Song of the Day: Gordon Lightfoot – “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”



Here’s a popular song that has been revered and lampooned. Released 41 years ago this month, this song hit No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 1 in Lightfoot’s home country of Canada. I was reminded of it lately as I recently went to the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, one of multiple places you can see remains of the actual Edmund Fitzgerald. It was a devastating shipwreck in Great Lakes history, one Lightfoot once said in an Reddit AMA he wanted to give more attention (per Songfacts): “The Edmund Fitzgerald really seemed to go unnoticed at that time, anything I’d seen in the newspapers or magazines were very short, brief articles, and I felt I would like to expand upon the story of the sinking of the ship itself. And it was quite an undertaking to do that, I went and bought all of the old newspapers, got everything in chronological order, and went ahead and did it because I already had a melody in my mind and it was from an old Irish dirge that I heard when I was about three and a half years old.” Lightfoot, especially melodically, struck the right chord with this song when it came to painting a picture of this tragedy.

Not everyone thinks that highly of the song, however… One band to do a fierce parody of the song is NRBQ, who performed the song live in a mocking manner as frontman Terry Adams sung the lyrics straight from a songbook then later pretended to doze off on stage. Anyone who doesn’t like the Lightfoot version will like that one better. Click here to watch.

Sponsored link (story continues below)

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *