|Publisher:||Penguin Canada||Published:||October 30th 2018|
Shortlisted for the 2017 Legislative Assembly of Ontario Speaker's Book Award
Nominated for the 2018 Heritage Toronto Award - Historical Writing: Book
The definitive, full-access story of the life and songs of Canada's legendary troubadour
Gordon Lightfoot’s name is synonymous with timeless songs about trains and shipwrecks, rivers and highways, lovers and loneliness. His music defined the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and ‘70s, topped charts and sold millions. He is unquestionably Canada’s greatest songwriter, and an international star who has performed on the world’s biggest stages.
While Lightfoot’s songs are well known, the man behind them is elusive. He’s never allowed his life to be chronicled in a book—until now.
Biographer Nick Jennings has had unprecedented access to the notoriously reticent musician. Lightfoot takes us deep inside the artist’s world, from his idyllic childhood in Orillia, the wild sixties, and his canoe trips into Canada’s North to his heady times atop the music world. Jennings explores the toll that success took on his personal life—including his troubled relationships, his battle with alcohol and his near-death experiences—and the extraordinary drive and tenacity that pulled him through it all.
Rich in voices from fellow musicians, close friends, Lightfoot’s family and the singer’s own reminiscences, the biography tells the stories behind some of his best-known love songs, including “Beautiful” and “Song for a Winter’s Night,” as well as the infidelity and divorce that resulted in classics like “Sundown” and “If You Could Read My Mind.” Kris Kristofferson has called Lightfoot’s songs “some of the most beautiful and lasting music of our time.”
Lightfoot is an unforgettable portrait of a treasured singer-songwriter, an artist whose work has been covered by everyone from Joni Mitchell, Barbra Streisand and Nico to Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Gord Downie. Revealing and insightful, Lightfoot is both an inspiring story of redemption and an exhilarating read.
NICHOLAS JENNINGS is one of Canada's most respected music journalists. He was the music critic and feature writer for Maclean's from 1980 to 2000 and his work has appeared in many of Canada's top magazines and newspapers. His acclaimed book Before the Gold Rush became the basis for a four-part CBC documentary series on the history of Canadian music. He lives in Toronto.