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Historical
See other Historical Articles

Title: Gordon Lightfoot’s Tale of a Ship’s Crew and Its Captain
Source: Best Classic Bands
URL Source: https://bestclassicbands.com/gordon ... oot-edmund-fitzgerald-1-22-19/
Published: Aug 10, 2019
Author: Greg Brodsky
Post Date: 2019-08-10 18:47:51 by Deckard
Ping List: *Music*     Subscribe to *Music*
Keywords: None
Views: 182
Comments: 29

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When listeners first heard Gordon Lightfoot‘s heart-wrenching tale of the 29 brave souls who lost their lives aboard a ship in his 1976 hit, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” many assumed that he had chosen a subject from perhaps a century earlier.

The singer-songwriter had scored a handful of hits in his native Canada and had first come to the attention of worldwide audiences with his 1970 smash, “If You Could Read My Mind.”

After a series of mid-chart singles, Lightfoot scored what would be his biggest hit, 1974’s “Sundown,” which reached #1 in the U.S. and Canada.

It was followed that same year by another big success, “Carefree Highway.”

When “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” was released as a single in August 1976, Top 40 audiences listened spellbound to Lightfoot’s tale no matter how many times they heard it.

The freighter “with a crew and good captain well seasoned” was traveling from Wisconsin to Detroit – Lightfoot used artistic license to sub-in “Cleveland” as the destination – with a load of “twenty six thousand tons” of iron ore. In the song’s first verse, Lightfoot hints of danger “when the skies of November turn gloomy.”

Soon enough, the gales of November came slashin’, when afternoon came it was freezing rain, in the face of a hurricane west wind.

As Lightfoot continues, the ship’s cook tells the men that the worsening weather is “too rough to feed ya.” And then, just two lines later, comes the kicker…

“Fellas, it’s been good to know ya.” What?!? (That line never fails to elicit chills.)

Lightfoot’s lyrics continue: The Captain wired in he had water comin’ in, and the good ship and crew was in peril. And later that night when his lights went out of sight, came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Lightfoot’s tale is, indeed, based on a true story. The SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank on Lake Superior, or as the songwriter writes, “Gitche Gumee,” which the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had also called it in his epic poem of 1855, The Song of Hiawatha.

But the ship was no 19th century freighter. The sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald had taken place on November 10, 1975. Lightfoot read about it in Newsweek later that month and wrote the song just weeks later. In 2010, he told a Savannah, Ga. publication that he has been to the Maritime Sailors Cathedral in Detroit several times to sing the song and greet the local sea captains. (He describes it in the song’s ending–the church bell chimed ’til it rang twenty-nine times.)

The Captain had never sent a distress signal. His last message was, “We are holding our own.”

Watch Lightfoot perform the song in 2000, from his Live in Reno DVD

The single debuted at #89 on August 28, 1976, ultimately reaching #2 that November, one year after that fateful day.

Related: What else was at the top in November 1976?

Lightfoot is the subject of a new 2-CD collection, The Complete Singles: 1970-1980, which features all of the A- and B-sides that he recorded for Warner Bros. Records, including the ones mentioned above. It arrives March 1 via Real Gone Music.

Lightfoot, born November 17, 1938, keeps a busy tour schedule. Tickets are available here and here.


Poster Comment:

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealin'

Pure poetry, worthy of Poe or Longfellow.

Living near Lake Superior and remembering the day the ship went down, the song still gives me chills.

The songs "Carefree Highway", "Sundown" and "If You Could Read My Mind" are all reminiscent of the late Jim Croce's music. (1 image)

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#1. To: Deckard (#0) (Edited)

HaTch covers leaked

Ore pelleTs reTained waTer

Pumps were useless

Waves were up

Ship wenT down

Had To meeT a dead line

Swamped

Space shuTTle had

BoosTer rockeT leaky o rings

RefrigeraTed oxygen

NighT freezing cold breezes

Had To meet a dead line

BP drilling rig

WaTered down drilling mud

To speed up drilling

Had To meeT a dead line

LoT of people

Unnecessarily dying

Love
boris

If you ... don't use exclamation points --- you should't be typeing ! Commas - semicolons - question marks are for girlie boys !

BorisY  posted on  2019-08-10   19:19:15 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: BorisY (#1)

Hi ...

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-10   20:01:51 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Gatlin (#2) (Edited)

Yeah

Liberals - liberTarians

Long on ideals - Theory

ShorT on pracTice - realiTy

Kahbooom
Kaahlunkk
kaahrash
boris

If you ... don't use exclamation points --- you should't be typeing ! Commas - semicolons - question marks are for girlie boys !

BorisY  posted on  2019-08-10   20:10:11 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: BorisY (#3)

Yeah

Liberals - liberTarians

Is it really necessary for you to be an asshole and post your anti-libertarin gibberish on a music thread.

Back on Bozo for you princess.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-08-10   20:29:22 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: BorisY (#1)

Obviously you have no clue about how much damage Lake Superior can do.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-08-10   20:30:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: BorisY (#3)

Right on - Boris.

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-10   20:33:28 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: Deckard, BorisY (#4)

Back on Bozo for you princess.

You can’t even handle Boris.

You are some kind of weak chicken shit.

I can’t help but notice that you are really off your game since I returned.

Are you having some kind of a health problem?

It’s okay, Boris – Let the little sickly baby go play with Buckeroo.

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-10   20:39:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Gatlin (#6)

Deckard lighThead

Hah
hah
hah
boris

Ps

Big mouTh

If you ... don't use exclamation points --- you should't be typeing ! Commas - semicolons - question marks are for girlie boys !

BorisY  posted on  2019-08-10   20:39:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: BorisY (#8)

Don’t worry about it Boris.

He is mad at me.

I kicked his ass really hard today.

And since he can’t get to me – he took it out on you.

Poor baby …

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-10   20:51:12 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Gatlin (#7) (Edited)

Since you and Boris the nutcase have taken this thread off-topic with your usual bullshit, consider yourself in the Bozo room for the duration.

Good grief - you two assholes can't even discuss a song on a MUSIC thread.

WTF is wrong with you two?

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-08-10   21:04:04 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: Deckard (#10)

... MUSIC thread.

.. "MUSIC" thread?

You filed this as “Historical” for the “Category.”

What is about “history” that YOU have been discussing?

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-10   21:14:42 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: Gatlin (#11)

.. "MUSIC" thread?

You filed this as “Historical” for the “Category.”

You know, I have bozoed you but this comment came up when I opened Firefox and I wasn't signed in. I just had to respond to your mind-boggling stupidity.

There is no MUSIC category available you ignorant troll. I did ping those on the MUSIC ping list.

Since the article is about an incident that happened in 1975, that would make it, to anyone above room temperature IQ, HISTORICAL.

The song was released in 1976 - that makes the song HISTORICAL.

Now, kindly sod off you bloody wanker. You're wrecking my thread for everyone else.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-08-10   21:30:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: Deckard (#12) (Edited)

You know, I have bozoed you but ...

“BUT” … “BUT” … “BUT”

You say …

I know, you just can’t stay away from me.

Don’t try to use switching browsers as a excuse.

Let me know when you can “MAN UP” and take me off bozo – Chump.

This has been one "fun" day - Thanks.

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-10   21:48:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: Deckard (#12)

You know, I have bozoed ...

If that be true, then the “Number of Full and/or Introductory members who have bozo” me would have increased.

It has remained the same number I had BEFORE both you and Pinhead said you placed me on bozo.

Why do you lie so much?

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-10   21:59:17 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#15. To: Deckard (#12)

You know, I have bozoed you ...

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-10   22:44:59 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#16. To: Deckard (#5)

...how much damage Lake Superior can do

When the waves hit, you expect them to be salty like the ocean, but then you realize it's beautiful fresh water. And cold!

Thanks for the GL post. Have enjoyed his music since childhood and now my kids, as well. Lot's of hidden gems. Truly.

watchman  posted on  2019-08-11   0:06:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: Deckard (#15)

Let The Sun Rise Every Day In Your Heart ...

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-11   6:41:33 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#18. To: Deckard (#12)

You know, I have bozoed you ...

Are you still pouting?

Pushing your bottom lip forward as a expression of annoyance can cause it to “freeze in that position.”

Your Face Really Can Freeze That Way….

Gatlin  posted on  2019-08-11   9:29:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#19. To: watchman (#16)

Thanks for the GL post. Have enjoyed his music since childhood and now my kids, as well.

You're quite welcome. You're the first to post a comment on the music itself, so thanks for steering the thread back in the right direction.

It's great that you are exposing your kids to Lightfoot's music, nothing being recorded or released nowadays can even begin to compare.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-08-11   10:47:04 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#20. To: Deckard (#19)

Deck, thanks for posting. I had always liked Lightfoot. Before I actually heard the song Fitzgerald, a friend told me about it. He had told me that it was eerie because it was a true tale.

When I finally heard it, it put a chill in my spine, and still does to this day.

Regards

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." (Will Rogers)

"No one ever rescues an old dog. They lay in a cage until they die. PLEASE save one. None of us wants to die cold and alone... --Dennis Olson "

People that say money can't buy you happiness, have never paid an adoption fee

Stoner  posted on  2019-08-12   9:25:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#21. To: BorisY (#3)

Honestly, what do libertarians and liberals have to do with a ship being sunk in a freezing hurricane on Lake Superior in November?

It was a tragedy, a disaster, an act of God. Nobody did anything wrong. There is nothing remotely political about any of this.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-08-12   10:13:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#22. To: Deckard (#0)

Lake Superior is very cold, and it is true: she does not give up her dead. No bodies were ever found.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-08-12   10:16:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#23. To: Vicomte13 (#21)

Thank you for stating the obvious !!

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." (Will Rogers)

"No one ever rescues an old dog. They lay in a cage until they die. PLEASE save one. None of us wants to die cold and alone... --Dennis Olson "

People that say money can't buy you happiness, have never paid an adoption fee

Stoner  posted on  2019-08-12   10:44:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#24. To: Vicomte13 (#21)

AcT of God

WhaT a hopeless loser you are

AccidenTs are unavoidable

Really no such thing

liberTarians are criminals

Using the word for murder

If you ... don't use exclamation points --- you should't be typeing ! Commas - semicolons - question marks are for girlie boys !

BorisY  posted on  2019-08-12   12:56:48 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#25. To: Vicomte13 (#22)

Lake Superior is very cold, and it is true: she does not give up her dead.

Right you are. Divers see farm animals below the thermocline in there that have fallen in and will tumble around down there for months if not years in the cold, cold waters.

I've been out in the middle of Superior in a real big boat when we hit a large wave. Had to hold on the railing and realized that if I had fallen in they'd have to be damn quick to get me out. Even in June hypothermia isn't a distant prospect.

The shallow beaches of Lake Huron are OK in the early summer, but the deeper parts of Lake Michigan present a challenge for the hardiest swimmers. Get lost out there and the sharks may not get you, but you'll go unconscious out there before you drown. Small mercy.

BTW some of the posters here that do so much to make this place so ugly. Do you think they carry on so because they are so ugly inside??

randge  posted on  2019-08-12   15:28:20 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#26. To: randge (#25)

BTW some of the posters here that do so much to make this place so ugly. Do you think they carry on so because they are so ugly inside??

Old and bitter, mostly. The world has moved on, and left their values behind, and they keep calling down imprecations - essentially praying God that disaster will strike those who are "doing wrong" (in their opinion), because things no longer comport to their moral values.

My moral values have always been,,,let's use a generous term..."supple"...so the changes in the world don't bother me much, and I don't mind update my morality to fit the times. Of course, I don't believe that many of the hard traditional moral rules about which the old and bitter here are old and bitter really came from God in the first place, so I don't have a sense of outrage over many things that those from a different background consider "sins".

This provokes and enrages some, and I'm old enough to know that, and to needle a bit, just to get the reaction. It's not very nice on my part.

With the shipwreck business, it just isn't fair to say that any shipwreck can be prevented. Ships can in fact be torn apart and break in hurricanes, especially cold ones that make the metal brittle and add tons of ice to the superstructure.

I've been swimming in Lake Superior around Marquette several times in August. It is so cold. 46 degrees on a good day. You start to freese the moment you go in. When you go under, your head pounds with pain from the cold. I'd say stay in twenty minutes and you're dead. Just a minute or two and your junk has crawled so far up into your body and shrunken so much that you've basically had an involuntary sex change. SO COLD.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-08-12   22:41:58 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#27. To: Vicomte13 (#26)

Thanks for the disquisition on being "supple."

We're taught not to use "so" when we mean "very." But I do it all the time. I've been swimming in all the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario and they are SO COLD. I've been invited to go swimming in Lake Michigan this summer, but they're coming down here this year. We'll take a dip in the Gulf. It'easier on the old bones.

randge  posted on  2019-08-13   9:45:35 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#28. To: Vicomte13 (#26)

LiberTarianism

Is an auTistic sea

Of developmenTal suicide

If you ... don't use exclamation points --- you should't be typeing ! Commas - semicolons - question marks are for girlie boys !

BorisY  posted on  2019-08-13   16:07:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#29. To: Deckard (#0)

The songs "Carefree Highway", "Sundown" and "If You Could Read My Mind" are all reminiscent of the late Jim Croce's music. (1 image)

You know,I had always liked those songs,and always like Jim Croce,but never noticed the obvious similarities.

Thank you!

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2019-08-18   11:37:41 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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