5 Cool Gordon Lightfoot Covers in Commemoration of the Late Canadian Folk Legend

May 1, 2024, marks the one-year-anniversary of the death of Gordon Lightfoot. The Canadian folk legend passed away of natural causes at age 84.

Videos by American Songwriter

Lightfoot recording career spanned more than 60 years, and he was a huge star in his native Canada, while also enjoying great success in the U.S. Among his biggest hits were “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Carefree Highway,” “Sundown,” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

[RELATED: Gordon Lightfoot Dies at 84]

The singer/songwriter amassed an impressive body of work, and his compositions were covered by a wide variety of artists, from superstars to musicians with cult followings.

In commemoration of the anniversary of Lightfoot’s death, here are five interesting cover versions of his songs.

Bob Dylan – Early Mornin’ Rain (1970)

Bob Dylan covered Lightfoot’s “Early Mornin’ Rain” on his 1970 album Self Portrait. Lightfoot’s original version of the breezy country-folk tune appeared on his 1966 debut album Lightfoot!

Dylan’s rendition of “Early Mornin’ Rain” features the folk-rock great using a similar throaty crooning style he featured on his hit “Lay Lady Lay.”

In a Mojo interview (via Songfacts), Lightfoot said he was extremely appreciative that Dylan had decided to cover a tune he wrote.

“I was totally blown away that he would record one of my songs in the first place,” he said. “It helped my career. … I’d not had a hit single myself at that point. His cover was a linchpin in that whole process because it made people in the industry aware that I was producing good songs.”

Dylan also inducted Lightfoot into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 1986 Juno Awards ceremony.

Fotheringay – “The Way I Feel” (1970)

Fotheringay was a short-lived British folk-rock band formed by acclaimed singer Sandy Denny after she left Fairport Convention. Fotheringay’s self-titled debut featured an inspired cover of “The Way I Feel,” another song from the Lightfoot! album.

The band’s version featured lead vocals by guitarist/singer Trevor Lucas, with Denny contributing harmony vocals. The track also is highlighted by the hypnotic and melodic guitar riffs of Jerry Donahue.

Glen Campbell – “The Last Time I Saw Her” (1971)

“The Last Time I Saw Her” was a heart-breaking love ballad first featured on Lightfoot’s 1968 album Did She Mention My Name? Glen Campbell covered the song in 1971 and it served as the title track of his then-latest studio album.

Campbell’s emotive version of “The Last Time I Saw Her” featured a dramatic, soaring string arrangement. It reached No. 22 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Elvis Presley – “(That’s What You Get) For Lovin’ Me” (1973)

“For Lovin’ Me” is yet another song that first appeared on the Lightfoot! album. Elvis Presley recorded a version of tune, retitled “(That’s What You Get) For Lovin’ Me,” that he released on his 1973 album Elvis.

Presley recorded the rollicking country tune with Nashville session musicians. The dark song is sung from the perspective of a womanizing cad who’s about to leave his latest lover.

Neil Young – “If You Could Read My Mind” (2014)

“If You Could Read My Mind” was Lightfoot’s signature songs. The melodic, melancholy folk-pop ballad peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970, and appeared on Gordon’s Sit Down Young Stranger album.

In 2014, fellow Canadian legend Neil Young released a covers album titled A Letter Home that featured a version “If You Could Read My Mind.” He recorded the album using the vintage Voice-o-Graph vinyl recording booth at Jack White’s Third Man Records studio in Nashville.

The raw rendition of “If You Could Read My Mind” simply features Young’s vocals and strummed acoustic guitar, recorded directly to a vinyl disc. Neil’s video for the song features footage of him actually recording the tune. Young also recorded “Early Mornin’ Rain” for A Letter Home.

Leave a Reply

Emmy Russell Shares Touching Video About Performing "Coal Miner’s Daughter" on 'American Idol'

Emmy Russell Fights Back Tears Sharing Emotional Aftermath of Her Loretta Lynn Tribute on ‘American Idol’