The Big Lake They Called Gitche Gumee

My friend Kennedy writes to inform me that today is the thirtieth anniversary of the sinking of the S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald. From the Wikipedia entry:

SS Edmund Fitzgerald was a ship that sank suddenly on Lake Superior, November 10, 1975. The ship went down without a distress signal in a November gale. It sank in 530 feet (162 m) of water at a position 46℃ 59.9′ N, 85℃ 6.6′ W, in Canadian waters about 17 statute miles (15 nm) (27 km) from the entrance to Whitefish Bay. All 29 members of the crew were killed.

As loyal Canadians know, the sinking was commemorated by Gordon Lightfoot, with his classic song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (glorious midi awaits). Kennedy bemoans some of the rhyming:

I forgot just how poorly rhymed the song is… he sets up a fairly obvious and implicitly strict structure and then give such appalling 4-word rhymes as “Wisconsin/seasoned/Cleveland/feelin’.” The only way you can tell that Wisconsin and seasoned are supposed to rhyme is that the structure exists in every other stanza – occasionally he uses two pairs instead of four, but those first two are always a (ahem) match.

We’re currently discussing whether the instrumental version I have is, in fact, a cover by the Tragically Hip, or was mislabelled when I found it years ago on some Napster-clone.


  1. Wisconsin and seasoned can rhyme, depending on the part of the country, socioeconomic strata, and poetic license.

  2. I seriously doubt that is the Hip – no info on that I could find. And with G.D.’s penchant for seaborn disasters – why the hell isn’t he singing? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that one would be hard pressed to actually recognize where the melody-line is suppose to fit in this rendition… so much so that I wonder if it really is TWotEF.

  3. Hi may ask a question well my question why did they cakk it Lake Superior?

    Plz replie back plz and thx

  4. Hi may ask a question well my question is why did they call it Lake Superior?

    Plz replie back plz and thx

  5. Why did who call it Lake Superior? Do you mean why did they change the name to Lake Superior?

    Native American’s did not call it Lake Superior, it was changed to Lake Superior for the white man – just like all of the other Great Lakes. Superior means the ‘greatest, or biggest’, and that body of water is the largest of the 5 Great Lakes, hence the name Superior.

    Does that answer your question? I hope you are not going to ask why there is no Lake Inferior. hehehe..

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