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Old 05-04-2023, 09:36 AM   #26
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

VIDEO-PICS at link

'There was something in the atmosphere': Gordon Lightfoot's last ever show played in Winnipeg

Gordon Lightfoot fans who attended the iconic folk singer’s concert at Club Regent Event Centre last October didn’t know they had witnessed history.

“He played Club Regent a couple of times before. That was his last show at our venue, and that was his last show,” Kelly Berehulka, Club Regent’s entertainment program manager told CTV News Winnipeg by phone.

The singer-songwriter died Monday in Toronto of natural causes, his publicist confirmed. He had suffered numerous health issues in recent years.

He was 84.

Berehulka emailed his condolences to Lightfoot’s manager, who confirmed the Winnipeg concert had been his last.

Berehulka spent some time with the then-83 year-old backstage. He recalled him taking great care to tune his guitar and signed countless autographs with pristine penmanship.

When he took the stage, his presence was palpable.

“There were three standing ovations through the night, so really well deserved for a Canadian icon, music legend, really the spirit of Canada. Just amazing the aura that he brings into the room,” Berehulka said.


Brenda Morrisseau was one of the lucky audience members who got to witness the performance. She came to his music later in life, frequently hearing him on an oldies radio station on her morning drive to work.

“I really enjoyed his music,” she said. “’Oh So Sweet’ – it’s a very lovely farewell song. It chokes me up to hear the words.”

Morrisseau went by herself to see the show, and quickly made friends with other fans who were equally excited to see a living legend perform.

“There was something in the atmosphere that showed that honour and respect for him,” she recalled. “It wasn’t just about hearing the old hits. It was about seeing the man that he is and getting a glimpse of the young man that he used to be.”

Susan Phillips has been a Gordon Lightfoot fan since she was a girl. His records were in constant rotation at her childhood home.

“I probably learned every word to every song, so that just kind of carried with me my whole life,” she said.

Phillips first saw him perform in the early 2000s at Pantages Theatre, and then again in October 2022 at Club Regent. While both were special, she is honoured to have been in the crowd for his last show.

“When he talked, everybody listened. You could hear a pin drop. He was very cordial. He talked about his early career and he made jokes,” she said.

“I really feel that Canada lost a little bit of itself last night.”

Lightfoot was one of the acts on Brian Gilchrist’s live music bucket list.

“There are people that you have to see in concert at least once in your life. He was one of them,” Gilchrist said in a phone interview.

He scooped up tickets to the Lightfoot show at Club Regent, which was originally scheduled for 2020 and then moved to 2022 because of the pandemic.

He said Lightfoot sat for most of the concert and used an inhaler during breaks.

“It didn’t distract from the show at all. You could tell he loved to be out there.”

Morrisseau says she is forever thankful to have seen his final performance. Tuesday, she put on the t-shirt she bought at the concert to mark his passing.

“All over the world, people are singing his songs,” she said. “He was a storyteller.”

Berehulka too sees Lightfoot’s death as an immeasurable loss to Canadians and the world.

“Everyone will be playing Gordon Lightfoot songs today, for sure.”


Veteran radio personality Beau Fritzsche has a long history with Gordon Lightfoot.

Fritzsche got his start in radio in the ‘70s, in an era when Lightfoot rose to prominence with hits like “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “If You Could Read My Mind.”

Their paths didn’t cross until the late ‘80s, however, when Fritzsche had an unexpected guest join his table at a Juno Awards after party in Toronto, Ont.

“All of a sudden, here comes Gordon. He comes in, grabs a beer, sits across from us, and he starts chatting like we're old friends,” Fritzsche recalled.

The two spent most of the night talking.

In 1993, the two met again backstage at Lightfoot’s show at the Centennial Concert Hall.

Fritzsche took his wife Sharon, a fellow Lightfoot fan, and his then-nine-year-old son with a fitting name.

“We actually did name him - not just for Gordon Lightfoot. My wife's dad, his name was Gordon as well, but we named him for both of them - Gordon and Gordon.”

Fritzsche counts Lightfoot as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and cherishes the time they spent together over their decades-long careers.

“I don’t think there will ever be another Gordon Lightfoot.”


- With files from the Canadian Press

Winnipeg, Manitoba
Club Regent Casino
October 30, 2022
Winnipeg, MB

The Watchman's Gone
Sweet Guinevere
Did She Mention My Name
Ribbon Of Darkness
Carefree Highway
14 Karat Gold
Make Way For The Lady
If You Could Read My Mind
I'd Rather Press On
Song For A Winter's Night
Fine As Fine Can Be
Cotton Jenny
The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald
Early Morning Rain
Rainy Day People
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Old 05-04-2023, 10:20 AM   #27
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

Sylvia Tyson remembers Gordon Lightfoot as shy, reserved and a meticulous songwriter
By David Friend The Canadian Press
Wed., May 3, 2023

TORONTO - Sylvia Tyson saw something special in a young and unknown Gordon Lightfoot on the night she caught one of his sets in the mid-1960s.

He was in the midst of an extended run of shows at Steele’s Tavern on Yonge Street in Toronto, a series of performances a newspaper advertisement summed up as “Gordon Lightfoot: folk singer — ballads, etc.”

Yet it was immediately clear to Tyson, one half of Yorkville folkie duo Ian & Sylvia, that Lightfoot wasn’t just any old balladeer.

“We recognized him as a great songwriter,” she recalled in a phone interview from her Toronto home.

“It was a small room. He performed alone. He didn’t have a band. So really, it was all about his voice, the guitar playing and the songs.”

That night, Sylvia, her soon-to-be husband Ian and Lightfoot struck up a friendship that would last for decades. Lightfoot died Monday at age 84 of natural causes.

Back in the 1960s, Toronto’s music community was a tight-knit place, which meant one act’s success would often trickle down or be shared with others, Tyson said.

For instance, the respect Ian & Sylvia had for Lightfoot’s work led them to record covers of “Early Mornin’ Rain” and “For Lovin’ Me. The latter Lightfoot song would inspire another take by U.S. trio Peter, Paul and Mary that became a stateside hit.

“Gordon always joked that he knew it was our version they’d listened to because we used a minor chord that he didn’t,” Tyson chuckled.

The U.S. exposure gave Lightfoot’s career a boost, helped further by Ian & Sylvia connecting him with their New York manager Albert Grossman, who took the singer under his wing and got him a record deal.

All of that wouldn’t have been possible without Lightfoot’s sheer talent, undeniable work ethic, and skill for storytelling, Tyson noted.

“He sweated blood over those songs,” she said.

“It’s a very special skill to be able to put an entire story into a (three-and-a-half) or four-minute song. You learn a certain economy of language.”

Ian & Sylvia saw their own careers blossom shortly before Lightfoot’s took off. Their trajectories sent them on different paths.

“We didn’t see each other that much, since we were both on the road very busy. You might meet in an airport,” she said.

“But because we’ve been friends you could sort of pick up where you left off even over a year later.”

Knowing Lightfoot as long as she did, Tyson said there were a few things most listeners probably didn’t pick up on.

“One of the common misconceptions about Gordon was that because his songs were so articulate, he was a great conversationalist,” she said.

“He actually was very shy and reserved in that respect.”

Tyson also described Lightfoot’s tendency to be a “workaholic,” which was most apparent to outsiders with his consistent tour dates that continued up until last year when he fell ill.

“He even had separate studio space for many years that was strictly for writing,” she said.

Tributes to Lightfoot continued to roll in this week.

Fellow Yorkville folk musician Buffy Sainte-Marie said in a statement there was a “freshman class in heaven with Harry Belafonte.”

Neil Young called him “a great Canadian artist. A songwriter without parallel” in a message posted on his website, while Toronto-raised actor Kiefer Sutherland tweeted: “Canada lost part of itself. And I lost a hero.”

Amid these reflections, Tyson considered a generation of folk memories that are slowly fading, even if the music isn’t.

In December, she lost her ex-husband and singing partner Ian Tyson, who Lightfoot described as “the older brother I never had” in an interview with The Canadian Press at the time.

“One of the things that one realizes as one gets older — and I’m 82 at this point — is that you start to lose people at a rather more rapid rate,” Sylvia Tyson said.

“And that one of the things you mourn, as much as the person, is the loss of a shared experience.

“Never again will I be able to say, ‘Do you remember that?’ Because the person you’ll be talking to is much younger than you are. And they won’t remember it at all.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2023.
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Old 05-04-2023, 08:08 PM   #28
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'Huge event': Orillia prepares to say goodbye to Gordon Lightfoot
Special service, open to the public, expected to draw thousands, will be held Sunday at St. Paul's, where Lightfoot's legendary career began when he was a choir boy

A final send-off for Canadian folk music legend Gordon Lightfoot, Orillia’s favourite son, will be held Sunday at the church where the choir boy’s career was launched.

St. Paul’s United Church, now known as St. Paul’s Centre, where Lightfoot was a soprano in the boys’ choir, will host a public service this Sunday from 1 to 8 p.m. All members of the public are welcome pay their respects.

Peter Street will be closed to traffic between Coldwater and Neywash streets in anticipation of thousands of expected guests.

“This is a very huge event, not just for St. Paul’s, but for Orillia, and I would say this is going to be a very singular and momentous event for both,” said Katrina Hunt, facilities administrator at St. Paul’s.

“We are expecting, probably, numbers in the thousands, so it’s going to be pretty busy here in Orillia on Sunday.”

Hunt said members of the public will be able to line up and enter the church from its Peter Street entrance. They will then be guided into the church’s sanctuary, where Lightfoot’s coffin will be, to pay their respects before leaving through the west atrium.

“Anybody from the public who wishes to pay their respects and say a last goodbye will be able to come through St. Paul’s building, visit (Lightfoot’s coffin) very briefly … keep their feet moving, and then go out through the sanctuary and exit,” Hunt said.

Church members have been working hard to prepare for the event.

“We’ve been preparing ever since we found out on Tuesday afternoon that this would be his final spot to have a goodbye, and we’ve been working closely with Mundell Funeral Home, who has been working with (his) family,” she said.

“It’s been a lot of our time and energy, along with lots of volunteers in St. Paul’s, who have been happily spending their time contributing to this, but I know that everybody is very much willing to contribute. They look upon Gordie, as many of us do, as a Canadian idol, as an icon for our country, and we’re happy to have him coming back.”

Blair Bailey, organist/choir director at the St. Paul’s since 1984, said Lightfoot’s roots in the church run deep.

“His family attended St. Paul’s United Church and, all those years, he was right through in the Sunday school, and he was always in the choirs and the children’s choir in there,” Bailey said. “We still have photos of him in his choir gown, singing in the children’s choir at the church.”

His experiences in the church choir were important developmental steps in Lightfoot becoming a world-renowned singer, Bailey said, highlighting how the church’s previous organist, Ray Williams, entered Lightfoot in the Toronto Music Festival.

“He won first prize there in the Toronto Music Festival and got asked to sing at Massey Hall in their final concert, and that was his first performance in Massey Hall, as a boy soprano, before his voice changed,” Bailey recalled. “He had all that training as a boy.”

Throughout his life, Bailey said, Lightfoot kept in touch with not only his hometown, but the church as well.

“We invited him to come back for the St. Paul’s congregation’s 175th anniversary, and that was in 2006, and he accepted our invitation. He did an afternoon of performing some of the songs; he brought two of his band mates with him — Rick Haynes and then his other guitarist,” Bailey said.

“That was a wonderful afternoon in 2006, (and) one of the things he said (was), ‘This is where it all started.’”

Bailey said the church is busy putting together a fitting celebration of Lightfoot’s life.

“It has been said, continuously, since the news of his passing came out, we’ve lost a great Canadian. It’s very touching and moving for us that he has indicated that he wants this to be in his hometown and in his home church growing up,” he said.

“We just hope that this will be able to be a wonderful celebration of a great Canadian figure, so (we are doing) everything we can, hopefully, to make that possible.”

Coun. Ralph Cipolla, who grew up with Lightfoot, said it is no surprise to see him return to his roots for his final goodbye.

“Gordon Lightfoot put Orillia on the map. He came back for every (Mariposa) Folk Festival — just about every one — and he’d wander around in the audience ... He loved Orillia; he really did,” Cipolla said.

“He also donated back to Orillia whenever he did a concert, and he contributed to the opera house and to Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, and he donated the bust just outside the opera house.”

Cipolla spoke highly of Lightfoot’s character, recalling childhood memories when Lightfoot — who was several years older — would stick up for him in the neighbourhood park.

“Some of the older kids would bully us, and Gord would come and protect us and tell the older kids to bug off,” he said. “In our neighbourhood, he was highly regarded. He was a good guy.”

Those qualities shone through his whole life, Cipolla said.

“He was one of the celebrities that it wasn’t about him — it was about the people that knew him, and about people that asked him an for autograph, asked him for a picture,” he said. “I had a lot of respect for him, and I go back a long, long time with memories of him.”

Following Sunday’s service, Lightfoot will go to his final resting place with his family.

“He’s going to be, ultimately, cremated and going to be resting with his mom and his dad and his sister, who predeceased him, just up the hill at St. Andrews’s-St. James’ Cemetery,” Hunt said.
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Old 05-05-2023, 08:12 AM   #29
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Orillia mourns loss of legend, 'small-town boy who made it big'
'Today in Orillia, our community is mourning together along with the rest of the world,' mayor says, calling Lightfoot 'an incredible artist'
Greg McGrath-Goudie Greg McGrath-Goudie

The morning after folk music legend Gordon Lightfoot’s death, people from around his hometown of Orillia have begun paying tribute to him and mourning his loss.

Local fans left bouquets of flowers at his Tudhope Park monument and at the bust outside the Orillia Opera House. They recounted their personal experiences with Lightfoot and his effect on Orillia, Canada and the world.

“He’s a big deal (here), but I think he means more to Canada than he does to just one town — a small-town boy who made it big and represents the country really well,” said Orillia resident Al Byrnell, who was outside the opera house taking photos of Lightfoot’s bust Tuesday morning.

“He’s an icon in the country itself. Elvis Presley performed his songs, (as did) lots of other people, Bob Dylan — just everybody had tremendous respect for him and his ability to write music.”

Byrnell, a lifelong fan, recalled studying in university when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior in 1975, and how well Lightfoot captured the tragic loss of the 29 souls on board.

“I remember the night when that happened because I was in university, and I was sitting at my desk with the radio on and they kept announcing the situation that was happening out on Superior,” he said. “Then he wrote the song afterwards and it was so appropriate, like he really nailed it.”

Although Lightfoot achieved international fame in his illustrious career, he carried an approachable demeanour and made a point of acknowledging and helping out his hometown, residents recounted.

“For someone of his stature to always acknowledge that he came from Orillia is huge. A lot of performers don’t do that,” said Orillia Opera House general manager Wendy Fairbairn. “A lot of performers don’t look back on their cities and acknowledge them like he has. As part of his CBC interviews — everything — he’s always acknowledged the fact that he’s from Orillia.”

Fairbairn recalled the last time Lightfoot performed at the historic downtown venue in the main auditorium that is named after him.

“He celebrated his 80th birthday (the) last time we had him here at the opera house, which was just a beautiful ceremony,” she said. “He came out and stood up on stage and performed, and we all sang Happy Birthday to him in the audience. It was just a lovely event, and he’s just such a lovely man.”

Although the crowd sang Happy Birthday to him, it was Lightfoot who gave the city gifts that year.

“Fifty per cent of the ticket sales went to the Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and 50 per cent went back to the opera house for restoration purposes, so he paid for his band to be here. He paid every cent. (He was a) very, very generous man … and he loved his city. He loved Orillia.”

Resident Don Cook, similarly, recalled how Lightfoot supported the city.

“He would show up for these things,” Cook said. “We had Hockey Night in Canada come up here … and they put up the statue in front of the (opera house). Sure enough, he was there for that. He showed up for these things every day, and just didn’t mail in a video or something — he showed up in the city.”

Cook noted Lightfoot was not a scheduled performer at the Mariposa Folk Festival in his twilight years but would often show up to give a surprise performance.

“I remember about five years ago, they were doing a tribute … and Gord just comes waltzing in with his guitar,” he said. “He comes walking up on stage and these young performers are singing Gordon Lightfoot covers, and he says, ‘Do you mind if I join you?’”

Lightfoot did not want to steal the tribute band’s thunder, so he sang one song with the group before sitting down to enjoy the festival.

“That was just the type of guy he was,” Cook said. “He didn’t want to take over their performance. He just wanted to be there and enjoy the crowd.”

For Jocelyn Coleman, all it took was meeting Lightfoot to make her a lifelong fan.

“I walked into McCabe’s one day and he was at a birthday party, and his nephew was playing at the same time, and I just got introduced to Gord that way and I’ve been following his music for a very long time,” she said.

“He was a great guy: funny, nice, charming. His music has held me up since I found out about his music ... and he’s been a legend and a very lovely guy around here.”

Lightfoot was born Nov. 17, 1938, in Orillia, and he is often referred to as Canada’s most gifted songwriter.

His publicist announced Monday night Lightfoot had died of natural causes at a Toronto hospital at 7:30 p.m. He was 84.

The Orillia Opera House has set up a guest book for residents to sign in memory of Lightfoot. It is available until 8 p.m. Tuesday and 12 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“You get an opportunity to stand on the stage that Gordon has stood on, write your thoughts, your stories, your history, what you feel for Gordon and how he’s contributed to your life,” Fairbairn said. “Just come in and be here. We have this piano from his school teacher, who donated it to us a number of years ago, and it’s on stage. Although it’s not play-worthy, it’s still on stage as part of his history.”

On Thursday and Friday, the book will be at the Orillia City Centre.

Mayor Don McIsaac referred to Lightfoot as “an incredible artist.”

“Our community is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Gordon Lightfoot. Mr. Lightfoot was highly regarded in his hometown of Orillia and has had an immense impact on our community,” he said in a statement.

“His deep roots in our city are woven into the fabric of Orillia with tributes from the Gordon Lightfoot Auditorium stage and his bust at our iconic Orillia Opera House, to the Lightfoot Trail and to the Golden Leaves series of bronze sculptures within J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park.

“Many of us who knew him will remember his soft-spoken demeanour, generous personality and infectious laugh.

“Today in Orillia, our community is mourning together along with the rest of the world.”

The city has lowered its flags to half-staff in honour of Lightfoot.

A Lightfoot tribute concert will take place at the opera house Saturday, with tickets available through its website.
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Old 05-05-2023, 08:20 AM   #30
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

In Gordon Lightfoot's songbook, art is for everyone

How the songwriter’s utilitarian approach to inspiration proved beauty belongs to all of us
Andrea Warner CBC Music Posted: May 02, 2023 1:14 PM EDT | Last Updated: May 2

For Gordon Lightfoot, there was never a right or wrong way to draw inspiration. He was a prolific, award-winning songwriter who made meaning out of the mundane and observed the macro and micro of everyday in his lyrics and lines. He turned a commission into a Canadian classic, a breaking news story into the "best song" he ever wrote, and a stolen glance at an Arizona road sign into a hit song.

"You can start with a title if you want, or go fishing for words in a magazine, like People magazine or something, you'll see an ad with some fancy language to it," Lightfoot told CBC Music in 2013. "I've done that, honestly, I've even gone into a paint store and picked up the titles of paint samples."

'Golden forever': musicians and fans react to Gordon Lightfoot's death

Gordon Lightfoot's life in 10 songs

Lightfoot was not an overly precious writer, a cultured aesthete wrenching words and phrases from a head stuffed full of canonical greats. Instead, Lightfoot's omnivorous approach to creation made him an accidental disrupter of the highbrow, a brilliant songwriter subverting the vaunted purity of divine artistic genius.

"I'm a fairly normal sort of person," he said in a 1975 interview. "I'm not particularly smart and I'm not particularly stupid. Maybe it's the general normality of it, with a touch of art."

Lightfoot may not have set out to democratize the playing field with his unpretentious approach to music, but the staying power of his songs acts as radical permission for other aspiring writers and artists. The source of the inspiration doesn't matter; it's what you do with it that counts.

Lightfoot died on May 1, 2023. This year also marks the 65th anniversary of Lightfoot's foray from Orillia, Ont., to Los Angeles to study music composition and the beginning of his "official" music career (even though he'd been singing and performing since his youth). Lightfoot wrote his first song in 1955 but it would be a full decade of playing and performing before he shifted to sets comprising mostly his own tunes. "I didn't have to rely on my own material at the beginning," Lightfoot told American Songwriter in 2008. "There were so many good songs around that I kept learning them."
Rain, planes and trains

But in 1965, that all changed. Lightfoot began performing his own songs, and other bands began recording them. By the time he released his debut album, Lightfoot!, in 1966, the record's biggest success, "Early Morning Rain," had already been a hit for Ian & Sylvia and Peter, Paul and Mary. Lightfoot once called it "the most important song I've ever written," and estimated that it was nine years in the making. The inspiration came years earlier during his time in Los Angeles when, in a fit of homesickness, he went to the airport to watch the planes come and go. It was in the morning, and, yes, it was raining.

In the early morning rain with a dollar in my hand
With an aching in my heart and my pockets full of sand
I'm a long way from home and I miss my loved ones so
In the early morning rain with no place to go

Lightfoot abided by a key rule of good writing: "Show, don't tell." He didn't specifically say he was broke and lonely in L.A., but the "dollar in his hand" and "pockets full of sand" and "no place to go" conveyed his situation perfectly.

On his second record, 1967's The Way I Feel, Lightfoot showcased his ability to thrive creatively under commission. CBC tasked Lightfoot with writing a song that would celebrate the history of the country for the Canadian Centennial, which would kick off with a televised event on New Year's Day, 1967. According to scholar Chris Hemer, since Lightfoot had already written a couple songs about trains at that point, CBC suggested something on the Canadian Pacific Railway and recommended a book from the CBC library on William Cornelius Van Horne, who designed Canada's first transcontinental railway. Lightfoot wrote "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" in just three days, and it quickly became one of the country's most celebrated folk songs, though its legacy has been recontextualized over the years.

Given the source material and the purpose of the commission, it's not surprising that "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" embraces a certain kind of nationalism. Lightfoot does reference the lives lost in the building of the CPR, but the lack of specifics contribute to Canadian myth-making. There's no mention of the settler-colonial violence inflicted on Indigenous people who were displaced and whose lands were stolen, nor the more than 15,000 exploited Chinese migrants who helped build the railroad — and an estimated 600 of whom were killed on the job. In a video essay about the song, journalist Nick Lefevre acknowledges the CPR was "a feat in engineering and it did change the country, but from a humanitarian perspective, it was a tragedy and a crime."
Love undone

Lightfoot also mined his own relationships and love affairs for inspiration and catharsis.

"In some cases the songs are autobiographical; some events and traumas that have to get handled, one way or another, go into the tunes," Lightfoot said in a 1998 interview. "And it's easier and cheaper than going to a shrink."

"If You Could Read My Mind" is one of those songs, written in the midst of the breakup of his first marriage. He had a new home on a small farm in the country, a new record label, and he was drinking "quite a bit." (He quit in 1982.) The song is a series of devastating lines that capture the haunted longing and bittersweet aftertaste of a breakup.

If I could read your mind love, what a tale your thoughts could tell
Just like a paperback novel, the kind the drugstores sell
When you reach the part where the heartache come
The hero would be me, but heroes often fail
And you won't read that book again because the ending's just too hard to take

It's a song written from the perspective of a narrator not quite ready to contend with their own accountability, who masks his willful ignorance in a performance of vulnerability. But Lightfoot's own child called him on this early on. "There's a line in the song that goes, 'If you read between the lines, you'll know that I'm just trying to understand, the feeling that you lack.' My daughter, who was just a girl at the time, heard the song and asked me, 'Don't you lack any feelings, daddy?' She got me to change the line to 'the feelings that we lack.' She said I was putting the whole onus of the divorce on her mother."
PART 2 - next post
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Old 05-05-2023, 08:20 AM   #31
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

The title track of his 1974 album, Sundown, is another song inspired by Lightfoot's volatile love life. The music has a darkly rhythmic groove, irresistible and insistent, and the words convey an urgency and tension that skew toward the sinister.

I can see her looking fast in her faded jeans
She's a hard loving woman, got me feeling mean
Sometimes I think it's a shame
When I get feeling better when I'm feeling no pain
Sundown you better take care
If I find you been creeping 'round my back stairs

The "muse" behind "Sundown" was Lightfoot's then-girlfriend Cathy Smith. According to Lightfoot, one night Smith went out partying with her friends, leaving him home alone, restless, jealous and watching the sunset. He channelled his frustration into writing "Sundown." But according to several publications, including the Globe and Mail, Lightfoot's jealousy turned to violence at least once when he allegedly broke Smith's cheekbone during a fight.

Within the first decade of his solo career, Lightfoot released 10 studio albums. During this time, his record labels also released six compilations of his greatest hits and best songs. The most successful, by far, was 1975's Gord's Gold, a sprawling double vinyl featuring 22 of his most popular tracks. Many of these songs are considered foundational to the Canadian music canon. But one of the biggest and most surprising hits of Lightfoot's career was still to come.

Lightfoot released "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" in 1976, a re-telling of the tragic real-life sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior, Nov. 10, 1975, which claimed the lives of all 29 people on board. "I saw the story on TV, about five hours after it happened, so I collected every newspaper for the next couple of weeks and the song came out," said Lightfoot, who wrote and recorded the song in a rare one-week burst. "It's basically a straightforward account of how the events actually unfolded."

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck saying
Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya
At seven PM a main hatchway caved in, he said
Fellas, it's been good to know ya
The captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Writing: a life's work

Most of Lightfoot's songs were written over months, sometimes years, and he devoted decades of his life to the practice. In a 2010 interview, Lightfoot assigned a numerical value to his songwriting process, telling the Montrealer that it was "15 per cent inspiration and 85 per cent perspiration. I will stand by that — it's hard work. Writing is a solitary process, and it can be exciting and draining at the same time. I wrote songs under contract for 33 years, and now I can relax a little and focus on our performances."

In another 2010 interview, Lightfoot described recording 20 albums under contract as "pretty rough work… That caused a lot of the bumpiness too, because it caused me to be isolated and cut myself off from my people and my kids, so I could work on the songs. I wanted to do it because by that time I was supporting a band, was supporting a crew, and had acquired two or three children. But I don't regret any of it."

Lightfoot was under contract and writing was his job. I have always appreciated his matter-of-fact honesty about spending 33 years and 20 albums doing that work and the effort that he put into it, that it was thrilling, isolating and exhausting. It was also labour. He couldn't afford to be too high-and-mighty to turn up his nose at People magazine or to make a trip to the paint store to find what he was looking for in "Bitter Green" (just a guess on my part).

But in that work, in these songs, we see how beauty — or the illusion of it — can be coaxed from violence and tragedy, the mundane, the everyday and the unexpected. For 65 years, he showed us how beauty belongs to all of us, not just the classically educated or the affluent and cultured. Art is for everybody in the landscape of Gordon Lightfoot's greatest hits.
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Old 05-05-2023, 08:44 AM   #32
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RIP Gordon Lightfoot. Here’s why he mattered so much.
By Alan Cross Corus Radio
Posted May 2, 2023 7:46 am
Updated May 2, 2023 10:51 am

When I first heard the news last night (May 1), I wrote this on my personal website. It’s reprinted here. -AC]

By now you’ve heard the news of Gordon Lightfoot‘s passing at the age of 84. There’s also a good chance that you’ve been moved to review Lightfoot’s insane accomplishments. No? Let me school you.

First, for those who may not be a fan (or if you’re a younger music fan): This is every bit as sad as the death of Gord Downie. Without that first Gord, there would have been no Gord Downie.

For everyone else, Lightfoot is revered as one of the world’s greatest singer-songwriters. His songs have been covered by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Barbra Streisand, Neil Young, Glen Campbell, The Grateful Dead, Nico, Olivia Newton-John, Jimmy Buffett, Sarah McLachlan, John Mellencamp, Johnny Mathis, Paul Weller, The Tragically Hip, Jim Croce and about a dozen other big names.

The biggest, though, was Bob Dylan, the greatest singer-songwriter of the 20th century. I quote Zimmy: “I can’t think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like. Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever … Lightfoot became a mentor for a long time. I think he probably still is to this day.”

Yes, Lightfoot was considered a mentor by BOB DYLAN.

Sidebar: In 1987, he sued songwriter Michael Masser, accusing him of stealing 24 bars of If You Could Read My Mind for The Greatest of Love of All,” which had just been recorded by–wait for it–Whitney Houston. The case was settled out of court; the settlement did not include Lightfoot’s name being added to the writer’s credits. Still, given the success of the single (top 10 in a dozen countries and sales of over 2.5 million copies PLUS the royalties derived from its parent album, which sold somewhere north of 25 million), the settlement must have been pretty sweet.

Meanwhile, for a guy who wrote a lot about trains and shipwrecks (and peppered his songs with Canadianisms), he sure sold a lot of albums. Millions of them globally. There were all the hit singles that climbed to the top of the American charts: “Early Morning Rain” (also a hit for Elvis), “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway,” “Rainy Day People,” and the masterful “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Lightfoot was given just about every honour a Canadian could receive including a couple of doctorates, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, induction in the Songwriters Hall of Fame plus the Canadian Music Hall of Fame (Dylan did the induction), and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal.

There was even a whiff of Hollywood scandal. Back in the early 70s, he got himself into an entanglement with a Toronto scenester named Cathy Evenlyn Smith. Gordon knew there was something dangerous about her and wrote both “Sundown” and “Rainy Day People” about her. Smith made her way to Los Angeles in 1976 where she became a drug dealer who listed both Keith Richards and Ron Woods as clients. She later became infamous as the person who helped John Belushi inject that fatal speedball in March 1982.

Years ago when I was on a walkabout between jobs, I auditioned for an on-air position at the CBC. It had to be in-person during the same hours I’d be working if I got the job. I’d been allowed to prepare for the audition as if it were a real radio show, so I was in control of everything.

Halfway through, the woman conducting the audition broke in. “Okay, now let’s see how you think on your feet. I’m going to give you a scenario and you just go with it, okay? Here it is: Gordon Lightfoot has just died. Break the news.”

Wow, I thought to myself, That’s the most CBC thing EVER.

Tonight, though, it’s real. Gordon Lightfoot has passed away at the age of 84. Fans had a feeling last month when all dates on his 2023 schedule were canceled.

Lightfoot had been in frail health for years. In 2003, between shows in his hometown of Orillia, his aorta suddenly ruptured in his abdomen. He was airlifted to Hamilton’s McMaster Medical Centre and spent the next six weeks in a coma. Imagine the doctor who had to perform the tracheotomy on the neck that contained one of Canada’s most-treasured voiceboxes. It was three months before he could go home and a full two years before he returned to normal. It was something of a miracle he pulled through.

He returned to work, writing songs, recording albums, playing gigs, and even appearing on Canadian Idol. But then on September 14, 2006, he suffered a minor stroke in the middle of a show, leaving him unable to use the middle and ring finger of his right hand for a while and necessitating that another guitarist sub in for his parts.

We thought he was dead a second time in February 2010 when a Twitter hoax declared him dead. He heard about his demise on the radio on the way back to his hotel the dentist while in Winnipeg. Gordon had to call up Charles Adler, a talk show host on CJOB, to prove that he wasn’t dead yet and was actually feeling much better.

The next years were among Lightfoot’s most productive, playing dozens of shows including the 100th Grey Cup, Canada’s 150th birthday celebration, and tours across North America and the British Isles. The worst health scare he had was an injury while working out in the gym in the middle of a tour (To stay as healthy as possible, he put in gym time six days a week.) That was enough to pull a couple of shows.

Then came COVID. Lightfoot, frail and in his 80s, still managed to put out his 21st studio album in 54 years. And then on December 18, 2020, he performed a paid live stream at a quarantined El Mocambo in Toronto. There was a bonus segment of that concert. After it was over, fans were able to purchase a little overtime with Gord in a sit-down interview with me. His frailty was even more apparent up close, even though he’d seemed in strong voice during the show. But he was determined that no matter what–not even a Global pandemic–was going to stop him from fulfilling his touring obligations which began the following May. And as far as I remember, he played as many of those shows as COVID restrictions would allow. But then earlier this year, ahead of another ambitious tour schedule, every show was canceled with no promises of make-up dates. That was a sure signal that something was very wrong. The four-metre bronze statue of Gord in his hometown of Orillia will see a lot of visitors for the next while. And what’s to become of Massey Hall without the traditional Lightfoot residencies? It’s unimaginable that they won’t happen anymore. Some of his last words were to his manager, Bernie Fiedler: “We had a good run.” Yes, Gord, you did. A very good run.

I have sent a correction to the site regarding the location of Winnipeg when the TWITTER hoax happened. He was in Toronto not Winnipeg.
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Old 05-05-2023, 06:39 PM   #33
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In Gordon Lightfoot’s lyrics, I still hear the sounds of home
May 05, 2023

Julie Wittes Schlack

Gordon Lightfoot made me appreciate men. Not romantically — I’d had crushes on boys well before I ever heard his music — but empathetically.

Though best known for his 1970s pop tunes like “Sundown” and “If You Could Read my Mind,” the Canadian singer-songwriter who died a few days ago was rivaled only by John Prine in his ability to animate the stories of ordinary working-class men doing extraordinary things. His characters were the men I didn’t know but wanted to. The drowned sailors of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” The railroad “navvies” of “Canadian Railroad Trilogy.”

The drunken marooned ne’er do well from “Early Morning Rain”

With a dollar in my hand

With an aching in my heart

and my pockets full of sand.

These were the people whose stories were all too rarely acknowledged, let alone told with both sympathy and dynamism.

My older brother brought home Lightfoot’s eponymous debut album in 1966. We played that record obsessively, the stylus of our mono record player deepening its grooves. The record’s spare, singable, but narratively rich tunes wore out the needle long before wearing out our imaginations.

Of course, some of the emotional power of these songs derived from the circumstances under which we listened to them. We were adolescents, filled with inchoate longing to be out in the big world, lost to the expectations of others. We wanted to be swingin’ the hammer, not studying for the quiz; to be hopping onto a freight train, not a school bus. We ached to abandon the insular comfort of our middle-class home even if, like the narrator of Steel Rail Blues, we didn’t have a destination.

I haven't found a place that I could call my own

Not a two bit bed to lay my body on

I bin stood up I bin shook down/I bin dragged into the sand.

We were also recent ex-pats, transplanted Montrealers who had only recently moved to the American Midwest and were still homesick, not just for the friends and family we’d left behind, but for Canada itself. And Lightfoot was profoundly Canadian.

The man could make you feel the ruthlessly damp, unforgiving city winter in your bones, as in this poignant song about a forlorn old man stumbling “Home From the Forest:”

Oh the neon lights were flashin'

And the icy wind did blow

The water seeped into his shoes

And the drizzle turned to snow

His eyes were red, his hopes were dead

And the wine was runnin' low

But he could also paint a picture of winter’s brilliant hush with equal vividness. And Lightfoot could do romance without treacle. No chewing gum love songs or self-indulgent tunes about being sad or lonely or blue ever emerged from his pen. No, his love affairs ended with sorrow, regret, and sometimes self-recrimination, but always with lyricism. Softly is evidence of that.

Softly she goes

Her shining lips in the shadows

Whispers goodbye at my windo

Having immigrated to the most powerful country in the world as it waged the war in Vietnam, my brother and I longed for our homeland’s lack of imperial ambitions. In 1967, Canada’s population was only 20 million, an astonishingly low number for the world’s second largest country. But that created a spaciousness in the culture, a tolerance for a “cultural mosaic” that stood in contrast to an American melting pot that boiled away our differences.

To celebrate the country’s centenary, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBS) commissioned Lightfoot to write a song, and the resulting “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” captured that unique national spirit of optimism without jingoism.

But time has no beginning and the history has no bound

As to this verdant country they came from all around

They sailed upon her waterways and they walked the forest tall

Built the mines, mills and the factories for the good of us all.

Like the country he came from and returned to, Lightfoot was wry without being cruel, modest without any disingenuous self-effacement. In the 2019 documentary, “If You Could Read My Mind,” he ruefully acknowledges the sexism of some of his early songs. “I didn’t know what chauvinism was then,” he said. And when interviewed in 2008, he resisted the hagiography that surrounded him as a national hero and one of Bob Dylan’s favorite songwriters. “Sometimes I wonder why I’m being called an icon, because I really don’t think of myself that way,” he explained. “I’m a professional musician, and I work with very professional people. It’s how we get through life.”

I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of his work — I’ve never even listened to many of his later albums. But I know his first two albums, released in 1966 and 1967, like I knew my parents’ lullabies. They inspired me, soothed me, ushered me into dreams both sleeping and awake. In Gordon Lightfoot’s songs I heard the sun going down and rising again.

Open your heart, let the life blood flow

We got to get on our way 'cause we're movin' too slow

(Candian Railroad Trilogy)
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Old 05-05-2023, 06:47 PM   #34
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Randy Bachman remembers:

When we were younger, Burton Cummings and I went to a Gordon Lightfoot concert. We sat there mesmerized the entire time at the way he sang and the stories his lyrics told. It was poetry, folklore, legend and music. Spellbound would be a good way to describe what we felt. Sending love to his family and friends today at his passing. I knew him a long time and he was a wonderful person.
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Old 05-06-2023, 01:50 PM   #35
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BILLY JOEL pays his respects at MSG concert 5/5/2023

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Old 05-06-2023, 03:15 PM   #36
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ED RINGWALD - Pee Wee - video at link - Ed at home


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 05-06-2023, 05:57 PM   #37
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My good friend Gordon Lightfoot was also a friend to so many

The minister who is presiding over his memorial service shares her memories of the Canadian icon
By Karen Hilfman Millson | May 5, 2023

On the evening of May 1,, when I heard of Gordon Lightfoot’s death, I experienced an overwhelming flow of tears. He was all the things people are saying about him: the soundtrack of our lives, a poet and storyteller who touched our hearts, a weaver of the threads of our lives creating a tapestry filled with our experiences, our humanity, and the joys and struggles of living. For me, amongst the many gifts Gordon shared was his incredible capacity to be present to people, making people feel special.

I remember the night he received The Heart and Vision Award from the Toronto United Church Council. The line to greet him was long. I stood back and watched as he made eye contact with each person asking them where they were from, often sharing a story of someone he knew from their community. People walked away, delighted at their connection.

The second time Gord came to St. Paul’s United in Orillia, Ont., while I was working there, it was for a worship service. Gord grew up going to St. Paul’s and he’s often been heard to say it was there that he got his start and learned about singing with emotion.

That day, he and I, along with my two colleagues, Blair Bailey and Fred Joblin, spent time together reflecting on his song “Sit Down Young Stranger” and how he gets inspired for his writing. He wanted two things to happen that day. He wanted to sing in the choir and step out from there to do his solo like he did as a young person and he wanted to have tea with the ladies after church. Even though he was a shy person and spent many hours in solitude as he crafted his lyrical and musical poetry, connections and relationships were a key theme of his life.

I first met Gord and his sister Bev in 1998 when their mom Jessie died and we met to plan her funeral. My favourite memory from that conversation was when Gord serenaded me with “Jesus Loves Me.” Several years later, I wrote to Bev to ask if she would pass on an invitation to Gordon to come for an interview to be part of the celebration of the 175th anniversary of St Paul’s. I’d almost given up hope that it would happen when several months later, I received a phone call at home late one evening. He was calling to say he could come to do an interview on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 4, less than a month away. I immediately said yes, not knowing what was happening in the church that day. He then started telling me about his life and why St. Paul’s was so important to him.

That was the first of many late-night conversations leading up to the interview. We would talk for an hour or two. I would never know when a call would come, but I loved every minute of him sharing his story as I frantically wrote down every detail. Those stories became the focus of the interview. Blair Bailey, our music director, and I would encourage him to retell the stories of our late-night conversations. The only question that he wouldn’t answer publicly was about his experience of coming close to death in 2002. He talked to me about it but when we came to that moment in the interview, he stood up and said it was time for another song.

part 2 in next post
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Old 05-06-2023, 05:57 PM   #38
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After the interview, I told Gord that we hadn’t had a chance to ask him before we started if it was okay if we recorded our talk. I told him there were two copies and we would do what he wanted with them. Rick Haynes, his bassist of 37 years at that time, stepped up and said he should take a copy because it was the best interview he’d ever given.

While I did four public interviews with Gordon, plus umpteen private conversations for the purpose of preparing for interviews and writing an article about his childhood in Orillia, the one where Gord was most at ease, and we had the most fun, was at a United Church event called Worship Matters. The room was full of preachers, so I reflected with him on how his work aligns with the task of a preacher to name the realities of life so we can reflect on the kind of world we want to be creating. I also spoke with him about the theme of my life’s work, of the gift and power of authenticity, noting that being authentic, which he is, is a critical part of being able to touch lives. I shared with him that for me, he did that so clearly in “If You Could Read My Mind,” letting us into the recesses of his soul to discover ourselves.

My heart is warmed by the opportunity to fulfill his funeral plans in which I was named to be the minister for the private family service. The chance to be with the people who were intimately connected to his day-to-day life is a gift at this time when the world is grieving.

As I have read the ways people are eulogizing Gordon, I hear a recurring theme of being seen and heard by him. To me, that is what a good friend does. He will always be a cherished friend to me, but in so many ways, he was like a friend to people all across Canada and beyond as he lifted up our stories, our foibles and our connection to the land as a reflection of our reality, helping us to see ourselves more clearly and dream our dreams of the kind of life we want to create.

Rev. Karen Hilfman Millson is a retired United Church minister who was at St Paul’s United in Orillia for 17 years. She is a published author of The Mended Mirror with two new books coming called Pilgrimage with Cancer and a Collection of Poetry.
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Old 05-08-2023, 04:15 PM   #39
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By Shawna Richer
May 6, 2023
You’re reading the Canada Letter newsletter. Back stories and analysis from our Canadian correspondents, plus a handpicked selection of our recent Canada-related coverage. Get it sent to your inbox.

When I was growing up, Gordon Lightfoot songs played on the living room stereo, on the radio in the kitchen and in the family car and on my dad’s guitar so continuously that it felt like the Canadian singer-songwriter, who died in a Toronto hospital on Monday at 84, lived with us.

I talked this week with my mom and dad, who are 82, about the musician who made the soundtrack to our lives. My father recalled the first time they saw Lightfoot, who had been making a name for himself in 1965 on the folk music scene in Toronto. He is near certain it was in a union hall in nearby Hamilton, a few years before I was born. Lightfoot was a part of my family before I was.

In the early days his 1966 debut record — “Lightfoot!” — lived on the turntable of our mahogany console stereo that took up nearly as much space as the couch, but was the far more essential piece of furniture.

As his popularity grew through the 1960s and ’70s, Lightfoot was prolific, releasing an album each year, and they stacked up at our place, leaning against the stereo and within easy reach. All the covers featured Lightfoot, sensitive and brooding. His good looks of the 1970s were lost on younger me. But Lightfoot was the one artist that my parents could always agree on playing any time at any volume. Saturday nights. Sunday mornings. Home alone. With a house full of company. It was always Lightfoot.

My dad learned to play his whole catalog by ear on an acoustic six-string.

Nature and the wilderness were central themes for Lightfoot, as they were for my mom and dad and for me and my younger brother. His sense of place made me curious about Canada beyond my backyard. His few political songs — particularly “Black Day in July,” about the Detroit race riots of 1967 — sparked a fascination with the United States.

“Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” a panoramic suite that tells the story of Canada’s founding in 1867, was a history class set to music. Lightfoot wrote perfect three-minute ballads and sweeping seven-minute narratives, what the American musician Steve Earle, in the excellent 2019 documentary “If You Could Read My Mind” called “story songs.”

A Gordon Lightfoot album was packed with intrigue: songs about trains, shipwrecks, forests, lakes and rivers, with a throughline of melancholy that was mysterious and irresistible to an introverted kid who spent most of her time reading and writing.

I loved his melodic guitar and supple baritone. But his simple, succinct songs were a master class in narrative storytelling and wordcraft. Lightfoot’s songs, precise and profound, read like poems and unfolded like three-act plays.
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Old 05-08-2023, 04:24 PM   #40
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video at link - caught me getting a hug from Carter.. !
2nd video is of Rick Haynes

Fans pay respects at Gordon Lightfoot visitation in Orillia, Ont.

The legendary Canadian artist died May 1 at the age of 84 from natural causes
David Friend The Canadian Press Posted: May 07, 2023 9:48 AM EDT

More than 2,400 fans poured through a public visitation Sunday in Gordon Lightfoot's hometown in central Ontario to say goodbye to the folk singer-songwriter.

As rain fell, a line grew on the street outside St. Paul's United Church in Orillia, Ont., where Lightfoot once sang as a choir boy.

Inside, each person had a moment with the late musical legend as the line slowly passed by his closed casket. It was adorned with a large bouquet of red roses, as well as a single pink one.

Within the bouquet, a card handwritten by his widow, Kim Lightfoot, read: "My heart's treasure." For the first hour, she greeted visitors near where they entered the building.

Throughout the visitation, which is to run until 8 p.m. Sunday, a continuous flow of Lightfoot's songs played over the sound system.

Two hours after it began, security for the event estimated nearly 1,700 people had gone through the church.
Members of the public line up to pay their respects at visitation for singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot at St. Paul's United Church, in his hometown of Orillia, Ont., Sunday, May 7, 2023. The legendary Canadian artist died May 1, at the age of 84 from natural causes.

Steve Porter and his wife, Diane Porter, were first in line at the church at 10:30 a.m., two and a half hours before the doors opened. Not knowing how big the crowds would be, they wanted to show up early to pay their respects.

"I feel like I'm honouring Gord in my own little way," he said while standing in line.

"I'm representing my family and my ancestors who are all gone and who loved him dearly."

Myeengun Henry travelled from the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation near London, Ont, with a gift of tobacco to honour Lightfoot.

He also carried an eagle feather in hand, which he said was a symbolic gesture of the highest-flying bird.

"It can see the farthest and I kind of relate that to Gord," he said.

"He could see things other people couldn't and the eagle feather is perfect for thinking about Gordon. [He] sent the truth to many people and so I have so much respect for his legacy."

Antonette Dinovo and her husband, Vince Dinovo, travelled a couple of hours from Markham, Ont., outside of Toronto.

Antonette said they planned to visit a local record store and walk through nearby Mariposa, home of the music festival where Lightfoot often performed.

"I think it's important to be here today," she said. "It represents the loss we feel and a celebration."

Many local establishments took those sentiments to heart. Several bars and one of the local record stores planned to recognize Lightfoot's influence through live music performances this weekend.

David LaBute, who drove four hours from Windsor, Ont., for the weekend with his friend, said the spirit of Lightfoot could be felt in the streets of the city.

"There are tributes all over the place," he said. "It's really nice to see a town take ownership of one of their own."
'An emotional day,' longtime friend says

Rick Haynes was Gordon Lightfoot's bassist, and a longtime friend. He said it was "an emotional day" for him.

"There's a lot of memories connected to Gordon around Orillia here today, as well as thousands of his fans, so … it's very surreal and poignant," Haynes told CBC News.

Haynes said he's reflecting on 55 years with Lightfoot "and all of the good times we had, and he has said 'it's been a great ride.'"

"It's been a real honour to have worked for Gordon all these years," he added.

Haynes described his friend as "a very humble man," an adventurer, a philanthropist and "a very shy person. Some people mistook that for being aloof or arrogant, but he wasn't aloof or arrogant at all. He was shy and humble."

At 2 p.m., church bells at St. Paul's rang 30 times, 29 for the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald and once in honour of Lightfoot.

After Lightfoot's death on May 1, Orillia residents began placing flowers on two monuments to the singer in the city.

On Saturday, a previously planned concert tribute to his career at the Orillia Opera House became a celebration of his life and career.

Elsewhere, a book of condolences can be signed at Toronto's Massey Hall, a venue where Lightfoot frequently performed throughout his career. It's to be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A private funeral is to take place in Orillia, where he will be buried alongside his parents.
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Old 05-08-2023, 04:33 PM   #41
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VIDEO at link.

Lightfoot's impact felt in his hometown of Orillia, Ont. as fans mourn and celebrate his life.

Fans of Gordon Lightfoot are mourning his death and revelling in his life in his hometown of Orillia, Ont., after news of his passing broke Monday evening.

Many stopped by Alleycats Music and Art record store on Mississaga Street to bask in the memories.

"When a musician passes away that people love, they want to talk about it," said Alleycats owner Mike Rothwell.

Across the street, local business owner Bill Cook turned an empty storefront into a tribute to Lightfoot.

"I just felt that we need to do a little setup on the street to have people stop and think about him," Cook said.

The storefront is adorned with memorabilia, and visitors have been leaving notes and flowers to grieve and celebrate the most beloved musician to ever come out of the Sunshine City.

"They almost have tears in their eyes, but they're also smiling because they're so happy to see various pictures of Gordon, and they all have good memories of him," Cook added.

The iconic folk musician made appearances at the Mariposa Folk Festival over the years, often performing without having been hired, to the delight of his fans.

Lightfoot headlined the festival several times, singing his famous songs, including "If You Could Read My Mind," "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," and "Sundown."

Alleycats record store, where Rothwell displayed only Lightfoot records on his 80th birthday, said his customers helped him realize how adored Lightfoot was to people of all ages.

"Sometimes it surprises me that people in their 30s and 20s would know about Gordon Lightfoot," Rothwell said. "So that helped me understand how important he was."

More than 500 people signed the Opera House's books of condolences.

"His name is synonymous with Orillia," said Cook. "I've been many places in the world, from Japan to Australia, and if I tell people I'm from Orillia, even the locals, they will say, 'Oh, that's where Gordon Lightfoot is from'."

Lightfoot will be laid to rest in his hometown of Orillia at St. Paul's United Church.

The public is invited to pay their respects on Sunday at the church on Peter Street North from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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Old 05-08-2023, 04:54 PM   #42
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video of RICK HAYNES at llink

Gordon Lightfoot was 'a loyal and good friend,' longtime bassist says
1 day agoNewsDuration 4:37

Rick Haynes, who attended the public visitation for his friend Gordon Lightfoot in Orillia, Ont., described the late Canadian troubadour as humble and shy, an adventurer up for any challenge and one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived.
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Old 05-08-2023, 05:23 PM   #43
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pics - I went to Orillia with David Newland - artist and emcee at the HUGH'S ROOM trib shows and Jane Harbury - long time freined of Gordon and Bernie-Riverboat Jane - Jane Harbury.. One snap is of Meredith and David having a hug..

Visitation for Gordon Lightfoot captured in photos
Hundreds have come to Orillia to pay their respects to the beloved singer/songwriter who got his start as a choir boy at St. Paul's
Kevin Lamb

It has been a sombre Sunday afternoon in Orillia, punctuated by rain and a mix of emotions.

Hundreds have come to Orillia, the hometown of Gordon Lightfoot, to pay their respects to one of Canada's most iconic singer/songwriters.

A public visitation for Lightfoot, who died at a Toronto hospital May 1, began at 1 p.m. at St. Paul's Centre in downtown Orillia. People are welcome to come and pay their respects until 8 p.m. A private funeral for Lightfoot will be held in Orillia next week.

There has been an outpouring of affection for the beloved troubadour this week as people from all over the world have shared their love and passion for the gifted singer who began his career as a choir boy at St. Paul's.
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Old 05-08-2023, 05:34 PM   #44
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

'He was Canadiana': Lightfoot's music, humility resounded loudly
'I really loved how authentic he was and how real he was,' said Karen Hilfman-Millson, a former St. Paul’s minister, who will be officiant at Lightfoot's funeral

As hundreds of friends and fans made a pilgrimage to St. Paul’s Centre on Sunday to pay tribute to Orillia-born folk music legend Gordon Lightfoot, countless memories of friendship and fandom emerged.

Orillia residents, Canadians from far and wide, and travellers from the United States came to bid the folk music legend a final farewell during a public visitation that ran from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.. By three in the afternoon, more than 1,000 people had already paid their respects to Lightfoot, who died May 1. He was 84..

Karen Hilfman-Millson, a former St. Paul’s minister and long-time friend of Lightfoot’s, has been chosen as the officiant of his upcoming funeral, a private function for family and close friends.

“It feels like such a blessing because I have this deep sadness, and almost like a wound at his death,” she told OrilliaMatters. “To have the opportunity, to think about who he's been in my life and in the life of Canada and the life of Orillia, it means a lot. It really does.”

Hilfman-Millson, who served as St. Paul’s minister for 17 years, had the opportunity to interview Lightfoot on numerous occasions.

She said she loved how authentic and humble he was.

“I really loved how authentic he was and how real he was,” she said. “He didn't want to be a superstar – he wasn't particularly interested in that. He was a very shy person; he was a very humble person, but he was very committed to his craft and his musical lyrical poetry.”

Recalling how Lightfoot began his musical career at St. Paul’s in the choir, Hilfman-Millson said it means a lot to know how much the church meant to him, and she said it signifies the impact the church can have on people.

“The whole idea of him choosing to come home to here for his visitation means a lot,” she said. “It just warms people's hearts, that this meant so much to him, and I think we begin to see the difference we can make as a community, both the church community and the Orillia community.

“He walked through that door a lot, and it made an impact on his life, so it's, it's very touching to be reminded how much of a difference that makes when we welcome people and we encourage their gifts, and we celebrate who they are,” she said. “It's a good reminder that as a community, that's what we need to be doing.”

Just as the church impacted Lightfoot’s life, so, too, did he impact the hundreds of people who showed up for the public visitation.

Siblings Fred and Lisa Krohn travelled all the way from Minneapolis to pay their respects.

Fred said Lightfoot was a key part of building his career as a music promoter in Minneapolis.

“He was the first artist that I ever promoted as live entertainment ... He sold out shows, and I stayed in the business,” he said. “The guy is a legendary performer and probably the best songwriter that I've ever had … Lightfoot outclassed them all, as far as I’m concerned.”

Through their friendship, Lightfoot penned the foreword to Fred’s book, Standing in the Wings, and became a family friend, as well.

“Our mom used to … bring Gordon and the guys brownies, and he called our mom ‘Mom,’ and he's known our family through Fred for all these years,” added Lisa.

When not involved in music, Lightfoot would often take to adventure, and his old friend Ingo Schoppel spoke of numerous canoe trips the two had been on over the years.

“We have a canoe group out of Cambridge, all kinds of prominent people – prime ministers, and so forth – have been part of it, and he was very enthusiastic. I did a bunch of trips with him up north and (in the) Northwest Territories,” Schoppel said. “(There were) some very long trips, longest one I did with Gord was 1,000 kilometres long.”

When you spend weeks together in nature, Schoppel said, you get to know someone fairly well.

“Gord’s music is fantastic, and when you have stayed some five, six weeks together in the bush alone, you know, you get talking with him and you have a fantastic exchange,” he said. “He was very persistent, very strong, never gives up.”

Others had more humourous memories of the late folk legend.

Orillia resident Peggy Little came out to pay her respects to Lightfoot, as she went to school with him once upon a time.

“We both went to ODCVI, and a chap called Terry Whelan, who has a beautiful Irish voice, he and Gordy sang together. I always called them the ‘Two Timers,’ but it was the Two Tones, because they were two timers,” Little said, stirring plenty of laughter in the lineup outside St. Paul’s.

“I never went out with him.”

Jeff Day, former managing editor of the Orillia Packet & Times, recalled meeting Lightfoot numerous times in Orillia, as well as in his role as a journalist down in Hamilton.

“When Even Steven … came back to play after touring out west, Gord would come and listen to them at various bars in Orillia, including the old Howard Johnson's,” he said. “The most fun part I remember about him, was he came one night … with his mom, Jessie, and she was just a riot. We ended up sitting with her. What a light she was.

“I got to meet him several times when I went to Hamilton as the entertainment editor at the Hamilton Spectator, so he played there several times, and we got to meet him again,” he said. “He was Canadiana. He's just ingrained in what we do and how we do it every day.”

Orillia’s Andrea Town said her husband once gifted her a record of Lightfoot’s, and said she has been a fan for years.

“I listened to it all the time, and as I'm standing here in the rain, I'm thinking of "Early Morning Rain",” she said. “I don't have that record anymore, so I'm kind of sad about that, but I love his music. It's reflective. It's just a beautiful sound that he brings in every song.”

George Young, who travelled from Huntsville to pay his respects, said he became a fan of Lightfoot’s through his career in radio.

“Of course, when I started back in the ‘60s, he was one of the big singers of the time,” he said. “A lot of his stuff was local Canadian: history, people, personal, and he was unique in that way, and he wasn't afraid to sing it and express himself. I think that's what set him apart from some other singers.”

Edith Molnar, from Toronto, said she became acquainted with Lightfoot back in the ‘hippie’ days of the 1960s, as well.

“I was a hippie then, walking down Yorkville, and he was in the Riverboat Coffeehouse for 25 years, and he was like a staple down in the village,” she said. “We loved his music and I saw him at Massey Hall many, many times, and to me, he's like a Canadian icon.”
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Old 05-08-2023, 05:44 PM   #45
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

A community, a nation bids heart-felt farewell to Gordon Lightfoot
'I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that Gordon Lightfoot put Orillia on the map,' longtime band member says as hundreds line up to say goodbye to iconic singer, songwriter

Fans, family, and friends flocked to St. Paul’s Centre Sunday to mourn the passing of Orillia’s favourite son, the internationally renowned singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.

Travelling from across Ontario, Canada, and the United States, people began lining up this morning, hours in advance, in anticipation of the public service that runs from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

People, many sporting umbrellas during a brief rain shower, lined up outside the church entrance, up Peter Street to Neywash Street and then back and forth twice more on the closed street.

Just as a church bell long ago chimed at the Mariners' Church of Detroit for each of the 29 lost souls aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald, so, too, did St. Paul’s Centre toll its bell — a total of 30 times — capturing the loss of those sailors and the man who immortalized that harrowing wreck on Lake Superior 48 years ago.

Lightfoot, 84, died of natural causes at a Toronto hospital on May 1.

Both Lightfoot, the man, and Lightfoot, the musician, had an immeasurable impact on the hundreds that lined Peter Street to bid the folk legend a final farewell.

“He wrote some songs about the territory here, Lake Couchiching, and he's mentioned Indigenous things in his music,” said Myeengun Henry, who travelled from the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation, near London. “That really got people to learn about Indigenous history, so he's huge in the Indigenous world and we respected everything he did.”

Bernie David, a fan of over 50 years, drove from Toronto this morning to pay his respects to the man he credits for, in a way, introducing him to his future wife.

“In high school, she had tickets for Lightfoot, and I went, and I’ve loved him ever since,” recalled a misty-eyed David, who went on to marry his high school sweetheart.

“All my friends used to sit by the campfire and play the guitar, and every time he came out with a new album … I learned all the music,” said David.

For many, Lightfoot's music was the soundtrack of their youth.

“I grew up with it. I grew up singing to it, and my brother’s first guitar tunes were Gordon Lightfoot,” said Lisa Langill, who came down from the Muskoka area. “So we thought we’d come down. How can you not?”

Lightfoot’s longtime bassist credits the late musician with putting Orillia on the map, and remaining humble despite his fame.

“I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that Gordon Lightfoot put Orillia on the map, and he's also been a great supporter of Orillia as a philanthropist,” said Rick Haynes.

“He was a humble man considering his fame,” Haynes said. “He was very engaging, he was very caring, and he really had time for everyone. He really did.”

The visitation continues until 8 p.m. this evening. A private funeral will be held next week in Orillia.
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Old 05-09-2023, 12:41 PM   #46
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

Dog curls up next to Gordon Lightfoot’s casket during memorial service: “Gordon loved dogs”

Kevin McCarthy

Last week, the legendary singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot died at the age of 84. One of the most successful folk artists of his era and a Canadian national hero, countless fans grieved at his passing.

A memorial service for the musician was held on May 7 — and in a heartwarming sight, one old friend gathered by his side.

Lightfoot, whose hit songs include “Sundown” and “If You Could Read My Mind,” was memorialized at St. Paul’s United Church in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario, Canada.

The singer, who stayed true to his Canadian roots even as he achieved international stardom, reportedly requested that his funeral be held at the Orilla church, where he sang in the choir as a teenager.

“He is the one that wanted it to be here, in this church that he grew up in,” St. Paul’s choir director Blair Bailey told CTV News.

Lightfoot’s funeral yesterday was reportedly a small, private affair with 50 close friends and family members attending, but local fans had an opportunity to pay their respects at a public visitation on Sunday.

Those who did witnessed a bittersweet moment as an unexpected mourner curled up by the late musician’s side: a dog named Taurus.

According to Lightfoot’s longtime publicist Victoria Lord, Taurus belongs to one of Lightfoot’s tour people, and they bonded while on the road together.

“He used to go on the road with him and wait for Gordon side stage,” Victoria Lord told Newsner. “Gordon loved dogs.”

It’s not uncommon for dogs, loyal til the very end, to lay by the graves or caskets of their departed loved ones — a heartbreaking, bittersweet tribute.

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals. Taurus may not have been Lightfoot’s own pet, but it’s clear they had a real bond and the dog will miss him a lot.

Gordon Lightfoot died on May 1 at the age of 84. The news was first reported via the musician’s Facebook page; he reportedly died of natural causes.

Lightfoot achieved his greatest international success in the 1970s, with hits like “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Several of his albums went platinum.

One of his generation’s folk music superstars, Lightfoot was widely respected by his fellow musicians and regarded as a national hero in his native Canada.

“He is our poet laureate, he is our iconic singer-songwriter,” said Rush singer Geddy Lee in the 2019 documentary Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, per CBC.

“I can’t think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like,” Bob Dylan once said. “Everytime I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever…. Lightfoot became a mentor for a long time. I think he probably still is to this day.”

“Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter after Lightfoot’s passing, calling him “one of our greatest singer-songwriters.”

Rest in peace to the incredible Gordon Lightfoot. He will be missed by so many — including loyal dog Taurus. ��
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Old 05-10-2023, 08:53 AM   #47
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

you can catch me at the end in the yellow coat..(and emcee David Newland hugging Meredith on the other end of the casket as I walk by)

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Old 05-10-2023, 07:28 PM   #48
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COLUMN: Lightfoot's fingerprints touch all of our lives
Writer's ties to 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald' story still echo decades later, just as Lightfoot's music and lyrics continue to resonate today
Ian McInroy Ian McInroy
May 7, 2023 1:30 PM

Orillia and the rest of Canada are remembering Gordon Lightfoot.

His music triggers lots of memories and emotions for me, probably not unlike millions of other Canadians.

My first introduction to Lightfoot’s music was the "Canadian Railroad Trilogy," released in 1967. I remember listening to it in Grade 8 the following year (our teacher was a huge Gordon Lightfoot fan) and, along with my classmates, loved the story it told and how it was told through words and music. I would hear it a few more times later in high school where we dissected it even further.

Lightfoot’s next musical imprint on my teen brain later in 1968 would be political, poignant and hit a lot closer to home.

When "Black Day in July" — Lightfoot’s ode to the 1967 summer race riots in Detroit, Michigan — was released in 1968, I was living just a few miles away in peaceful south Windsor. The previous summer we’d been house hunting along the Detroit River: manicured lawns and suburbia to the right, billowing smoke and emergency lights across the river to the left.

The mile in between didn’t seem far enough.

Lightfoot’s song nailed that summer of discontent at least as well as any black or white American musical act did and he took quite a bit of heat for it. I liked the song immediately: it was revealing truths and made me think that music could have power.

I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet Lightfoot’s friend and longtime guitar player Terry Clements in 1989 during a photo shoot while I was working at a Newmarket newspaper.

Clements had been busy in Los Angles before he began playing with Lightfoot in 1971 after a lineup change in the band. His guitar is featured on Lightfoot’s most memorable work, including his solos on The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which spent 21 weeks on the U.S. Billboard charts.

There may have been gold records scattered around the walls of his home studio and guitars everywhere, but he was just a really nice guy. Easy to talk to.

He passed away in 2011 after a stroke — just weeks prior he was still rehearsing with Lightfoot — and was always remembered by Lightfoot as one of his best friends.

Whenever I hear "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and his amazing guitar, I think of him.

I also think of my father-in-law.


Within months of the Edmund Fitzgerald going down, Jack Kennedy — the Canadian Coast Guard’s district manager in Parry Sound — got a call from Lightfoot, who wanted information around the ship’s sinking. The singer was renowned for his attention to detail (along with an appropriate amount of artistic licence) so a call up to ’The Guard’ for some background must have seemed in order.

“His name didn’t ring a bell to me,” says Jack with a grin. “I didn’t know who it was to tell you the truth. I just had a nice long chat with him and told him what I thought about different things. We talked back and forth about some other stuff, too.”

No need to be star struck.

“I came out of my office where the other staff were and said, ‘I just got a call from this Gordon Lightfoot fellow about the Fitzgerald. Who is he?’ They kind of laughed and said, ‘Don’t you know who Gordon Lightfoot is?’ And I said, ’No, I don’t.’”

But the musician went to the right place if he wanted some background on one of Canada’s most famous nautical disasters, with Jack spending 38 years in the Coast Guard, including 16 on the water. Starting as a deck hand, he worked his way up to captain, then became superintendent of lights, then superintendent of navigational aids and then district manager for about 10 years.

“In the meantime I did go on a steamship (laker, freighter) for a year-and-a-half and I actually ended up in a big storm similar to what the Fitzgerald encountered,” says Jack from his Bay Street home on Parry Sound harbour.

“We did the same thing. We had to go north of Cariboo Island and follow the shore and try to get away from the heavy seas. We really got racked up good,” he adds. “That was my biggest storm for sure and it was the same trip the Fitzgerald had made. They had to go along the Canadian shore to try to avoid the heavy seas.

“We didn’t figure we’d survive that night really. It was pretty horrendous.”

Lightfoot utilized his previously-mentioned artistic licence when drawing upon some of their conversations for the song, adds Jack.

“At first there were many different theories about what happened,” he says, “and there are a lot of presumptions because nobody survived.”

The musician’s original lyrics — ‘At seven p.m., a main hatchway caved in’ — was later disproven (Lightfoot altered the words in later performances) and also contained some possible, but not likely, scenarios, says Jack.

Another memorable line — ‘The captain wired in he had water comin' in. And the good ship and crew was in peril.’ — was also a little off the mark.

“The captain never indicated he was in peril. The last thing the captain said just before it went down was, ‘we’re holding our own’. Just prior to that he said, ‘we’re taking on water and we hope our pumps are keeping up’,” he says. “You don’t know if your pumps are keeping up or not. You can’t go down into a bilge and see how much water is in there.

“You can’t go outside. You just hang on for dear life. Anyway, she probably was sinking but you don’t know the boat is sinking if it’s loaded with iron ore because you’re really down in the water.”

Jack’s own theory is that the Fitzgerald was taking on water from a crack.

“A ship takes a lot of strain in heavy seas,” he says. “I can remember looking back aft from the wheelhouse when we were coming down the same area and you could see the whole boat twisting. So you could easily get a fracture in the hull doing that overtime.”

But when she did go down, she went down immediately, he adds.

“The guy was talking on the phone and then ‘boom’, he’s gone. So it didn’t take a long time; it was sudden.”

But one part of the conversation between the sailor and the song writer did come across in the tune.

What would you say to a group of sailors who could be hours or minutes away from dying?

“We talked about a lot of different things but that was definitely one of them,” Jack says. “He asked me specifically what the crew would say to each other, how they would act, that sort of thing. I said something like, ’So long boys. It’s been good to know you’.

“It was a cool song. I do recall hearing it and going, ‘oh, that’s the guy I had the talk with’.”
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Old 05-10-2023, 08:29 PM   #49
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Default Re: R.I.P Gord

Family, friends gather at private funeral for Gordon Lightfoot in his hometown
Close friends and family of Gordon Lightfoot came together for a small, private funeral on Monday held at the Orillia, Ont. church where he was once a choir boy.
By David Friend The Canadian Press
Mon., May 8, 2023

ORILLIA, Ont. - Close friends and family of Gordon Lightfoot came together for a small, private funeral on Monday held at the Orillia, Ont. church where he was once a choir boy.

A group of roughly 50 people assembled inside St. Paul’s United Church for the nearly two-hour ceremony that included a choir performance accompanied by an organ.

Underneath the virtually cloudless sunny sky, the local community went about the day as any other, with some doing yard work and a few curious onlookers wandering past the church to observe the activity.

One neighbour set up a lawn chair outside his house to see if Canadian rock royalty the likes of Joni Mitchell and Neil Young might pull up.

They didn’t seem to, however. Most of the visible mourners appeared to be Lightfoot’s extended family, band mates and others who worked with him over the years.

After the ceremony finished, Lightfoot’s casket was loaded into a hearse and left the church grounds as a small crowd of people gathered to observe the proceedings from across the street.

Lightfoot is to be laid to rest alongside his parents at St. Andrew’s and St. James’ Cemetery.

On Sunday, a public visitation was held at St. Paul’s United Church that drew more than 2,400 people, according to estimates from security for the event.

Elsewhere, a book of condolences could also be signed at Toronto’s Massey Hall, a venue where Lightfoot frequently performed throughout his career.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2023.
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Old 05-11-2023, 07:55 AM   #50
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COLUMN: 'Rest easy, Mr. Lightfoot. We will never forget you'
After an emotional week of tributes and rites, Orillia shifts gears, moves back into a 'whirlwind of arts and culture events,' says columnist
Anna Proctor

Well, it’s certainly been quite the week here in Orillia. Our hometown hero, Gordon Lightfoot, put us on the international stage this past week, no doubt about it. And Orillia, and St. Paul’s United Church in particular, did him very proud.

All of the arrangements were handled perfectly, and I have heard from more than one source, everyone was so very kind, respectful, and welcoming.

Lightfoot planned this 10 years ago, and he knew what he was doing. He knew Orillia and St. Paul’s was where he wanted to be, and where he wanted his loved ones to be taken care of with love and respect. Hats off to you, Orillia. You did good. Rest easy, Mr. Lightfoot. We will never forget you.
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