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.

Two Wheels to Hell: Part 2


I'm going to wrap this story up. This journey had almost nothing to do with scenery or people so look elsewhere for those details. It was a test of endurance and my will power to meet the wind head on. The landscape was irrelevant.

I remember lighting fires; I remember sitting by 'em;
  I remember seeing faces, hearing voices, through the smoke;
I remember they were fancy -- for I threw a stone to try 'em.
  "Something lost behind the Ranges" was the only word they spoke.

- Kipling. "The Explorer"

The madness was only beginning. I remained in St. Paul for a week or two, always thinking about the winter approaching Wyoming and the Sierras. I slowly recovered use of my arms and legs. The soreness and lack of agility would take 5 years to recover from but in the two weeks off the bike I managed to walk, to support my weight with my arms, to open and close my fists. A doctor would've told me that I had narrowly avoided permanent joint damage. "You're lucky to be alive," he'd probably say. But I didn't see a doctor and considered my partial recovery a sign that I would indeed arrive at my destination before winter.  No sooner had I regained the ability to walk I returned to the road. My friend had been unable to convince me to postpone the journey until I fully recovered. I wanted to prove to the wind that I could take the worst it could dish out. The rain never stopped but I had washed my clothes. Dried out my gear. I've seen other bike touring rigs and most weigh less than mine, but not by much. I had 75 pounds but most of that weight was water.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.