"Sundown" is a song by Canadian folk artist Gordon Lightfoot, from the eponymous album, released as a single in March 1974.
"Sundown" reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and easy listening charts and number thirteen on the Hot Country singles chart, as well as number one in Canada on RPM's national singles chart. It was Lightfoot's only single to reach number one on the Hot 100.
The song's lyrics seem to describe a troubled romantic relationship, with the narrator recounting an affair with a "hard-loving woman [who's] got me feeling mean".
There are rumours that "Sundown" was inspired by Lightfoot's then girlfriend, Cathy Smith, later more infamously known for her involvement in the 1982 drug-related death of actor John Belushi. Lightfoot has commented in interviews that Smith was "the one woman in my life who most hurt me".
The inspiration for this song came from Lightfoot worrying about his girlfriend, who was out at bars all day while he was at home writing songs. He recalled during a Reddit AMA: "I had this girlfriend one time, and I was at home working, at my desk, working at my songwriting which I had been doing all week since I was on a roll, and my girlfriend was somewhere drinking, drinking somewhere. So I was hoping that no one else would get their hands on her, because she was pretty good lookin'!"
"As a matter of fact, it was written just around Sundown," he added, "just as the sun was setting, behind the farm I had rented to use as a place to write the album."
Lightfoot most likely wrote this about the stormy relationship with his one time girlfriend Cathy Smith, who was later sentenced for delivering a lethal dose of heroin to John Belushi.