Tag: If you could read my mind

Song Lyric Sunday – If You Could Read My Mind

This week Jim Adams has prompted us with “Could, Might, Would and Should” for Song Lyric Sunday. I was hoping I would have the chance to share a particular favorite of mine, and here it is! It is an old song from 1970 but it is still played a lot today. Gordon Lightfoot is a wonderful singer/songwriter and this particular song is very poetic and tells of his personal story of heartache in his own beautiful words. I have included an unplugged version with Gordon playing acoustic guitar and the other is a full orchestra video version. Both are excellent and I hope you enjoy at least one.

“If You Could Read My Mind” is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. It reached number one on Canadian music charts and was his first recording to appear on the American music charts, reaching 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 also reached number one for one week on the Billboard Easy Listening chart, and was the first of four Lightfoot releases to reach number one.

This song first appeared on Lightfoot’s 1970 album Sit Down Young Stranger, which was later renamed If You Could Read My Mind following the song’s success.

Lightfoot 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. 

In 1987 Lightfoot filed a lawsuit against the writer of “The Greatest Love of All”, alleging plagiarism of 24 bars of “If You Could Read My Mind”. Lightfoot has stated that he dropped the lawsuit when he felt it was having a negative effect on the singer Whitney Houston, as the lawsuit was about the writer and not her. 

The song is in A major and uses the subtonic chord.

Backstory provided by Wiki 


Lyrics
If You Could Read My Mind
Gordon Lightfoot


If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie
About a ghost from a wishing well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
You know that ghost is me
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost you can see
 
If I could read your mind love
What a tale your thoughts could tell
Just like a paperback novel
The kind the drugstore sells
When you reach the part where
the heartaches come
Come the hero would be me
Heroes often fail
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just to hard to take
 
I walk away like a movie star
Who gets burned in a three way script
Enter number two, a movie queen
To play the scene of bringing all the
good things out in me
But for now love let’s be real
 
I never knew I feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feeling’s gone and I just can’t get it back
 
If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie about a
ghost from a wishing well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
The story always ends
And if you read between the lines
You’ll know that I’m just trying to understand
The feeling that you left
 
I never knew I feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feeling’s gone
And I just can’t get it back
Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Gordon Lightfoot
If You Could Read My Mind lyrics
© Warner Chappell Music, Inc
 


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