Going for Gold: Gordon Lightfoot, “Sundown”
44 years ago today, a Canadian music icon found himself officially declared to be the possessor of a gold record for a single that’s become one of his signature hits as well as one of the most successful songs of his career.
“Sundown” was written by the man who sung it: Gordon Lightfoot, who’d begun his singing career in the late 1950s, secured success as a songwriter by the mid-1960s (his composition “Ribbon of Darkness” was a #1 country hit for Marty Robbins in 1965), and finally began to see some hits of his own by the time the ‘70s rolled around. Indeed, it was in 1970 that Lightfoot first broke really big in America for the first time, thanks to the immortal “If You Could Read My Mind,” which went to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the magazine’s Adult Contemporary singles chart. It wasn’t until Lightfoot’s 1974 album SUNDOWN, however, that things really started to kick into overdrive for him on the LP front, with his subsequent three albums all making their way into the top 40 of the Billboard 200.
With the help of its title track and the subsequent single, “Carefree Highway,” which was a top-10 hit on the Hot 100 as well as another #1 Adult Contemporary hit, SUNDOWN proved to be Lightfoot’s first gold album, and given how long he’d been working at that point, it’s fair to say that it was an accomplishment which was well deserved.
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