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Old 03-01-2010, 03:07 PM   #1
imported_Next_Saturday
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Default People Magazine-1974-A Heavy New Star Named Lightfoot

http://www.people.com/people/archive...064338,00.html

* August 05, 1974
* Vol. 2
* No. 6

A Heavy New Star Named Lightfoot

By Robert Windeler
He's a folk singer-songwriter from Canada at a time when folk isn't remotely in vogue, and his style and approach haven't changed since he started in 1963. But now at 35, with ten albums of his own compositions (many of which spun hits for Dylan, Presley and Streisand, among others) behind him, Gordon Lightfoot is suddenly pop music's newest superstar. That tenth album, Sundown, and the title single from it both recently rose to No. 1 on the charts, and virtually unrefusable offers are currently pouring into his modest house in Toronto. At the same time, though, he is also suffering from the flip side of success: divorce and the largest alimony settlement in Canadian history.

Unlike so many other singer-songwriters who clicked early and fizzled (whatever did happen to Carole King?), Lightfoot's ascension has been gradual. "I was never in any particular hurry to do it," he says, "but I did want it to come out this way. I don't know of anybody in this business who doesn't want to go all the way for the brass ring." Yet now that he has grasped it, Light-foot remains a reclusive star. He almost never goes on TV, because "I'm concerned with getting the sound right." He tries to stay out of the media so he can "walk down the street without being recognized—your album jackets never look like you anyway."

In common with most folk singers over the centuries, Lightfoot's themes range from love lost (Sundown) to big-sky solitude (Alberta Bound), to childlike fables (The Pony Man). There is a crystal simplicity (and a structural sameness) to both his melodies and lyrics. In live performance he uses two acoustic guitars backed by a third and an amplified bass. In the recording studio he'll add a moog synthesizer, drums, English horns, strings and other embellishments, since "people listening at home want to be able to find some extra twists."

In contrast to most other folk artists, Lightfoot sings in a forceful voice, baritone in his case, and never throws away his lyrics. He thinks folk music may be coming back in these days of heavy-metal rock because "people get their fill of the big sound, and like to hear the quiet stuff." His lyrics are "essentially autobiographical—you can't do a lot of research for them—they come from my personal feelings, responses and experiences." If You Could Read My Mind, for example, seemed to foreshadow the breakup of his marriage.

Lightfoot has sung since childhood in Orillia, Ontario, about 100 miles north of Toronto. His mother played piano by ear and encouraged him to take lessons. Hearing The Weavers at Carnegie Hall album prompted him to buy his first good guitar, and he briefly studied orchestration at Westlake College in Los Angeles. At Steele's Tavern in Toronto, he sang at $125 for a seven-day week, in coffeehouse obscurity, until Canadian folk stars Ian and Sylvia wandered in and heard and recorded Early Mornin' Rain and For Lovin' Me, the former of which was "covered" and turned into a hit by Dylan, the latter by Peter, Paul and Mary.

Of his divorce, Lightfoot will say nothing other than that the settlement was "outrageous" and is under appeal. The terms (peanuts in the Hollywood ballpark) give his ex-wife their $220,000 house, $150,000 in cash and $4,500 a month. By continuing to record and live in a smaller house in Toronto, Lightfoot is able to see a lot of his two children, ages 10 and 9. He characterizes his other private pursuits as "pretty normal—I go off into the bush fairly regularly to fish and hunt. I like to sail, see my friends, have a few drinks." Canadian whiskey is his thing—in coffee before concerts.

Professionally, he aims to turn out 20 more songs in the next half year. And at a time when folk artists are less political, Lightfoot is contemplating plunking more explicitly for his causes (Canadian nationalism, Trudeau, the Indians). As he puts it: "You have to evaluate whether you just want to go on making more money."
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: People Magazine-1974-A Heavy New Star Named Lightfoot

I hadn't read this - thanks for posting. The amounts in the divorce settlement seem like nothing compared with what you hear today, obviously since it was almost 40 years ago. That's cool that Gord used to drink Canadian whiskey in his coffee before the concerts.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: People Magazine-1974-A Heavy New Star Named Lightfoot

These old interviews are always interesting...
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: People Magazine-1974-A Heavy New Star Named Lightfoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by formerlylavender View Post
I hadn't read this - thanks for posting. The amounts in the divorce settlement seem like nothing compared with what you hear today, obviously since it was almost 40 years ago. That's cool that Gord used to drink Canadian whiskey in his coffee before the concerts.
I had a young lady who worked for/with me in NY who ran out of milk one morning. So she substituted Bailey's Irish Cream in their coffee at home. It worked for her and I don't think she ever bought milk again. I didn't know at the time that those were "the good old days". She also added Irish whiskey but let's not get lost in the details, LOL.

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Old 03-02-2010, 11:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: People Magazine-1974-A Heavy New Star Named Lightfoot

A woman after my own heart! I love Bailey's. Too funny though, Bill...actually I was going to add "I'll have to try that myself in the morning" to my post, but decided against it. Wouldn't want to offend anyone, ha ha. Guess I'll just wait for my annual irish coffee with Jameson on St. Patrick's day.
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Old 03-06-2010, 10:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: People Magazine-1974-A Heavy New Star Named Lightfoot

I hadn't even realized that People Magazine had written a piece on him.Cool!
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:41 PM   #7
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