― Mark, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Sean Carruthers, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Ess Kay, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
The cook says "well lads it's been nice to know you" -- I think it's
spooky because the ending is a forgone conclusion for the crew and so
here are these guys between life and death not expecting rescue and
pondering the inevitable -- the whole song is a meditation on those
last few minutes and what it felt like -- a rare country song I can
claim to be moved by.
Anybody heard The Bee Gees' "Odessa" ? one of their tragedy songs
about a ship going down, a sailor stuck on an iceburg going crazy
carving away at the ice and imagining his wife back home taking up
with the vicar. Not so moving, but heavily orchestrated and being the
Bee Gees in '69 at the height of their first exposure to fame,
groupies, drugs, a very surreal weird song -- does a good
instrumental evocation of the sounds of the sea and the cold.
But back to Edmund Fitzgerald. It uses that "this is a true story" (I
don't know) thing which always means the song gets taken more
intensely to the listeners heart, even if you could call that
That camraderie in the crew of the doomed -- the inevitable -- the
song deliberately goes slightly too long, like when you know it's
coming, minutes would turn into hours.
would make a great nautical shanty for that final cruise down the
― George Gosset, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Queen G, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― mark s, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Mr Noodles, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Andy K, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
Do you ever find yourself near the sailors' maritime cathedral? It's
in some musty old hall in Detroit, apparently. ;)
― Paul, Monday, 1 April 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Jim McGaw, Thursday, 21 November 2002 19:55 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Mark (MarkR), Saturday, 28 August 2004 17:13 (8 years ago) Permalink
― dave q, Saturday, 28 August 2004 17:17 (8 years ago) Permalink
― Kevin Gilchrist (Mr Fusion), Saturday, 28 August 2004 17:20 (8 years ago) Permalink
― scott pl. (scott pl.), Saturday, 28 August 2004 17:21 (8 years ago) Permalink
For instance, as far as Lightfoot's epic history/storytelling songs go, I think "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" is far, far better.
― Barry Bruner (Barry Bruner), Saturday, 28 August 2004 17:26 (8 years ago) Permalink
― Pleasant Plains (Pleasant Plains), Saturday, 28 August 2004 17:34 (8 years ago) Permalink
― Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Sunday, 29 August 2004 00:56 (8 years ago) Permalink
― jim wentworth (wench), Sunday, 29 August 2004 01:30 (8 years ago) Permalink
bumping for the anniversary of the wreck
"fellas it's been good to know ya"
― some trustifarian junkie moron (dan m), Tuesday, 10 November 2009 16:18 (3 years ago) Permalink
I almost started a huge fight with my wife a few years ago because she said she'd never heard of this song. Fortunately, I realized just before things really kicked off that I was trying to start a massive argument about Gordon Lightfoot and the sheer ludicrousness of the situation made me stop.
― a Barbie-like nub where he provates should be (HI DERE), Tuesday, 10 November 2009 16:23 (3 years ago) Permalink
Great song but can't help but make me think of that Robyn Hitchcock song, "The Wreck Of The Arthur Lee"
― I Poxy the Fule (Tom D.), Tuesday, 10 November 2009 16:25 (3 years ago) Permalink
Speaking of whom: Ridiculous On-Stage, Between Song Banter
― Bloggers Might Ride (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 10 November 2009 16:27 (3 years ago) Permalink
― joygoat, Tuesday, 10 November 2009 16:41 (3 years ago) Permalink
It's hard for me to just think about this song simply in terms of being "just" a song. Growing up on the shores of Superior, the story of the wreck came back around at this time every year. There were a lot of old timers around who worked on the lake and remembered the day, and the weather is frequently as all-consumingly shitty as it was the day the ship went down.
― some trustifarian junkie moron (dan m), Tuesday, 10 November 2009 16:49 (3 years ago) Permalink
if you're in the midwest/rust belt states you should drink some of this:
― mark cl, Tuesday, 10 November 2009 16:51 (3 years ago) Permalink
The song charted in November of 1976, which is just after my very first vague memories of life, and you'd hear it on the radio all the time every November after. It was a pretty huge childhood memory for me and everyone within a couple years in age, to the point that when I was a kid I thought it sank about ten miles from my house instead of 300 or so east.
I miss driving out to the lake on horrible days in November just to be in awe of how scary it can be.
― joygoat, Tuesday, 10 November 2009 17:04 (3 years ago) Permalink
― henry s, Tuesday, 10 November 2009 18:06 (3 years ago) Permalink
35 years ago today
― Mark, Wednesday, 10 November 2010 14:27 (2 years ago) Permalink
Lightfoot; such a classic. I live in WI and the song gives me chills every time I hear it. One of the greatest narratives in song I can think of.
― frogbs, Wednesday, 10 November 2010 14:57 (2 years ago) Permalink
just saw this on fb
― fwiw: lol iirc sb'd u tbqh (dan m), Wednesday, 10 November 2010 18:14 (2 years ago) Permalink
The song charted in November of 1976, which is just after my very first vague memories of life, and you'd hear it on the radio all the time every November after. It was a pretty huge childhood memory for me and everyone within a couple years in age...
― joygoat, Tuesday, November 10, 2009 9:04 AM (1 year ago) Bookmark
in '76 i wasn't quite new to the world, but was new to america & american radio. this song made a similarly strong impression on me, (along with "bohemian rhapsody", "play that funky music" and "50 ways to leave your lover", each for different reasons). have heard it rarely in the last couple decades, probably just a small handful of times, usually in early november, but i'm always riveted through the end. one of the greatest story songs i've ever heard. i want to say that lightfoot deserves a lot more credit than he often gets, but i don't know his catalog, other than the hits.
buttholes version is cool, but never quite takes off. would have loved to hear gibby drop a couple verses.
― naked human hands and a foam rubber head (contenderizer), Wednesday, 10 November 2010 18:41 (2 years ago) Permalink
classic and despite following a folky storyteller type formula, somehow unique. bet Billy Joel wishes he wrote it.
― Kim, Wednesday, 10 November 2010 18:54 (2 years ago) Permalink
fellas, it's been good to know ya
― bomb.gif (dan m), Thursday, 10 November 2011 13:19 (1 year ago) Permalink
It's not November yet, but man is this making the hairs on my neck prickle tonight. It's just so icy - between the sad searing sweep of the lead guitar part and the otherwise subdued, gentle arrangement there's a whole span of the bleakness and tragedy of the situation. Also worth noting that Lightfoot doesn't go for any of the obvious chances to really open up on the vocals - - could easily imagine him belting out the last lines of the verses ("Fitz-gerAAAAALLLLLD!") but the verse just wraps and moves along. Somehow keeps the temperature just where it needs to be.
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 2 September 2012 05:27 (8 months ago) Permalink
Crew of the Edmund FitzgeraldMichael E. Armagost 37 3rd MateFrederick J. Beetcher 56 PorterThomas D. Bentsen 23 Oiler St.Edward F. Bindon 47 1st Asst. EngineerThomas D. Borgeson 41 Maintenance ManOliver J. Champeau 41 3rd Assistant EngineerNolan S. Church 55 PorterRansom E. Cundy 53 WatchmanThomas E. Edwards 50 Second Assistant EngineerRussell G. Haskell 40 Second Assistant EngineerGeorge J. Holl 60 Chief EngineerBruce L. Hudson 22 Deck HandAllen G. Kalmon 43 Second CookGordon F. MacLellan 30 WiperJoseph W. Mazes 59 Special Maintenance ManJohn H. McCarthy 62 First MateErnest M. McSorley 63 CaptainEugene W. O'Brien 50 WheelsmanKarl A. Peckol 20 WatchmanJohn J. Poviach 59 WheelsmanJames A. Pratt 44 Second MateRobert C. Rafferty 62 StewardPaul M. Riippa 22 Deck HandJohn D. Simmons 63 WheelsmanWilliam J. Spengler 59 WatchmanMark A. Thomas 21 Deck HandRalph G. Walton 58 OilerDavid E. Weiss 22 CadetBlaine H. Wilhelm 52 Oiler
― dansplaining (dan m), Sunday, 11 November 2012 00:13 (6 months ago) Permalink
And all that remains is the faces and the names / of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Incredible song. I doubt I ever heard it but once, maybe, before I moved to Ohio. And somehow being around people who knew the Great Lakes firsthand really clicked it into place for me. Can't think of very many other songs based on a real-life tragedy that so well balance the banality of it all with a real honoring of the dead. It's not exploitative and it's not bombastic, but nor does it dial things down so much that it loses the essential fact of a bunch of working people who died for no good reason, whose families never got to see them again. It's sincere, I think.
And man, that guitar part.
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 11 November 2012 01:28 (6 months ago) Permalink