Album Background Information

Recorded: New York, NY in December, 1964
Released: January 1966
Out-takes: Betty Mae's A Good Time Gal; When Spring Was O'er The Land; Echoes Of Heroes; If You're Leaving; Red Velvet

Recorded: Nashville, TN
Released: 1967
Out-takes: Spin, Spin

Recorded: New York, NY in December, 1967
Released: April 1968
Out-takes: A Message To The Wind; You'll Still Be Needing Me
Notes: Produced by John Simon who worked with the Band, it marked Lightfoot's first use of orchestration on record.  The sessions included a stunning first-take recording of The Last Time I Saw Her.

Recorded: Nashville, TN at Owen Bradley's Barn in September 1968
Released: November 1968
Notes: On Red Shea's suggestion that Nashville studios could get the best acoustic guitar sound around, Lightfoot returned there to record this album.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Massey Hall in late March 1969 (live recording)
Released: September 1969
Notes: Lightfoot had 96 songs recorded over 4 concerts from which to choose.

Recorded: Los Angeles, CA at Sunwest in September, November and December 1969
Released: May 1970
Out-takes: You'll Still Be Needing Me; Cotton Jenny; Country Farewell; Stained Glass Morning; Same Old Loverman; Miguel; 24 Hour Blues; Looking At The Rain; Cool Persuasion; The Seabird Song.
Notes: In September Looking At The Rain, Cool Persuasion and Approaching LavenderSame Old Loverman which was done in December. The Seabird Song is a particularlity delightful tune, with a great atmosphere and mood - not nearly as lighthearted as the title might suggest.

Recorded: Nashville, TN at Woodland Sound in December 1970 and January and March 1971
Released: April 1971
Out-takes: Looking At The Rain; No More Lonely Nights; Loving Her Was Easier; Too Much To Lose; Divorce Country Style; You'll Still Be Needing Me; Station Master; Alberta Bound; Where Is The Next One 
Notes: The December 1970 sessions yielded Go My Way; Same Old Loverman; Talking In Your Sleep; Cabaret; Summer Side Of Life; Love And Maple Syrup. The January sessions produced Redwood Hill and Nous Vivons Ensemble.  The March sessions resulted in Ten Degrees And Getting Colder.  Two distinct versions of Kris Kristofferson's Loving Her Was Easier were recorded, one with a full band, the other with just acoustic guitars and bass and plenty of Lightfoot harmony vocal overdubs, however they remain unreleased, along with the very country Where Is The Next One, a few distinct recordings of Too Much To Lose, a rousing Divorce Country Style featuring some "ominous" laughter at the end courtesy of Lightfoot, Rick Haynes and Red Shea and an early full band run through of Alberta Bound, which was surprisingly similar in style and arrangement to the Gord's Gold II version than to the more folksy Don Quixote recording. Also discarded were the folksy No More Lonely Nights and several attempts at Looking At The Rain. An alternate Station Master with a more folk oriented arrangement than the Songbook version was also recorded. Perhaps most intriguing of all is the alternate mix of the title track, Summer Side Of Life, which does not have the wall of background singers on the choruses. To hear Lightfoot sing those passages alone and unadorned adds a beautiful edge and intimacy to the song that the released version misses. Also of note are the changed last two lines in the second verse, that in this alternate mix are sung; "There were no defenders then, to each his own delight, no chance was missed."

Recorded: Los Angeles, CA at Amigo Studio in December 1971 and January 1972
Released: April 1972
Out-takes: Too Much To Lose; Snow Blind Friend
Notes: This was Terry Clements first recording sessions as a member of the band. The majority of the album was completed in December of 1971, but he went back into the studio in January 1972 to wrap up the album with On Susan's Floor; Alberta Bound; Christian Island and The Patriot's Dream.  The Hoyt Axton cover, Snow Blind Friend, also done during the January sessions, could certainly have been a more than worthy candidate for inclusion on the album.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at RCA Studio in September 1972
Released: November 1972
Out-takes: Heaven Don't Deserve Me; Too Much To Lose
Notes: Lightfoot goes for a country tinged sound by employing local Toronto bluegrass band, the Good Brothers, to help on this album. Mother Of A Miner's Child is recorded with Red Shea on dobro to augment Lightfoot's guitar and Rick Hayne's bass, but the dobro is removed from the mix for the album release.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in November of 1973
Released: January 1974
Out-takes: Nitro Joe; Silvery Spoon; Whispers; Borderstone
Notes: Early versions of Sea Of Tranquility (under the title Silvery Spoon)and Whisper My Name (Whispers) were recorded during the Sundown sessions.  They would of course appear 6 years later in updated lyrical and melodic forms on the Dream Street Rose album.  The wonderful Borderstone was left off the album in testament to the tremendous quality of material Lightfoot had at his disposal for that record. Nitro Joe was a humurous song about a small time dealer who couldn't manage to stay ahead of the law. While it's a very good song in Lightfoot's patented key of E, with a very interesting chord progression, it clearly didn't fit with the tone of the album. The hit song Sundown was recorded with extra repetitions of the choruses and some added bars between verses but it was edited to the form found on the album, cutting almost a minute from the original recording in the process. The album's other hit single, Carefree Highway, was recorded much slower than it's finished product and it sounds much different without the piano and strings which were overdubbed later and greatly benefits the song along with the faster tempo. High And Dry also had numerous attempts, usually slower than the finished track, until a good tempo and arrangement were finally found. The female backing track was not added until the late stages and were not on any of the early mixes. Too Late For Praying is one song that may indeed be more powerful without the string section. Hearing it as it was recorded live on the studio floor with just guitars and bass is awesome.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in September and December 1974
Released: February 1975
Out-takes: Mama Said; Hangdog Hotel Room; Whispers; Stone Cold Sober
Notes: This album was recorded in two distinct stages. In September Lightfoot recorded Bend In The Water; Rainy Day People; Cold On The Shoulder; The Soul Is The Rock; Rainbow Trout; A Tree Too Weak To Stand; All The Lovely Ladies; Now And Then and Fine As Fine Can Be. Along with some of the out-takes, possibly including the acoustic Hangdog Hotel Room (with the early lyrics which include, "I believe in magic, I believe in light, and the kind of row I can really hoe is playing in tune all night" and "I go in for morning and going out at night, but the kind of test I like the best is loving the wrong girl right" and thoughout he sings "hearing a night-time tune" instead of "playing" as it later became) the album was set for release in that form in the fall of 1974. However when Carefree Highway became a hit, it bought Lightfoot time to go back in the studio and record some new songs. So in December he cut Bells Of The Evening; Cherokee
Bend and Slide On Over to augment the September tracks and completing the album with the lineup we know today. Among some of the early attempts in September ultimately replaced, was a superb recording of Rainbow Trout, without the transposed key change, featuring  just Lightfoot, Clements, Haynes and the intricate brush work of Jim Gordon, in a very delicate recording of the song that arguably surpasses the album track and a similarlily beautiful take on Whispers, that also arguably eclipses the updated track that eventually emerged on Dream Street Rose. Conversely, an early take of All The Lovely Ladies, is much improved upon on the later version that eventually made the album.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in July 1975
Released: November 1975
Notes: Lightfoot re-recorded 10 UA period songs to combine with his WB hits to that point to deliver a truly special greatest hits package.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in December 1975 and March 1976
Released: May 1976
Out-takes: Paper Mache
Notes: In late 1975 The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald; I'm Not Supposed ToCare; Race Among The Ruins and I'd Do It Again were cut.  Returning to the studio in March he completed the remainder of the album.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in August and November 1977
Released: January 1978
Notes: Much of the August recording was redone during the November sessions as Lightfoot was not totally satisfied with the August results.

Recorded: Los Angeles, CA at WB Recording in November 1979
Released: March 1980
Out-takes: Blackberry Wine; Forgive Me Lord; Heavenbound
Notes: Lightfoot was on the cutting edge of recording technology, making one of the first digitally recorded albums ever. The LA sessions were dampened somewhat when Lightfoot was held up at gun point and robbed at his LA hotel. Ever the man to press on, he changed hotels under a different name and continued recording. The earliest version of Forgive Me Lord was cut for this album with lines like, "Give my life an even chance to win" and "I been down on my luck and a little mixed up... searching along with a tear and a song".

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in March, April and June 1981
Released: February 1982
Out-takes: Gotta Get Away;  Keepin' On Yearning; Forgive Me Lord; Canary Yellow Canoe; Betty Called Me In; Two Crazy Kids
Notes: In March, In My Fashion; Heaven Help The Devil and I'll Do Anything, along with out-takes of Gotta Get Away and Keepin' On Yearning were recorded.  In April, All I'm After; Blackberry Wine; Thank You For The Promises; 14 Karat Gold; Baby Step Back; Triangle and She's Not The Same were cut. The album was wrapped up in June when Shadows and an unreleased out-take of Forgive Me Lord were completed.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in December 1982 and January and February 1983
Released: July 1983
Out-takes: Why Should I Feel Blue; Magic Minstrel Show; Forgive Me Lord; If It Should Please You; Always On The Bright Side; Never Say Trust Me
Notes: were cut, with and Lightfoot's most electric album to date is completed in February with numerous stand-out out-takes left aside. The December sessions yield Tattoo; Salute; Gotta Get Away; Whispers Of The North and Without You. In January Romance and Biscuit CityMagic Minstrel Show; If It Should Please You; Knotty Pine; Broken DreamsSomeone To Believe In completing the recording in February.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in January, June and December 1985 (Anything For Love was recorded in Los Angeles, CA at Lionshare and Lighthouse Recorders) and March 1986
Released: July 1986
Out-takes: Lifeline; Forgive Me Lord; Lily Of The Valley and Harlequin
Notes: were finished. June saw This was a titanic recording effort on Lightfoot's part, taking up huge periods of time in 1985 and much of 1986 in post-production and single remixes. One final recording of Forgive Me Lord was undertaken which turned out very well but once again was not included on the finished album. In January 1985 Stay Loose; Morning Glory and LifelineEast Of Midnight; I'll Tag Along and A Passing Ship undertaken, while in December A Lesson In Love; Let It Ride; Ecstacy Made Easy and Anything For Love ended recording for the year. Feeling he needed one more song when Forgive Me Lord was deemed unsuitable for the album, he recorded You Just Gotta Be in March 1986 completing his longest recording effort for a single album.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in April 1988
Released: September 1988
Notes: Another greatest hits package carefully re-recorded by Lightfoot and his band featuring a very "live" studio sound.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Eastern Sound in March 1992
Released: April 1993
Notes: In a return to a recording style of old, Lightfoot and his band cut this album, basically live on the studio floor, in a very short period.

Recorded: Hamilton, ON at Grant Avenue Studio over much of 1996
Released: May 1998
Out-takes: Sometimes Hearts Have To Wait; Plans Of My Own; The No Hotel; Shellfish; Ain't It Amazing
Notes: Lightfoot and his band recorded the album at a very liesurely pace over the course of 1996.

Recorded: Hamilton, ON at Grant Avenue Studio 2002 and 2003
Released: May 2004
Out-takes: Nighttime; I'm A Homeless Guy; Seems Like Forever; Streets; Where Have You Been; You Are My Destiny
Notes: The recording work that resulted in this album was unlike any other in Lightfoot's career. Prior to falling ill in September 2002, Lightfoot had done guitar/vocal demos of 18 new songs in preparation for going into the studio in November, 2002 with his band for the fullblown "Harmony" sessions. But fate intervened and when Lightfoot awoke from his coma in November, weeks after falling ill, he remembered those 18 demos. He was able to find 9 usuable tracks among them, onto which his band overdubbed their parts at Grant Avenue Studios in the summer of 2003. Two additional tracks, The No Hotel and Shellfish were taken from live Massey Hall recordings from May 2001.

Recorded: Toronto, ON at Massey Hall
Released: April 2012
Notes: Live recordings from Massey Hall series May 1998; November 1999 and May 2001.

Recorded: Hamilton, ON at Grant Avenue Studio 2002
Released: March 2020
Notes: Recorded in 2002 during the sessions that produced Harmony. These tracks were misplaced until Lightfoot rediscovered them in his desk in 2018. Released in their original guitar and vocal format, hence the title, Solo.

Refer to the "Unreleased Songs" section from the main page to find lyrics to
many of the songs listed above as out-takes.