BREAKING: Musical legend Gordon Lightfoot dies at age 84

Despite his health issues, he continued to tour into his 80s and in 2019 announced that he was recording his 21st studio album.

Canadian folk singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot died Monday evening at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto at the age of 84. 

Lightfoot’s longtime agent Victoria Lord confirmed his death to Variety.

The Canadian folk music legend was born in Orillia, Ont. Nov. 17, 1938, and his mother encouraged his performing career from an early age. After studying music at the University of Toronto, he moved to Los Angeles, where he studied jazz composition.

According to the outlet, his big break came through Canada’s prominent folk act Ian and Sylvia Tyson’s 1965 version of “Early Morning Rain.” His song “For Loving Me” and “Early Morning Rain” were both covered by the top US folk act Peter, Paul & Mary and he was signed to United Artists Records in 1965.

Lightfoot crossed over into pop fame in the US during the ‘70s with “Ribbon of Darkness” and the “Canadian Railroad Trilogy.”

His 1970 debut with Warner Bros.’ Reprise imprint “Sit Down Young Stranger” featured the No. 5 US hit “If You Could Read My Mind.”

Lightfoot had three consecutive No. 1 albums from 1972 to 1974 in Canada but also continued high visibility in the US throughout the ‘70s such as his 1974 album “Sundown” which featured “Carefree Highway” which topped the charts in both countries.

According to Variety, Canadian-bred performers such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell credit Lightfoot as their inspiration. Bob Dylan, one of Lightfoot’s admirers appeared at the 1986 Juno Awards to induct the musician into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Dylan wrote in the liner notes to “Biograph,” his 1985 anthology, “Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever.”

Though the hits dried up for Lightfoot on both sides of the border during the ‘80s, he remained a revered figure in folk circles. His material has been widely covered by artists ranging from Dylan and Young to Elvis Presley. In 1988, he performed at the opening ceremony of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Lightfoot’s best-selling song “Sundown” was believed to be inspired by his extramarital affair with Cathy Smith, a Canadian groupie, who was later charged in the drug overdose death of SNL comedian and actor John Belushi. The relationship allegedly led to the breakup of Lightfoot’s first marriage, which ended in a record-setting divorce settlement.

The artist's health problems made headlines including paralysis from Bell’s palsy in the early ‘70s and a bout with alcoholism. He quit drinking in 1982 and remained sober for over 30 years. He suffered a ruptured abdominal aneurysm in 2002 which led to a six-week coma but still managed to complete a new album in 2004. After a stroke in 2006, he was unable to play the guitar for almost a year but later returned to performing. He quit smoking after he was diagnosed with emphysema in 2018.

Despite his health issues, he continued to tour into his 80s and in 2019 announced that he was recording his 21st studio album.

According to Variety, Lightfoot is survived by his third wife Kim Hasse, whom he married in 2014; two children from his first marriage to Brita Olaisson; two children by second wife Elizabeth Moon; and two children from relationships between his first two marriages which both ended in divorce.

Join and support independent free thinkers!

We’re independent and can’t be cancelled. The establishment media is increasingly dedicated to divisive cancel culture, corporate wokeism, and political correctness, all while covering up corruption from the corridors of power. The need for fact-based journalism and thoughtful analysis has never been greater. When you support The Post Millennial, you support freedom of the press at a time when it's under direct attack. Join the ranks of independent, free thinkers by supporting us today for as little as $1.

Support The Post Millennial

Remind me next month

To find out what personal data we collect and how we use it, please visit our Privacy Policy

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
© 2023 The Post Millennial, Privacy Policy