Thought of one of the crucial famend voices to emerge from Toronto’s Yorkville people membership scene within the Nineteen Sixties, Lightfoot went on to file 20 studio albums and pen a whole lot of songs, together with “Carefree Freeway” and “Sunset.”
As soon as referred to as a “uncommon expertise” by Bob Dylan, dozens of artists have coated his work, together with Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Money, Anne Murray, Jane’s Habit and Sarah McLachlan.
Most of his songs are deeply autobiographical with lyrics that probe his personal experiences in a frank method and discover points surrounding the Canadian nationwide identification.
His 1975 music “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” chronicled the demise of a Nice Lakes ore freighter, and 1966’s “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” depicted the development of the railway.
“I merely write the songs about the place I’m and the place I’m from,” he as soon as stated. “I take conditions and write poems about them.”
Usually described as a poetic storyteller, Lightfoot remained keenly conscious of his cultural affect. It was a task he took very critically.
“I similar to to remain there and be part of the totem pole and take care of the tasks I’ve acquired through the years,” he stated in a 2001 interview.
Whereas Lightfoot’s mother and father acknowledged his musical abilities early on, he didn’t got down to grow to be a famend balladeer.
He started singing in his church choir and dreamed of changing into a jazz musician. At age 13, the soprano gained a expertise contest on the Kiwanis Music Pageant, held at Toronto’s Massey Corridor.
“I keep in mind the fun of being in entrance of the gang,” Lightfoot stated in a 2018 interview. “It was a stepping stone for me…”
The attraction of these early days caught and in highschool, his barbershop quartet, The Collegiate 4, gained a CBC expertise competitors. He strummed his first guitar in 1956 and commenced to dabble in songwriting within the months that adopted. Maybe distracted by his style for music, he flunked algebra the primary time. After taking the category once more, he graduated in 1957.
By then, Lightfoot had already penned his first critical composition — “The Hula Hoop Tune,” impressed by the favored children’ toy that was sweeping the tradition. Makes an attempt to promote the music went nowhere so at 18, he headed to the U.S. to review music for a yr. The journey was funded partly by cash saved from a job delivering linens to resorts round his hometown.
Life in Hollywood wasn’t an excellent match, nevertheless, and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Lightfoot returned to Canada. He pledged to maneuver to Toronto to pursue his musical ambitions, taking any job accessible, together with a place at a financial institution earlier than touchdown a gig as a sq. dancer on CBC’s “Nation Hoedown.”
His first gig was at Fran’s Restaurant, a downtown family-owned diner that warmed to his people sensibilities. It was there he met fellow musician Ronnie Hawkins.
The singer was residing with a number of buddies in a condemned constructing in Yorkville, then a bohemian space the place future stars together with Neil Younger and Joni Mitchell would be taught their commerce at smoke-filled golf equipment.
Lightfoot made his fashionable radio debut with the only ”(Keep in mind Me) I’m the One” in 1962, which led to a variety of hit songs and partnerships with different native musicians. When he began enjoying the Mariposa Folks Pageant in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario that very same yr, Lightfoot solid a relationship that made him the competition’s most loyal returning performer.
By 1964, he was garnering optimistic word-of-mouth round city and audiences have been beginning to collect in rising numbers. By the subsequent yr, Lightfoot’s music “I’m Not Sayin’” was a success in Canada, which helped unfold his title in america.
A few covers by different artists didn’t harm both. Marty Robbins’ 1965 recording of “Ribbon of Darkness” reached No. 1 on U.S. nation charts, whereas Peter, Paul and Mary took Lightfoot’s composition, “For Lovin’ Me,” into the U.S. Prime 30. The music, which Dylan as soon as stated he wished he’d recorded, has since been coated by a whole lot of different musicians.
That summer time, Lightfoot carried out on the Newport Folks Pageant, the identical yr Dylan rattled audiences when he shed his folkie persona by enjoying an electrical guitar.
As the folks music growth got here to an finish within the late Nineteen Sixties, Lightfoot was already making his transition to pop music with ease.
In 1971, he made his first look on the Billboard chart with “If You Might Learn My Thoughts.” It reached No. 5 and has since spawned scores of covers.
Lightfoot’s recognition peaked within the mid-Nineteen Seventies when each his single and album, “Sunset,” topped the Billboard charts, his first and solely time doing so.
Throughout his profession, Lightfoot collected 12 Juno Awards, together with one in 1970 when it was referred to as the Gold Leaf.
In 1986, he was inducted into the Canadian Recording Business Corridor of Fame, now the Canadian Music Corridor of Fame. He acquired the Governor Normal’s award in 1997 and was ushered into the Canadian Nation Music Corridor Of Fame in 2001.