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If You Could Read My Mind

"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. Lightfoot has cited his divorce for inspiring the lyrics,[1] saying they came to him as he was sitting in a vacant Toronto house one summer.[2]

This song first appeared on Lightfoot's 1970 album Sit Down Young Stranger. The success of the single led Lightfoot's label, Reprise Records, to retitle the album after the song. The song also reached number one for one week on the Billboard Easy Listening chart,[3] and was the first of four Lightfoot releases to reach number one.

The song is in A major and uses the subtonic chord.[4]

"If You Could Read My Mind" was the favorite song of porno actor John Holmes. It was used at the end of his biographical 2003 film Wonderland.

Chart performance[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Chart (1970) Peak


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[5] 28
U.K. Singles Chart 30

Other versions[edit source | editbeta]Edit

"If You Could Read My Mind"
Single by Stars on 54
from the album 54 (film)
Released 1998
Format CD single
Recorded 1998
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:26
Label Tommy Boy Music LTD (UK)
Producer The Berman Brothers for Berman Brothers Media, Ltd.
  • The song was covered by Barbra Streisand on her 1970 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.[6]
  • The house music collective Stars on 54 recorded a version of the song for the 1998 film, 54, reaching number three on the dance charts.[7]

The song has been covered by many other artists, including Petula ClarkJack JonesJoe DassinUltra NateDon WilliamsJohnny CashDuane SteeleDon McLeanKalan PorterHerb Alpert & the Tijuana BrassOlivia Newton-JohnLiza MinnelliGlen CampbellGene ClarkThe SpotnicksAurora featuring Marcella DetroitAmberGordon HaskellVikki CarrDaliah Lavi, the Mexican Actress/model/singer Isabel Madow covered in Spanish lyrics under the name of "Sí Pudieras Leer Mi Mente", Beckie Menzie and Joe Dassin (in French lyrics "Si tu peux lire en moi"). The covered version by The Spotnicks was adopted as an unofficial theme for the 1972 Summer Olympics [1]

Country music artist Dwight Yoakam performs the song in his live sets on a regular basis.

Holly Cole covers this song on the 2012 album Night

It has also been used in motion pictures and television shows, including:

UK CD maxi single by Stars on 54 (1998)
No. Title Length
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
Total length: 17:25

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