Artist - Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot Dies at the Age of 84

May 2, 2023 8:42 am GMT

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Canadian songsmith, Gordon Lightfoot, has passed away at the age of 84.

Lightfoot was known for a number of classic hits, such as ‘Canadian Railroad Trilogy’ and ‘Sundown’, with the likes of Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisland having released their own renditions of his work.

Although his music was predominantly grounded in folk and pop, Lightfoot's pen frequently strayed into the realm of country, with his much-loved song, ‘If You Could Read My Mind’, having been covered by Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Olivia Newton-John, Don McLean and more.

News of Lightfoot's death came just a matter of weeks after he was forced to cancel the US and Canadian tour dates he had lined up for the remainder of the year, due to “health-related issues”.

Gordon Lightfoot's journey into music began in Orillia, Ontario, and he began experimenting with lyrical structures and songwriting around 1956, shortly after securing his first guitar.

Towards the end of his teen years, Lightfoot left Canada to study music, but swiftly returned to his home nation. He then set up camp in Toronto, where he held down a variety of jobs.

Over the following decade, Gordon Lightfoot built a strong reputation locally, and it wasn't long before his name started gaining attention across the border. In 1968, he received his first Grammy nomination, for his acclaimed Did She Mention My Name? album.

Lightfoot went on to pick up five Grammy nods in total, while he also took home seventeen prestigious Juno awards.

His one and only US No. 1 was ‘Sundown’, which reached the top spot in the summer of 1974, and would ultimately spend eighteen weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

In 1986, Lightfoot was inducted into the Canadian Recording Industry Hall Of Fame. Fifteen years later, the regard with which he was held within country music was underlined when he was received into the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2001. In 2012, Lightfoot was ushered into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, paid tribute to the legendary artist, saying, “We have lost one of our greatest singer-songwriters. Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape”.

He went on to address the lasting impact Lightfoot has had on the following cohorts of Canadian singer-songwriters, “May his music continue to inspire future generations, and may his legacy live on forever. To his family, friends, and many fans across the country and around the world: I’m keeping you in my thoughts at this difficult time”.

Written by Maxim Mower
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