Monday, June 15, 2015

Song Meaning Still Eludes Appreciative Audience

Fans of the song "Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald" have debated for 4 decades about the meaning behind the lyrics and author, singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, has been notably secretive about his intentions when penning the esoteric 1976 tune.
"It could be about anything," said Lightfoot during a 1987 interview. "Once I've completed a song I don't try to interpret it. I'll let the listener decide." 
Simon Duluth, the creator of a website dedicated to the mysterious song says the song has been linked to extra terrestrials, the demise of the United States auto-manufacturing industry, a romantic relationship ending and other theories. 
"The endurance of this debate can be attributed to the cleverly disguised meaning of the lyrics, "said Duluth, who grew up in Michigan. "For example, the line 'The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er' has been linked to the Nixon administration and the NASA Apollo missions. I guess we'll never know exactly what Lightfoot was referring to, but it's fun to discuss."
Fans of the song defend their theories with long dissertations providing their evidence.
"Eddielover76" wrote, "If you count the syllables in the line 'and ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too, twas the witch of November come stealin' then you come up with the same number that was in a campaign speech by John F. Kennedy in 1960 which clearly points to a premonition of his own assassination.
The debate continues as the 40th anniversary of the song approaches and listeners are left only with the baffling lyrics such as "With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more, than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty." These words could refer to Medieval dragon myths or the weight of responsibility that presses down on a new father, but until Lightfoot reveals the source of his inspiration then we'll never know for sure.

For the record, once again, I beat The Onion to this spin.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.