Neil Young paid tribute to a fellow Canadian songwriting legend on Tuesday (May 2) in a sentimental post dedicated to his friend, late singer Gordon Lightfoot. “I just spoke to Gordon a few weeks back and he sounded happy, although he had cancelled some shows and was re-organizing his touring. I was saddened when I learned today of his passing,” Young wrote of Lightfoot, the “If You Could Read My Mind” songwriter who died on Monday at age 84.
“Gordon was a great Canadian artist. A songwriter without parallel, His melodies and words were an inspiration to all writers who listened to his music, as they will continue to be through the ages,” continued Young, 77, who was born in Toronto. There is a unique and wonderful feeling to Gordon’s music. Lightfoot is a Canadian legend.”
Young covered Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain” and “If You Could Read My Mind” on his 2014 lo-fi covers album A Letter Home.
Lightfoot recently canceled a planned upcoming U.S. and Canada tour dates due to health issues. “Gordon Lightfoot announces the cancellation of his U.S. and Canadian concert schedule for 2023,” a statement read at the time. “The singer is currently experiencing some health related issues and is unable to confirm rescheduled dates at this time.”
Young joined a number of other artists and admirers singing Lightfoot’s praises, including Billy Joel, who covered the folk singer’s 1971 Billboard No. 5 hit “If You Could Read My Mind” in a home recording with the caption, “Sad morning over here. Rest easy Gordon Lightfoot. So sad to hear of the death of Gordon Lightfoot. He was a lifelong musical hear of mine…”
Seated at a black grand piano, Joel sang the lines, “If you could read my mind, love/ What a tale my thoughts could tell/ Just like an old time movie/ ‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well/ In a castle dark or a fortress strong/ With chains upon my feet/ You know that ghost is me/ And I will never be set free/ As long as I am a ghost, you can’t see.”
Watch Joel’s tribute here.