About The Song
The heartfelt song stormed to the top of the charts in 1971, earning Lightfoot a gold record and his first No. 1 hit in the U.S. For Lightfoot, who had written the entire album in an empty Toronto house, working seven days a week, 12 hours a day for a month, the success was well deserved. Lightfoot had just been released from United Artists and signed to Warner’s Reprise label, later explaining, “I was inspired to write a lot of new tunes at the time. I had a new record contract.” He completed the hit song in one short afternoon.
Lightfoot recorded If You Could Read My Mind in Los Angeles with producers Lenny Waronker and Joe Wissert, and Red Shea on guitar, for the album “Sit Down Young Stranger.” His compositional skills, honed at Hollywood’s Westlake College of Modern Music, and his poetic skill combined to create what Waronker called “a highly sophisticated, beautiful song.”
In February 1971, Lightfoot’s single became Billboard’s No. 1 Adult Contemporary hit and the Hot 100’s No. 5. In Canada, it was No. 1 on RPM’s Top 100, and CHUM Radio’s No. 6. Lightfoot captured the 1971 Juno for top male vocalist and a Grammy nomination for best male pop vocal performance (James Taylor was the eventual winner).
If You Could Read My Mind has been declared a SOCAN Classic, having earned over 100,000 radio plays.