Thoughts of my father, wonderful & humbling compliments, and songwriting
I’ve been telling this story a lot in the past 24 hours but, Gordon Lightfoot’s music is some of the first I remember ever hearing. When I was little, my mom would play AM radio late at night to soothe me to sleep, and I distinctly remember If You Could Read My Mind and Carefree Highway playing. His voice was so distinctive and so incredibly soothing. His music will always hold a special place in my heart.
I saw Gordon play at the music expo Earls Court , London in around 86. As a budding pro bass player I was there checking out the latest stuff from Musicman etc, fell in love with a Guild bass.
Anyway, GL was an excellent turn. RIP Gordon.
I think I know what it's like to weather the death of an artist whom one loved.
I certainly felt it when John Lennon died, and I was one of the those cultural vagabound-groupies who descended on the Dakota to cry and shout and hail Lennon's name in the days immediately after his demise. Later on, I learned that the Beatles thought we were emotional parasites of the most scabrous sort, trying to feel and to live and to love through the experiences of more stellar personages.
Although our hero-artists were our superman, there always comes a time when we must re-evaluate our crushes and rushes of raw, idiotic, adolescent affection. As I look back on it, I wonder: Were men like John Lennon and Mick Jagger really apostles of an age of acquarious and a more harmonious, loving society or were they, in fact, simply wise sobs who knew how to manipulate the peoples' moods and weaknesses to become very rich, contented stars.
I must concede that I never really followed Gordon Lightfoot and am really an ignoramus re music. I love a few things, Beethoven, the Stones, Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, but the overwhelmoing majority of American popular culture goes in one ear and out the other.
Before I wrote this essay, I purused some of Lightfoot's music and realized that he wrote that humdinger of a song, "If you could read my mind." I instantaneously thought of another song which dealt with similar concepts but expressed them with so much more bracing acid. It was a 1969 David Bowie song which contained this verbiage:
"And if my thought-dreams could be seeen
They'd probably put my head in a guillotine."