Gordon Lightfoot Albums Ranked

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. (born November 17, 1938) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music. He is credited with helping to define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He is often referred to as Canada’s greatest songwriter and is known internationally as a folk-rock legend. Robbie Robertson of the Band described Lightfoot as “a national treasure”. Bob Dylan, also a Lightfoot fan, called him one of his favorite songwriters and, in an often-quoted tribute, Dylan observed that when he heard a Lightfoot song he wished “it would last forever”. Lightfoot was a featured musical performer at the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Trent University in Spring 1979 and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in May 2003. In November 1997, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, Canada’s highest honor in the performing arts, was bestowed on Lightfoot. On February 6, 2012, Lightfoot was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. June of that year saw his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. On June 6, 2015, Lightfoot received an honorary doctorate of music in his hometown of Orillia from Lakehead University. Here are all of Gordon Lightfoot albums ranked.

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10. Dream Street Rose (1980)

“The album before this one had Gord lean too far into country. However DREAM STREET ROSE, although heavily influenced by country, pulls off a wonderful balance of passionate lyrics, great orchestration, and a well timbered voice.”

9. Waiting For You (1993)

“Life experience seems to shape the “feel” of the music over time, but his basic style never wavers. This album in particular projects such a positive message, conveying to the listener that one shouldn’t take life so seriously, that life is basically good, and above all, learn to laugh at yourself and have fun. It’s got a mellow, upbeat quality running throughout it, and the songs flow seamlessly into each other. I love this one! Gordon Lightfoot is without a doubt the world’s last troubadour, and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to enjoy his music throughout my life.”

8. Old Dan’s Records (1972)

“Old Dan’s Records another classic album from Gordon Lightfoot! If you love Gordon’s music from the early 70’s you will love this album. The music is still acoustic and this album is an interim album on his way to the massive album Sundown. This album was a bit more of a sleeper in his catalog. No big hits on this one just Old Dan’s Records! It is definitely not my favorite album by him but it is classic Lightfoot recorded during his peak! A solid album by a legendary artist. “

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7. Lightfoot! (1966)

“Gordon Lightfoot’s first two albums, ‘Lightfoot’, released in ’66 and ‘The Way I Feel’ in ’67. These -26 tracks- of now-classic tunes began the long and illustrious career of Canada’s favorite musical native son and undisputed poet-laureate of our neighbor to the Great North. Tunes like; ‘Early Morning Rain’, ‘For Lovin’ You’, ‘I’m Not Sayin’ and ‘Canadian Railroad Trilogy’ (what I like to consider the unofficial National Anthem of Canada) will echo within your heart and mind long after the music stops. Classic Lightfoot!”

6. If You Could Read My Mind (1970)

“For those who enjoy the music of the Canadian singer/songwriting genius Gordon Lightfoot, the album “If You Could Read My Mind” stands at or near the pinnacle of his unrivalled accomplishments. The superlatives that are heaped on this masterpiece are all deserved, which is a rarity in these days of spin and selfies. This is simply one of the finest song cycles that you will ever listen to now or in the future. Once you have heard the full album (several tracks are of course widely popular in their own right), it will leave you speechless and moved like few albums can.”

5. Don Quixote (1972)

“From the first song, Beautiful…to the last song, Don Quixote….this album is just wonderful. It features some of the absolute best examples of Gordon Lightfoot’s earlier music. Gordon Lightfoot is a storyteller and he filled this album with so many evocative songs. On Susan’s Floor and Second Cup of Coffee are lovely songs. Two of my favorite Gordon Lightfoot songs are Christian Island (Georgian Bay) and Alberta Bound and they are back-to-back on the album”

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4. The Way I Feel (1967)

“Every song on the album is good while two songs in particular stand out, “Home from the Forest”,and the title track, “The way I Feel”. This album stands out as one of Gord’s best works, every song is poetry in motion. His backing band provide strong support to the well arranged compositions making this a must have recording for anyone who appreciates good folk music.”

3. Gord’s Gold (1975)

“This outstanding album is a compilation of Lightfoot’s very best songs up to the time of its original release as an LP (1975). The CD contains 11 songs originally recorded at United Artists (two as medleys) and 12 songs from his first five albums at Warner Brothers/Reprise. Three of his four biggest commercial hits are on this album (If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown, and Carefree Highway) making this an excellent first Lightfoot album to buy. (The fourth big hit, Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, was written and recorded later in 1975. You can find it on Summertime Dream, or, in a rerecorded version, on Gord’s Gold Volume II).”

2. Summertime Dream (1976)

“Summertime Dream is Gordon Lightfoot’s most commercial album because of that one song, even more commercial than Sundown. The songwriting is solid for the most part, and the album actually doesn’t have the negative connotations I feel with many commercial albums. In other words the songs are still written really well.”

1. Sundown (1974)

“Of all the albums of his career, I think this one is the best. It is more in the pop vein than earlier efforts, with more strings and keyboards than usual, although it is still quite rooted in folk music. But the sound is wonderful and balanced, without losing depth of feeling, which can happen with a writer as formal as Lightfoot. He is all over the board lyrically in the best way, from the “love on the road” song in “Somewhere USA,” to sexual jealousy in “Sundown,” social commentary in “Circle of Steel,” and spiritual longing and questioning in “Too Late for Prayin.” To me, the album has a searching quality to it, but it is mature, and written from the perspective of a man in his 30’s who has seen quite a lot in his lifetime”