Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Legend Lives On, Slightly Revised

This time last year, I was confessing my continued fondness for Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." I didn't get to hear any mini-marathons of "Wreck" cover versions this year, but I did see this: GL has revised the lyrics to his song. The consensus among Edmund Fitzgerald experts (how many can there be?) about the cause of the wreck appears to have changed. Out is the old theory about the ship taking on water through her hatchways. In is the idea that the ship hit bottom, tearing a hole in her hull. So GL has reworked the relevant line of his song. He used to sing: "At 7 pm a main hatchway gave in/he said, 'Fellas, it's been good to know ya.'" Now it's: "At 7 pm it grew dark. It was then/he said 'Fellas, it's been good to know ya.'"

Maybe I just don't understand the rules governing mounrnful maritime folk, but I'm not sure I like the idea of lyrics being revised for accuracy. George Harrison didn't change his lyrics to "Something in the way she moves/continues to really annoy me" just because his relationship hit the rocks.

In any case, as my friend TH observed: Under the circumstances, a comment like "Fellas, it's been good to know ya," was likely appreciated by no one on board.

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