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(Great Lakes Buff)   Thirty Years Ago Today the Edmund Fitzgerald sank and Gordon Lightfoot rose to prominence   ( divider line
    More: PSA  
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7417 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Nov 2005 at 12:39 PM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2005-11-10 03:05:14 PM  
I thought the bell was at the maritime museum at whitefish point?
2005-11-10 03:12:27 PM  
Ooh, I've always loved that song, chills and all. Any Gordon Lightfoot music reminds me of being a really young and utterly content little kid. Good days those were.
2005-11-10 03:13:26 PM  
Doesn't this date and event unofficially signify the "coming of the November Witch", across the Great Lakes region? The time when the lakes open up a can of wh00p4ss for the next 6 months?

It's pretty official in Michigan. The sort of storms that sank the Fitz aren't that rare even in October, but the anniversary of the Fitzgerald sinking is usually when the forcasters start talking about the violent lake weather.

Sort of a shame you only hear about this one anymore. Superior, Huron and Michigan are full of wrecks on top of wrecks. Look up some of the bigger disasters like the Black Easter storm or the Storm of 1913. Somebody (I forget who) made an entire series of songs about the Storm of 1913 and some of the twenty-odd freight ships that sank in it, but Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was better than any of them, if you ask me.
2005-11-10 03:32:34 PM  
While Gord is a better lyricist I think that overall

Stompin Tom Connors > Gordon Lightfoot
2005-11-10 03:45:36 PM  
When I lived in Detroit I worked downtown about a block from the Maritime Cathedral. One morning I heard the bells peal 29 times, then one more time (apparently for all the unknown dead on the lake) and I realized what it was for. It was a chilly feeling.

My landlord knew two of the crew - he always thought they had a wave under the bow and stern simultaneously and broke in half.
2005-11-10 03:48:47 PM  
ccc1138: When they left fully loaded for Cleveland

yea.. been there, done that..
2005-11-10 03:49:20 PM  
Gordon Lightfoot is cool, but he drives hella slow.
2005-11-10 03:57:24 PM  
Links - I think Ol' 55 is not how fast Gordon drives, but a reference to the highway... Van Halen, however...
2005-11-10 03:58:16 PM  
actually, I guess the song does say something about pulling away slowly...
2005-11-10 03:59:10 PM  
I LOVE Lightfoot's music. As a young Canuck in England I'd always get this patriotic/homesick feeling whenever a Lightfoot song was played. There's an album (can't remember the name) he did in the 60's. Very hard to find now. The songs: Steel Rail Blues, For Lovin' Me, The Way I Feel, Early Morning Rain are all on there. But they feel waaaay more folksy and raw than the later versions he did.

Oh yeah, and Stan Rogers was the man
2005-11-10 04:00:12 PM  

I've heard the same thing about the ship. Pretty sure it's true.

Oh, and Gord = A Canadian version of Dylan, but one that can actually sing and write melodies.

/Dylan sounds like a dying cat
//Still enjoy "Like A Rolling Stone"
2005-11-10 04:00:47 PM  
I saw him in concert about 3 maybe 4 years ago. Great performance. He's been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. A bunch of us hung out at the back of the building for like an hour in the cold, but he eventually showed. I told him how long I had loved his music and he said "Thank you for making me part of your life."

I was floored by the guy.
2005-11-10 04:10:57 PM  
Gordon F. MacLellan, 30, wiper, Clearwater, Florida

That's just too weird.

I was 13. living in Wisconsin, when the Fitzgerald went down. I never knew until today that one of the lost men was from Clearwater, FL -- where I live today.

The world feels small again.
2005-11-10 04:13:58 PM  
They are ringing the bell today/tonight at Whitefish Point in honor of the Fitzgerald. What made this wreck so amazing is that people thought the giant ore carriers were unsinkable, they were beasts that weighed tons upon tons and it went down within 10 minutes, just disappeared; infact, the same design is still used today, only now they know that they MIGHT just go down.
2005-11-10 04:20:38 PM  
And the sun supernova'd and we burnt to a crisp, and it's fifty thousand years in the futurrrrreeee
2005-11-10 04:30:14 PM  

I think the album was called, I shiat you not, "Lightfoot!"

It sounds like what someone would say if he walked in on Gord farkin' his wife.
2005-11-10 04:33:26 PM  
I think the song is one of the most beautiful ever.
2005-11-10 04:35:42 PM  
So the bell is in Whitefish Point, Mi?, Not detroit?
2005-11-10 04:35:45 PM  
It's 729 feet long and sunk to a depth of 530 feet. I never knew that before. It sort of facsinates me that if it had nosed straight in the bow would hit mud while the stern is sticking above water. That's a large ship.
2005-11-10 04:37:24 PM  
2005-11-10 04:39:32 PM  
This is the Tom Doyle parody (Rectum of Edmund Fitzgerald, MP3 above)

The legend, it's said,
was a young man named Ed
was itching and burning one autumn.
So he called his doc
and it came as no shock
that he'd have to examine his bottom
The doctor said "Son, tell me, what have you done?"
The young man said "I work for the Herald"
The doc got out his book
to schedule a look at the Rectum of Edmund Fitzgerald.
Ed returned in a week,
doc said "Let's take a peek,
since you scheduled this major appointment!"
He then put on his glove and he gave a big shove
of his finger all covered in Ointment.
Ed's eyes then went all wide
as doc felt up inside and then gave him a look
of sheer peril.
But what could he do, cause it hurt to go poo
from the rectum of Edmund Fitzgerald?
So the doc found a cure, he said
"Edmund, be sure when you eat food, just cut it up tiny.
Stay away from the spice, and then you'll have a nice
and completely like new, normal heinie!"
Ed said "What do I owe?"
Doc said "No, Edmund, no! I would not hold you over a barrel!"
So I sing to you friend,
we have come to the end of the rectum of Edmund Fitzgerald.
2005-11-10 04:45:02 PM  
dhudd- listening to stan rogers right now. great music... grew up listening to it, got a fond place in my heart
2005-11-10 04:49:05 PM  
If you have ever been to Whitefish point, you will understand how freakin' desolate it is up there.
2005-11-10 05:15:12 PM  
A bit late to this one...
My father was a sailor working an oreboat on the lakes that year. He had planned to only work the summer to help pay for college but the bonus for staying through the end of the season was almost as much as he got paid for half the season. So he chose to take the semester off and finish out the season returning to BG for the winter/spring semester. Well he waved to the guys aboard the Fitzgerald just before they died, his boat was heading back to Cleveland as the Fitz was heading north to pick up her load. Two days later the ship was sunk, my dad seriously thought about quitting after that but he had already missed the semester at school so he stuck it out. He spent the next summer doing something a little less dangerous =)
2005-11-10 05:30:39 PM  
Some of the best music comes from Canadia.
* Gordon Lightfoot
* Ian Tyson (Better now without Sylvia)
* Neil Young

I even like that naked ladies band.

/I do wish they'd kept rush to themselves
2005-11-10 05:33:56 PM  
I'm a huge Gordon fan. Love this tune, too. But even better are Sundown, Steel Rail Blues, and Carerfree Highway.

That being said, and because it's Fark, there's this:
"Gordon F. MacLellan, 30, wiper, Clearwater, Florida"
That sounds like a pretty shiatty job.
2005-11-10 05:38:10 PM  
I was actually refering to the mass of his feet. I had no idea i'd made an actual reference to a lyric.

/5150 tour with BTO opening was my first arena concert
//Thanks pops =/
2005-11-10 05:54:08 PM  
A girl I once knew lost her grandfather to a shipwreck before she was even born. The ship, the Glomar Java Sea, was drilling for oil off of Vietnam when it mysteriously sank. Some of the bodies were found, but his was not one of them.
2005-11-10 05:59:35 PM  
I think the Dylan song that comes closest to the style of WOTEF is "Hurricane." That is also a damn good song.
2005-11-10 06:08:14 PM  
And the alternate lyrics to the song start as follows:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
2005-11-10 06:11:32 PM  
The original ship's bell is in the Museum. When the site of the wreck was discovered, a mini sub was used to find the bell and assist in bringing it up. A new bell was cast, with the names engraved on it. In a ceremony, the names of the Crew were read, and a member of each crewman's family stepped up and rang the new bell once. A total of 29, then once more. The new bell was then taken down to the site. I watched a cable documentery about it, and I'm not ahsamed to say I cried as the reading of the names was shown. The wives, sons, daughters, and now grandchildren. Amazing to think what a difference those fifteen miles would've made.
2005-11-10 06:23:18 PM  
I know it's night time in the UP now, but if you remember later to look, and interested, poppy click for the Northwoods Cam Network. Granite Island is especially interesting.
2005-11-10 06:35:03 PM  
All these great Lightfoot songs being mentioned, and no-one names "Song For A Winter's Night"?

The Sarah McLaughlin version is sweet.
2005-11-10 06:43:13 PM  
Once a year is enough for most of his songs, but I must say 'Early Morning Rain' captures a sorry drunks's shame better than any other song I know.
2005-11-10 06:43:56 PM  
Ah, glad someone mentioned "Song for a Winter's Night." I remember being absolutely blown away by it when it came on the radio during the Holidays one year.

Wonderful song. The Sarah McLachlan cover was great. She actually claims Lightfoot as an influence, being Canadian as well, and in addition to that cover, has also covered Ol' 55
2005-11-10 06:44:41 PM  
I did my part I forwarded this link to Bean aka Gene Baxter.
2005-11-10 06:51:50 PM  
"Doesn't this date and event unofficially signify the "coming of the November Witch", across the Great Lakes region? The time when the lakes open up a can of wh00p4ss for the next 6 months?"

Strangley enough, two nights ago (here in Minnesota) it was so friggin windy I thought the house was gonna blow over.

On the news the next night they showed footage of the North shore of lake Superior near Duluth... I was looking for surfers them thar waves were so huge.
2005-11-10 06:58:02 PM  
The Fitz' is in stupid deep water but you can dive her. Not legaly but it has been done.

Here is a link to a dive on that wreck that took huge balls.​The+Edmu nd+Fitzgerald
2005-11-10 07:16:11 PM  
One of my business partners is a good friend of Gordon Lightfoot. He tells me, Lightfoot never made a dime from the song, donating all the proceeds to the widows and orphans of the tragedy. An amazing guy.
2005-11-10 07:24:59 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
Who was Edmund Fitzgerald?

11/9 - He was more then an executive for the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which owned this vessel. His family has a direct relation to the St. Clair River area, and its maritime history. His great grandparents immigrated from Ireland, and settled in China Township in 1837 on a farm south of Marine City. Six of William and Julia's sons became fascinated by the wooden sailing ships and early steamboats on the St. Clair River.

These six sons all became captains in time on the Great Lakes in the last half of the 1800's. The oldest son, Edmond Fitzgerald (note the spelling - an "o" in Edmond, not a "u.") was one who, not only was a captain, but in the late 1860's into the early 1870's built schooners in Port Huron. He was also involved in politics, and served as Port Huron's mayor from 1879-1880. Edmond was also an owner of ships, and invested in them on the Great Lakes.

Three of these brothers who were captains moved from this area, and settled in Milwaukee. The youngest of the sons built a shipyard and invested in ships there. His name was John Fitzgerald. His son, William E. Fitzgerald, would take over this business in the late 1890's. William's son was Edmund Fitzgerald, who was born in 1895.

Edmund Fitzgerald's father died tragically in 1901 when Edmund was only six years old. A close friend of William's, Captain Dennis Sullivan, built and named a ship in his honor in 1906, which was the W. E. Fitzgerald. This ship would be known as the "little Fitz" after 1958 when the steamer Edmund Fitzgerald first sailed. The newer one was known as the "big Fitz." Of course their namesakes were father and son. Although Edmund Fitzgerald took a different business career, he still had a heart for sailing, like his father, grand father, and grand uncles. He did not really want this new ship named for him, but the board of Northwestern Mutual, the vessel's owner, knew it was the right thing to honor a man who had a heart for the Great Lakes, and his heritage.

When the "big Fitz" was launched in 1958, the boat named for his father, the W. E. Fitzgerald, was nearby and gave its salute. Of course, this and the records the steamer would set all came to a sad end on November 10, 1975. Edmund Fitzgerald felt the pain and the loss as much anyone on that day. This was something he would never have wanted to happen. He died in 1986, still saddened by the wreck of the ship named for him.

You see, when the steamer Edmund Fitzgerald passed up and down the St. Clair River in its short 17 years of sailing, she was really connected to these shores, and the family that settled here. The life of sailing on the Great Lakes for the Fitzgerald sons started here on the banks of the St. Clair River. That love for the Great Lakes and the ships that sail them was Edmund Fitzgerald's as well.

From Dick Wicklund
2005-11-10 07:32:43 PM  
Any Chicagoland farkers/tf'ers that are also Kev-heads, I would really like a url to an MP3 of the version of Edmund Fitzgerald as performed by "Jim Shorts".
2005-11-10 08:14:26 PM  
olddinosaur: Useless trivia: It cost $7 million to build the Titanic, and $200 million to make a movie about the sinking of the Titanic.

Didn't the Titanic cost 3 million?
2005-11-10 09:07:19 PM  
So, are you from 'Porch Urine' also?
2005-11-10 09:37:07 PM  
So, GL is a drunkard and the tune is kinda slow, BUT, I have heard him live many times and despite all that The Wreck makes my skin crawl on the back of my neck. The point of this tune is that corporate decisions kill people, and if you didn't get it, you belong on the short bus.
2005-11-10 10:45:01 PM  
He wrote the song when he was on a plane heading wherever..

And he donated MOST of the money to the Church in Detroit even before alot of people biatched that he was making money off a tragity.
2005-11-10 11:02:26 PM  
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of Febtober come early.

/can't stop singing it this way
/suck it trebek
2005-11-10 11:24:08 PM  
His songs are like little Canadian history lessons. He's great.

Gordon Lightfoor and The Hip... Canadian music at its best.

Sorry bout Dion, Nickelback, Avril, Alanis, and all the rest.
2005-11-11 01:08:18 AM  
Nice to see so many Lightfoot fans.
He is light years beyond the footnote called dylan.
He has written some of the most beautiful lyrics EVER!


There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man, and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real

But time has no beginning and history has no bound
As to this verdant country they came from all around
They sailed upon her waterways and they walked her forests tall
Built the mines, the mills and the factories for the good of us all

And when the young man's fancy had turned into his brain
The railroad men grew restless for to hear their hammers ring
Their minds were overflowing with the visions of their day
With many a fortune won and lost and many a debt to pay

For they looked in the future and what did they see?
They saw an iron road running from the sea to the sea
Bringing the goods to a young growing land
All up on the seaboards and into their hands

Look away, said they
Across this mighty land
From the eastern shore
To the western strand

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We've gotta lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open her heart, let the lifeblood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We've gotta lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open her heart, let the lifeblood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow
Get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow

Behind the blue Rockies the sun is declining
The stars they come stealing like the blows of the day
Across the wide prairie our loved ones lie sleeping
Beyond the dark oceans in a place far away

We are the navvies who work on the railway
Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun
Living on stew and drinkin' bad whiskey
Bending our backs 'til the long days are done

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun
Laying down track, and building the bridges
Bending our backs 'til the railroad is done

So over the mountains and over the plains
Into the muskeg and into the rain
Up the St Lawrence all the way to Gaspe
Swinging our hammers and drawin' our pay

Driving 'em in and tying 'em down
Away to the bulkhouse and into the town
A dollar a day and a place for my head
A drink to the living, a toast to the dead

Oh the song, ah the future has been sung
All the battles have been won
On the mountain tops we stand
All the world at our command
We have opened up the soil
With our teardrops and our toil

Oh there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man, and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
And many are the dead men... too silent to be real

The magnificent change of gears in this song is only matched
by the sweet Turn the Page/Travelling Man duo
by Bob Seger
2005-11-11 07:46:25 AM  

Why not CW? Your profile says you spend more time there, hehe. I've been inactive on HF CW/voice for a few years, but I still use APRS quite a bit on VHF. Nice to see another ham here on TF.

/de N8YO

N8YO de N2KMF. And to answer your question, it is simply because they weren't on CW. I guess they planned to just use the phone portions of the bands, because of the November CW sweepstakes that weekend. Can't say as I blame them. But to atone for my using a newfangled mode like LSB, I made two 40 Meter CW contacts later that same day. ;-)

I found them because I was fooling around with the demo version of BandMaster, and I saw the DX spot for them. And like I said, I collect that kind of stuff so I had to go for it, CW or not.

2005-11-11 09:49:46 AM  
Sit Down Young Stranger

should not be missed
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