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Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot

It does not surprise me that this song has been covered 85 times, a finer piece of music mastery you’ll rarely find. Few artists have had the international reach that Lightfoot has obtained.

“Early Morning Rain” written by Gordon Lightfoot, recorded December 1964, released in 1966 on “Lightfoot”.
Pavel Bobek from the Czech Republic
Here is an out take version from some guy named Elvis
And if you like Bluegrass here are New Shades of Bluegrass from 1980
As he had a job as a songwriter before he had much success as a singer many may have thought he covered Peter, Paul and Mary (1965). Other notable versions are; Bob Dylan (1970), Paul Weller (2004), very few female artists did this one but Judy Collins did in 1965 and Julie Felix (1969).

If You Could Read My Mind” written by Gordon Lightfoot and recorded in 1969 is for me the quintessential Lightfoot song, there are 122 versions of this song.
Ok this one surprised me! Viola Wills from 1980 with a Disco version!
Johnny Cash
Fellow Canadians, Diana Krall feat. Sarah McLachlan (2015) Wow!
And most recently a young Bailey Pelkman in 2017.
Other versions feature a who’s who of music; Barbara Streisand, Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Jeannie C. Riley, Liza Minelli, Don Williams and Neil Young.

So, this next song puzzles me a bit, it’s only been covered 8 times. “Beautiful” written by Gordon Lightfoot and recorded in 1972.  So “Beautiful” written by Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera song) is about something else altogether and a lovely and meaningful song in its own right. However, the James Blunt song “You’re Beautiful” is apparently a popular wedding song, which is odd, clearly not too many people pay attention to lyrics cause it’s a little stalkerish and he professes his love for someone he hasn’t met or will never see again, but hey what’s not romantic about that? If you want a wedding or anniversary song look no further than this.
Here is a nice rendition from Glenn Willow

Sundown” written by Gordon Lightfoot and released on the album “Gordon Lightfoot” in 1974. It peaked at #1 in Canada and the U.S. in June of 1974 and would be his only US number one hit song. There has been much said about this song and Gord himself has made comments about it’s meaning over the years. You can listen and decide for yourself what the song is about. I think it’s highly likely it relates in some way to Cathy Smith, his (at that time) sometime girlfriend and for that matter the girlfriend of many musicians (The Band) and celebrities. She would later find the height of her notoriety when sentenced to prison for injecting John Belushi with an overdose of drugs in 1982. But I digress.

The song clearly resonated with a lot of people and while none of his songs enjoyed the chart success of this one he has made a very good living I suspect and he is still playing today. He himself has been through a lot of heartbreak and health problems. A true musical living legend. 
Recorded in November of 1973, this song has since been covered 22 times. Here is Gordon Lightfoot.
Toby Keith covered it on the album Bullets in the Gun 2010. This is a live performance.
Not an official cover but here is Eric Church in concert March 2017
L'amour c'est comme l'été by Nana Mouskouri, 1974
Elwood in 2000 if you are in the mood for something different!

Jesse Winchester covered this on Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot (2003). Somewhat ironically the song "Beautiful" is not on the album!

Sources, Wikipedia,,,, YouTube,
image from:


  1. Loving this blog Randy! I seem to have discovered a whole new appreciation for music since reading your blogs. Awesome! 'Early Morning Rain', love the live Reno version from the man himself but I also came across the cover done by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1966 which I also enjoyed.

    1. So glad to hear that! I think the PP&M version is more well known internationally.


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