A large of Canadian music, the prolific songwriter contributed closely to the folks scene within the Nineteen Sixties and ’70s. One in every of his greatest hits was the 1976 single “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” In 2003, he acquired the Companion of the Order of Canada—the very best honor the nation bestows upon civilians. He had a variety of admirers throughout the music scene, together with Neil Younger and Tom Cochrane, and has had his songs coated by Bob Dylan, Johnny Money, and Elvis Presley.
Born in Orillia, Ontario, in 1938, Lightfoot started performing in his grade college years. He discovered piano as a preteen and taught himself to play guitar in highschool. He moved to California to review jazz composition for faculty, however grew homesick and returned house to Toronto shortly thereafter. In 1960, he joined Swinging Eight, a vocal group that usually appeared on the TV collection “Nation Hoedown.” He additionally fashioned the short-lived duo the Two Tones with Terry Whalen. Lightfoot’s songwriting shifted after he heard Bob Dylan within the early ’60s. Impressed by his poetic lyrics, Lightfoot began to compose extra private songs, ultimately catching the ear of supervisor Albert Grossman, who went on to signal him.
Folks teams like Peter, Paul, and Mary and nation artists like Marty Robbins had been amongst those that recorded a few of Lightfoot’s earlier songwriting efforts like “Early Morning Rain,” “For Lovin’ Me,” and “Ribbons of Darkness.” Based mostly on that early success, he launched his debut album Lightfoot! in 1966 and adopted it with three extra studio LPs for United Artists. In 1976, he launched his standard Summertime Dream LP, which contained the only “Wreck.”
Lightfoot usually saved a capo on the second fret of his guitar to remain inside his vocal vary, pushing himself to get inventive with the songs he might write inside that key. Most of his collaborators and studio session musicians had been blissful to regulate to this, a lot to his bewilderment. “I might by no means come to phrases with the truth that I must stroll right into a recording studio and inform a guitar participant to get able to play in the important thing of F# or the important thing of B. I used to be embarrassed about that,” he advised American Songwriter in 2008. “I as soon as needed to ask Vassar Clements if he might please tune his fiddle down a half tone so I might play a music in E flat. And he simply did it! He simply tuned ‘er down and away we went.”