I am writing this article to express my deepest condolences and to honor the memory of the late Gordon Lightfoot, a truly remarkable artist whose music touched the hearts of many, including my father, the late Paul Ehline. As tributes pour in from around the globe, I correctly decided to make one of my own. As a devoted fan, my father took me to at least one of his shows when I was little, including one in Ontario, Canada. I also saw world-famous bands like Boston, Chicago, and Fleetwood Mac with Dad. And he occasionally used to take me to disco night at Knott’s Berry Farm in my hometown of Orange County, CA.
Dad was quite the dancer, and his blue, yes, far bluer than mine, had the ladies on fire for him. Paul could really strike a pose with the ladies, especially the Australians and the Canadians. I wanted to take a moment to recognize Lightfoot’s immense contributions as a singer and songwriter to the music industry, his service as a veteran himself, and his impact on my life. I will never forget the days of Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever, and Grease.
One famous radio broadcaster said, “the loss of Gordon Lightfoot cannot be measured.” Lightfoot’s friends and fellow folk musician Stephen Fearing asserted that Lightfoot was one of his mentors, stating:
“Thank you, Gordon Lightfoot. You taught me so much, and last summer, playing for you was moving and joyful,” referencing Lightfoot’s induction into the Mariposa Folk Festival Hall of Fame in Tudhope Park last summer.
“I wish you safe travels wherever you go and rest assure we will all sing your songs from here on out. Maestro, giant, beautiful.”
Liona Boyd, known as the “first lady of guitar,” gave Lightfoot at least partial credit for her success. She had opened for his tours back in the 1970s.
Gordon Lightfoot’s timeless melodies and heartfelt lyrics have captivated audiences for decades, and his songs have become the soundtrack of many lives. His ability to convey emotions through his music was truly remarkable, and his voice resonated profoundly with listeners. His songs, such as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “If You Could Read My Mind,” hold a special place in the hearts of many, including veterans like myself.
One aspect that I admired about Gordon Lightfoot was his commitment to supporting the less fortunate, including many veterans. Through his music and philanthropic efforts, he brought attention to the sacrifices and challenges faced by those who have served their country. His support and dedication to veteran causes served as a source of inspiration and comfort to many who have experienced the realities of war and its aftermath.
In this video, they take a deep dive into Lightfoot’s military service, including his six years with the Royal Canadian Army Reserve and his time with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. They also explore the themes of his music, including love, loss, and the Canadian experience.
Through interviews with military experts and music historians, they uncover the fascinating story of how Lightfoot’s military service shaped his career and contributed to his status as one of Canada’s most beloved musicians.
While serving in the army, Lightfoot’s unwavering dedication to music remained intact. He seized every opportunity to share his talent with fellow soldiers, performing heartfelt melodies that provided solace and inspiration amidst the challenges of military life. He was a mentor to Bob Dylan, who was a huge fan of Lightfoot. He was also admired by Elvis Presley, Barbara Streisand, and Johnny Cash.
He is most famous for tunes like Pussy Willows Cat-Tails, and the Canadian Railroad Trilogy. Perhaps his greatest musical achievement inducted into my mind was “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” This is the song I remember today immediately after his passing, and the tune many people revere him for, a Canadian honoring American sailors. It was an honor to have the privilege of growing up accompanied on the planet by such great people leaving me with such great memories. Canada lost one the last of its truly masculine, caring men, a success icon to all free people.
In light of his contributions, I would like to suggest the establishment of a memorial or tribute in honor of Gordon Lightfoot, specifically highlighting his support for veterans alive and those who passed. This could take the form of a scholarship fund or a charitable initiative aimed at assisting veterans in need. By perpetuating his legacy in this manner, we can ensure that his commitment to veterans continues to make a positive impact for years to come.
I would be honored to contribute in any way possible to such an endeavor. Please let me know if there are any fundraising efforts or initiatives that I can support or participate in to help bring this idea to fruition. Once again, my deepest sympathies go out to all who mourn Gordon Lightfoot’s loss. His music and his dedication to supporting veterans will forever be remembered and cherished.
Thank you for your attention, and may the memory of Gordon Lightfoot live on through the melodies he shared with the world. Join us on this enthralling journey that sheds light on the profound impact of Lightfoot’s military background, shaping him into an iconic figure in Canada’s cultural landscape. Whether you are a devoted fan of Lightfoot’s music or intrigued by the rich tapestry of military history, this video offers a captivating perspective on the life of a legendary artist.
Donations submitted through donation forms on PaulEhlineRide.Org are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by U.S. and state laws. These will be in U.S. Federal Reserve Notes. Paul Ehline Memorial Ride™ is a U.S. nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable Section 501(c)(19) organization that benefits US Armed Forces veterans under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. (Tax identification number 85-4040563.)