Gordon Lightfoot: Still Alive!


Gordon Lightfoot, one of Canada’s biggest musical stars, died last night. Here are a few clips of him online:

As you can see, this post was originally about the death of Gordon Lightfoot, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen. The Citizen‘s report has been removed, because Lightfoot’s manager has confirmed that his client is about as dead as Jeff Goldblum. In fact, as I write this update, Lightfoot is on TV denying he’s dead. I choose to believe him; others might not.

Yes, it seems like the reports of Lightfoot’s death, as “confirmed” by newspapers, were premature. (Well, by definition, any report of a death is premature unless the guy is actually dead. This is one area where you are either right or wrong, no in-betweens.) This is a very good thing, but as someone said on Twitter, “we’ve lost a Canadian legend’s rumour.” So the celebrity death story of the day is of a celebrity who turned out not to be dead; that’s a welcome change.

Update: Now Toronto has the confirmation of his aliveness, and they’ve also saved the “official” death report that Canwest is currently scrubbing from their websites.

In the meantime, the clips are still good, so they might as well remain up.

Lightfoot as a guest on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969, singing “Ribbon of Darkness”:

Lightfoot performing his ’70s hit “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Lightfoot in 1980, being interviewed by Alan Thicke on the set of his only feature film, Harry Tracy, Desperado.


And back to that Johnny Cash Show appearance, here’s Lightfoot doing a brief interview and then doing his hit song “For Lovin’ Me” as a duet with his host:

Filed under:

Gordon Lightfoot: Still Alive!

  1. No way~! … this sucks as he was a role model for me and my guitar! – I met him in 1970 when I was working in a club in Banff … he was a good person and a dynamite songwriter … I am going to miss him~!

  2. A national treasure.

    • Edit: Still a national treasure

  3. Waaaaah?! Nice fact-checking, Ottawa Citizen. Their story seems to have disappeared…

  4. Twitter prank apparently, he's still alive.

  5. "Bernie Fielder, Gordon Lightfoot's long-time friend, some-time publicist and road manager, said at 2:40 p.m. ET that the singer-songwriter was very much alive and in Toronto. Indeed, he claimed Lightfoot's secretary had spoken with the artist “just a half-an-hour ago.”

    Mr. Fiedler claimed in a phone conversation that the death report was “a prank” originating as “a Twitter coming out of Ottawa.” He indicated a media release might be issued soon putting the rumour of Mr. Lightfoot's death to rest."


  6. I sure hope it is not true.

    • It's not; see above. As noted, the Citizen has removed the report that caused all this fuss in the first place.

      However, I still think the correct, balanced journalistic practice would have been for them to update it as follows: "Gordon Lightfoot claims he's alive; others disagree."

      • Or they could write that Lightfoot was dead but now he isn't.

        At the very least, it might attract stray Lost fans to their article.

  7. Well, wasn't that a brief rollercoaster of emotion.

  8. Smooth move, Canwest! Next time you verify rumours about an entertainer's death, try calling his family or his manager. I bet they didn't even try Lightfoot's home phone number to see if he answered.

    • I saw their initial story. Apparently, I kid you not, Ronnie Hawkins confirmed it (that Lightfoot had died).

    • Or poke the body with a stick!

  9. My understanding is that Jaime Weinman, Maclean's contributor and beloved Canadian icon, has passed away. He will be missed. :P

    Quick someone make a Wikipedia entry for Jaime's death. Once it's on Wikipedia it's real.

    • I was killed by Paul McCartney.

      • Paul was aiming for his ex, but the bullet ricocheted off Heather's prosthetic limb and struck Jamie instead.

        • But please assure us that the baby seal escaped unharmed!

          • The baby seal was unharmed, and lived happily ever after until the following year, when its heart was sliced up and served raw to the Governor-General of Canada.

          • Phew. So all is well, then. Rest in Peace, Jaime.

  10. Kudo's to Macleans for having learned their lesson from the Oscars and acknowledging the mistake instead of, as Canwest is doing.. attempting to make it look like it never happened

  11. The Wreck of the Ottawa Citizen.

  12. If you could read my mind, love
    What a tale my thoughts could tell
    Just like an old time movie,
    About a guy who's alive and well

    When you reach the part,
    Where the Hawk speaks out
    Ignore his addled thoughts
    I'm not yet in a plot

    Before you race to bury me,
    Maybe you could check,
    The frigging facts

    If I could read your mind, love
    What a tale your thoughts might tell
    Just like a paperback novel
    With stuff made up to sell

    In your Canwest home
    Do you have a phone?
    Does it make outgoing calls?
    To check your tales so tall

    I never thought that I'd see the day
    And I've got to say that I just don't get it
    I don't know where you went wrong
    But I'm far from gone, so take that and Tweet it back….

    • Vunderbar!

    • I see Jack getting jealous. Nicely done, Sean.

    • Very jealous! And particularly since you could doubtless sing it so well too.

      • Aw shucks. Thanks guys!

  13. Wow! Shocking news. An iconic Canadian artist that will be greatly missed. I hope somebody at VANOC realizes this would be a good opportunity to have a Gordon Lightfoot song performed at the closing ceremony for the Olympics.

    • Well, thank it's not true. May Gordo sing many more years…

      • Whoopsie!

  14. I just love “Ribbon of Darkness”. It was just amazing.

  15. Awesome video.I just love all those you've posted.

  16. Hi, I found this blog once, then lost it. Took me forever to come back and find it. I wanted to see what comments you got. Nice blog by the way.I wanted to thank you for the excellent info you have posted on your web site.