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July 9, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, folk-rock legend Gordon Lightfoot sings “14 Karat Gold,” a song that uses a precious metal metaphor to express just how much he appreciates the love of his life.
Repeated throughout the song is this memorable phrase: “She’s more than money / She’s 14 karat gold.”
“14 Karat Gold” appeared as the first track on Lightfoot’s 15th original album, Shadows. Prior to its 1982 release, the Canadian singer/songwriter/musician provided radio stations with an “interview album” that included his commentary about each of the tracks.
The velvet-throated vocalist described “14 Karat Gold” as surrealistic and a departure from some of the other songs he’s done.
“It has to do with the human relationship,” he said. “What it says is that you don’t know everything there is to know, about everybody else, or about each other, or about anything for that matter. But [the song is] saying that you appreciate your lady in very positive terms.”
“14 Karat Gold” was apparently one of Lightfoot’s favorite performance pieces.
“The song works extremely well on stage,” he said, “because I’ve sung it many times.”
Rated fifth on the CBC’s list of the greatest Canadian songwriters ever, Lightfoot’s music career has spanned 63 years and counting. Lightfoot has produced more than 200 recordings, including the chart topping “If You Could Read My Mind” (1970), “Sundown” (1974), “Carefree Highway” (1974), “Rainy Day People” (1975) and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (1976).
He has written songs for prominent artists, such as Bob Dylan, Dan Fogelberg, Jimmy Buffett and Jim Croce.
Dylan famously said of Lightfoot, “Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever.”
In March of 2020, the 82-year-old released his 21st studio album.
Please check out the audio track of Lightfoot performing “14 Karat Gold.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…
“14 Karat Gold”Written and performed by Gordon Lightfoot.
If you see me smile don’t think I’m acting strangeI got my just reward for all my painsIf you see me on the TV talkin’ proudPlease understand if I don’t talk too loud
Step around and dance a bitPolish up the diceSet ’em loose and let ’em rollThis is my adviceKeep your mind a mysteryRunning hot ‘n coldShe’s more than moneyShe’s 14 karat gold
If you wonder why I’m acting up this wayGonna cash my chips I’m leaving town todayI got more love than I could ever spendSo long, farewell, good-bye, this is the end
Step around and dance a bitPolish up the diceSet ’em loose and let ’em rollBe as cool as iceKeep your mind a mysteryRunning hot ‘n coldShe’s more than moneyShe’s 14 karat gold
If you get hit by the bug that bit on meIf you get caught with something soft and sweetIf you get found with something you can’t wasteThen listen bud, let me give you a taste
Step around and dance a bitPolish up the diceSet ’em loose and let ’em rollThis is my adviceKeep your mind a mysteryRunning hot ‘n coldShe’s more than moneyShe’s 14 karat gold. Sold.
Credit: Image by Arnielee, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.