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  • peterjhyland

Celebrate Gordon Lightfoot

Updated: Jan 11

Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Gordon Lightfoot (17 November, 1938 – 1 May 2023) achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music and is credited with helping to define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s.

Lightfoot was the first in a generation of Canadian singer-songwriters that included Cohen, Mitchell, Young, Sainte-Marie, Robertson, Cockburn, lang, Morissette, Sexsmith, McGarrigle, Feist, McLachlan, Adams, Furtado, Lavigne and others.

Lightfoot's career and reputation soared to great heights in the decade from 1966 to 1976, when most of his albums received critical praise and commercial success.

Subsequently, his output became less frequent. As many other similar artists lit up the scene with more dynamic alternatives to Lightfoot's familiar baritone voice and folk-based twelve-string acoustic guitar routine perceived as middle-of-the road.

In 2002 Lightfoot underwent emergency surgery following a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. This delayed the recording and release Harmony, his 20th original album, which he had mostly recorded prior to his illness) until 2004. Further misfortunes followed - a minor stroke in 2006, that temporarily left him without the use of the middle and ring fingers on his right hand, the death of his manager Barry Harvey in 2007 and a death hoax (which he quickly dispelled) in 2010. Nevertheless, Lightfoot continued to tour, particularly in US, Canada and UK. Harmony would be Lightfoot's penultimate album. It was generally well received, but paled in comparison with his early classics. His last album Solo (2020), made up from demos that dated back to 2001, was similarly well received, especially as Lightfoot returned a stripped-back production that was reminiscent of his early recordings.

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