Mabee Center E-Museum

Gordon Lightfoot

2009

Biography

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr. was born in Orillia, Ontario in Canada on November 17, 1938. His parents recognized and encouraged his interest in music. His first appearance at Massey Hall in Toronto, now a revered standard in his tour schedule, was just before he turned 13, as the winner of a competition for boys with unchanged voices.

After a background in barbershop quartets, and as a member of a duo, Lightfoot struck out on his own in the early 60’s. He had written perhaps 75 songs, when he was caught up in the country music scene and folk revival of the time. In less than two years, between late ’61 and some time in 1963, his sound and his life changed forever.

His music was discovered in 1964, when he was performing on the Toronto folk scene while he was covering a couple of songs. Ian Tyson, one of Gordon’s contemporaries, introduced him to manager Albert Grossman the manager of Peter, Paul and Mary, Gibson & Camp, and Bob Dylan. Albert Grossman signed Lightfoot and under that arrangement he recorded five albums for United Artists, four studio albums and one live album.

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