Gord’s Gift

Music as medicine.

We interrupt our regular programming to talk about the loss of Gordon Lightfoot.

The Canadian singer-songwriter passed away at 84 last week and I’ve been playing his music non-stop.

Each song perfectly crafted, every song a story, revealing truths that are universal and lasting. And that’s why the music of Gordon Lightfoot will endure.

Music is the most magical art form. The best songs reach into our souls and tap into something deep.

I’ve been listening to a broad range of Gordon Lightfoot’s songs this week, but I keep going back to “If You Could Read My Mind.”
The song was released in 1970 and 53 years later, after countless plays, it still packs a wallop.

In 3 minutes and 49 seconds, Gordon captures love gone wrong, failure, the loss of passion and the pain of being brutally honest. It’s not an angry song. It’s a love song. But he’s letting go and it breaks your heart.

In under four minutes, I’ve taken a ride with a master and the music allows me to better understand my own journey.

If you’ve ever had love and lost it, the song just slays because of its truth and its humanity.

This is what great art does—it touches us, shapes us, defines us, and makes us feel things we’d just as soon bury.

I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember.

But as I grow older, the songs reach deeper, and I find I need them more to help me understand a very confusing world. I am rediscovering old songs, listening to lots of new music and searching for songs that convey meaning.

It’s a happy search and when I find a special song or a promising artist, I want to share my discovery with my wife Diane. It’s like sending flowers that last forever.

My friend Blake shared something on Facebook after Gordon Lightfoot passed. It was from a column written by Bob Lefsetz. Lefsetz is one of my favorite writers because he angers and delights me often in the same piece. Here it is:

“I’m not talking about a performer. I’m not talking about an award-winner. I’m not talking about someone who is rich. I’m talking about someone who learns the basics and then walks into the wilderness, on their own journey, following their own compass, not someone else’s. And it’s got nothing to do with what you look like, but rather what goes on in your brain. AI (Artificial Intelligence) can create something that sounds like the past, but it can’t create something that sounds like the future, after all it’s based on scraping the internet, and the new, the bleeding edge, the breakthroughs are never there. No one can teach you to be an artist. Not even Rick Rubin. Sure, you can be encouraged, but more often you’re discouraged. The odds are too long. Your choices are bad. You’re not that good. But some stay the course and break through. That’s Gordon Lightfoot.

Decades from now people might not know Gordon’s name, but I guarantee you they’ll be singing his songs. Because they contain truth, and for that reason they are timeless. But it’s not only the words, but the changes and the vocals. Gordon Lightfoot had it all. I’d implore you to remember him, but his songs will do the work for him.”


Those songs will do the work. They will endure. Mr. Lefsetz captures the artistic process, it’s about finding your voice, sharing insights, revealing truths—even if they are inconvenient, maybe especially if they are inconvenient. This is how we evolve as people.

Art endures.

Art moves us forward or makes us look back and truly see.

There’s so much noise in our world these days…so many distractions.

But art clarifies, explains, and raises questions too. Music enlightens, calms, excites, and touches us. It reminds us of our humanity.

And we need reminders.

“If you could read my mind, love

What 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

But stories always end”

Yes, stories always end. But the music lives on.


  1. Peter Arts says

    For the last few days I too have gone back reviewed my own history with Gordon Lightfoot music

    And the one you mentioned is 1 of my favorites thank you

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