Gordon Lightfoot Day 1977

By Wayne Francis

On November 17, 1977 CHUM-FM in Toronto in conjunction with RPM declared it "Gordon Lightfoot Day" in Toronto in celebration of his birthday and on 20 years in the music business. RPM published a special issue of their magazine devoted entirely to Lightfoot. The issue included paid best wishes from
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau; Eastern Sound Recording; Toronto mayor David Crombie; City of Orillia; Bernie Finkelstein; Q107; International Creative Management; Sunrise Records & Tapes; Colomby Travel Agency; CAPAC; A&A Records and Tapes; Sam Gesser (Montreal Concert Promoter); Long & McQuade Musical Instruments; UA Records; CHUM-FM and on the inside back cover Early Morning Productions, with best wishes from the guys in the band and finally on the back cover WB Records.

CHUM-FM devoted the day's music to Lightfoot and aired an interview with Lightfoot (who had to interrupt recording of Endless Wire to make it to the station) and held reception for him at the station with, you guessed it, a guitar shaped cake. RPM described the scene:

"We thought we should get him a cake, to give a party atmosphere to the day. We've got five hours before Lightfoot arrives at the station. So we call Hunt's Bakery, which is just down the street and tell them we want a cake. We find out they make a cake in the shape of a guitar, so I said jeez we want one of those. When can you have it done? Well, it takes five days for one of those cakes. I told her we need the cake in five hours. They said there was no way. I explained it was Gordon Lightfoot and it turns out the guy who is the head baker down there is a big Lightfoot fan and he really wants to do this for him. He had the cake at the station just in time. Gordon was like a big kid. We had some champagne and a bit of cake and it was really funny after the interviews, here's Lightfoot, this multi-millionaire singer-songwriter, walking down Yonge Street, outside CHUM studios, holding this immense cake and putting it on the back seat of his car."

Many big name artists called in their greetings, which were aired along with the Lightfoot interview throughout the day. Lightfoot sat in with DJ Larry Wilson to close out the day (11PM to midnight) playing yet to be released cuts from Endless Wire along with songs from artists Lightfoot chose, including Bob Dylan; David Wiffin; Murray McLauchlan (Honky Red); Harry Chapin (Better Place To Be); and the Good Brothers (Cowboy From Rue St. Germain). He closed out the show and the day with Hangdog Hotel Room, which was surely the first airing of that song as the album would not be out until early the next year.

RPM closed out their special issue with the quote: "And they shall be accounted poet Kings who simply tell the most heart-easing things!"

Levon Helm, Ronnie Hawkins