Popular folk icon Gordon Lightfoot has passed away at the age of 84 due to unspecified causes.
The Canadian singer-songwriter’s death was confirmed by a post on his official Facebook page. He canceled plans for the upcoming 2023 tour last month. Ongoing health problems were cited at the time.
Born in 1938 in Orillia, Ontario, Lightfoot began his musical career as a child, singing in local choirs and competitions. As a teenager, he taught himself piano, drums, and guitar before moving to California in 1958 to study jazz composition and orchestration at the Westlake College of Music in Hollywood. Lightfoot absorbed folk influences such as Pete Seeger, Ian and Sylvia Tyson and the Weavers, then wrote and sang commercial jingles to earn extra money while performing locally.
Lightfoot returned to Canada in 1960 and settled in Toronto, where he quickly became a regular at the Folk Music Cafe. He gradually began to build a reputation as a singer-songwriter performing for artists such as Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Judy Collins, and Elvis Presley.
Lightfoot signed a management contract in 1965 with Albert Grossman, who also managed Dylan. His notoriety grew when he appeared at the Newport Folk Festival, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and Town Hall in New York City. In 1966, he released his first album “Lightfoot!” which included such popular songs as “For Lovin’ Me” and “Early Mornin’ Rain”.
Four years later, in 1970, Lightfoot scored his first major US hit with “If You Can Read My Mind”, which peaked at number five. » Number 1 hit in both the US and Canada. This was followed by 1976’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, a song about a sunken freighter in the Great Lakes that landed at #2 in the US and #1 in Canada.
His influence spread to his peers, including Dylan, who once named Lightfoot as one of his favorite songwriters. “I can’t think of a Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like,” he once said. “Every time I hear his song, it’s like I wish it could go on forever.”
Lightfoot experienced several medical setbacks throughout his career, including emergency vascular surgery in 2002 that placed him in a coma for six weeks, but continued to write, record and tour until his passing. continued to do
“There’s a different way of doing it every time,” he explained to Rock Cellar in 2020 about his songwriting. “I’ve often thought about it. I have songs that you’d think I’d get tired of playing, but it’s the opposite… He has a way of expressing himself every time. happens, and that expression is automatic.