This song by Gordon Lightfoot is a factual retelling of a shipwreck on Lake Superior in November, 1975 that claimed the lives of 29 crew members. On November 10, 1975, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald broke in half and sunk in Lake Superior. The storm she was caught in reported winds from 35 to 52 knots, and waves anywhere from 10 to 35 feet high. She was loaded with 26,116 tons of taconite pellets at the Burlington Northern Railroad, Dock #1. Her destination was Zug Island on the Detroit River. There were 29 crew members who perished in the sinking. Before we continue, let's hear Gordon Lightfoot w/ Lyrics Lightfoot recalled the story of the song during a Reddit AMA: "The Edmund Fitzgerald really seemed to go unnoticed at that time, anything I'd seen in the newspapers or magazines were very short, brief articles, and I felt I would like to expand upon the story of the sinking of the ship itself," he said. "And it was quite an undertaking to do that, I went and bought all of the old newspapers, got everything in chronological order, and went ahead and did it because I already had a melody in my mind and it was from an old Irish dirge that I heard when I was about three and a half years old." "I think it was one of the first pieces of music that registered to me as being a piece of music," he continued. "That's where the melody comes from, from an old Irish folk song." (source) Lyrics to "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead When the skies of November turn gloomy With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed That good ship and crew was a bone to be chewed When the gales of November came early The ship was the pride of the American side Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most With a crew and good captain well seasoned Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms When they left fully loaded for Cleveland Then later that night when the ship's bell rang Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'? The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound When the wave broke over the railing And every man knew, as the captain did too 'Twas the witch of November come stealin' The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait When the gales of November came slashin' When afternoon came it was freezing rain In the face of a hurricane west wind When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck Saying, "Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya." At seven PM a main hatchway caved in At seven PM it grew dark, it was then He said, "Fellas, it's been good to know ya." The captain wired in he had water comin' in And the good ship and crew was in peril And later that night when his lights went out of sight Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald Does anyone know where the love of God goes When the waves turn the minutes to hours? The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her They might have split up or they might have capsized They may have broke deep and took water And all that remains is the faces and the names Of the wives and the sons and the daughters Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings In the rooms of her ice-water mansion Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams The islands and bays are for sportsmen And farther below, Lake Ontario Takes in what Lake Erie can send her And the iron boats go as the mariners all know With the gales of November remembered In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed A rustic old hall in Detroit they prayed In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee Superior, they said, never gives up her dead When the gales of November come early Performance from 1979 This is a pretty recent and close footage of "Edmund Fitzgerald"... If you have some time, check out this concert from 1972 RELATED: What’s The True Story Of The “Running Bear” And The “Little White Dove”?