Retro of the day: Gordon Lightfoot

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is a song written, composed and performed by the Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot to commemorate the sinking of the bulk carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975. Lightfoot drew his inspiration from Newsweek ’​s article on the event, “The Cruelest Month,” which it published in its November 24, 1975, issue.[1] Lightfoot considers this song to be his finest work.[2]

The ballad originally appeared on Lightfoot’s 1976 album, Summertime Dream, and he later released it as a single. The release hit #1 in his native Canada (on the RPM national singles survey) on November 20, 1976, almost exactly one year after the appearance of the article that inspired it.[3] In the United States, the single hit #1 in Cashbox and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it Lightfoot’s second-most-successful single behind “Sundown“. “Edmund Fitzgerald” peaked at #40 in the UK Singles Chart.