Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song)

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Single by Gordon Lightfoot
from the album Sundown
B-side "Too Late for Prayin'"
Released March 25, 1974
Format 7" 45 RPM
Genre Folk rock, country rock
Length 3:37
Label Reprise
Writer(s) Gordon Lightfoot
Producer(s) Lenny Waronker
Gordon Lightfoot singles chronology
"Can't Depend on Love"
"Carefree Highway"

"Sundown" is a song by Canadian folk artist Gordon Lightfoot, released as a single in March 1974.

Sundown reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and easy listening charts[1] and number thirteen on the Hot Country singles chart,[2] as well as number one in Canada on RPM '​s national singles chart.[3] It was Lightfoot's only single to reach number one on the Hot 100.


The song's lyrics seem to describe a troubled romantic relationship, with the narrator recounting an affair with a "hard-loving woman [who's] got me feeling mean".

There are rumours that "Sundown" was inspired by Lightfoot's then girlfriend, Cathy Smith, later more infamously known for her involvement in the 1982 drug-related death of actor John Belushi. Lightfoot has commented in interviews that Smith was "the one woman in my life who most hurt me".[citation needed]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
Australian Kent Music Report [4] 4
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 2
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 4
Dutch Top 40 [5] 16
German Singles Chart 30
Irish Singles Chart 14
U.K. Singles Chart 33
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 13
Preceded by
"Band on the Run" by Paul McCartney & Wings
Canadian RPM 100 number-one single
June 15 – 29,1974 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Billy Don't Be a Hero" by Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
Preceded by
"Billy Don't Be a Hero" by Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
June 29, 1974 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Rock the Boat" by Hues Corporation

Year-End Chart[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 27
U.S. Cashbox Top 100 32
Australian Kent Music Report 35

Other versions[edit]


Engineered by Lee Herschberg
Recorded at Eastern Sound Studios, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

  • Gordon Lightfoot: Vocal, 12-string guitar
  • John Stockfish: Bass
  • Red Shea: Lead electric guitar
  • Terry Clements: Lead acoustic guitar
  • Jim Gordon: Drums

In other media[edit]

  • "Sundown" is the ending song of The Blacklist season 1, episode 13: "The Cypress Agency (No. 64)" (January 27, 2014).[7]
  • The song entered the Amazon UK chart at number 97 on 18 March 2014, after The Blacklist episode, "The Cypress Agency (No. 64)" was shown on UK television.[citation needed]
  • "Sundown" is featured after the opening credits of Supernatural Season 10, Episode 5 "Fan Fiction" (November 11, 2014).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 368. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 201. 
  3. ^ List of number-one singles of 1974 (Canada)
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Billboard (selected) Artist Chart History for Elwood
  7. ^ "Soundtrack". IMDb. 

External links[edit]