Legendary Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot joined SiriusXM Outlaw Country host Steve Earle to talk about songwriting The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald from his 1976 album Summertime Dream.
The song was written to commemorate the November 10, 1975 sinking of the American Great Lakes freighter the SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior.
Lightfoot talks about how he managed to get his hit on top 20 radio.
“We had to nip [The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald] a little bit to get it in top 20 radio. But we did it with the instrumentals, we found a way to do it and shorten it down. Four and half minutes or they wouldn’t play on FM in LA. They said, ‘If you want it to be on top 20, you better edit it boys.’ And that’s what we did.”
The 75-year-old Songwriter’s Hall of Famer also shares what led him to write a song about the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.
“It was a very foul night in Toronto, I recall that evening. I had the melody, I had the chords. I think I was thinking about an old Irish dirge that I heard when I was about three years old at the time, but no lyric. I went down and looked at the TV and the ship had just sank about three hours before. So I went back up to the writing room again and I had the words.”
Hear Gordon Lightfoot on Steve Earle Show: Hardcore Troubadour Radio when it replays on Wednesday 7/23 at 9 pm ET on Outlaw Country, Ch. 60.
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