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Old 10-30-2015, 07:17 PM   #1
charlene
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Default The Fitz - 40th anniversary

http://www.fyimusicnews.ca/articles/...ld-forty-years
and CADENCE (mentioned in the article) doing their version:
Remembering The Edmund Fitzgerald, Forty Years On

By David Farrell Fri, 10/30/2015 - 07:08

On November 10, 1975 a crew of 29 died when the 729-foot ore carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald foundered in 80 mile-an-hour winds and blinding snow squalls with wave heights up to 25 feet on Lake Superior. It was a loss of life that became the subject of one of Gordon Lightfoot's most celebrated songs.

The ballad originally appeared on Lightfoot's 1976 album Summertime Dream, and he later released it as a single that become a No. 1 hit in Canada, but in the US Rod Stewart's "Tonight's The Night" ironically kept the Lightfoot ballad in 2nd place. It was to become Lightfoot's second-most-successful single behind "Sundown."

Lightfoot recalled the story of the song during a Reddit AMA: "The Edmund Fitzgerald really seemed to go unnoticed at that time, anything I'd seen in the newspapers or magazines were very short, brief articles, and I felt I would like to expand upon the story of the sinking of the ship itself," he said. "And it was quite an undertaking to do that. I went and bought all of the old newspapers, got everything in chronological order, and went ahead and did it because I already had a melody in my mind and it was from an old Irish dirge that I heard when I was about three and a half years old."

"I think it was one of the first pieces of music that registered to me as being a piece of music," he continued. "That's where the melody comes from, from an old Irish folk song."

Lightfoot wrote the lyrics after coming up with the melody and chords. He recalled: "When the story came on television, that the Edmund had foundered in Lake Superior three hours earlier, it was right on the CBC here in Canada. I came into the kitchen for a cup of coffee and saw the news and I said 'That's my story to go with the melody and the chords.'"

In a 2015 interview with NPR's Scott Simon, Gordon Lightfoot explained that the article he read in Newsweek about the tragedy was, "Short shrift for such a monumental event." Lightfoot says the song came about when he discovered the newspaper writers kept misspelling the name of the ship, rendering it as "Edmond Fitzgerald" rather than "Edmund Fitzgerald." Though he didn't say whether or not the misspelling was deliberate, he was quoted as telling Scott, "That's it! If they're gonna spell the name wrong, I've got to get to the bottom of this!" (thanks, Annabelle - Eugene, OR)

This is referenced in the Seinfeld episode "Andrea Doria," when Elaine mistakenly believes Gordon Lightfoot was the name of the ship and Edmund Fitzgerald was the name of the singer. Jerry quips: "Yeah, and it was rammed by the Cat Stevens."

Over the years Lightfoot has made several small alterations to the song either at the behest of families of those who perished or to correct an error of fact, although he has never altered the copyrighted lyrics.

It is now coming up to the 40th anniversary of that fateful event that is estimated to have taken place at around 7:30 pm (you can read an account here). A number of tributes are set to remember those who perished on both sides of the border, and the Canadian Mint has struck a silver $20 coin designed by Canadian artist John Horton.

One of the odder planned commemorations is a cover song tribute by Toronto a cappella group Cadence. The Juno nominated Toronto quartet is currently seeking $5,000 on GoFundMe to produce an 8 minute video to accompany a recorded rendition of the Lightfoot song.

On their crowd funding site they write: "As Cadence is a full-time, self-managed musical group that shoulders the financial responsibility of all aspects of the business, we do not have an excess of disposable income. We have set aside a modest amount to move forward with this project but we are asking for your support to see this project through and help us create something beautifully timeless. Your support would be greatly appreciated."
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Fitz - 40th anniversary

https://www.toledoblade.com/Tom-Walt...-lives-on.html

HOME → TOM WALTON
Published: Monday, 11/2/2015

40 years later, the legend of the Edmund Fitzgerald lives on
BY THOMAS WALTON
BLADE COLUMNIST

“Every man knew, as the captain did too,

“‘Twas the witch of November come stealin’”

— Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

A few minutes past 7 p.m. on Nov. 10, 1975, on a bitter and brutal night on Lake Superior, Capt. Ernie McSorley and his shipmates on the Edmund Fitzgerald were in a fight for their lives in a storm more violent than anything they had ever encountered.

The great ship was in peril, and when the end came, it came with such suddenness and ferocity there was no time for an SOS, no time for anything but a few seconds of desperation and terror as the fastest, grandest freighter on the Great Lakes slipped into the depths and into history.

Forty years later, those of us who lost a loved one that night still don’t know for sure how the Great Lakes’ most legendary tragedy occurred. We know what sank the Titanic. But exactly what caused the Big Fitz to disappear remains a mystery that may never be solved.

More than 1,500 souls perished when the Titanic sank. Just 29 were lost when the Fitz went down.

Just 29. As if a number so small lessens the tragedy and heartbreak for those whose father or brother or son — or in my case, uncle — died that night.

Ralph Grant Walton was born outside of Sycamore, Ohio, in Wyandot County, in 1917. His remains lie at the bottom of Lake Superior along with those of his 28 shipmates, just 17 miles from the safe harbor they sought that night, Whitefish Bay, Mich.

Today, with the 40th anniversary of the sinking approaching, visitors to Pleasant Ridge Cemetery near Sycamore can see a stone marker that bears my uncle’s name, the dates of his birth and death, and these three words of remembrance: Lost at sea.

Uncle Grant was an oiler on the Fitzgerald. His job was to keep the mighty engines running smoothly. He was good at it.

That’s the thing about the men who were lost. They were all good at what they did. To be assigned to the Fitzgerald, the flagship of the fleet and the “Queen of the Great Lakes,” was an honor for the officers and seamen of Columbia Transportation, a division of the old Oglebay-Norton Co.

The Fitz was held in awe everywhere she went. She was a tourist attraction, especially when she sailed through the Soo Locks connecting Lakes Huron and Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. At 729 feet long, she was the equivalent of a 70-story skyscraper on its side.

Even though the ship’s stern bore the name of Milwaukee, the home of her owners, the Fitz was Toledo’s ship. Her customary itinerary was to ferry more than 25,000 tons of taconite iron ore from the Mesabi Range in Minnesota to Toledo, and do it quickly.

Veteran lakers often called her the Toledo Express because of her speed and the tonnage records she routinely set. Several crew members who died when she sank were from here.

I still feel the loss of my uncle, but I have an emotional attachment to the Fitzgerald for another reason. I was a crew member in 1963. My job as a porter was to help feed the crew, care for the officers’ quarters, and tend to the needs of our guests.

Passengers aboard the Fitzgerald traveled free. Usually they were executives of firms that did business with the shipping company.

I have many memories of the Fitz, most of them good. For several weeks during my season aboard, my father, Wade, a chief engineer for Columbia, was transferred from another ship to become chief on the Fitz.

So my dad and I got to be shipmates. I kidded him that in length of service, I was the senior member of the Walton family aboard the Fitz, not him.

It was only through good fortune and the grace of God that my dad was not on the Fitzgerald the night she sank. He was out in the storm, but on another vessel. He could have taken accrued vacation time to get off the lakes in November when the weather is at its worst, but he didn’t. He was a laker. He needed to be out there.

After the tragedy, which took his brother and took his love for what he was doing, my dad retired.

This year’s milestone anniversary, a week from tomorrow, will have special relevance. Locally, the National Museum of the Great Lakes will host a remembrance ceremony downtown at Fifth Third Center at One Seagate and premiere a documentary: A Good Ship and Crew Well Seasoned: The Fitzgerald and Her Legacy.

Forty years. And as Gordon Lightfoot wrote, “the legend lives on, from the Chippewa on down.”

Thomas Walton is the retired editor and vice president of The Blade. His column appears every other Monday. His commentary, “Life As We Know It,” can be heard each Monday at 5:44 p.m. on WGTE-FM 91. Contact him at: twalton@theblade.com.
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Fitz - 40th anniversary

17 IMAGES: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/2...ews/151109303/
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Fitz - 40th anniversary

well it had to happen sometime in Australia!. the Wreck is being played on 3AW at the moment (for obvious reasons). the 3rd Lightfoot song i've heard on radio down here in nearly 20 years!
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:41 PM   #5
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http://www.cleveland.com/nation/inde..._this_tra.html
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Fitz - 40th anniversary

http://www.startribune.com/lightfoot...e/343871892/#1
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Fitz - 40th anniversary

http://www.jsonline.com/news/wiscons...343326082.html

and Daughter of cook: http://cjonline.com/news/2015-11-07/...alize-its-crew By Tim Hrenchir
Posted Nov 7, 2015 at 4:37 PM

“The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

When the skies of November turn gloomy.”

So begins Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting 1976 ballad, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

The song holds special meaning for Abilene resident Pam Johnson.

Her father, 62-year-old ship’s cook Robert Rafferty, was among the 29 crew members who all perished when a storm bringing near hurricane-force winds sank the freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior on the evening of Nov. 10, 1975.

Canadian singer-songwriter Lightfoot paid tribute to those who died by writing the song, which rose to No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard pop singles charts.

“I love Gordon Lightfoot and that song,” the 63-year-old Johnson said in a recent interview.

She noted that an autographed copy of “Summertime Dream,” Lightfoot’s album containing the song, is among memorabilia she keeps in the fifth-floor, high-rise apartment where she lives with Bill Johnson, her husband of 46 years.

Pam Johnson said Lightfoot personally persuaded her 15 years ago to begin attending events held each November in the Great Lakes area to memorialize the ship’s crew.

Johnson became an active part of the ship’s community of survivors, and has been interviewed many times for books, TV reports and newspaper articles.

She has also spoken often in public about the sinking. Johnson made a presentation Saturday at a “Gales of November” conference held to mark its 40th anniversary in Duluth, Minn., and she is scheduled to appear Tuesday at an event in Detroit.

During an interview last month in her apartment, Johnson said she looked forward to returning to the Great Lakes area.

“Here, I’m nobody,” she said. “Up there it’s like I’m a famous person, though I’m really not. I’m just the daughter of the cook on the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

The cook:

Lightfoot’s song mentioned the ship’s cook as it described the doomed vessel’s final hours:

“When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin’

Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya

At 7 p.m. a main hatchway caved in, he said

Fellas, it’s been good t’know ya.”

Lightfoot took some artistic license in writing those words, as nobody knows what the men on the ship really said.

Still, Johnson said the statements attributed to the cook were the type of thing her father would have said.

She recalled Rafferty as a kind, jolly, heavy-set man who loved his family dearly and was accustomed to cooking for 30 or 40 people at a time. On his bald head he often wore a fedora, which is a felt hat with a wide brim and indented crown.

When he was home, Rafferty would make huge pots of spaghetti and chili, Johnson said.

She said, “I would ask, ‘What are we going to do with all that?’”

Johnson opened a worn copy of her father’s cookbook, “Ship’s Cook and Baker.”

“I use a lot of his recipes now,” she said.

The Detroit Free Press reported Johnson used one of those in November 2013 to make apple Dutch cake, which was served to guests at an outdoor memorial ceremony the River Rouge, Mich., Historical Museum held in a park about 1,000 feet from where the Edmund Fitzgerald was launched.

The “winds of November” whipped through the park as “the crowd lapped up her stories and her cake,” the newspaper reported.

The wreck:

Johnson was the only child of Rafferty and his wife, the former Brooksie Williamson, who were married in 1949. She has a half-brother from her mother’s first marriage, Randall Williamson. He lives in Toledo, Ohio, where they grew up.

Johnson married when she was 17 and her husband was 20. When her father died, she was 23 and living with her husband at Fort Benning, Ga., where he was serving in the Army and waiting to go to Germany. They had three children and one on the way.

Rafferty initially wasn’t supposed to be on the last voyage of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which was known as “the Fitz,” but the ship’s cook suffered bleeding ulcers that left him unable to go. Another cook who formerly spent about a decade on the ship turned down a chance to make the trip, Johnson said.

She said her father didn’t feel comfortable on the Fitz but decided to make the trip and retire when it ended.

The ship was carrying 26,000 tons of taconite pellets, which are tiny balls made from refined iron ore, to be used to build cars. It was going from Superior, Wis. — just south of Duluth, Minn. — to a steel mill near Detroit, with plans to dock in Cleveland for the winter afterward.

Divers later retrieved many of the taconite pellets, and Johnson keeps a bucket containing hundreds of them in her apartment.

The Fitz sank about 17 miles short of reaching Whitefish Bay near Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Crew members ranged in age from a 21-year-old deckhand to the 63-year-old captain, Ernest McSorley. No bodies were recovered.

Johnson was told of the sinking the next day at Fort Benning. She remembers learning from her husband that the ship had gone down, then returning a call from her mother and asking, “Is my daddy dead?”

Johnson had long since stopped calling her father “daddy,” but she said that when she realized he had died, “It was like I was 5 years old again.”

The song:

Thirty-six days after her father died, Johnson gave birth in December 1975 to her fourth and last child, Jeremiah Johnson. She then took her children with her to Germany to join her husband.

Meanwhile, Lightfoot — who had already had four hit singles in the United Sates — became inspired to write a song about the ship’s sinking after reading a Nov. 24, 1975, Newsweek magazine article, “The Cruelest Month.”

Johnson learned in Germany that Lightfoot’s song about the sinking was receiving U.S. radio airplay. She first heard it at a noncommissioned officers’ club.

Johnson said she got a little bit angry because she saw people dancing to the song, but later realized they didn’t understand the deeper meaning of what the crew’s families had endured.

The sensitivity Lightfoot’s lyrics showed toward the surviving family members particularly struck a chord with Johnson.

She said one of her favorite parts goes:

“They might have split up or they might have capsized

They may have broke deep and took water

And all that remains is the faces and the names

Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.”

Johnson sent Lightfoot a letter thanking him for creating the song. She still has a copy of the handwritten letter he sent back, dated Feb. 17, 1977, expressing his fondest regards.
The community

Johnson’s mother died in 1986, and her husband retired from the Army in 1991 at Fort Riley. Today they have — in addition to their four children — 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Johnson said she was working at an Alco store in 2000 when a co-worker made a comment about how an item that was dropped “sank like the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Johnson asked why the co-worker used that particular term, then revealed her father was the cook on that ship.

The next day, Johnson showed the co-worker her letter from Lightfoot, who would appear in concert soon afterward in Salina.

The co-worker contacted a radio station, which interviewed Johnson and arranged for her to have two front-row seats.

There, Johnson said, Lightfoot took her aside and asked if she ever attended services held in the Great Lakes area to memorialize the Fitz’s crew.

Johnson said she hadn’t realized such services existed, and Lightfoot encouraged her to go.

She attended two such services upon the sinking’s 25th anniversary in November 2000, and even talked with Lightfoot at the one held in the Mariners Church of Detroit, which Lightfoot had called “the Maritime Sailors Cathedral” in his song.

Johnson has since had backstage passes while attending four of Lightfoot’s concerts, including one in March 2009 at the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

Hardly a day

Johnson said surviving family members of the ship’s crew welcomed her into their community, and over the past 15 years she has enjoyed traveling north to take part in events held in November to commemorate those who were lost.

She has made numerous speaking appearances in memory of her father, including annual presentations to third graders at Abilene’s McKinley Elementary School.

“Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of him — but it’s hard not to, with all this,” she said, motioning toward mementos that adorn her apartment.

Those included four artworks on the walls depicting the ship, three of them hand-painted and one Johnson purchased in Sault Ste. Marie.

In a corner of the kitchen stood a Mediterranean deck chair, which Johnson said was removed from the Fitz before it sank.

Also on hand were:

Her father’s union card, bearing his photo and his birth date, June 16, 1913.


Several books about the sinking, with Pam Johnson being quoted in each.

Two full bottles of “Edmund Fitzgerald Beer,” brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Co.

An empty bottle of “Edmund Fitzgerald Wine.”

“It wasn’t very good wine,” Johnson said.
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:06 PM   #8
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part two of the interview in previous post with the cook's daughter, PAM JOHNSON:

Mysteries remain

Johnson said she still has a lot of unanswered questions about the Fitz’s last voyage, and wonders in particular about her father’s final hours.

She said the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Bay contacted her in 2000 to say it received a unique letter from an 80-year-old psychic who lived in Muskegon, Wis.

Johnson said the woman, who was very religious, wrote that on the night the Fitz sank, she had been reading a newspaper in her living room when the paper suddenly turned into a TV screen, upon which she saw a large ship sinking in the Great Lakes and a man holding onto a railing on the deck for dear life.

The woman indicated she had told her husband a great ship was sinking in the Great Lakes that night and he responded that she was crazy — but she was right.

The woman said it was her understanding that the name of the man she saw on the railing was “Robert.”

Rafferty was the only member of the Fitz’s crew who had that first name.

Johnson said she stayed in communication with that woman for a time.

She said she also heard that in the weeks before the Fitz’s sinking, a small group gave a man who identified himself as “the cook of the Edmund Fitzgerald” a ride back to that ship from a business in Erie, Pa.

Johnson said a member told her the group accompanied the cook onto the ship, where one of them sensed that something was very wrong with the vessel and became violently ill. They then left.

Johnson said she has learned that as the ship sank, her father probably lived longer — and perhaps suffered longer — than most crew members because he worked in a part of the boat where the water would have taken longer to reach remaining pockets of air.

But Johnson personally likes to think her father went to bed before the ship sank, and died while sleeping.

She believes she will one day see him again.

And sometimes, Johnson said, “I feel him around me.”

She said she draws comfort from a dream in which she was approached by her father, wearing his trademark fedora.

“I saw him getting off the ship, walking over on the water and coming to me and saying ‘Let it go. I’m OK.’

“So I let it go. He’s OK.”
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:07 PM   #9
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http://www.toledoblade.com/local/201...enthralls.html
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:51 PM   #10
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NEWS VIDEO - http://www.9and10news.com/story/3047...gerald-sinking
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Old 11-09-2015, 11:56 PM   #11
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http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2...years-ago.html
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joveski View Post
well it had to happen sometime in Australia!. the Wreck is being played on 3AW at the moment (for obvious reasons). the 3rd Lightfoot song i've heard on radio down here in nearly 20 years!
The fact it was playing to a very small audience at 4.47am on a non-music station doesn't surprise me. I'd be interested to hear what the radio host said about the shipwreck, the song and the songwriter-performer. The only time I heard TWOTEF on Australian radio was in 1986 at Lakes Entrance, on the coast a few hours east of Melbourne. And apart from "Sundown" (a big hit across Australia) and IYCRMM (still a regular on easy-listening stations), the only other Lightfoot songs I've heard on radio here were "Anything For Love" (once) and "Stay Loose" (played by a discerning music show host after I requested it).
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:03 AM   #13
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http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...sary/75493132/
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:04 AM   #14
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closeup of the bronze leaf going up in Detroit today..another is staying in Tudhope Park, Orillia.
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:05 AM   #15
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http://niemanstoryboard.org/stories/...ews-narrative/
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:06 AM   #16
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http://www.inquisitr.com/2554483/gor...0-years-later/
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Old 11-10-2015, 11:22 AM   #17
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http://music.cbc.ca/#!/blogs/2012/5/...und-Fitzgerald
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Old 11-10-2015, 03:49 PM   #18
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http://blog.siriusxm.com/2014/07/22/...ve-earle-show/
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Old 11-10-2015, 05:23 PM   #19
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Default Re: The Fitz - 40th anniversary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave, Melbourne,Australia View Post
The fact it was playing to a very small audience at 4.47am on a non-music station doesn't surprise me. I'd be interested to hear what the radio host said about the shipwreck, the song and the songwriter-performer. The only time I heard TWOTEF on Australian radio was in 1986 at Lakes Entrance, on the coast a few hours east of Melbourne. And apart from "Sundown" (a big hit across Australia) and IYCRMM (still a regular on easy-listening stations), the only other Lightfoot songs I've heard on radio here were "Anything For Love" (once) and "Stay Loose" (played by a discerning music show host after I requested it).
if it wasnt tuesday toons-day, they wouldnt have played it for the anniversary. and yes, it's just sundown and IYCRMM that i've heard before on radio. i cant stand Luke Bona anyway. lucky i heard in the background! (bring back andrew and mark!)
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:14 PM   #20
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RICK: Yesterday, Nov 9. It was 40 years ago, the Edmund Fitzgerald loaded out of "some mill in Wisconsin", to begin her ill-fated voyage to destiny. Gord & Mrs. Lightfoot and I made a pilgrimage to Whitefish Point for an informal gathering at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
A few feet north of the lighthouse is a boardwalk / deck where I spent some private quiet minutes reflecting and gazing out towards the west at this Eastern end of Lake Superior where so many have been lost.
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Old 11-10-2015, 11:12 PM   #21
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http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/...king-1.2652343
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Old 11-11-2015, 03:37 PM   #22
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Old 11-11-2015, 07:46 PM   #23
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Default Re: The Fitz - 40th anniversary

Sorry, couldn;t be here yesterday.

...but, on TV last night, there was this new channel that
debuted on Monday called "Decades" (or something like that.)


The network airs here in Phoenix on CW affilaite Channel 61 (the digital is 61.2) and not only do the yshow some older TV shows & movies but they also have a program that airs oild 'important' news stories.

The Edmund Fitzgerald was one of them covered last night. They aired the actual CBS filmed coverage from 1975! The voice over reporter stated a flare was seen in the air & the captain actually radioed this last strangley calm statement *As I recall* , "Everything's okay but were taking on a lot of water."

The also showed people finding a life raft that had flaoted the shore.

40 years, I know to most of you that saw
the news first hand...it may seem like yesterday.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:07 PM   #24
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RICK: Inside the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is a rich historical collection of displays and artifacts, including the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald.









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Old 11-11-2015, 11:10 PM   #25
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RICK: A few feet north of the lighthouse is a boardwalk / deck where I spent some private quiet minutes reflecting and gazing out towards the west at this Eastern end of Lake Superior where so many have been lost.










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