Neil Young remembers Gordon Lightfoot: 'Lightfoot is a Canadian legend'

Neil Young has paid tribute to friend and hero Gordon Lightfoot credit:Bang Showbiz
Neil Young has paid tribute to friend and hero Gordon Lightfoot credit:Bang Showbiz

Neil Young says the late folk-pop legend Gordon Lightfoot was in good spirits, just weeks before his death aged 84.

The 77-year-old musician covered his pop hits ‘Early Morning Rain’ and ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ on his 2014 covers LP 'A Letter Home'.

And in a touching tribute on his website, Young said: “I just spoke to Gordon a few weeks back, and he sounded happy, although he had cancelled some shows and was reorganising his touring. I was saddened when I learned today of his passing.”

The 'Heart of Gold' hitmaker added how Lightfoot's music will live "through the ages".

He penned: “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. There is a unique and wonderful feeling to Gordon’s music. Lightfoot is a Canadian legend. His song just came up today by itself on the Hearse Schedule. PEACE Gordon. Love Neil.”

The seminal Canadian artist passed away at a Toronto hospital on Monday evening (01.05.23), his publicist Victoria Lord confirmed.

His death came after his declining health caused him to axe his tour three weeks earlier.

No cause of death was given.

However, the guitarist suffered from Bell’s palsy and was once placed in a coma in 2002 after an artery in his stomach ruptured.

Adored by music legends, including Bob Dylan, Lightfoot's songs were also covered by the likes of Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Cash, and even punk rockers Jane's Addiction.

Fellow Canadian Bryan Adams led tributes to the man who pioneered the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s.

He wrote on Instagram alongside a picture with his idol: "This one is really hard to write. Once in a blue moon you get to work and hang out with one of the people you admired when you were growing up. I was lucky enough to say Gordon was my friend and I'm gutted to know he's gone. The world is a lesser place without him. I know I speak for all Canadians when I say: thank you for the songs Gordon Lightfoot. Bless your sweet songwriting heart, RIP dear friend."

Dylan once said of Lightfoot: "I can't think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don't like. Every time I hear a song of his, it's like I wish it would last forever ... Lightfoot became a mentor for a long time. I think he probably still is to this day."