The world of music is in mourning following the news that legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot has passed away at the age of 84. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued a statement honouring the late musician, who he describes as “one of Canada’s greatest singer-songwriters”.
In his statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recalls meeting Lightfoot as a child, when his father Pierre was prime minister in the 1970s and ’80s. He speaks fondly of Lightfoot’s music, which he says “told stories that captured the Canadian spirit”. Trudeau highlights the iconic ‘Canadian Railroad Trilogy’ as a standout moment in Lightfoot’s career, which will forever be a part of the country’s musical heritage.
Gordon Lightfoot’s music career spanned over half a century, and he is considered a legend in his home country of Canada. He also enjoyed success in the US, topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974 with ‘Sundown’, and having top five songs with ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ and ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’. All three songs reached No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart, along with ‘Carefree Highway’ and ‘Rainy Day People’, during his mid-70s chart heyday.
Lightfoot’s early work included writing folk standards such as ‘Early Morning Rain’, ‘For Loving Me’, and ‘Ribbon of Darkness’. He also penned the ambitious ‘Canadian Railroad Trilogy’, a Northern equivalent to Mickey Newbury’s ‘American Trilogy’. With a career that spanned seven decades, Gordon Lightfoot was a true icon of the music world.
Fans and fellow musicians have also paid tribute to Gordon Lightfoot following the news of his passing. Canadian singer Anne Murray shared a message on Twitter, saying: “Gordon, your music was the soundtrack of my life. You gave us your heart and soul in every song, and we are all the better for it.” Singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith also paid tribute, describing Lightfoot as “a true original”, and adding: “He will be greatly missed, but his songs will continue to be sung by generations to come.”