If You Could Read My Mind - Gordon Lightfoot (1970)
Our LCM Classic this week is the beautiful "If You Could Read My Mind" by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. It reached number one on Canadian music charts and number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in February 1971. Later in the year it reached number 30 in the UK. The song first appeared on Gordon's 1970 album 'Sit Down Young Stranger', which was later renamed 'If You Could Read My Mind' following the song's success. We love the lyrics and it's one of our favourites by Gordon.
Gordon has cited his divorce for inspiring the lyrics, saying they came to him as he was sitting in a vacant Toronto house one summer. At the request of his daughter, Ingrid, he performs the lyrics with a slight change now: the line "I'm just trying to understand the feelings that you lack" is altered to "I'm just trying to understand the feelings that we lack." He has said in an interview that the difficulty with writing songs inspired by personal stories is that there is not always the emotional distance and clarity to make lyrical improvements such as the one his daughter suggested.