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Old 05-13-2011, 05:59 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,621
Default National Post article-May 2011

Hard copy has his pic at top of front page SINGING - "Gordon Lightfoot talks ballads and Bieber". Also in the top section titled SWINGING - Jose Bautista's 3 home runs power Jays past Twins"
(Jose is home run king again!)

Ben Kaplan May 13, 2011 – 4:30 PM ET
How Gordon Lightfoot wnet from choirboy to legend.

“I’m kind of like a hockey player who plays out until the end of their years,” says Gordon Lightfoot, 72, from his home in Toronto, where he’s practising daily for a new string of hotly anticipated Canadian shows. “I don’t plan on holding back anything. Right from the start, I’m going to let everything go.”

Lightfoot, of course, is one of Canada’s true legends, a singer-songwriter from Orillia, Ont., who’s made 20 records, sold seven million albums and been covered by everyone from Johnny Mathis to Johnny Cash. Lightfoot, who suffered a stroke onstage in Minnesota in 2006, was also the subject of an Internet hoax in 2010, with a rumour spreading through Twitter that the musician was dead.

“When I finally got to a neurologist, they said it’s a good thing the stroke didn’t happen half a centimetre to the right or it would’ve permanently affected my speech,” says Lightfoot, who would spend more than two years recovering from the health scare. “It affected my right arm and right hand, but honestly I felt lucky. I always used my left hand on the guitar chords.”
There was never a time when Lightfoot wasn’t singing, and the musician says his mother recognized early on that music would be his calling in life. “She was a kind lady, but she had a bit of a push to her and when she found me singing myself to sleep at night at three-years-old, she started thinking about piano lessons,” says Lightfoot, who first played Massey Hall with his church choir at age 13.

“My main teacher was Ray Williams and during the day he worked for Canada Wood Specialities, and at night he played the organ and taught me to sing,” Lightfoot says. “I was a shy person, but I liked the material and eventually I began to sing with a barbershop quartet. That would have been 1953.”

The singer, who also plays the guitar and piano, eventually graduated from his quartet and headed out to Los Angeles to give music a shot.

“Every week my dad would send me a check for $25, but you could live on $25 in 1958,” says Lightfoot, who would find fame back home in Toronto where he released such classic records as Lightfoot! and Did She Mention My Name? and become a Canadian hero for reaching No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts without leaving his Ontario home.

While he wrote ballads such as If You Could Read My Mind and Sundown, like his friend and idol Bob Dylan, he was also an outspoken peace activist. In 1970, he wrote the song Sit Down Young Stranger, which tackled the Vietnam War.

“Today, I think about our guys over in Afghanistan,” Lightfoot says. “I don’t know how many we have lost, but it’s up there. That songs relates to right now just as much as it did when I first wrote that song.”

Lightfoot has already played 14 shows this year and says he draws inspiration from the likes of Ian Tyson, Paul Simon and Stompin’ Tom Connors; performers, he adds, whose output far surpasses his own. “I see no reason why I can’t be like them if I keep it together, stay positive, stay physically fit and do all those things you need to stay alive in this business at this age,” says Lightfoot, who also drew inspiration from Neil Young’s acceptance speeches at this year’s Juno Awards. “That really got the juices flowing.”

With two young children to raise and grandchildren to look after, too, Lightfoot says he doesn’t feel up to the isolation required for writing a new album of songs. Instead, he’s just happy to give concerts and inspire new artists, and says he’s even enjoyed following Canada’s newest child star.

“I know Justin Bieber started playing the guitar as a child and the songs are great, but there was definitely some know-how behind that boy,” says Lightfoot, himself a veteran of Canadian Idol, where for one week in 2004 he was able to impress his daughter when dozens of would-be pop stars took turns singing her father’s songs.

“All of the kids were singing around the piano and Meredith had a ball,” he says. “I feel so lucky to be carrying on.”

• Gordon Lightfoot plays Windsor, Ont., on May 19. His four-night stand at Massey Hall begins May 25. For complete tour listings, visit

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Old 05-14-2011, 05:51 PM   #2
Wes Steele
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Hudson, Ohio USA
Posts: 359
Default Re: National Post article


Thanks for posting... enjoyed it.

Have all of you noticed that in recent years, more tidbits of info comes out in his interviews?... Like the $25 a week mention.

Interesting stuff... great stuff...

thanks again Char,
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