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Gordon Lightfoot

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Orillia, Ontario, Canada

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr., (born November 17, 1938) is a Canadian singer and songwriter who achieved international success in , , and popular music. He came to prominence in the 19, and broke through on the international music charts in the 19 with songs such as “If You Could Read My Mind” (1970), “Sundown” (1974) and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (1976). His songs have been recorded by some of the world’s most successful recording artists, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Robbie Robertson of The Band declared that Lightfoot was one of his “favourite Canadian songwriters and is absolutely a national treasure.”

Lightfoot was born to Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Sr. and Jessica Lightfoot in Orillia, Ontario, Canada. As a youth, he sang in the choir of St. Paul’s United Church under the direction of choir-master Ray Williams. Lightfoot remarked in 2005 that it was Williams who “taught him how to sing with emotion and how to have confidence in his voice”.

Lightfoot moved to Los Angeles, California during the 1950s where he studied at Hollywood’s Westlake College of Music. He returned to Canada by the early 1960s and began performing in coffee houses in the Toronto folk scene. He sang with Terry Whelan in a duo called the Two Tones. They released a live album recorded in 1962 called Two Tones at the Village Corner. In 1966, his debut album Lightfoot! was released and it brought him recognition as a songwriter.

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