Song:If You Could Read My Mind
Canadian folk music legend Gordon Lightfoot had already been recording for a few years when If You Could Read My Mind was his breakthrough single in 1970. After that, he had a few more hits in the 70s. He still tours regularly but he hasn't recorded much recently. He was born Nov. 17, 1938 in Orillia, ON. His mom recognized his talent and pushed him to perform. As a teen, he taught himself to play guitar. He moved to Los Angeles to study music at Westlake College but he returned to Toronto in 1960 and has remained in Canada. Lightfoot had some success as a member of The Swinging Eight who were featured on the CBC TV show Country Hoedown. By the mid-60s he was starting to have success as a songwriter. Ian & Sylvia recorded Early Mornin' Rain and got Lightfoot a management deal with Albert Grossman who also managed Bob Dylan. Lightfoot signed with United Artists Records. Though his UA albums were praised and sold well in Canada, he didn't have that big hit single to break him through to a larger audience. So he left UA for Reprise Records in 1970. On his Reprise debut album Sit Down Young Stranger, he worked with Warner Bros. house producer Lenny Waronker. Ry Cooder and Van Dyke Parks were among those who played on the album and Randy Newman arranged some of the songs. The album didn't sell at first until If You Could Read My Mind caught on with radio stations. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lightfoot says the song was inspired by his divorce from his wife Brita. So now Lightfoot was a star. His other big hits were Sundown in 1974 and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1976. His albums sold very well until the early 80s. This comp Gord's Gold was first released on 2LPs in 1975. It was a big seller at the time and is now available as a budget CD. Be aware that Lightfoot re-recorded some of his UA recordings for this album. He says he doesn't like those old records. The original UA recordings are available on CD. Lightfoot faded in the 80s but he recorded for Reprise until 1998. Despite some health problems in recent years like an 2002 aortic aneurysm and a 2006 stroke, Lightfoot continues to tour regularly. His latest CD All Live was released by Rhino in 2012. He is also a member of the Order of Canada and he is in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Here's Gordon Lightfoot performing If You Could Read My Mind on The Midnight Special 1975.