; Tangled Up In Blue: The Legend Lives On...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Legend Lives On...

Thirty years ago today, November 10th, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank. What was a "local" story became an international incident thanks to Gordon Lightfoot's song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", which hit #2 on the Billboard charts a year after the tragedy. Now the Weather Channel, each November 10th, recalls the storm that was over Lake Superior, and the Discovery Channel has tried to recreate the accident using computer-generated animation.

All of this leads to this question: Lightfoot's classic is not the first song to be based on a true event. What are your favorite songs based on actual events? Lightfoot's song ranks high on my list, as does the Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays." Was (Not Was) did a song about JFK's assassination called "11 MPH" that is very good.

In country, there's "The Great Titanic" (or "The Sinking of the Titanic"), done by various artists (the best versions being by Pop Stoneman and Roy Acuff). Tom T. Hall's "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died" is very good (Lonnie Easterly was the guitar player's real name). Johnny Cash did two gems: "Remember the Alamo" and "The Ballad of Ira Hayes."

8 Comments:

Blogger mister anchovy said...

I like 11 mph....nice tune. The best versions of The Ballad of Ira Hayes, though, are by Tom Russell (on Cowboys Indians Horses and Dogs) and Townes van Zandt. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is a great tune, played to death around these parts (Toronto) when I was a kid. I has always reminded me of the Bob Dylan tune, North Country Blues.

How about Woody Guthrie's 1913 Massacre (take a trip with me, to 1913, to Calumet Michigan in the copper country....).... or even his Grand Coolee Dam (to the tune of Wabash Cannonball...it has that fabulous verse, In the misty crystal glitter of the wild and windward spray, men have fought her pounding waters and met a watery grave...those she tore their boats to splinters, she gave men dreams to dream, of the day the Coolee Dam would cross that wild and wasted stream.....

4:51 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

Tangential though it may be, can we count Zevon's "Veracruz"?

5:21 PM  
Blogger Glen Dean said...

Right away I think of the "Battle of New Orleans".

5:27 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Wait, I always thought Lightfoot was saying Ella Fitzgerald.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

Ballad Of John and Yoko.

1:18 AM  
Blogger Raizor's Edge said...

Rex,
Ella Fitzgerald didn't wreck, she only wrecked wine glasses in those Memorex commercials!! LOL

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

heh, heh you said Edmund fits Gerald, heheheh

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya' gothcer Dylan's Hurricane song; Smoke on the Water, about a real incident in Switzerland (hard to picture rockin' Swiss), 4 Dead in O H I O.
Think of this as you listen to most FM rock formats, how many of those lyrics are masturbatory fantasies set to music? Icky. Frank was right; never write a love song. They're a cruel lie.

10:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home