Synopses & Reviews
The definitive, full-access story of the life and songs of Canada's legendary troubadour
Gordon Lightfoot's name is synonymous with timeless songs about trains and shipwrecks, rivers and highways, lovers and loneliness. His music defined the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and '70s, topped charts and sold millions. He is unquestionably Canada's greatest songwriter, and an international star who has performed on the world's biggest stages.
While Lightfoot's songs are well known, the man behind them is elusive. He's never allowed his life to be chronicled in a book--until now.
Biographer Nick Jennings has had unprecedented access to the notoriously reticent musician. Lightfoot takes us deep inside the artist's world, from his idyllic childhood in Orillia, the wild sixties, and his canoe trips into Canada's North to his heady times atop the music world. Jennings explores the toll that success took on his personal life--including his troubled relationships, his battle with alcohol and his near-death experiences--and the extraordinary drive and tenacity that pulled him through it all.
Rich in voices from fellow musicians, close friends, Lightfoot's family and the singer's own reminiscences, the biography tells the stories behind some of his best-known love songs, including "Beautiful" and "Song for a Winter's Night," as well as the infidelity and divorce that resulted in classics like "Sundown" and "If You Could Read My Mind." Kris Kristofferson has called Lightfoot's songs "some of the most beautiful and lasting music of our time."
Lightfoot is an unforgettable portrait of a treasured singer-songwriter, an artist whose work has been covered by everyone from Joni Mitchell, Barbra Streisand and Nico to Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Gord Downie. Revealing and insightful, Lightfoot is both an inspiring story of redemption and an exhilarating read.
The definitive biography of Canada's most beloved singer-songwriter, a legendary musician who helped define the folk-pop era.
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. 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. Nobel Prize-winner Bob Dylan once listed Sundown and If You Could Read My Mind among his favourite Lightfoot songs, before adding, I can't think of any I don't like. In addition to winning nearly every Canadian music award, in 2012, Lightfoot was inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside such luminaries as Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristoffersen, and Dylan; it honoured Lightfoot as a singer who helped define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and '70s.
Biographer Nick Jennings has had unprecedented access to the notoriously reticent musician. He chronicles Lightfoot's early efforts--his school principal recorded a disc of Gordie singing at age 9--to his beginnings as a songwriter to his heyday in concert halls around the globe. Possessed of a strong work ethic and a perfectionist bent, Lightfoot brought discipline to his craft and performances. But he partied just as hard in that rock 'n' roll era, and alcoholism began to take its toll. Lightfoot toured relentlessly and his personal life suffered as marriages and relationships unravelled. At 63, he suffered an aortic aneurysm that nearly killed him and kept him in a coma for six weeks. But his amazing stamina helped him survive and miraculously saw him on stage once again, resuming his touring and yearly sold-out show at Massey Hall.
Jennings paints an unforgettable portrait of an artist in the making, set against the turbulent era of sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. Voices from the music industry mix with loyal fans to illustrate how the boy from small-town Ontario became the legendary bard of Canada. Stuffed with anecdotes and the singer's own reminisences, Lightfoot is an exhilarating read.