At age 84, folk singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot passed away. He was recognized as one of Canada’s most recognizable artists.
With singles like “If You Could Read My Mind” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and multiple platinum-selling albums, Lightfoot enjoyed his greatest international success in the 1970s.
On Monday night, Lightfoot passed away at a hospital in Toronto, according to a post on his Facebook page. No more information was provided.
Lightfoot, born on November 17, 1938, in Ontario, Canada, started out as a performer before making a name for himself as a songwriter in the 1960s when artists like Marty Robbins and Peter, Paul, and Mary began using his tunes. In 1966, his debut album Lightfoot! was released, catapulting him to musical fame.
He became one of the folk music superstars of his period in the 1970s because of hits like “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway,” and “Rainy Day People.”
In his native Canada, where he was known as “Canada’s Bard,” a national hero, and one of the nation’s all-time finest songwriters, Lightfoot was extremely well-liked.
Several of his songs, including “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” are inspired by Canadian history.
In the 2019 documentary Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, Rush musician Geddy Lee noted, “He is our poet laureate, our iconic singer-songwriter.”
Lightfoot received praise from his other folk musicians as well. Numerous well-known performers, such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Barbra Streisand, have extensively covered his songs.
Bob Dylan famously remarked, “I can’t think of a Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t enjoy. Whenever I hear one of his songs, I want it to go on forever. Lightfoot was taken on as a long-term mentor. He’s probably still there, in my opinion.”
In 2012, Lightfoot was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, Canada’s highest distinction in the performing arts. Both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inducted him in 1986 and 2001, respectively. Throughout his career, he received five Grammy Award nominations.
Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, expressed his sympathy and paid tribute to Lightfoot after hearing of his passing.
Gordon Lightfoot is “one of our greatest singer-songwriters,” according to Trudeau, who called him on Twitter. “Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music, and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape.”
“May his legacy endure forever, and may his music inspire present and future generations.”
The iconic Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian national hero and the author of countless unforgettable songs, may you rest in peace.
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