Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian folks legend, dies at 84 : NPR
Larry Busacca/Getty Photos for Songwriters Corridor Of Fame
Canadian folk-rock icon Gordon Lightfoot has died on the age of 84.
Lightfoot died at a Toronto hospital on Monday evening of pure causes, in line with his publicist. The singer-songwriter had lengthy suffered from critical well being issues that triggered in depth hospitalization in 2002.
Lightfoot hailed from a tiny city in Ontario. He first made his identify in Toronto’s coffeehouse scene. There, he impressed folks music stars Ian and Sylvia, who helped introduce him to the world exterior Canada by recording a few of his songs. Lightfoot himself discovered worldwide fame in 1971, with a tune referred to as “If You Might Learn My Thoughts.”
That tune, says former Toronto Globe and Mail music critic Robert Everett Inexperienced, comprises what would grow to be a few of Lightfoot’s favourite themes: loss, longing and nostalgia.
“It is a tune about inarticulateness,” Everett Inexperienced stated. “However in some way, it actually makes an incredible case. This is somebody who actually cannot say what he desires to say, but by singing about that incapability, he connects.”
Lightfoot’s voice was raspy and regretful, the right complement to his rugged hinterlands look. However the hearty facade hid a roiling private life.
In a 1983 NPR interview, Lightfoot – one 12 months sober on the time – mentioned his battle with alcoholism. “The folks that had been very near me had been starting to query my credibility and my decision-making course of,” he confessed, including: “Now, the irony is that they nonetheless query my credibility and my decision-making course of.”
A lot of Lightfoot’s songs about Canadian wildlife, streets and climate doubled as cultural elegies — like his 1976 hit “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” a dramatic retelling of a real-life maritime catastrophe.
“As he is singing it, you are getting the sturdy sense that not solely is one ship taking place, however a complete lifestyle is disappearing,” says Everett Inexperienced. “It is one thing form of dusty and real and remoted, and it is gone.”
Lightfoot by no means displayed the vary or inventiveness of such contemporaries as Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, however some followers discovered the consistency of his wistful ballads reassuring. Everett Inexperienced says Lightfoot’s finest songs, such because the often-covered “Early Morning Rain,” described a fading world.
“You’ll be able to’t leap a jet airplane like you may a freight practice,” says Everett Inexperienced, quoting the tune’s refrain. “The freights crossing the prairie, with that nice lonely moaning-whistle sound, have been obliterated by jet journey and the shrinking of areas and the invasion of the hinterland that previously was certainly one of Canada’s strengths.”
Gordon Lightfoot wrote greater than 400 songs about what he cherished — and what he missed.
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