Gordon Lightfoot gained popularity in the 1960s and 70s as a pioneering folk-pop artist. His compositions have been covered by some of the most well-known musicians in the world, earning him the title of Canada's greatest songwriter.

Picture of Canadian singer-songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot
Caption: Picture of Canadian singer-songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot (Photo: Pinterest)

About Gordon Lightfoot Early Life

In Orillia, Ontario, he was born on November 17, 1938, to Gordon Lightfoot Sr and Jessica Lightfoot. His parents owned a local dry cleaning business. His birth name Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. Early on, Lightfoot's mother discovered his musical potential, and she raised him to become a prominent kid musician. Also, he had an elder sibling sister, Beverley (1935–2017).

While studying at high school in Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute, he used to perform regularly. Lightfoot studied the piano as a teen and self-taught himself how to play the drums and percussion. In 1958, he moved to Los Angeles to study jazz composition and orchestration for two years at Westlake College of Music.


Lightfoot composed, orchestrated and produced commercial jingles while living in California in order to support himself. He also contributed vocals to demo records. Following his return to Canada, Lightfoot played with the Gino Silvi Singers and the Singin' Swingin' Eight, two bands that were broadcast on CBC TV's Country Hoedown. He quickly gained popularity in Toronto's coffee shops that featured folk music. He released two singles, both recorded at RCA in Nashville and produced by Chet Atkins in the year 1961. His tracks "I'm the One" and "It's Too Late, He Wins" aired on the radio and became well-known locally. Later, in 1962, he collaborated with Terry Whelan to make the live album "Two-Tones at the Village Corner." In the year 1963, he start touring in Europe and the UK. Also, Gordon hosted BBC’s ‘Country and Western Show’. Gordon wrote songs that were performed by several well-known performers, such as Marty Robbins and Elvis Presley.

Gordon Lightfoot posing for the picture
Caption: Gordon Lightfoot posing for the picture (Photo: concho)

He chose Albert Grossman to be his agent in 1965 and entered into a recording contract with United Artists. The following year, his 'Lightfoot!'-titled the first album was published and became a huge hit and earned him several accolades. In 1967, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation hired him to create a special program. He recorded four albums during the following years: "The Way I Feel" (1967), "Did She Mention My Name?" 'Sunday Concert' (1969) and 'Back Here on Earth' (1968) were produced by United Artists. He secured a recording contract with Warner Bros, following a dispute with United Artists. He released his single "If You Could Read My Mind" in 1971, and it quickly became a smash all over the world. His frequency of international tours increased after signing with Warner Bros. With Warner Bros, he enjoyed a successful career with several hit albums "Summer Side of Life," "Don Quixote," "Old Dan's Records," "Sundown," "Cold on the Shoulder," "Summertime Dream," and "Endless Wire".

Gordon Lightfoot performing on the stage
Caption: Gordon Lightfoot performing on the stage (Photo: wikimedia)

He released original albums such as ‘Dream Street Rose’ in 1980, ‘Shadows’ in 1982, ‘Salute’ in 1983, ‘East of Midnight’ in 1986, ‘Waiting for You’ in 1993, and ‘A Painter Passing Through’ in 1998. Gordon had to undergo surgery for his stomach in the year 2002 and remained in critical care. In the year 2003, he signed up with Linus Entertainment and released a new album, ‘Harmony’, in 2004. At Mariposa, Peterborough, and Hamilton, he made a comeback to the stage and performed. He used a replacement musician, but gradually he developed the control and agility to pick up the guitar again. He kept performing many times a year despite his declining health and advanced age. 

Gordon Lightfoot Net Worth

As per reports, Gordon Lightfoot had a net worth of $40 Million at the time of his death. He earned a hefty sum of money while working as a singer-songwriter. Gordon resided in one of the wealthiest communities in North York, Toronto, for a significant portion of his later years.

Picture of Gordon Lightfoot driving the car
Caption: Picture of Gordon Lightfoot driving the car (Photo: thumbnails)

In the year 1999, he purchased a mansion for $4 million and today it's worth an estimated $15-20 million. When he was alive, Gordon had lived a lavish life. 

Gordon Lightfoot Personal Life

Gordon Lightfoot was married three times in his life. He got married to his first wife, Brita Ingegerd Olaisson in April 1963. Out of their married life, they became parents of two children Fred and Ingrid. Sadly, the duo ended their married life with divorce in the year 1973 due to his infidelity. He remained unmarried for 16 years but had two other children from relationships between his first and second marriages; Gaylen McGee and Eric Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot with his wife Kim Hasse
Caption: Gordon Lightfoot with his wife Kim Hasse (Photo: amomama)

Then he got married to his 2nd wife Elizabeth Moon in 1989. The couple had two more children Miles and Meredith. Eventually, they got officially divorced in 2011 but separated in the early 2000s. Lightfoot wed for a third time, Kim Hasse. On December 19, 2014, they exchanged vows at Rosedale United Church.

Health Issues & Death of Gordon Lightfoot 

Throughout his life and career, Lightfoot has dealt with a number of serious health concerns. He had Bell's palsy in 1972, which temporarily immobilized part of his face. Three decades later, before to a concert in Orillia, he experienced excruciating stomach discomfort. He was then flown by helicopter to a hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, where he underwent urgent surgery for an abdominal aneurysm. Lightfoot endured many surgeries, including a tracheotomy, while he was in a six-week coma.

Picture of Gordon Lightfoot
Caption: Picture of Gordon Lightfoot (Photo: thefamousepeople)

Lightfoot suffered a mild stroke in the midst of a concert in 2006, eventually losing the use of the middle and ring fingers on his right hand. Even though he started performing again nine days later, it took him around seven months to fully recuperate. On May 1, 2023, Lightfoot died of natural causes at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. At the age of 84, he passed away. Also, Lightfoot was buried next to his parents at St. Andrew's and St. James' Cemetery.

Gordon Lightfoot Height

Gordon Lightfoot has a height of 6 feet or 1.83 m tall.