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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Gordon Lightfoot, legendary Canadian singer-songwriter, useless at 84 – Nationwide

Gordon Lightfoot, usually referred to as Canada’s biggest songwriter and recognized worldwide as one of many founding fathers of folk-rock, has died at age 84, a consultant for his household mentioned.

Lightfoot died at a Toronto hospital on Monday night, mentioned Victoria Lord, the musician’s longtime publicist. A explanation for demise was not instantly accessible.

The musician lately cancelled all of his 2023 tour dates, citing “health-related points.” His representatives didn’t elaborate additional on the time.

An iconic determine within the ‘60s and ‘70s, Lightfoot wrote many songs that transcended borders and music tastes, together with The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald, Ribbon of Darkness and If You May Learn My Thoughts, amongst many, many others.

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Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot dies

Legendary musicians like Elvis Presley, Johnny Money, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Dylan and Barbra Streisand — to call just some — have recorded Lightfoot’s songs to nice success, and he was broadly revered within the music trade.

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Robbie Robertson of The Band referred to as Lightfoot a “nationwide treasure,” and Dylan himself mentioned he wished Lightfoot songs might “final without end.”

“We’ve misplaced certainly one of our biggest singer-songwriters,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter after the information of Lightfoot’s demise emerged. He supplied condolences to the musician’s household, buddies, and followers all over the world.

“Gordon Lightfoot captured our nation’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped form Canada’s soundscape. Could his music proceed to encourage future generations, and should his legacy stay on without end.”

Born Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr. in Orillia, Ont., on Nov. 17, 1938, he was a pure musical expertise at the same time as a baby. His mom recognized his present as early as Grade 4, when Lightfoot sang an Irish lullaby to his whole college over the PA system.

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As soon as he entered highschool, Lightfoot was capable of hone his expertise, and he taught himself easy methods to play people guitar. Opting to not attend college in Canada, Lightfoot moved to California in 1958 and studied jazz composition and orchestration at Hollywood’s Westlake School of Music.

After making ends meet by writing and producing business jingles, Lightfoot, a real Canadian boy, determined he missed his residence nation an excessive amount of and moved again north of the border in 1960. He by no means left after that, persevering with to do work within the U.S. and Europe, travelling there when crucial — however Canada was at all times his residence.

Settling down in Toronto, Lightfoot shortly discovered himself getting observed. He carried out with group The Swinging Eight on CBC’s Nation Hoedown and recorded his first regional hit, (Bear in mind Me) I’m the One, in 1962. After a short stint within the U.Ok. internet hosting BBC’s Nation and Western Present, he returned to Canada and made an look on the Mariposa People Competition in 1964.

Creating a repute within the trade, Lightfoot signed on with United Artists in 1965 and launched I’m Not Saying as a single. He appeared on The Tonight Present with Johnny Carson and confirmed up on the Newport People Competition, additional establishing his title on the music scene. Not lengthy afterwards, he recorded his first album, Lightfoot!, which featured hit songs Early Mornin’ Rain and For Lovin’ Me.

Gordon Lightfoot performs in the course of the first live performance on the newly re-opened Massey Corridor in Toronto, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston.


Unknowingly, Lightfoot had set a bar: he grew to become well-known as a Canadian artist with out capitulating and shifting to the U.S., a feat not generally seen. CBC commissioned him to jot down The Canadian Railroad Trilogy in 1967 to have fun Canada’s centennial — one other large deal cementing his standing in Canadian musical historical past.

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He didn’t shrink back from controversy, both. He recorded a track referred to as Black Day in July, referring to the 1967 Detroit racial riots, and plenty of U.S. states pulled it from their radio rotations. In response, Lightfoot declared that radio station managers cared extra about taking part in songs “that make folks pleased” as a substitute of songs “that make folks suppose.” When United Artists didn’t help his point-of-view, he defected to Warner Bros. music.

As soon as at Warner Bros. in 1970, Lightfoot had a gold-record hit in If You May Learn My Thoughts. The track’s success propelled Lightfoot into the heights of stardom, and over the following decade he recorded a collection of albums that additional elevated his notoriety.

Lightfoot continued to supply hit songs all through the ‘80s and ‘90s, although clearly with getting old (and a prognosis of Bell’s palsy within the ‘70s) he lower down on live performance appearances because the years went on. Amazingly, even within the ‘90s, he was nonetheless placing on a mean of 50 exhibits a 12 months.

All through his life, Lightfoot was a heavy drinker and smoker, although he gave up alcohol in 1982 cold-turkey after a health care provider informed him he’d develop cirrhosis except he stopped then and there.

“It was going to kill me, really,” mentioned Lightfoot in an interview with Larry Wayne Clark. “I used to be on the verge of getting cirrhosis. So I heard about a health care provider and I went to him and, the very first session, he made me promise that I’d not drink anymore.”

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In 2002, Lightfoot suffered intense abdomen ache, and after being rushed to hospital it was found that he had a ruptured stomach aortic aneurysm. Afterwards, he was in a coma for six weeks and needed to bear a tracheotomy, together with 4 different surgical procedures. Regardless of all of it, after his recuperation, he continued to jot down and carry out music.

In 2006, he suffered a small stroke in the midst of a efficiency, which impacted the usage of his proper hand. However as with most issues in Lightfoot’s life, he persevered and finally regained full utilization of the appendage, returning to the stage lower than a 12 months later.

Lightfoot was the sufferer of an web demise hoax in 2010, when a CTV journalist posted on social media that the musician had died. He heard the information of his personal demise on the radio when he was driving residence. He laughed it off and mentioned in an interview that he was “doing high quality.”

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“All the things is sweet,” he mentioned to information outlet CP24 on the time. “I don’t know the place it got here from, it looks like a little bit of a hoax. I used to be fairly shocked to listen to it myself… I really feel high quality.”

In a profession that spanned greater than 5 a long time, Lightfoot has left a legacy that’ll be almost unattainable to surpass. In 2015, his hometown of Orillia honoured him with a four-metre tall bronze sculpture of a cross-legged Lightfoot taking part in a guitar, and plenty of Canadians make a pilgrimage to the location to say because of certainly one of this nation’s most interesting singer/songwriters.

In March 2020, Lightfoot launched Solo — an album that didn’t function every other musicians — and it could find yourself being his closing one. It was his twenty first studio album, launched greater than 54 years after his debut.

Lightfoot leaves behind two daughters, Meredith and Ingrid, and three sons Eric, Fred and Miles.

A number of notable figures — not simply in Canada however all over the world — took to social media to pay tribute to Lightfoot and his legacy.

Conservative Chief Pierre Poilievre referred to as him “Canada’s Bard.”

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—With information from World Information’ Chris Jancelewicz

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