Title: The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

Artist: Gordon Lightfoot

Album: Summertime Dream

Year Released: 1976

What It Is: In case you don’t know (young in’) this is a tale of a famous shipwreck in Lake Superior by the Edmund Fitzgerald in November 1975. The “Fitz” was the largest ship on the Great Lakes at the time, and even though it had trouble with “the gales of November” (you know, they came early and all), down she went without much warning in the big lake they call Gitchee Gumee.

Riffage / Hookage: I think the reason for its popularity is the guitar and slide guitar parts more than anything else. Terry Clements and Pee Wee Charles’ lines stick in your head for sure. I mean, you know the guitar riff after the verses by heart, don’t you?

Cowbell?: Nah. Just good ol’ MOR drummin’.

Words Of Wisdom: “When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it’s too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it’s been good to know ya.”

I understand that Lightfoot was using poetic license, but you know, since everyone died on the boat, it is plausible that the cook came on deck and said, “HOLY SHIT! WE GONNA DIE!” and then binged on hard tack and grog. Yo ho ho!

Mixology Report:Well, it is rather a depresso song, but everyone KNOWS it, and those guitar parts, man, they stick with ya. So, use your judegement.

For The Good Of The Order: This is proof positive that the 70’s were just a weird decade. This song is 6:28, and it’s about a shipwreck and is a sad (poignant, moving, yes, but still…) sea shanty. This went to #2 on the Billboard charts as a single. Again, let me say this: #2! Not only did it have to sell a metric ton of copies, but Top 40 radio stations had to play it pretty regularly. Can you imagine your ‘hot hit’ radio station playing something like this NOW? (I wonder how Casey Kasem reacted to it, and if he had any issues with long distance dedications about dying dogs right after it…)

BTW, this was kept out of the top spot by “Tonight’s The Night” by Rod Stewart. Yeah…those songs are similar, right?

Here’s Gordon on the late great show Soundstage doing his thing (the band and good singer well seasoned) with some film of said Edmund Fitzgerald: