Canadian Railroad Trilogy

Album: The Way I Feel (1967)

Songfacts®:

  • To many Canadians, this song is instantly identifiable by its opening chords. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) hired Lightfoot to write the song for a 1967 special, and tells the story of the Canadian Pacific Railway. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Leslie - Sherbrooke, QC

Comments: 8

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenLightfoot's comments (from his "Songbook" collection): This was part of a two-hour special that was played on New Year's afternoon. I got the idea to write it long from a mentor of mine named Bob Gibson, who is a major figure in the folk revival. He had written a song called "Civil War Trilogy," which had a slow part in the middle, and I followed that pattern. Without a piece of input like that, I probably wouldn't have been able to approach the song on that basis. The song says a lot. Canadian author Pierre Berton said to me, 'You know, Gord, you said as much in that song as I said in my book [about the building of the railroad across Canada].' I appreciated the compliment."
  • Phil from Wales, UkThe song was commissioned as a part of the celebrations of Canada's Centenial year (1967). A very moving song which I latched onto during the 8 months I spent in Canada that year. I haven't been back since but I still love the song.
  • Meocyber from Alma, Co Gordon' one of my top solo gutarists/composers. This song ,to me, talks of humans exploring and advancing to seek better lives in the unknown wilderness. Pretty and optimistic.
  • Heather from Los Angeles, CaI love Lightfoot's voice. He can take a Canadian history lesson and weave it into a touching, spellbinding song.
  • Nathan from From The Country Of, CanadaI hate to be an anti-narcissist Canadian, but thank you to the Chinese for our railroad.
  • Jodi from London, OnHearing this song is one of the few things that makes me proud of my country.
  • Kelley from Hickory, KyThere have been a lot of great train songs over the years, this one and "City of New Orleans" are the best. Sadly Americans know little about the building of our own transcontinental railroad, much less the Canadian achievement. Canadians get this great masterpiece; Americans get "I been workin' on the railroad, all the live-long day"
  • Roger from Mokena, IlPerhaps the "greatest train song ever written", said the late Johnnie Cash. I agree.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Queen

QueenFact or Fiction

Scaramouch, a hoople and a superhero soundtrack - see if you can spot the real Queen stories.

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?Song Writing

Katy Perry mentions McDonald's, Beyoncé calls out Red Lobster, and Supertramp shouts out Taco Bell - we found the 10 restaurants most often mentioned in songs.

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian OrchestraSongwriter Interviews

Writing great prog metal isn't easy, especially when it's for 60 musicians.

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?Fact or Fiction

Bradley Cooper, Michael J. Fox, Rami Malek, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow and George Clooney: Which actors really sang in their movies?

Sam Phillips

Sam PhillipsSongwriter Interviews

Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind - Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand, is a fan.

Which Songs are About Drugs?

Which Songs are About Drugs?Fact or Fiction

"25 or 6 to 4" to "Semi-Charmed Life" - see if you can spot the songs that are really about drugs.