"If You Could Read My Mind" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. Lightfoot wrote the lyrics while he was reflecting on his own divorce. It reached No. 1 on the Canadian Singles Chart on commercial release in 1970 and charted in several other countries on international release in 1971.
Lightfoot has cited his divorce for inspiring the lyrics, saying they came to him as he was sitting in a vacant Toronto house one summer. At the request of his daughter Ingrid, he performs the lyrics with a slight change: The line "I'm just trying to understand the feelings that you lack" is altered to "I'm just trying to understand the feelings that we lack." He has said in an interview that the difficulty with writing songs inspired by personal stories is that there is not always the emotional distance and clarity to make lyrical improvements such as the one his daughter suggested.
On release, the song reached No. 1 on the Canadian Singles Chart and was his first recording to appear in the U.S., reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in February 1971. Later in the year, it reached No. 27 on the Australian singles chart and No. 30 on the United Kingdom's singles chart. The song also reached No. 1 for one week on the BillboardEasy Listening chart, and was the first of four Lightfoot releases to reach No. 1.
In 1987, Lightfoot filed a lawsuit against Michael Masser, the composer of Whitney Houston's hit "The Greatest Love of All", alleging plagiarism of 24 bars of "If You Could Read My Mind"; the transitional section that begins "I decided long ago never to walk in anyone's shadow" of the Masser song has the same melody as "I never thought I could act this way and I got to say that I just don't get it; I don't know where we went wrong but the feeling's gone and I just can't get it back" of Lightfoot's song. Lightfoot has stated that he dropped the lawsuit when he felt it was having a negative effect on the singer Houston because the lawsuit was about the writer and not her. He also said that he did not want people to think that he had stolen his melody from Masser. The case was settled out of court, and Masser issued a public apology.
"Our favourite production during the '90s was the song "If You Could Read My Mind" by the group Stars on 54. (...) It featured Ultra Nate (to date, our favourite female singer), as well as Amber and Jocelyn Enriquez. Except for the short (but intense) "discussion" between the three performers about who would get the first verse, it was an amazing session. In the end, the film company Miramax re-shot the conclusion of the movie and had the group perform the track. That's how much they loved the song."
Can't Stop the Pop called "If You Could Read My Mind" "one of the most mind-bogglingly brilliant cover versions of the ‘90s", adding that it "remains a deeply fabulous single" and "a proudly ‘90s homage to disco that is as uplifting and joyous as there could be – and can now be rightly enjoyed as a triumphant celebration of everything that 54 represents."
A music video was made to accompany the single release. It pays homage to aspects of the disco-era presented through a ‘90s lens. Amber and Ultra Naté performs in a room where every surface is covered in LED dancefloor tiles. Jocelyn Enriquez are swinging on a giant disco ball. In the end, the singers performs together on the stage in a night club, all three dressed in red outfits. In between these scenes, several clips from the movie 54 are shown.