upon an internet discussion group of Lightfoot devotees — many my age — from around the world that I found my kindred spirits. The next year, a convention organized by Connecticut fan Jenney Rivard brought more than 60 of these fans to Toronto from as far away as Austria, England, Ireland, Australia and the United States, for Lightfoot’s four-night Massey Hall residency. One afternoon, we all found ourselves at the home of Whitby fan Charlene Westbrook, profiled in the Star by my colleague Amy Dempsey in 2014, for a barbecue. Inevitably, the guitars came out and people from around the world who had scarcely known each other a few days before started singing Lightfoot songs for hours into the wee hours without missing a beat. Many lifelong friendships were forged that night. https://www.thestar.com/entertainmen...22dbb8a40.html

It was a microcosm of the crowds that gathered at Massey Hall or wherever in the world Lightfoot played, and a testament to his unique ability to sing and write about where he was from and simultaneously achieve mass appeal.

Before CanCon rules dictated in 1971 that 30 per cent of radio airplay here be devoted to Canadian music, Lightfoot managed to find the sweet spot between singing about our hard-scrabble land with the trials and tribulations we all face, and commercial success, especially south of the border. He arrived in the mid-1960s when a national cultural identity was burgeoning in Canada and he found a way to incorporate what many felt into voice and song, without being boastful.

Indeed, it was Lightfoot’s reserved disposition and shyness that endeared him to many fans. (He was never known for his onstage banter; the songs do the talking.) His stage show was free of artifice and gimmickry generally; just a man and his guitar tastefully backed by band of top-tier musicians. The audience always got the straight goods.

He was one of us, a small-town kid who conquered one of the planet’s most competitive businesses, and unlike many of his Canadian contemporaries such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, Lightfoot stayed in this country.

When the song “Sundown” and album of the same name simultaneously made it to No. 1 on both the U.S. Billboard singles and album charts in the summer of 1974, Lightfoot was quietly managing his career from Toronto, his home since the early 1960s.

Here was a guy from Orillia who sang about the Rocky Mountains, the Plains of Abraham, Yonge Street, Georgian Bay and the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, as well as the universal themes of love and regret, and was adored by millions around the world for it.

In doing so, he proved for countless Canadian artists to come that you could make it as a pop star without having to live in New York or Los Angeles.

“He sent the message to the world that we’re not just a bunch of lumberjacks and hockey players up here. We’re capable of sensitivity and poetry and that was a message that was delivered by the success of Gordon Lightfoot internationally. People were more willing to listen to someone from Canada because someone of such enormous talent had paved the way,” says Rush’s Geddy Lee in the 2019 documentary “Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind,” directed by Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni.

When Massey Hall’s long-overdue renovations finally came to an end in the fall of 2021, the only natural choice to reopen the 128-year-old Grand Old Lady of Shuter Street was the man who since 1967 performed at the venue more than 170 times, the most of any popular artist. (Lightfoot had also closed the iconic venue down in the summer of 2018 before its three-year makeover.)
Toronto Star reporter Kenyon Wallace and Canadian music icon Gordon Lightfoot are pictured back stage at Massey Hall on June 30, 2018.

In one of those strange ways that life has of coming full circle, I managed to get tickets to opening night and took my 75-year-old dad, who got me started on Lightfoot in the first place. We had the pleasure of seeing then-mayor John Tory present the key to the city to the songwriter and declare Nov. 25 Gordon Lightfoot Day in the city.

Opening for Lightfoot was his old friend, the American folk singer Tom Rush. In another uncanny coincidence, my dad had included one of Rush’s train songs, “The Panama Limited,” on the same mixtape from my childhood with the Lightfoot tunes. There were goosebumps.

Then, in what was more of a love-in than a concert, for an hour and 15 minutes Lightfoot played us the carefully crafted songs that had become the soundtrack of our lives — tales about riding the rails, a soldier returned from war, life on the road, the triumphs and defeats of personal relationships, a shipwreck, the longing for the hands of a lover on a long winter’s night, and the pain of being stuck in the grass in the early morning rain, homesick for the ones we love.

To be sure, the face was gaunt, the voice weathered, betraying the toll of years of touring and the bottle. But the emotion, sensitivity and musicianship were still there. At 83, he retained the ability to reflect our collective experiences and make you feel as though he was singing especially for you in a living room full of friends.

We shall not see the likes of Gordon Lightfoot again. But the music he gave us — our music — will play on.
Kenyon Wallace
Kenyon Wallace is a Toronto-based investigative reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @KenyonWallace or reach him via email: kwallace@thestar.ca
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:24 AM   #20
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I have many more thing to post..Just been inundated with messages, e-mails, texts etc.


VIDEO:
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:25 AM   #21
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video prior to last nights LEAFS game.. Gordon would be quite chuffed... he and I spoke often about our fandom - bleeding blue for our team..
https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https...r5ayxCj0ic4WGb

https://twitter.com/i/status/1653543592126824450

http://twitter.com/i/status/1653543592126824450
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:25 AM   #22
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BILLY JOEL:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CrvjCtvg...H90xQ84Sx-rSNY
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:25 AM   #23
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STEVE MARTIN:
https://twitter.com/unrealbluegrass/...Q0IxJRLY-7bBko
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:26 AM   #24
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MARINER'S CHURCH - ringing the bell 30 times in honour of Gordon..

At 3 p.m. Tuesday, the bells at Mariners’ Church rang out again — now chiming 30 times to honor those perished sailors along with the artist who famously memorialized them in song. Lightfoot made the Detroit church bells famous in "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Today they chimed an additional time to mark his death.
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Old 05-04-2023, 09:28 AM   #25
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BURTON CUMMINGS

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