Gordon Meredith Lighfoot began his career as a boy soprano performing on local radio, in Kiwanis festivals, and appearing at Massey Hall at the age of 13. In his teens, he sang in a barbershop quartet, studied piano and began to teach himself how to play the drums.
Drawn to the folk style by singers such as Bob Dylan, Lightfoot began to play at local coffee shops and bars throughout Ontario, Quebec and Eastern US. Although known throughout the US, he was mainly popular for his songwriting skills, with his first songs being recorded by folk icons Ian and Sylvia, who recorded, ‘Early Morning Rain’ and ‘For Lovin’ Me’, which was a huge hit for Peter, Paul and Mary. Lightfoot’s songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as Harry Belafonte, Judy Collins, George Hamilton IV and Elvis Presley.
Lightfoot made his first cross-Canada tour in 1967 and performed annually in the USA and in Europe during the 1970s, also touring twice in Australia. During the 1980s, Lightfoot averaged 40-50 concerts each year, including a European tour. During the 1990s, Lightfoot toured more than he recorded, giving 60-70 concerts per year across North America.
Gordon Lightfoot has received 15 Juno Awards and was inducted into the JUNO Awards’ Canada’s Music Hall of Fame in 1986. He has been nominated for four Grammy Awards and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003. He has received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, has been inducted in the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame and was the inaugural inductee into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.
Some of Lightfoot’s biggest hits include: ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’, ‘If You Could Read My Mind’, ‘Canadian Railroad Trilogy’, and ‘Sundown’, which was a top 20 hit on the Billboard Country Hits charts in 1974.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTION:
Gordon Lightfoot was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame at the 2001 Canadian Country Music Association Awards: