banner.gif (3613 Byte)

Corner.gif 1x1.gif Corner.gif
1x1.gif You are at: Home - Discussion Forum 1x1.gif
Corner.gif 1x1.gif Corner.gif
round_corner_upleft.gif (837 Byte) 1x1.gif (807 Byte) round_corner_upright.gif (837 Byte)
Old 08-17-2023, 06:18 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,852
Default Ontario's Signature Song..

What’s Ontario’s signature song? The case for ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,’ by Gordon Lightfoot
At more than six minutes long, it was an unlikely hit — but it struck a chord through its commemoration of a Great Lakes tragedy
Written by Charnel Anderson
Aug 17, 2023
Every year, countries in search of musical glory select artists to represent them on the global stage. If provinces got the same shot, what song would we choose to represent Ontario?
This summer, we’ll find out. In TVO Today’s Ontariovision Song Contest, 16 beloved standards and newer classics will go head to head — and you’ll get the chance to back your favourites.
So kick back, relax, and listen to some trademark Ontario tracks. Voting begins in August, and in September, we’ll reveal the province’s signature song.
Song: “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”
Album: Summertime Dream
Year: 1976
Artist: Gordon Lightfoot (1928-2023), an internationally acclaimed folk-pop singer and guitarist who’s often called one of Canada’s greatest songwriters. He’s been supported by a number of touring musicians throughout his career, including lead guitarists Red Shea, Terry Clements, and Carter Lancaster; bassist Rick Haynes; drummer Barry Keane; and keyboardist Mike Heffernan.
A recreational sailor, Gordon Lightfoot understood the potentially deadly power of the Great Lakes, says Nicholas Jennings, a music writer who met the Canadian folk icon backstage at Massey Hall in the 1970s.
Born in Orillia on November 17, 1938, Lightfoot spent his childhood fishing, hiking, and gathering morels in the southern Ontario countryside. As an adult, he was interested in “trains and boats and planes,” Jennings says, referencing the Dionne Warwick song. He purchased two sailboats: a 39-foot sailing yacht called Sundown and a custom-built 45-foot mahogany sloop called GoldenGoose, which he used to traverse the Great Lakes.
Lightfoot was fascinated by shipwrecks. “He first heard the news on the radio about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior, and it caught his imagination. He told me he knew what it would be like to be caught in a big storm like that,” says Jennings, who wrote the biography Lightfoot. The musician picked up a copy of the November 24, 1975, edition of Newsweek, which featured an article about the shipwreck called “Great Lakes: The Cruelest Month,” and began writing what would become his second-most-successful single.
“According to a legend of the Chippewa tribe, the lake they once called Gitche Gumee ‘never gives up her dead,’” reads the article’s first paragraph, which Lightfoot echoes in the opening lines of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” “Modern-day mariners of Lake Superior know the legend has some basis in fact: Fitzgerald and its 29-man crew had vanished without a trace in a nighttime torrent of slashing winds and waves on Lake Superior.”
While the exact cause of the demise of S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald and her 29 crew members remains unknown, a 1977 United States Coast Guard investigative report found that “ineffective hatch closures” most likely caused the cargo hold to flood, ultimately sinking the ship. A 1978 National Transportation Safety Board report presented a slightly different conclusion, attributing the flooding of the cargo hold to “the collapse of one or more hatch covers.”
An alternative theory, presented by a 2010 History Channel documentary, suggests that a “rogue wave” could have caused the massive ship to founder. After Lightfoot saw the documentary, he changed the song’s lyrics during live performances from “at 7 p.m., a main hatchway caved in, he said, ‘Fellas it's been good to know ya.’” (which implied crew negligence) to “at 7 p.m. it grew dark, it was then he said, ‘Fellas it's been good to know ya.’”
In a 2010 interview with QMI Agency, Lightfoot said, “I can’t use the hatch-cover line anymore. And the whole verse was really conjecture right from start to finish anyway. It’s the only verse in the whole song where I give myself complete poetic licence.” He added that “the mother and the daughter of two of the deck guys who would have been in charge of that [the hatches] have always cringed every time they’ve heard the line.”
Jennings says Lightfoot’s painstaking approach to songwriting came from his sense that he must “be true to the facts.”
“I think he wrote as accurately as he felt he could based on what was known at the time,” says Jennings. “As more information was revealed through discovery — and through information he gleaned from his own connections with the families of the crew members — he took all of that on board, so to speak, and tried to modify and reflect those discoveries.”
“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” topped the charts in Canada and the United States and charted again south of the border after Lightfoot’s death earlier this year. He played it at every concert, according to Jennings, who attributes the song’s commercial success to its subject matter and to Lightfoot’s storytelling: “There are some very dramatic phrases in the song, I think, that catch people’s ear as much as the melody, and it stays with people.”
When Lightfoot died of natural causes on May 1, 2023, at the age of 84, tributes to the singer poured in — including from the Mariners’ Church in Detroit, which he references in his song about the Mighty Fitz. On May 2, the church’s bell tolled 30 times: 29 times for the sailors lost in the shipwreck and one final time for Lightfoot.
Jennings, who was a music critic for Maclean’s for 20 years, says he doesn’t think there are many other musicians “who have had as deep and as profound a connection with Canadians as Gordon Lightfoot. He struck a chord with Canadians because they saw themselves in his music. They saw their country in his music.”
charlene is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:26 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
downleft 1x1.gif (807 Byte) downright