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Gordon Lightfoot - Complete Greatest Hits

4.7 out of 5 stars 395 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 2, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The most comprehensive single-CD collection by this treasured troubadour. These 1965-1987 United Artists, Reprise and Warner Bros. tracks include his Top 10 hits Sundown; If You Could Read My Mind; The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald; Carefree Highway , and 14 more!


Though he rose from the ranks of journeyman '60s folksinger to become a potent and consistent '70s hit maker, Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot's stock in trade was as much hard-eyed, dispassionate observation as romance or poetic whimsy. Perhaps that's why his songs have been covered by everyone from Elvis (this set's "Early Morning Rain") to Dylan. If there's such a thing as an alpha-male folkie, Lightfoot certainly fits the bill. Spanning the tongue-in-cheek chauvinism of 1965's "For Lovin' Me" and the cheatin' ways of "Sundown" to more introspective fare like "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Beautiful," this 20-track collection presents a concise primer on Lightfoot's career and craft. After his career peaked with one of the most unlikely top five hits ever, the gloom-laden 1976 narrative "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," Lightfoot's production tailed off sharply, though this anthology's "Stay Loose" ('86) and "Restless" ('93) are testament to his enduring skills as a songwriter and performer. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Early Morning Rain
  2. For Lovin' Me
  3. Go-Go Round
  4. Canadian Railroad Trilogy
  5. Pussywillows, Cat-Tails
  6. Bitter Green
  7. If You Could Read My Mind
  8. Summer Side of Life
  9. Cotton Jenny
  10. Beautiful
  11. Sundown
  12. Carefree Highway
  13. Rainy Day People
  14. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
  15. Race Among the Ruins
  16. Daylight Katy
  17. The Circle is Small
  18. Baby Step Back
  19. Stay Loose
  20. Restless

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 2, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B00005YW4N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (395 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Until now, Canadian Gordon Lightfoot - the most folk-oriented of the singer-songwriters who made it big on the pop charts in the `70s - has never had a single disc retrospective of his work that was even remotely worthy of him. His prior collections on Reprise (1975's Gord's Gold and, especially, 1988's Gord's Gold 2) were filled with inferior remakes of many of his most celebrated recordings.
Complete Greatest Hits is a vast improvement over those sets, with the original versions of all of his best-known songs. It leads off with six recordings from his years at United Artists (1965-1969). While Lightfoot's warm, deep voice and engaging melodies were present even on these early efforts, it was others who initially charted with his songs, such as Peter, Paul, & Mary with the enclosed "Early Morning Rain" and "For Lovin' Me."
In 1970, Lightfoot signed with Warner Brothers subsidiary Reprise (highlights of his twenty-plus years at this label make up the remaining fourteen tracks found here). Soon after signing with Reprise, Lightfoot began to make a name for himself as a singer with the introspective top five hit "If You Could Read My Mind." He also continued to write songs that were popularized by others, such as the enclosed "Cotton Jenny" for fellow Canadian Anne Murray.
In the early 70s, singer-songwriters became the rage in popular music and Lightfoot certainly contributed to the movement's success with the big hits "Sundown," "Carefree Highway," and "Rainy Day People." His 1976 six minute-plus epic "Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" would prove to be Lightfoot's artistic peak as well as his final major commercial success, although he would continue to make some fine music during the rest of the `70s.
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Format: Audio CD
OK, I'm a devoted fan. I admit it. But this 20 song collection is just the best single CD hits collection there is. Of course, when you look at the song titles, you will know that it has to be.
It is the first Lightfoot single CD greatest hits collection to have the original version of all of his top charting songs, and also his original recording of songs that were hits for others before he was well established as a singer. So you find If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown, Carefree Highway and Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - the original recordings - as well as beautiful early recordings of such folks standards as Early Mornin' Rain, For Lovin' Me and Canadian Railroad Trilogy. In the only departure from "original" recordings, The Circle Is Small is the rerecording from Endless Wire, but this is the recording that charted. And, in his inimitable style, Lightfoot personally selected the final cut, the song Restless from the out of print 1993 album Waiting For You. Lightfoot loves the song, and when you hear it - perhaps for the first time - you will too.
So, put together, you have an outstanding single CD collection - for the casual music lover or for the devoted Lightfoot fan. Even if you have all these songs on CD already (and the devoted fan probably does), you don't have them sounding like this! The remastering is unbelievably exquisite; it is almost hard to believe, but some of the songs sound even better than on the Songbook boxed set! There are four songs here that aren't on the boxed set, and these sound much better than on the original CD. Also, two of the hits are from the single (vs. album) mix, so they really are somewhat different.
The single mix of If You Could Read My Mind includes harmony vocals (by Lightfoot) that are not on the album version.
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Format: Audio CD
[Full disclosure: I produced this album (which is to say "selected the tracks on"; I didn't actually twist any knobs) and wrote the liner notes, as well as having co-produced the Lightfoot box set Songbook. Please course-correct as you feel appropriate.]

The inherent hazard in putting together a collection from as prolific and talented an artist as Gordon Lightfoot (not that one often has the chance, mind you --- there aren't many in his class out there) is that something inevitably gets lost. With only 20 tracks available to me, I wasn't even able to pick one song for every year he's been performing, so of course some very fine material got left off. I hate it when that happens. My natural inclination would have been to call the record something like "Gordon Lightfoot: An Introduction," but my inner marketing geek (as well as every other marketing geek at Rhino) told me it wasn't as compelling a title.

The thinking behind this was to put together a single disc with all the Billboard charting hits from both the UA/EMI and WB/Reprise years, plus a smattering of the FM turntable hits and later work. Its purpose was to give the casual fan one-stop shopping (previously, one had to buy Gord's Gold, Gord's Gold 2 and one of the many EMI compilations to amass all the hits), and to serve as a point of entry for someone who has recently encountered Gordon's work for the first time and doesn't know exactly where to begin.

I hope and believe it serves those two purposes admirably, or at the very least, adequately.
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