Posted in the Gordon Lightfoot Forum


Brooklin, Canada

#1 Jul 22, 2011
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It was during the process of working on my new book,“Writing Gordon Lightfoot: The Man, the Music, and the World in 1972,” that I realized that scribbling text about Canada’s greatest songwriter wasn’t nearly enough of a gesture. I did what I could-- it’s all I can do, as a writer (as a musician, I’ve covered his songs)-- but still, an enormous gap remains in terms of our nation’s celebration of Lightfoot's songs and his musical legacy. Lightfoot was the first Canadian musician to establish his reputation at home before lighting out for American success.

In 1967, he wrote a seven-minute epic--“Canadian Railroad Trilogy”-- at a time when 3 minute pop songs were standard radio fare. The song was played every few minutes that summer, and with every broadcast, listenership stilled from coast to coast. No one had heard anything like it, and it stands as one of the first-- and mightiest-- musical addresses; an exclamation point behind the songwriter’s parade of other hit records. As quoted from my book,“Before, the only artists you heard on the radio were from Britain or the USA: Sinatra and the Beatles, that sort of thing. That this artist was from here was huge for us. It gave us a starting point. A cultural beginning.”

In recognition of his unparalleled contribution to our country, I propose that we celebrate National Gordon Lightfoot Day. Scotland has Robbie Burns Day and Ireland has Bloomsday. I offer that Lightfoot has had no less of an emancipating and defining effect on who we are and how we see ourselves, particularly-- but not exclusively-- as artists. His music ties together every corner of the nation, and his longevity is testament to the power and strength of being original, more so considering that, in the early days, no one else was singing about our people and our places. His art resonates through trends and changes in fashion and the twisting nature of popular culture. Hopefully,“Writing Gordon Lightfoot” will serve as a starting point in the movement towards a National Gordon Lightfoot Day.

I implore you to help in recognizing this towering figure in Canadian music, art and life.

Dave Bidini

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