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Gordon Lightfoot Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (6:21)

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot has been played 29 times with 3 requests...

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr., (born November 17, 1938) is a Canadian singer and songwriter who achieved international success in folk, country, and popular music. He came to prominence in the 1960s, and broke through on the international music charts in the 1970s with songs such as "If You Could Read My Mind" (1970), "Sundown" (1974) and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (1976). His songs have been recorded by some of the world's most successful recording artists, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Robbie Robertson of The Band declared that Lightfoot was one of his "favourite Canadian songwriters and is absolutely a national treasure."

Lightfoot was born to Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Sr. and Jessica Lightfoot in Orillia, Ontario, Canada. As a youth, he sang in the choir of St. Paul's United Church under the direction of choir-master Ray Williams. Lightfoot remarked in 2005 that it was Williams who "taught him how to sing with emotion and how to have confidence in his voice".

Lightfoot moved to Los Angeles, California during the 1950s where he studied at Hollywood's Westlake College of Music. He returned to Canada by the early 1960s and began performing in coffee houses in the Toronto folk scene. He sang with Terry Whelan in a duo called the Two Tones. They released a live album recorded in 1962 called Two Tones at the Village Corner. In 1966, his debut album Lightfoot! was released and it brought him recognition as a songwriter. It featured many now-famous songs including "For Lovin' Me", "Early Mornin' Rain", "Steel Rail Blues" and "Ribbon of Darkness".

On the strength of this album, which mixed Canadian and universal themes, Lightfoot became one of the first Canadian singers to achieve real stardom in his own country without moving to the United States. The album was released internationally and was also well-received. It was followed by numerous other albums through the late 1960s. But he remained better known as a songwriter than as a singer, with cover versions of his songs recorded by artists such as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

It was not until 1971 that his own version of "If You Could Read My Mind" became a Top Ten hit. The song was originally featured on his 1970 album "Sit Down Young Stranger" which had not been selling that well. After the success of the song, the album on which it was originally featured was re-released under the new title "If You Could Read My Mind" to capitalize on the success of the song. It was also in 1971 that on a bus bound for Calgary, Gordon met a lonely teenage girl named Grace on her way home from Toronto, and in 1972, the song "Alberta Bound" found its debut on the Don Quixote album.

In 1974, his classic single, "Sundown", went to No.1 on the American charts. Two years later, Lightfoot had an unexpected hit with a song with the unlikeliest of subject matter. In late November, 1975, Lightfoot read a Newsweek magazine article about the Great Lakes ore carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinking during a severe storm. Tragically, all of her 29 crew members were killed. His song, "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", most of the lyrics of which were taken from the article, reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard charts. Sundown and Edmund Fitzgerald continue to receive heavy airplay on many classic rock stations.

By the 1990s he was mostly touring, giving fifty concerts a year by 1998, mainly in North America, while he released two albums in the period. In the fall of 2002, he was in Orillia when he suffered a near-fatal abdominal hemorrhage that left him in a comatose state for a short period. He recovered and later returned to the music business with the album Harmony and an appearance on Canadian Idol. In 2005, he made a low-key tour called, with characteristically droll humour, the "Better Late Than Never Tour".

Request/Dedicate/Like This Song Now

  • Artist: Gordon Lightfoot
  • Title: Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
  • Duration: 6:21

  • Total Likes: 1
  • Has Been Played: 29 times
  • Requested: 3 times
  • Last requested: 6 months ago
  • Track Added On: 04/08/2020
  • Last played On: (Jan, 19 2022)

Lyrics For: Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

    The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
    Of the big lake they called 'Gitche Gumee'
    The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
    When the skies of November turn gloomy
    With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
    Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty.
    That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
    When the gales of November came early.

    The ship was the pride of the American side
    Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
    As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
    With a crew and good captain well seasoned
    Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
    When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
    And later that night when the ship's bell rang
    Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?
    The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
    And a wave broke over the railing
    And every man knew, as the captain did too,
    T'was the witch of November come stealin'.
    The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
    When the Gales of November came slashin'.
    When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
    In the face of a hurricane west wind.

    When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin'.
    Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya.
    At Seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in, he said
    Fellas, it's been good t'know ya
    The captain wired in he had water comin' in
    And the good ship and crew was in peril.
    And later that night when his lights went outta sight
    Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

    Does any one know where the love of God goes
    When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
    The searches all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
    If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her.
    They might have split up or they might have capsized;
    May have broke deep and took water.
    And all that remains is the faces and the names
    Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

    Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
    In the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
    Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
    The islands and bays are for sportsmen.
    And farther below Lake Ontario
    Takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
    And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
    With the Gales of November remembered.

    In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
    In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral.
    The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine times
    For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
    The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
    Of the big lake they call 'Gitche Gumee'.
    Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
    When the gales of November come early!

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot Has Been Requested By The Following Listeners: