Gordon Lightfoot appears on comedy sketch show Nightcap with cast member Billy Van in October 1963. (CBC Still Photo Collection/Dale Barnes)
His melodic, soulful voice is unmistakable. A modern-day troubadour, Gordon Lightfoot has touched the lives of millions of people with his thoughtful, evocative portraits of Canadian life and landscape. He's a musician steeped in the folk tradition, his catalogue of songs, including such classics as Canadian Railroad Trilogy and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, earning him a place in the pantheon of Canadian icons.
Lightfoot has been repeatedly credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 70s. He is often referred to as Canada's greatest songwriter and is internationally recognized for his folk music.
Lightfoot began to experience chart success in Canada in the early-1960s with his recording (Remember Me) I'm the One. By 1965 he had reached international recognition as Ribbon of Darkness hit the No. 1 spot. Many of his recordings in the 1970s went on to hit top spots on a variety of international music charts.
Lightfoot briefly moved to California in 1958, w here he studied jazz composition. But he missed Toronto and moved back.
In the 1960s, Lightfoot performed with the Swinging Eight, a group featured on CBC-TV's Country Hoedown. Three years later, he traveled to Europe and spent a year hosting BBC-TV's Country and Western Show but he again returned to Canada.
In 1967, Lightfoot was commissioned by CBC to write the Canadian Railroad Trilogy for a special broadcast on Jan. 1, 1967, to mark Canada's Centennial year.
A four-time Grammy nominee, Lightfoot has 11 Junos to his credit, and has been nominated for a total of 27. He was presented the Order of Canada in 1970 and was among the inaugural group of inductees to the Canadian Walk of Fame in 1998. Hear Lightfoot talk about his long career: