THE LEGEND - GORDON LIGHTFOOT
Gordon Lightfoot was born on November 17, 1938 and has been hailed as one of Canada’s greatest songwriters who helped define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s.
Lightfoot’s first singles, “I’m the One” and “It’s Too Late, He Wins”, were released in 1962. In 1966, he released his first album, Lightfoot!, featuring the classic song “Early Morning Rain”.
That was followed by 10 albums over the next ten years as well as extensive touring and collaborations with legendary musicians like Bob Dylan, Ian and Sylvia Tyson and Joni Mitchell. It was during this period that Lightfoot’s songwriting acumen was recognized, as he helped define the era’s rebellious voice through a unique form of folk-pop and beautiful, complex lyrics and melodies that often reflected the Canadian experience.
In 1975, Lightfoot released a vinyl double album called Gord’s Gold, a compilation of his first decade in music featuring the hit singles “Early Morning Rain”, “Sundown”, “If You Could Read My Mind” and “Rainy Day People”. The album is Lightfoot’s most commercially popular record, achieving double-platinum certifications in Canada and the U.S., and is the inspiration behind the Golden Leaves statue in Tudhope Park.
Gord’s Gold is missing two of his biggest hit singles, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, a haunting ballad recorded for the 1976 album Summertime Dream, and “Black Day in July”, a 1968 song about the 1967 race riots in Detroit that was temporarily banned in the United States.
In all, Lightfoot has released 19 studio albums, three live albums, 16 greatest hits albums and 46 singles. He has been awarded sixteen Juno Awards and five Grammy Award nominations.
In 1986 Lightfoot was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 1998. In 2002 he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour.
Lightfoot has continued to tour heavily despite a number of health issues throughout his career. In 1972 he was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, which often causes temporary paralysis of the muscles of the face. In 2002, he suffered a ruptured artery in his stomach, which forced him into a six-week coma. In 2006, he suffered a minor stroke that caused temporary damage to his fingers, limiting his ability to play the guitar. In 2010, Canwest News Service incorrectly reported that Lightfoot had died.
Lightfoot has been married three times, most recently to Kim Hasse in 2014. He has six children and two grandchildren.