Friday, May 29, 2009

Lightfoot on Dylan

I just wanted to share some songwriting quotes from the illustrious Gordon Lightfoot as set out in a recent Huntsville (Alabama) Times article:

"Prior to the Woodstock Festival, there was a colony of artists working in the Woodstock area," Lightfoot during a phone interview from Toronto, Canada.

"Bob Dylan lived there and used to type out his lyrics on a typewriter. I think he got my engine turned onto songwriting. We have a mutual respect toward one another. He would be my all-time favorite."

Indeed, the respect is mutual. Lightfoot recorded one of Dylan's songs, "Ring them Bells," and Dylan recorded Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain." Dylan has also been quoted as saying that when he heard a Gordon Lightfoot song "he wished it would last forever."

Many people feel the same way about Lightfoot, the legendary, 70-year-old songwriter who during his 40-plus year career has written more than 200 songs on 20 albums and performed timeless hits like "If You Could Read My Mind," "Sundown," "Early Morning Rain," "Carefree Highway," "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" and many more. He was a big influence on folk music of the 1960s and '70s, including songwriters like Dylan, Dan Fogelberg others.

"That's what I've been told," Lightfoot said of influencing others. "I've always been about pressing the work ethic. You've got to get the job done."

Lightfoot's songwriting talent has earned him five Grammy nominations and 17 Canadian Juno Awards, Canada's equivalent of the Grammys. Many talented musicians have recorded his songs, including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Peter, Paul & Mary, Barbara Streisand, and even present-day musicians like Jane's Addiction.

"I just got lucky with Elvis," Lightfoot said. "He recorded two ('For Loving Me' and 'Early Morning Rain'). Elvis always had scouts looking for tunes, and he was getting his nightclub act together and getting ready for Las Vegas.

"I actually never met him. I was supposed to meet him and it didn't work out."

Well, at least he got to meet Dylan... May the Muse continue to be with you Gordon!

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