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"I'm a little nuts. I'm a lot nuts. All I know is that in the midst of the madness of this world it's my therapy. The music touches my heartstrings."
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Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr., CC, OOnt (born November 17, 1938) is one of the best, and best-known, folk-rock Singer Songwriters to come out of Canada.

The Ontario native first emerged in the early '60s as a writer of hit songs for other artists, including Peter, Paul and Mary ("Early Mornin' Rain", "For Lovin' Me") and Marty Robbins ("Ribbon of Darkness"). His own debut single was released in 1962, and he began releasing albums in 1966, but his best-known hits came in The '70s, including "If You Could Read My Mind" (1970), "Sundown" (1974), "Carefree Highway" (1974), "Rainy Day People" (1975), and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (1976).


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Studio discography:

  • Lightfoot! (1966)
  • The Way I Feel (1967)
  • Did She Mention My Name? (1968)
  • Back Here on Earth (1968)
  • Sit Down Young Stranger aka If You Could Read My Mind (1970)
  • Summer Side of Life (1971)
  • Don Quixote (1972)
  • Old Dan's Records (1972)
  • Sundown (1974)
  • Cold on the Shoulder (1975)
  • Summertime Dream (1976)
  • Endless Wire (1978)
  • Dream Street Rose (1980)
  • Shadows (1982)
  • Salute (1983)
  • East of Midnight (1986)
  • Waiting for You (1993)
  • A Painter Passing Through (1998)
  • Harmony (2004)


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"What a tale my Tropes could tell":

  • Awesome Mccoolname: Lightfoot is his real last name.
  • Badass Beard: He sported one for much of the '70s.
  • Break-Up Song: "If You Could Read My Mind"
  • Canada, Eh?: Throws many Canadian references into his songs, and has done several songs about Canadian history, most famously "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" (which was commissioned by the CBC for a TV special celebrating Canada's centennial in 1967). He also sometimes pronounces words with a Canadian accent; one example is in "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" where he pronounces Michigan's largest city as "De-troy-et" instead of the typical American pronunciation "Deh-troyt".
  • Christmas Songs:
    • "Song for a Winter's Night" wasn't specifically written as one of these, but has come to be embraced as such and covered on a few other artists' Christmas albums.
    • "Circle of Steel" is more of an Anti-Christmas Song, depicting as it does a poor welfare mother whose husband or boyfriend is in prison, and who spends her Christmas sitting alone in a rat-infested tenement, drinking gin and waiting for the authorities to take custody of her newborn child.
  • Distinct Double Album: Gord's Gold, with the first LP containing re-recorded versions of songs he first recorded for United Artists and the second featuring original Reprise recordings including the hits "If You Could Read My Mind," "Sundown," "Carefree Highway," and "Rainy Day People" among others.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: His first singles for Chateau Records were standard early-'60s pop, with Lightfoot later confessing that they sounded like they could've been done by Pat Boone.
  • Epic Rocking: "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" both extend past the six-minute mark.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Several, most notably Gord's Gold (1975).
  • Grief Song: Defied with "Old Dan's Records", which is about remembering a passed friend by dancing to his record collection.
  • Heavy Meta: "The Minstrel of the Dawn" is about a guitar player.
  • I Will Wait for You: "Bitter Green" is about a woman who pines away waiting for her lover. He gets there after she dies.
  • Live Album: Sunday Concert (1969), All Live (2012)
  • Location Song: Played with in "Carefree Highway". He saw a freeway exit sign for Carefree Highway, which goes to the town of Carefree, Arizona, and realized it would be a great title for a Wanderlust Song. Played straight with Couchiching, about Lake Couchiching in central Ontario.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
  • Nice Guy: "Rainy Day People" is about friends there for ya no matter what.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: Had a major role as a US Marshal in the 1982 Western Harry Tracy, starring Bruce Dern.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Bitter Green took her nickname from the forest she took her walks in, not from her attitude.
  • Odd Friendship: Fellow Canadian Alan Thicke was a close friend.
  • Protest Song: "Black Day In July" about racial equality. "Ode to Big Blue" for the environment and whaling. "Boss Man" is a tribute to striking songs from earlier in the century. "Lost Children" and "Sit Down Young Stranger" are softer examples speaking on war and the generation gap.
  • The Perfectionist: Gord was notorious among session musicians for demanding several takes as he refined the arrangements for his songs. Even before he got to the studio, he agonized over the music and lyrics.
  • Public-Domain Character: "Don Quixote", which imagines him doing battle against various modern social ills.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: "Black Day in July" (about the 1967 Detroit riots) and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (about a 1975 shipwreck on Lake Superior), both written and recorded shortly after the actual events happened. In the latter case, he literally drew most of song's details from a Newsweek article about the shipwreck. Also applies to his other shipwreck song, "Ballad of Yarmouth Castle".
  • Shaped Like Itself: In "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald":
    As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most.
  • Snowy Sleigh Bells: Heard in "Song for a Winter's Night".
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Renowned for his uncluttered music (he didn't even add a drummer to his band until after he became famous) and his sincere, direct lyrics.
  • Train Song: "Canadian Railroad Trilogy", which was commissioned by the CBC for Canada's centennial in 1967. "Steel Rail Blues" also counts.
  • Wanderlust Song: "Carefree Highway", which even uses the word "wanderlust". Many others also fit the trope, like "Early Mornin' Rain", "The Mountains and Maryann", "Long Thin Dawn", and "Alberta Bound".
  • Your Cheating Heart: "Sundown".

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