Revisit Gordon Lightfoot’s Remarkable Career In This ‘Definitive’ Biography
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Gordon Lightfoot was one of the greatest songwriters of his generation, with poignant melodies set to words that touched on everything from highways and hilltops, to lovers to loneliness. But when it came to putting his own story to paper, the Canadian folk-rock star remained elusive.
With the singer’s recent passing, however, a book about Lightfoot is back in the spotlight, with fans flocking online to purchase what’s been called, “The definitive book on Gordon Lightfoot’s life and lengthy career” (the book is currently in the Top Ten of Amazon’s rock biographies chart).
Written by longtime music journalist and biographer Nicholas Jennings, Lightfoot traces the unlikely career path of the small-town Canadian boy who harbored big dreams of becoming a singing superstar. From his first “official” recording (captured by his elementary school principal when “Gordie” was just 9) to touring concert halls across the world, Lightfoot had an uncanny ability to connect with an audience. The singer quickly became one of the most revered folk and rock stars of the Seventies, rubbing shoulders and sharing stages with the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and The Band.
But Lightfoot also offers a look at the less glamorous side of the singer’s rock and roll lifestyle, which led to a string of failed relationships and threatened to send the artist down a path of alcoholism and addiction. “[The book is] thorough and generous, without ignoring the singer’s warts,” read a review from the Winnipeg Free Press.
Though Lightfoot never published a memoir or released an official biography, Jennings’ book is considered by many to be the preeminent account of the singer’s life and career. In addition to speaking to music executives, industry watchers and longtime fans, Jennings also drew on many of Lightfoot’s own words and anecdotes to put the book together. “Lightfoot’s songs always took listeners on a journey,” the author writes: “rich and steeped in imagery without any sense of artifice.”
Released with the singer’s knowledge in 2017, Lightfoot was shortlisted for the 2017 Legislative Assembly of Ontario Speaker’s Book Award and nominated for the 2018 Heritage Toronto Award in the category of Historical Writing.
Buy Lightfoot Audiobook $24.41
“From the tender ballad of ‘Beautiful,’ to the historical lament of ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,’ to the plaintive political plea of ‘Black Day in July,’ Gordon Lightfoot’s songs have inspired and enchanted fans for more than fifty years,” reads a description from book publisher Penguin House. “Beloved by a devoted Canadian audience, Lightfoot’s work has been performed and admired by musicians from around the world, including Joni Mitchell, Nico, Ronnie Hawkins, and Robbie Robertson,” the description continues, noting Lightfoot as a singer “who helped define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and Seventies.”
Get Lightfoot now on paperback for $18 on Amazon.com. You can also find the Lightfoot biography on Kindle and as an audiobook read by Jennings himself. Amazon is offering a free trial right now that lets you listen to the Lightfoot audiobook for free here.
Lightfoot passed away on May 1. He was 84.