9:30 Coffee Break: Songs Inspired by Actual Events

Edmund Fitzgerald
The Edmund Fitzgerald in the St. Marys River near Nine Mile Point, circa 1975. (Courtesy of Robert Campbell)

November 17 is Gordon Lightfoot's birthday; the Canadian singer-songwriter turns 77 today. One of Lightfoot's most enduring songs is "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Forty years ago this month — on Nov. 10, 1975, to be exact — the 729-foot iron ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a storm on Lake Superior; all 29 crew members perished.

Shortly after the sinking, Lightfoot read an article about it in Newsweek magazine, and it inspired him to write the song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Although Lightfoot took some artistic license with a few minor details to best serve the song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is quite factual in its account. Lightfoot considers this ballad to be his finest work.

Lightfoot's song is just one of many songs that is based on actual events. And that brings us to our Coffee Break theme for today.

For today's 9:30 Coffee Break, what songs do you want to hear that are based on actual events? Send us your requests — and if the event on which the song is based is not evident in the title, please include that information with your request.

Songs Played


Gordon Lightfoot "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"
Crosby Stills Nash & Young "Ohio"
The Boomtown Rats "I Don't Like Mondays"
R.E.M. "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"
U2 "Sunday Bloody Sunday"

Do you deserve a Coffee Break? We at The Current's Morning Show think you do, and we want to bring treats from Black: Coffee and Waffle Bar to your workplace. Let us know why you'd like a Coffee Break.

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