Gordon Meredith Lightfoot (1938-2023)
Follow the passing of Gordon Lightfoot on May 1, we asked you to share your memories of Gordon and what his music meant to you. Below is a selection of memories from the Hugh’s Room Live community. We will keep this page open over the summer and encourage you to share your thoughts and memories with us at: email@example.com.
From Vicki M. Brookes
Years ago, during the early 70s, I studied piano at The Royal Conservatory of Music. My teacher, Ed Janus, paired me with another student who just happened to be Gordon Lightfoot’s niece. After a recital, Mr. Lightfoot, who was in the audience, presented us each with a $100 bill. I didn’t feel that the performance was particularly worthy of such generosity but I was thrilled to meet Gordon Lightfoot and I felt it was the highlight of my life.
Fast forward to Easter, 2022, when I was at Rosedale United Church I introduced myself to Kim, Gordon’s wife, and told her the story. She thought it was very funny and brought me over to him. After recounting the story, he paused for a brief moment, looked me straight in the eye and asked smiling, “Why the hell would I do that?” referring to the $100. When I asked him if he wanted the money back, he burst out laughing and thanked me for remembering him.
I am very sad to hear of his passing but I know he is at peace. I will cherish this memory of him forever and I am so grateful for his music and proud that he was Canadian.
From Lee & Gord
We owned a cottage on Christian Island. It was a wee cottage but we loved it and have wonderful memories of times shared with friends, family and pets. This was a cottage that had to be winterized and reopened every spring. And every spring after the opening chores were complete and we were crashing on the porch to recuperate, we would pour a wee dram of scotch and listen to Gordon sing “ In the Lea of Christian Island”. It was right where we were and he helped us celebrate our incredible good fortune of owning a cottage in paradise. RIP Gordon and thank you for all the songs we sing by heart.
From Howard Druckman, Editor of SOCAN Words and Music online magazine
Gordon Lightfoot was a huge part of the soundtrack to my early-to-mid teenage years, even though I never bought one of his records. I didn’t have to; his brilliantly-written, beautifully-sung, and understatedly-produced gems were all over AM radio in the ‘70s. What a pleasure it was to hear songs as magnificent (and seemingly effortless) as “Carefree Highway,” “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” “Rainy Day People,” “Race Among the Ruins,” “Summer Side of Life” and “Sundown” rolling out of the speakers like water in a stream. I would later discover “Early Morning Rain,” one of the greatest songs — Canadian or otherwise — ever written. Rest In Peace. (A full obituary I wrote for the magazine is here.)
From Bob Henderson
I was about 16 in 1966 and my older brother told me about this new folk singer he had seen in Yorkville at the Riverboat. He asked if I would like to join him one night to see Gordon Lightfoot. In those days you wore a shirt and tie when you went to a club to see someone perform. So we dressed to impress and went to Yorkville. That in itself was a new experience for me. This was my first live music event and it changed my life. Gord sat up on that stage and played his guitar and told in music some of the most wonderful stories I had ever heard.
After seeing him at the Riverboat he then graduated to Massey Hall and I saw him perform for years on that stage. I took my own adult son to see Gord on the night he closed Massey Hall prior to the start of renovations. He said it was like seeing a true to life legend.
Gord was a big part of my growing up and will be greatly missed.
From Ian Turnbull
When I was 17 I went to Montreal Expo with a friend. Our first day there we happen to notice that there was a free concert at the Canadian pavilion at noon. We sat on benches and ate our lunch while we watched a singer we’d never heard of before; Gordon Lightfoot.
That concert was the first of 10 consecutive and my friend and I attended every single day. I’ve also been fortunate enough to see Lightfoot at Massey Hall four times, and at Hugh’s Room when he was there with Murray McLauchlan at a Tom Russell concert.
I remember them all with fondness. He will be missed.