The final album from Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, who died May 1 at age 84, will be released on July 14.
At Royal Albert Hall is a double album that was recorded live in concert at the legendary London venue on May 24, 2016. It’s Lightfoot’s fourth live album, following a 1962 release, Two Tones at the Village Corner; Sunday Concert (which reached No. 143 on the Billboard 200 in 1969); and All Live, a 2012 release.
At Royal Albert Hall is described in a press statement as “an unembellished live mix of that night’s performance, without edits, overdubs, remixing, or re-sequencing. It captures every song performed in the order they were played, down to the encore by Gordon and his band – Rick Haynes on bass, Barry Keane on drums, Mike Heffernan on keys, and Carter Lancaster on guitar.”
It is being released via Linus Entertainment, the Canadian independent label that released Harmony, Lightfoot’s last studio album with his band, in 2004. (A subsequent studio album, Solo, did not feature his band.)
The upcoming, 26-track album features six of Lightfoot’s 11 Billboard Hot 100 hits, including all four of his top 10 hits: “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” It also has his Hot 100 hits “Rainy Day People” and the exquisite “Beautiful” and includes “Early Morning Rain,” a Hot 100 hit that Lightfoot wrote in 1965 for Peter, Paul & Mary.
The collection also features songs that have never previously appeared on a live album, including “The Watchman’s Gone,” “Sea of Tranquility,” “Now and Then,” “All the Lovely Ladies,” “Drifters,” “Beautiful,” “Did She Mention My Name,” “Sweet Guinevere,” “Never Too Close,” “Don Quixote,” “Minstrel of the Dawn,” “I’d Rather Press On” and “Waiting for You.”
In the weeks prior to his death, Lightfoot reportedly insisted that this live album be released as soon as possible. He approved the cover artwork and made it clear that no changes were to be made to the recording.
Lightfoot’s songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Barbra Streisand and hundreds of other artists.
Lightfoot was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. He won 13 Juno Awards in his native Canada, capped by his induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1986. He won four Juno Awards for male vocalist of the year (1971-73 and 1975) and two for composer of the year (1973 and 1977). Lightfoot was nominated for four Grammys (but never won) — best folk performance for Did She Mention My Name (1968), best pop vocal performance, male for “If You Could Read My Mind” (1971) and song of the year and best pop vocal performance, male for “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (1976).
The esteem with which Lightfoot was held was reflected in tweets and other messages that were released following his death. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote: “We have lost one of our greatest singer-songwriters,” he states. Lightfoot “captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape. May his music continue to inspire future generations, and may his legacy live on forever. To his family, friends, and many fans across the country and around the world: I’m keeping you in my thoughts at this difficult time.”
Neil Young, Billy Joel, Bryan Adams, Brian Wilson, Belinda Carlisle and more also weighed in with thoughtful messages.
“Gordon was a great Canadian artist,” wrote Young, a fellow Canadian. “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.”
Joel wrote: “Sad morning over here. Rest easy Gordon Lightfoot. So sad to hear of the death of Gordon Lightfoot. He was a lifelong musical hero of mine…”
“This one is really hard to write,” read a statement from Adams, another Canadian musician. “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.”
Here’s the complete track listing for At Royal Albert Hall:
“The Watchman’s Gone”
“Sea of Tranquility”
“Now and Then”
“All the Lovely Ladies”
“A Painter Passing Through”
“Rainy Day People”
“Did She Mention My Name”
“Ribbon of Darkness”
“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”
“Never Too Close”
“Minstrel of the Dawn”
“I’d Rather Press On”
“Let It Ride”
“If You Could Read My Mind”
“Baby Step Back”
“Early Morning Rain”
“Waiting for You”