. . . Gordon Lightfoot turns 84 today. Bob Dylan once said of Lightfoot, “When I hearr one of his songs, I hope it goes on forever,” and over the years, a lot of folks have come to agree.
I was lucky enough to see Mr. Lightfoot ten years ago, when last he came to Mondoville. At that time, he was a mere slip of a lad in his early seventies, and the evening felt like one spent with old friends (in part, I suspect, because his group had been together for decades, and in part because his songs have become old friends to us all over the years.
His warm baritone was getting fuzzy then, and is doubtless fuzzier now, but I suspect that once the music starts, it doesn’t matter. I wish him many happy returns. I’ll close the post with the first of his songs that I remember. It turns out the song was written about the late Cathy Smith, a noted singer, groupie, and junkie from the seventies, now best known as the woman who set John Belushi up with his last speedball.
Ms. Smith has been gone for a couple of years herself now, and none of that mattered when I was eight or nine years old and this song came over the AM radio in my parents’ VW Beetle. I didn’t need the backstory — the song was enough.
Many happy returns, Mr. Lighfoot. May you and your songs go on forever.