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Gordon Lightfoot: Heaven’s Music Hall of Fame

May 6th, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, how blessed we were by the musical gifts of Canadian icon Gordon Lightfoot.

In all honesty, I am not a big music aficionado. I did not collect many records or cassette tapes (yes, I am that old) and I have only a few CDs. I have attended a grand total of two music concerts in my 65 years.

It is not that I do not like music. As a writer, I am more drawn to the written word. The recording artists that do appeal to me are the ones who pen poetic lyrics or, in particular, story songs. No one occupied that niche more eloquently than Gordon Lightfoot who passed away this week.

Lightfoot had an impressive musical resume. Sixteen Juno awards. Four ASCAP awards for songwriting. Five Grammy Award nominations. Canadian Male Recording Artist of the decade for the 1970’s. Induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real

I have friend who is a performer and did Lightfoot songs in his act early in his career. I have a vivid memory of him performing at The Olde Hide House Restaurant in Acton some 40+ years ago. He was performing Lightfoot’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy (opening lyrics above) when the sound of a train horn filtered in from a nearby railroad – a moment of perfect synchronicity.

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

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (opening lyrics above) is my favourite Lightfoot song. It memorialized a piece of Canadian history that many would otherwise never have known about. Lightfoot captured and celebrated the Canadian identity better than any other musical artist. He truly earned the title of Canada’s Greatest Songwriter.

If you could read my mind, love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well

Classic lyrics from Lightfoot’s songs – such as the opening lines from If You Could Read My Mind provided above – are embedded in my memory. In retrospect, I wish I had taken the opportunity to see him perform in person.

From all Canadians, thanks Gordon for making the world and our lives better through your music. No doubt you have now been inducted into Heaven’s Music Hall of Fame.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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