Gordon Lightfoot – Early Morning Rain …. Canadian Week

Robbie Robertson“a cultural treasure of the Canadian nation.”

From now until Friday it’s going to be Canadian Week…with all Canadian artists. Two of which I’ve never posted on before and one at the very end…were all Canadian except a certain southern drummer. I hope you will join me this week whether you are Canadian or not…there will be some great artists.

I grew up with Lightfoot’s songs. He was one of the very few respected artists my sister liked so I was hearing his songs when I was around 5 or 6. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is still a go-to song for me. From Sundown to If You Could Read My Mind and all the ones in between. This particular song is such a perfectly written number. I first heard this by Elvis Presley when I was a kid.

Gordon Lightfoot - Early Morning Rain

Bob Dylan covered this song on his Self Portrait album and it helped Gordon’s career. So many have covered this song. Here is a link to the second-hand songs website if you want to see them all.  Elvis Presley, Dylan, Jerry Reed, Steve Forbert, Jerry Lee Lewis, Peter Paul and Mary, and a TON more. You know you have written a great song when you have those quality artists covering it.

It didn’t chart for Lightfoot but other artists took the song to the charts. According to Wiki… Ian and Sylvia #1 on the Canada AC Charts in 1965, Peter, Paul, and Mary #39 in Canada and #91 on the Billboard 100, George Hamilton IV #9 on the Billboard Country Charts in 1971, Oliver #28 in the Billboard AC Charts in 1971, Paul Weller #40 in the UK in 2005… even the Grateful Dead covered this song.

Gordon died on May 1, 2023. The music world lost a huge legend with Gordon Lightfoot. It’s hard to put into words how great of a songwriter the man was.

Gordon Lightfoot on Bob Dylan recording this song:  “I was totally blown away that he would record one of my songs in the first place. It helped my career – I’d not had a hit single myself at that point. His cover was a linchpin in that whole process because it made people in the industry aware that I was producing good songs.”

Robbie Robertson“a cultural treasure of the Canadian nation.”

Bob Dylan: “I can’t think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like. Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever. “

Bob Dylan: Lightfoot died “without ever having made a bad song”

Early Morning Rain

In the early mornin’ rain
With a dollar in my hand
With an aching in my heart
And my pockets full of sand
I’m a long ways from home
And I missed my loved one so
In the early mornin’ rain
With no place to go

Out on runway number nine
Big seven o seven set to go
Well I’m stuck here on the grass
With a pain that ever grows
Where the liquor tasted good
And all the women all were fast
There, there she goes my friend
She’s rolling down at last

Hear the mighty engines roar
See the silver wing on high
She’s away and westward bound
For above the clouds she’ll fly
Where the mornin’ rain don’t fall
And the sun always shines
She’ll be flying over my home
In about three hours time

This ol’ airport’s got me down
It’s no damn good to me
And I’m stuck here on the ground
As cold and drunk as I can be
Can’t jump a jet plane
Like you can a freight train
So I best be on my way
In the early mornin’ rain
Can’t jump a jet plane
Like you can a freight train
So I best be on my way
In the early mornin’ rain


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

68 thoughts on “Gordon Lightfoot – Early Morning Rain …. Canadian Week”

  1. Man when you have the Grateful Dead covering you it shows that you have done something right as a song writer. Max watch Rick Beato on YouTube as he did a really great job of breaking down a few of Gord’s tunes. You would really like it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dude…you watch Rick Beato also? I’ve watched him for a while now break down Beatle riffs and other things…I like him a lot. I will check him out man.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great start to Canada week, and great idea to do a Canada artists week. I’ll look forward to what’s to come. It is indeed hard to express the contributions of Gordon Lightfoot. This song shows that he made Dylan sound as good or better than Dylan singing his own songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had written up 3 different artists and I realized they were all Canadian so I just picked a few more and thought I’d have a week.
      Dylan did put a lot of care in it…that album of covers does sound different…vocals…. than his other stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful idea to have a Canadian week. This land is a true music treasure and you certainly picked one of the best singer-songwriters to kick off your series. I couldn’t agree with you more, when Dylan, Steve Forbert, Elvis Presley and other artists cover your songs you sure as heck know you must be doing something.

    I love “Early Morning Rain”, both Gord’s original, as well as the covers by Elvis and Dylan. Watching that clip of Elvis, I’m once again reminded how great his voice sounded even when he physically was no longer in the best condition.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Canadian week…I approve, eh! And a very good way to start it. One of the few musicians who are/were icons in Canada & who earned vast amounts of respect worldwide. And this, his first real great song. Doing OK when you were a brand new artist & Elvis Presley wanted to record your first hit single. Gord was a big part of my childhood soundtrack & I grew to appreciate him more the older I’ve gotten

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL… yes he was part of mine also. My sister picked a winner in this one…finally!
      When Dylan…Bob Dylan covers you…you are a great songwriter….not to mention all of the other artists like Elvis.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is the only Gordon Lightfoot song that I ever wrote a post about. Oddly, the Grateful Dead performed this song six times from 1965 to 1966 and it was sung by Phil Lesh. The singer is down-on-luck and far from home, when he observes the takeoff of a Boeing 707 plane.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Agree with Christian on the Elvis take (I had never heard it). Bob does a nice Tex Mex version (never heard it before either). Living in Canada I was exposed to Gord a lot. Good thing his songs were good. Ill comment later with a cool Gord cover. A double Canuck barrel.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I always took him for granted until I got a little older. I had that hard rock bone planted inside me so it took a while for CB to grow up. Here’s that cut. I love it One Gord and band to another Gord.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. That is great…that makes it come full circle with them covering Lightfoot and passing it along. Gritty song with a meaning…excellent cover.


      3. Songfacts says (about Lightfoot’s original) “Despite its powerful message, censorship of “Black Day in July” led to it being banned by radio stations in 30 American states. The ban was largely because of the song’s explicit references to police brutality and racial injustice, which some radio stations felt were too controversial for their audiences.”

        Liked by 2 people

      4. F..’in great cover. Glad someone else knows it. The best cover of a Gordon L song I know…and there haven’t been many bad ones.


  7. Nobody beats his lyrics, nobody. He is a poet as much as a musician. Never heard the Dylan version before, and I like the spin he put on it. Good to know he helped put Gordon on the radar to help him break through.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dylan was such a big fan of his. I’ve never heard him say anything negative about him unlike others. I wonder if they ever worked together? I’m going to search for that.


      1. Getting praise from Zimmy ain’t no little thang, as he has a tendency to be either mum or ascerbic. Like others have said, to have your song covered by Zimmy says so much also. Hope you find something on your search.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve read where they played live before together… here is where Bob inducted him into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Do you notice they both seem so awkward in front of a crowd? Bob really seemed lost. Their humility is what stands out most of all. If you ever find any of those clips where they play live together, please share them 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Canada Eh! Very nice piece on Mr Lightfoot and looking forward to more from our National treasures up here! I have heard Gord say he always wrote songs with the thought of making a hit record. I think this is what Dylan picked up, there are no bad Lightfoot songs, they weren’t all hits but they sure sounded like they could have been.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He did…and on top of that…they were quality hits… his songs have staying power and that is the difference between many of his peers at the time.
      Hope you enjoy it Randy!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I’d never heard Elvis’s version and Dylan’s was good, considering I’m not much of a fan of his. His voice was clear and steady.

    When Ray sent me the text that Lightfoot had died May 1, I was shocked. My dumb ass thought he was already dead. EEK. I love that man’s voice and glad I got to see him live at least once.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m jealous…I saw him in the 80s and he was going through a country phase but I liked it…I would have loved to see him in the 70s though.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s a very Celtic ‘Fureys’ sounding song and also reminds me of Paul Brady’s version of ‘Arthur McBride’.

    I mean the guy wrote ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ (as you mentioned) which Don Williams covered exceptionally. Lightfoot was the real deal, and I can see why Dylan admired him so, as did many others.

    I love this song and it’s going headfirst into the collection. Thanks so much Max!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Speaking of Gordon Lightfoot…I had his song “Carefree Highway” in my head since yesterday and I cannot get it out….but I agree….he was the real deal.

      Liked by 1 person

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