I used to say that two celebrity deaths in my lifetime gave me kind of a gut punch - Fred Rogers and Steve Irwin, both for very different reasons I won't discuss here.
I would have to put Canadian Music Hall of Famer Gordon Lightfoot's passing yesterday close to that as well. He was arguably the greatest storyteller to ever carry a guitar, a prolifiic songwriter with the husky voice of an angel. He was absolutelyl brilliant, and I am not exagerationg when I call him a Canadian treasure. He was the pride of Orillia, Ontario
The folk music generation has lost their voice with his passing. Canada has lost a piece of itself with his passing. His career was long - he performed at a teenager in the 1950. He was there when Bob Dylan (a mentor of his) went electric at the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival. He was still touring in 2012.
I had been saving this song for #MapleLeafMarch next year, but is served well at this time. It was a top 10 hit for Lightfoot in the US and Canada in 1974, and immediately followed "Sundown" as a single release. The title came to Gord first - he was driving on an Arizona highway (and almost left the title in the glove box of a rental car!), and the rest came months later.
The beautifully written song is about a man who is driving and remembering a long-past relationship with a woman named Ann - who was real. Ann was a woman Lightfoot had a relationship with several years before this song - and remembering the time pleasantly, and how she's doing, as you do.
It remains one of my favorite Gordon Lightfoot songs.
This version of the song is from a 2012 performance in Reno, Nevada. Even well into his 70's, he had that audience enraptured.
Ten years later, in a 2022 performance in Indiana, his voice had lost a little, but his stage presence, well into his 80s, was still there.
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