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Gordon Lightfoot’s Biggest Billboard Hits: ‘Sundown,’ ‘Edmund Fitzgerald’ & More

tazz | May 2, 2023

Gordon Lightfoot scored success on multiple Billboard charts during his lifetime, imprinting such classic songs as “Sundown,” “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “If You Could Read My Mind” and more on pop culture.

As previously reported, Lightfoot died at age 84 on Monday.

Born in Ontario, Canada, the folk-rock legend first hit the Billboard Hot 100 dated Dec. 26, 1970, with “If You Could Read Mind,” which rose to No. 5 the following February. He led the list for a week in June 1974 with “Sundown,” while follow-up “Carefree Highway” reached No. 10 that November. He returned to the top 10 with his opus “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” which hit No. 2 in November 1976.

In addition to his Hot 100 history, Lightfoot charted 17 albums on the Billboard 200 during his lifetime, starting in 1969. He led with Sundown for two weeks in June 1974 – the latter concurrent with the rule of its title cut on the Hot 100 – and also hit the top 10 with Cold on the Shoulder (No. 10, 1975).

Lightfoot also scored four No. 1s, among six top 10s, on the Adult Contemporary chart: “If You Could Read My Mind” (for one week in 1971), “Sundown” (two weeks, 1974), “Carefree Highway” (one week, 1974) and “Rainy Day People” (one, 1975).

Additionally, on Hot Country Songs, Lightfoot hit the top 10 with “Sundown” (No. 13, 1974).

Dating to the inception of Luminate data in 1991, Lightfoot sold 3.6 million albums in the United States (through April 27), while his songs drew 914.1 million official on-demand audio and video streams and 2.2 billion in radio airplay audience.

“We have lost one of our greatest singer-songwriters,” Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted on social media, among others who have paid tribute. “Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape. May his music continue to inspire future generations, and may his legacy live on forever.”

Here’s a recap of Lightfoot’s biggest Billboard Hot 100 hits.

Gordon Lightfoot’s Biggest Billboard Hits recap is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.

Written by tazz

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