Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song)

Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song)

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Sundown” is a song by Canadian folk artist Gordon Lightfoot, from the titular album, released as a single in March 1974.

Single by Gordon Lightfoot
from the album Sundown
B-side“Too Late for Prayin'”
ReleasedMarch 25, 1974
GenreFolk rockcountry rock
Songwriter(s)Gordon Lightfoot
Producer(s)Lenny Waronker
Gordon Lightfoot singles chronology
“Can’t Depend on Love” 
(1974)”Carefree Highway” 

“Sundown” reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and easy listening charts[1] and No. 13 on the Hot Country singles chart,[2] as well as No. 1 in Canada on RPM‘s national singles chart. It was Lightfoot’s only single to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100.


The song’s lyrics seem to describe a troubled romantic relationship (often cited as Cathy Smith), with the narrator recounting an affair with a “hard-loving woman [who’s] got me feeling mean”.

In a 2008 interview, Lightfoot said:

I think my girlfriend was out with her friends one night at a bar while I was at home writing songs. I thought, ‘I wonder what she’s doing with her friends at that bar!’ It’s that kind of a feeling. ‘Where is my true love tonight? What is my true love doing?’[3]

Chart performanceEdit

This section needs additional citations for verification.  (January 2018)Weekly chartsEditChart (1974)Peak
positionAustralian (Kent Music Report)[4]4Canadian RPM Top Singles1Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary2Canadian RPM Country Tracks4German Singles Chart30Irish Singles Chart14Netherlands[5]16New Zealand (Listener)[6]2South Africa (Springbok Radio)[7]1UK Singles Chart33US Billboard Hot 1001US Billboard Easy Listening1US Billboard Hot Country Singles13Yugoslavian Singles Chart2Year-end chartsEditChart (1974)RankTop 100 Songs of 1974[8]14Australia (Kent Music Report)[9]35Canadian RPM Top Singles[10]3South Africa[11]4U.S. Billboard Hot 100[12]27U.S. Cashbox Top 10032Other versionsEditScott Walker covered the song on his 1974 album We Had It All.Nana Mouskouri recorded a French version, “L’Amour, c’est comme l’été”, on her 1974 album Que Je Sois Un Ange.Lill Lindfors recorded a Swedish version, “Fritt fram”, on her 1975 album Fritt fram.Los Angeles alternative hard rock band Claw Hammer covered the song on its 1990 self-titled album.The musical project/collaboration of singer-songwriters Elwood covered the song in 2000. This version peaked at No. 33 on the BillboardModern Rock Tracks chart on July 8, 2000.[13]American country music singer Deryl Dodd‘s version of the song peaked at #59 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 1999. It was later included on his album, Pearl Snaps (2002).American-Canadian country artist Jesse Winchester covered this on Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot (2003).Country singer Toby Keith included a live cover version on the deluxe edition of his album Bullets in the Gun (2010).Canadian rock musician Luke Doucet covered it on the album Steel City Trawler (2010).French singing duo Marie-Ève Janvier and Jean-François Breau covered the song in French as “L’amour c’est comme l’été”, on the compilation album Quand le country dit bonjour… (2012).Ed Kuepper covered the song, including it on his greatest hits album.Depeche Mode covered the song, performing it alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra on the Radio 2 “Piano Room” in 2023.PersonnelEditEngineered by Lee Herschberg 
Recorded at Eastern Sound Studios, Toronto, OntarioCanada.Gordon Lightfoot: Lead and background vocals, 12-string guitarRed Shea: Lead electric guitarTerry Clements: Lead acoustic guitarJohn Stockfish: BassJim Gordon: DrumsIn other mediaEdit“Sundown” is featured in the movies Knives Outand The Beach Bum.”Sundown” is featured in the Mission Hill episode “Unemployment Part 1 (or Brother’s Big Boner)”.”Sundown” is the ending song of The Blacklistseason 1, episode 13: “The Cyprus Agency (No. 64)” (January 27, 2014).[14] It also appears in the season 4 episode, “Philomena.”The song entered the Amazon UK chart at number 97 on 18 March 2014, after The Blacklist episode, “The Cypress Agency (No. 64)” was shown on UK television.[citation needed]“Sundown” is featured after the opening credits of Supernatural Season 10, Episode 5 “Fan Fiction” (November 11, 2014).The lyrics of “Sundown” were referenced in the Strong Bad Email episode “army” where, after unsuccessfully trying to enlist Strong Bad in the Homestarmy, Homestar Runner remarks “we’ll see if those trees you’re always hugging save you when Gordon Lightfoot’s creeping round your back stair.”[15][16]

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