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Old 11-20-2006, 03:21 PM   #1
Auburn Annie
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 3,119
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Article published Nov 20, 2006
Me and ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald'

With his hand he made motions as if it was a ship rolling up and down on heavy seas. Then he stopped his hand on top of the "wave" and looked at me and said, "Personally, I think she went up on one wave and when she came down," - he stopped talking and plunged his hand down before adding - "she went straight down and broke apart when she hit the bottom."

He took a swig from his gin bottle before tossing the Time magazine on the table and saying, "I wrote the song after reading about it in there."

In the winter of 1976 I was standing on the doorstep of my lifelong dream of recording an album. In a musical group and having written several songs to be included on it, I was as excited as I had ever been.

Eastern Sound was the recording studio that sat in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ontario; I was in awe when given the tour.

I became fast friends with the man who would produce our album and he invited me to the studio late one night a few days before we began our recording session. Little did I know of the historical evening I was about to witness.

Also in the studio that evening putting final touches on his "Summertime Dream" LP was the great Canadian folk singer/songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot.

There was a side room to the studio and as fate would have it for me, I had the unique opportunity to sit silently in that room's darkness to watch this fabled artist record his now legendary epic, "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

I remember the haunting sound his guitarist produced by playing through a new device called a synthesizer, and how - when he recorded the vocal - Lightfoot cleared the studio and killed all the lights save the one illuminating his parchment of scribbled words. For a fledgling singer/songwriter, I was in heaven.

Trying to overcome being steamrolled by the magnitude of his persona, I talked with him later and shared how moved I was by the song's lyrics.

"I'm having a party at my house to celebrate finishing the record," he told me before continuing with, "Wanna come?"

What a dumb question to ask a star-struck kid.

To give you an indication of the grandeur of his "house," as we walked in the back door his lady-friend said, "They called and offered $3.4 million!" to which he replied, "Do they only want the bottom floor?"

That bottom floor was magnificent. Gold albums adorned decorated walls and three grand pianos were scattered throughout elegant rooms.

He steered me to a separate room where he picked up the Time magazine and gin bottle and told me the story of how he wrote a simple song that would, in time, turn what was actually just another one of the estimated 6,000 Great Lakes commercial shipwrecks into one of the most fabled tragedies in history.

I thought of him last week and our special time together as I paused to remember the 29 men still entombed in that watery grave 31 years after "the gales of November came early."

I am also in awe of the power lying behind the ability to fashion simple words.

But what do I know?

Readers may e-mail Tom Treece at tomt@monroenews.com.
Auburn Annie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2006, 03:21 PM   #2
Auburn Annie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 3,119
Default

Article published Nov 20, 2006
Me and ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald'

With his hand he made motions as if it was a ship rolling up and down on heavy seas. Then he stopped his hand on top of the "wave" and looked at me and said, "Personally, I think she went up on one wave and when she came down," - he stopped talking and plunged his hand down before adding - "she went straight down and broke apart when she hit the bottom."

He took a swig from his gin bottle before tossing the Time magazine on the table and saying, "I wrote the song after reading about it in there."

In the winter of 1976 I was standing on the doorstep of my lifelong dream of recording an album. In a musical group and having written several songs to be included on it, I was as excited as I had ever been.

Eastern Sound was the recording studio that sat in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ontario; I was in awe when given the tour.

I became fast friends with the man who would produce our album and he invited me to the studio late one night a few days before we began our recording session. Little did I know of the historical evening I was about to witness.

Also in the studio that evening putting final touches on his "Summertime Dream" LP was the great Canadian folk singer/songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot.

There was a side room to the studio and as fate would have it for me, I had the unique opportunity to sit silently in that room's darkness to watch this fabled artist record his now legendary epic, "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

I remember the haunting sound his guitarist produced by playing through a new device called a synthesizer, and how - when he recorded the vocal - Lightfoot cleared the studio and killed all the lights save the one illuminating his parchment of scribbled words. For a fledgling singer/songwriter, I was in heaven.

Trying to overcome being steamrolled by the magnitude of his persona, I talked with him later and shared how moved I was by the song's lyrics.

"I'm having a party at my house to celebrate finishing the record," he told me before continuing with, "Wanna come?"

What a dumb question to ask a star-struck kid.

To give you an indication of the grandeur of his "house," as we walked in the back door his lady-friend said, "They called and offered $3.4 million!" to which he replied, "Do they only want the bottom floor?"

That bottom floor was magnificent. Gold albums adorned decorated walls and three grand pianos were scattered throughout elegant rooms.

He steered me to a separate room where he picked up the Time magazine and gin bottle and told me the story of how he wrote a simple song that would, in time, turn what was actually just another one of the estimated 6,000 Great Lakes commercial shipwrecks into one of the most fabled tragedies in history.

I thought of him last week and our special time together as I paused to remember the 29 men still entombed in that watery grave 31 years after "the gales of November came early."

I am also in awe of the power lying behind the ability to fashion simple words.

But what do I know?

Readers may e-mail Tom Treece at tomt@monroenews.com.
Auburn Annie is offline   Reply With Quote
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