45 Years Ago the Gales of November Sank The Edmund Fitzgerald and Gave us This Song
It was 45 years ago this November that the biggest ship on the great lakes went to the bottom of lake Superior with all crew. 29 souls went down with the fully loaded ore ship.
The Fitzgerald sinking was not the worst maritime disaster on the great lakes. In July of 1915 a passenger ship rolled over with 848 lives lost but no one has written a song about that one. It wasn't until the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost in 1975 that Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot was prompted to tell the world about the loss of the Fitzgerald.
The story might never have been told if Lightfoot hadn't seen an article in Newsweek magazine a couple of weeks after the tragedy titled "The Cruelest Month" that told the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
It took a year for Lightfoot to write and record the song. On the first anniversary of the sinking the tune went to number one in Canada. It managed to top out at the number two position in the US in November of 1976.
The first time I heard "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" I had never heard of the actual wreck. I assumed from the sound of the song that the event had occurred sometime in the 1800's., See what you think: