By Steve Newton
Oh man, was 1975 ever a great year for rock. Maybe the greatest. Of course, it helped if you turned 18 in ’75.
I mean, just to name a few, the LPs released that year included Led Zeppelin‘s Physical Graffiti, Thin Lizzy‘s Fighting, Queen‘s A Night at the Opera, Aerosmith‘s Toys in the Attic, and Jeff Beck‘s Blow By Blow. Come on!
Not to mention the debut albums by Heart, Ian Hunter, and the Outlaws.
I bought them all, of course, and still have ’em.
I didn’t purchase many albums outside the realm of rock back then, though. Not that I really had to. Between the sub-genres of hard rock, blues rock, prog rock, and southern rock, it was a full-time job keeping my vinyl stash cool.
But one 12-incher that stood out in my collection was Gord’s Gold, the 1975 “best of” collection by Canadian folk legend Gordon Lightfoot, who passed away last Monday (May 1) at the age of 84.
It was the only folk album I ever bought as a teen.
After I heard the news of Lightfoot’s passing I went looking for that disc, and sure enough, there it was, alphabetically crammed in between Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti and Colin Linden‘s When the Spirit Comes.
The vinyl itself is in immaculate shape, so I guess I never played it that much, but for some reason I had to have it.
Must have been Lightfoot’s gorgeous melodies and masterful songcraft.
Looking over the album’s 22 tracks, I’m reminded how much I still enjoy tunes like “Cotton Jenny”, “Carefree Highway”, “Bitter Green”, “Sundown”, and, of course, “If You Could Read My Mind”:
If you could read my mind, loveWhat a tale my thoughts could tell Just like an old-time movie ‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well In a castle dark or a fortress strong With chains upon my feet You know that ghost is me
Wow. With lyrics like that, who needs pounding drums and wailing guitar solos?
R.I.P. Gordon Lightfoot. Say hi to Downie for me.
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