That Time I Sang With a Famous Band

And Didn’t Even Know It

Robyn Sinead Sheppard


Gordon Lightfoot and his band in concert. (Photo courtesy Gordon Lightfoot Facebook page.)

August 1970. I’m a week early to register for the fall semester at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Fortunately, the powers that be had anticipated this happening and so had scheduled lots of things to do to keep us out of trouble. Idle hands being the devil’s playground, or some such folk wisdom.

One of those things was an open mic night at the student union building. I had brought my trusty Gibson J45 six-string to campus, and I decided to give it a go.

I only knew one Gordon Lightfoot song. “Early Morning Rain.” It was a good choice: Gordo was from our neck of the woods (sorta), and the song was popular at the time. So I climbed up on the stage, nodded to the pickup band that served as backups, and started the song.

I was amazed how well the band played. They were quite professional in everything they did, from playing exactly as I had hoped they would.

We finished the song and I sang another one, this time by Arlo Guthrie. I introduced it by saying, “This one’s by Arlo Guthrie. You freshmen all know his name, and for you seniors, he’s Woody’s kid.”

Again, the band nailed it. I took my bows, thanked the band, and sat back down. I turned to a friend sitting next to me and commented, “Man, those guys are great!”

My friend said, “They should be. They’re Gordon Lightfoot’s band.”

About Me

I am an award-winning former PBS news producer, videographer, and self-published author whose work, featuring my ex-wife’s art, was selected for display in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I write on a potpourri of topics including philosophy, memoirs, satire, gender, and basically anything else that pops into my head. A dedicated fan of the Oxford comma, I am fluent in several languages including English, Sarcasm, and Typonese.


If you are seeing this post behind any sort of paywall other than Medium, you are reading stolen material.



Robyn Sinead Sheppard

A happily retired technical writer, I write in order to understand what I'm thinking. I'm walking wounded from the Sexual Revolution.