Lightfoot song Black Day in July banned in the U.S.A.
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.
• The song's lyrics say:
Why can't we all be brothers?
Why can't we live in peace?
But the hands of the have-nots keep falling out of reach
• The 1967 Detroit riots were set off by a police raid of an inner-city bar. A small crowd made up of both blacks and whites gathered outside to protest but it erupted into violence. Businesses were looted and set on fire. The riots quickly expanded to encompass a 36-square-kilometre perimeter of Detroit's inner-city neighbourhoods. The National Guard was brought in. The rioting eventually ended five days later.
• The riots left 43 dead, 467 injured, 7,231 arrested and 2,509 stores looted or burned. A month after the riot, a city report on the riots said 388 families were displaced and 412 buildings were burned beyond recognition. City officials pegged the cost of damages from the arson and looting at between $40 and 80 million US.
• King was shot dead April 4, 1968, while on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tenn., where he was to lead a march of sanitation workers protesting against low wages and poor working conditions. In 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize. He turned over the $54,123 prize to the further the civil rights movement.
• After King's murder, his wife Coretta Scott-King took her husband's place in the march. She later lobbied against the Vietnam War and founded Atlanta's King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. She died in January 2006, at age 78.
• Also in 1968, an El Paso, Texas radio station banned Bob Dylan's songs because staffers couldn't understand the folk singer's lyrics. And in September, Chicago radio stations wouldn't play the Rolling Stones song Street Fightin' Man out of fear that it would lead to violence during the National Democratic Convention. The single set all-time sales records during the ban.
• In the 2003 album Beautiful - A tribute to Gordon Lightfoot a collection of Lightfoot's songs re-recorded by Canadian artists, the Tragically Hip chose Black Day in July The Hip's bassist Gord Sinclair told Billboard magazine that the song was "an easy choice." "When I was a fourth-year student at Queen's University [in Kingston, Ont.] in 1984, I did a term paper based on that song," Sinclair said.
Also on April 13:
• 1993: The British Columbia government announces it will allow limited logging of the last major old-growth rainforest on Vancouver Island. At least half of the Clayoquot Sound is opened to logging.
• 2000: A treaty between the federal and British Columbia governments and the Nisga'a people of northwestern B.C. becomes law. The agreement gives the Nisga'a land, cash and self-government in return for giving up their tax-exempt status and abandoning further claims.
• 2003: Golfer Mike Weir of Bright's Grove, Ont., wins the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. Weir is the first Canadian to win one of the four "major" tournaments on the PGA Tour.
Broadcast Date: April 13, 1968
Guest(s): Gordon Lightfoot
Reporter: Alan Millar
Last updated: August 20, 2014
Page consulted on August 20, 2014
All Clips from this Topic
Lightfoot talks about growing up in small-town Ontario.
U.S. radio stations ban Gordon Lightfoot's Black Day In July.
Gordon Lightfoot and Bob Shane of the Kingston Trio engage in a casual...
Gordon Lightfoot appears on the CBC-TV program Luncheon Date in 1975.
Canada's troubadour tries his hand at acting.
Dylan inducts Lightfoot into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Folk musician Gordon Lightfoot chats about his career as Canada's most...
In his own quiet way, he tries to help others beat the bottle.
Reporter Suhana Meharchand examines the legend of the Great Lakes ship...
Lightfoot sheepishly explains why he's such an icon.
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Lightfoot re-emerges optimistic and itching to work.
His melodic, soulful voice is unmistakable. A modern-day troubadour, G...