If You Could Read My Mind
|"If You Could Read My Mind"|
|Single by Gordon Lightfoot|
|from the album Sit Down Young Stranger|
|B-side||"Poor Little Allison"|
|Genre||Soft rock, Folk rock|
|Producer(s)||Lenny Waronker and Joseph Wissert|
|Gordon Lightfoot singles chronology|
"If You Could Read My Mind" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. It reached number one on Canadian music charts and was his first recording to appear on the American music charts, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in February 1971. Later in the year it reached number 30 in the UK. The song also reached number one for one week on the Billboard Easy Listening chart, and was the first of four Lightfoot releases to reach number one.
This song first appeared on Lightfoot's 1970 album Sit Down Young Stranger, which was later renamed If You Could Read My Mind following the song's success.
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 now: 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.
In 1987 Lightfoot took a lawsuit out against the writer of "The Greatest Love of All", alleging plagiarism of 24 bars of "If You Could Read My Mind". Lightfoot has stated that he dropped the lawsuit when he felt it was having a negative effect on the singer Whitney Houston, as the lawsuit was about the writer and not her.
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||1|
|Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary||1|
|U.S. Billboard Easy Listening||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||5|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||19|
|Australian Go-Set Chart||28|
|U.K. Singles Chart||30|
|"If You Could Read My Mind"|
|Single by Stars on 54|
|from the album 54 (film)|
|Label||Tommy Boy Music LTD (UK)|
|Producer(s)||The Berman Brothers for Berman Brothers Media, Ltd.|
- The song was covered by Barbra Streisand on her 1971 album, Stoney End.
- In 1980, Viola Wills peaked at number two for five weeks on the dance/disco charts with a dance version of the song.
- The house music collective Stars on 54 recorded a version of the song for the 1998 film, 54, reaching number three on Australia's ARIA Singles Chart.
The song has been covered by many other artists, including Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Petula Clark, Jack Jones, Ultra Nate, Don Williams, Johnny Cash, Duane Steele, Don McLean, Kalan Porter, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Olivia Newton-John, Liza Minnelli, Diana Krall and Sarah Maclachlan, Glen Campbell, Gene Clark, Aurora featuring Marcella Detroit, Amber, Gordon Haskell, Vikki Carr, Daliah Lavi, the Mexican Actress/model/singer Isabel Madow (in Spanish, as "Sí Pudieras Leer Mi Mente"), Beckie Menzie and Joe Dassin (with French lyrics as "Si tu peux lire en moi"), Hector (in Finnish, as "Jos Lukisit Kuin Kirjaa"), etc. The covered version by The Spotnicks was adopted as an unofficial theme for the 1972 Summer Olympics.
Canadian singer Connie Kaldor recorded the song on the Gordon Lightfoot tribute album Beautiful. A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot in 2003. Canadian musician Neil Young released a cover of this song on his 2014 album A Letter Home. Canadian jazz singer Diana Krall released a cover as a duet with Sarah McLachlan on "The Complete Sessions" release of Krall's 2015 album Wallflower.
It has also been used in motion pictures and television shows, including:
- Paperback Hero (1973), starring Keir Dullea and Elizabeth Ashley
- Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
- 54 (1998) By: *Stars on 54 (Amber, Ultra Naté, and Jocelyn Enriquez)
- Trigger Happy TV (2000)
- Closing sequence of Wonderland (2003)
- Cold Case episode Honor (episode 8, season 3, 2005)
- We Are Marshall (2006)
- The Blacklist episode Mato (episode 2, season 4, 2016)
UK CD maxi single by Stars on 54 (1998)
|1.||"If You Could Read My Mind" (Original Edit)||3:27|
|2.||"If You Could Read My Mind" (Hex Hector Club Mix)||7:48|
|3.||"If You Could Read My Mind" (Original Club Mix)||6:10|
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 146.
- "Gordon Lightfoot 'still out there'" South Coast Today (Martin Griffith, Associated Press) 4-Dec-2000
- Victoria Ahearn (2010-02-02). "How Gordon Lightfoot wrote 'If You Could Read My Mind'". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- Lydia Hutchinson (2012-11-17). "Happy Birthday, Gordon Lightfoot". Performing Songwriter Magazine. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
- Wake, Matt. "Gordon Lightfoot on Elvis, Dylan covering his songs, not suing Whitney over 'The Greatest Love of All'". AL.com. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- Stephenson, Ken (2002). What to Listen for in Rock: A Stylistic Analysis, p.92. ISBN 978-0-300-09239-4.
- "Go-Set Australian charts - 22 May 1971". Poparchives.com.au. 1971-05-22. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 281.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 20.
- Greene, Andy (18 April 2014). "Neil Young's New Covers Album Available Right Now: Surprise!". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 April 2014.