Next month, Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown" celebrates the 45th anniversary of its single release. The tune marked the first Hot 100 No. 1 hit for the Canadian folk, folk-rock, and country singer-songwriter. On March 1, Real Gone Music will anthologize this period of Lightfoot's career with the release of the 2-CD The Complete Singles 1970-1980.
Gordon Lightfoot began his recording career in Canada, releasing his first singles in 1962. He signed with United Artists in 1965 and released his first album, Lightfoot!, in 1966. Three more studio albums would follow by 1968. But he wasn't gaining much commercial success outside of Canada as a performer and was mainly known as a songwriter with credits such as the oft-covered "Early Morning Rain." That all changed when he signed to Reprise/Warner Bros. in 1970 and teamed with producer Lenny Waronker.
The first single released was a cover of "Me and Bobby McGee," which again didn't see much chart action outside of Canada. Things would be completely different, however, with the November 1970 release of "If You Could Read My Mind." That Lightfoot original finally broke the singer out with American audiences becoming a No. 1 AC hit and climbing to No. 5 on the Hot 100. The next couple of years brought more minor hits (including the No. 11 "Talking in Your Sleep" in 1971) but Lightfoot would see a string of major successes beginning with 1974's "Sundown", which hit the peak of the Hot 100 and AC charts. Two more AC No. 1s would immediately follow: "Carefree Highway" and "Rainy Day People." Another hit came with 1976's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." The epic tale of the doomed ship peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and No. 9 on the AC chart. Other AC hits through 1978 included "Race Among the Ruin" (No. 13), "The Circle is Small (I Can See It In Your Eyes)" (No. 3) and "Daylight Katy" (No. 16). Lightfoot would remain on Warner Bros. through 1998. In the 20 years since, he has only released two albums: 2004's Harmony on Linus Entertainment and the live set All Live on Rhino in 2012. He has, however, maintained a busy touring schedule.
Real Gone's new compilation presents Lightfoot's complete A and B-sides from 1970-1980, totaling 34 songs in all. The single versions of "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and "Rainy Day People" make their CD debuts, as well as six other songs that appear in their mono single versions on CD for the first time. Real Gone has utilized the commercial, stock version of the singles unless the commercial version was released in both mono and stereo. In those instances, the version used depended on the best source that could be found. The set has been newly remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision, with additional mastering and tape vetting by Aaron Kannowski. It's been designed by John Sellards and annotated by folk-rock guru Richie Unterberger.
If you would like to take a trip back with Real Gone through Gordon Lightfoot's classic 1970s recordings on March 1, we've got the full tracklisting and preorder links below.
- Me and Bobby McGee
- The Pony Man
- If You Could Read My Mind
- Poor Little Allison
- Talking in Your Sleep
- Nous Vivons Ensemble
- Summer Side of Life
- Love & Maple Syrup
- Don Quixote
- That Same Old Obsession
- You Are What I Am
- Can't Depend on Love
- It's Worth Believin'
- Too Late for Prayin'
- Carefree Highway
- Seven Island Suite
- Rainy Day People
- Cherokee Bend
- The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
- The House You Live In
- Race Among the Ruins
- The Circle Is Small (I Can See It in Your Eyes)
- Sweet Guinevere
- Daylight Katy
- Hangdog Hotel Room
- Songs the Minstrel Sang
- Dream Street Rose
- Make Way for the Lady
- If You Need Me
- Mister Rock of Ages
Disc 1, Tracks 1-2 from Reprise Single 0926, 1970
Disc 1, Tracks 3-4 from Reprise Single 0974, 1970
Disc 1, Tracks 5-6 from Reprise Single 1020, 1971
Disc 1, Tracks 7-8 from Reprise Single 1035, 1971
Disc 1, Tracks 9-10 from Reprise Single REP 1088, 1972
Disc 1, Tracks 11-12 from Reprise Single REP 1128, 1972
Disc 1, Tracks 13-14 from Reprise Single REP 1145, 1973
Disc 1, Tracks 15-16 from Reprise Single REP 1194, 1974
Disc 1, Tracks 17-18 from Reprise Single RPS 1309, 1974
Disc 2, Tracks 1-2 from Reprise Single RPS 1328, 1975
Disc 2, Tracks 3-4 from Reprise Single RPS 1369, 1976
Disc 2, Tracks 5-6 from Reprise Single RPS 1380, 1977
Disc 2, Tracks 7-8 from Warner Bros. Single WBS 8518, 1978
Disc 2, Tracks 9-10 from Warner Bros. Single WBS 8579, 1978
Disc 2, Tracks 11-12 from Warner Bros. Single WBS 8644, 1978
Disc 2, Tracks 13-14 from Warner Bros. Single WBS 49230, 1980
Disc 2, Tracks 15-16 from Warner Bros. Single WBS 49516, 1980