Gordon Lightfoot's 'Edmund Fitzgerald:' Lyrics And Story Of The Real Wreck

By Emily Morenz
Left: The Edmund Fitzgerald. Right: Canadian folk-rock singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot sings and plays acoustic guitar for the television concert series, 'Midnight Special,' 1970s. Sources: Wikimedia Commons; Getty Images

Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 single "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" sounds like an ancient mariner's lament -- chalk that up to Lightfoot's somber vocals. But did you know there really was a vessel called the Edmund Fitzgerald? She was a massive ship that sank in Lake Superior just a year earlier, a tragic event that inspired one of the heaviest pop hits of the '70s. Despite its depressing subject and dirge-like sound, Lightfoot's song ascended to the #2 spot on the Billboard chart