Gary: “I was doing research and I came across some interesting items, well to me anyways, but not to most people. One of the favourite female singers of both Elvis and Johnny Carson was a little girl from Springhill Nova Scotia, who became the first Canadian female solo singer to reach #1 on the U.S. charts.
Today, she still tours, is a great golfer and carries an 11 handicap and recently got a hole in one at the Turning Stone Course outside of Rochester NY. She is truly one of Canada’s great exports , Anne Murray.
Morna Anne Murray, CC, ONS (born June 20, 1945) is a Grammy Award-winning Canadian singer. Murray has performed in Pop, Country and Adult Contemporary styles. So far, her albums have sold over 54 million copies.
Murray was the first Canadian female solo singer to reach #1 on the U.S. charts, and also the first to earn a gold record for one of her signature songs, “Snowbird” (1970). She is often cited as the woman who paved the way for other Canadian international success stories such as C?line Dion, Sarah McLachlan and Shania Twain. She is also the first woman and the first Canadian to win “Album of the Year” at the Country Music Association Awards for her 1984 album A Little Good News.
Murray has always resided in Canada and now lives in Toronto, but spends most summers in Nova Scotia. On May 11, 2007, Murray was named the world’s best female celebrity golfer by Golf For Women magazine, sporting an 11 handicap.
Murray was born on June 20, 1945, in the small town of Springhill, Nova Scotia. Her father, James Carson Murray, was a doctor and her mother, Marion Murray, was a registered nurse.
After expressing an early interest in music, she studied piano for six years; by age fifteen, she began taking voice lessons. Every Saturday morning, she took a bus ride from Springhill to Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, for her singing lesson with her teacher, Karen Mills.
Following high school, Murray spent a year at Mount Saint Vincent University, a women’s college in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After dropping out of Mount Saint Vincent University she went to the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where she studied Physical Education.
In 1965 she appeared on the UNB record “The Groove” (500 pressed). She sang two songs on the record, including “Unchained Melody”. On the label her name was misspelled “Anne Murry”.
Murray was encouraged to audition for the 1960s CBC music television show “Sing-along Jubilee”; unfortunately the cast was full at the time. Two years later she received a call from “Sing-along Jubilee” co-host and associate producer, Bill Langstroth, and asked to return for a second audition. Anne was subsequently cast for the show.
After a summer of singing, Murray began teaching Physical Education at a high school in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. However after one year of teaching, she was offered a spot on a television show, “Let’s Go” and returned to “Sing-along Jubilee.” A “Sing-along Jubilee” soundtrack was released by Arc Records, one of Canada’s first record labels. The show’s musical director, Brian Ahern, advised Murray that she should record a solo album; her first album, What About Me, was produced by Ahern in Toronto and released in 1968 on the Arc label.
The Anne Murray Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia
Murray’s debut album was on the Canadian Arc label, entitled What About Me (Arc AS 782). The lead single was the cut of the same name, written by Scott MacKenzie, and was a sizable Canadian radio hit.
The project was produced by Brian Ahern and Bill Gilliland, and covered songs by Joni Mitchell, Ken Tobias and John Denver. After a year-long stint on Arc, Anne switched to Capitol Records in 1969 to record her second album, This Way Is My Way, which was released in the fall of the same year. This album featured the single that launched her successful career, “Snowbird,” which became a #1 hit in Canada.
“Snowbird” became a surprise hit on the U.S. charts as well, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970. It was also the first of eight #1 Adult Contemporary hits for Murray. The song led to Murray being awarded the first Gold record ever given to a Canadian artist in the United States.
One of the most successful female artists of our time. Murray became the demand of several television appearances in Canada and the United States, eventually becoming a regular on the hit U.S. TV series The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.
After the success of “Snowbird“, Murray had a number of subsequent singles that charted both pop and country simultaneously. During the 1970s and early 1980s, her hits included Kenny Loggins’ “Danny’s Song” (1972) (peaked at #7 on the Hot 100) and “A Love Song” (1973); “He Thinks I Still Care” and her Top 10 cover of The Beatles’ “You Won’t See Me” (1974).
Her all-time career-peaking #1 Hot 100 hit “You Needed Me” (1978) and the biggest pop and commercially successful hit of her career (and, she claims, her personal favourite song in her entire repertoire) stalled out at #4 on Billboard’s country singles chart and #3 on Billboard’s U.S. Adult Contemporary chart.
Other hits followed:
- “I Just Fall In Love Again,” “Shadows in the Moonlight,” and “Broken Hearted Me” (all from 1979);
- her revival of The Monkees’ 1967 #1 hit “Daydream Believer” and “Could I Have This Dance?” from the Urban Cowboy motion picture soundtrack, both from 1980;
- “Blessed Are the Believers” (1981);
- “Another Sleepless Night” (1982);
- “A Little Good News” (1983);
- 1984’s “Just Another Woman in Love” and “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” (a duet with Dave Loggins of 1974’s “Please Come to Boston” fame and cousin of Murray’s frequent songwriter Kenny Loggins);
- “Time, Don’t Run Out On Me” from 1985.
Her hits started to taper off by the mid-’80s, and her last Hot 100 charting pop hit was “Now and Forever (You and Me)” from 1986; it also was her last #1 on both American and Canadian country charts.
Her last charting single in the U.S. was 1991’s “Everyday,” which appeared in Billboard’s Country Singles chart, and her last charting single in Canada was 2000’s What a Wonderful World.
In 1996, she signed on with a new manager, Bruce Allen, who also has managed careers for Bryan Adams and Martina McBride. She recorded her first live album in 1997 and in 1999, she released What A Wonderful World, a platinum selling inspirational album, which went Billboard #1 Contemporary Christian, # 4 Country and #38 on the Pop charts.
In 2004, she released I’ll Be Seeing You in Canada only, which features a collection of songs from the early 20th century through to the mid-1940s. The American version, titled All of Me, features a bonus disc containing many of her hit singles, followed in 2005.
Murray was ranked #24 in Country Music Television’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music in 2002.
In November 2007, Murray released in Canada an album called Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends. It was also released in January 2008 in the U.S. The album comprises 17 tracks that include many of Murray’s biggest hits over her nearly four-decade career, re-recorded as duets with other established, rising, and, in one case, deceased female singers.
These artists include Canadian superstars Celine Dion and Shania Twain along with other fellow Canadians k.d. Lang, Nelly Furtado, Jann Arden, a CD-closing French-language duet with Quebec’s Isabelle Boulay, and Murray’s daughter, Dawn Langstroth; Australia’s decades-long veteran Olivia Newton-John; Nashville’s Emmylou Harris, Martina McBride, Shelby Lynne, and pop/country/contemporary Christian crossover artist Amy Grant; songwriting and recording legend Carole King; influential folk-rock duo Indigo Girls; Irish sextet Celtic Woman; Britain’s late blue-eyed soul legend and close personal friend of Murray’s, Dusty Springfield; and a duet of her landmark, career-establishing #1 hit from 1970, “Snowbird,” with world’s biggest selling soprano, Sarah Brightman.
Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends was recorded in Toronto, Nashville, and Los Angeles. According to Billboard magazine, the album has thus far reached #2 on the Canadian pop album charts and has been certified double platinum in Canada after merely two months, representing sales of over 200,000 units.
Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends was the second-highest debuting CD on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart for the week ending February 2, 2008. It entered the chart at #42, making it already her highest-charting U.S. CD release since 1999’s What a Wonderful World, which peaked at #38 on the Top 200 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Also for the week ending February 2, 2008, the CD debuted at #8 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and at #3 on its Top Internet Albums chart. Anne was nominated for the 2008 Juno Award for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year.
On October 10, 2007, Murray announced that she will embark on her final major tour. She toured in February and March 2008 in the U.S. and April and May in Canada. . Her album What a Wonderful World was re-released in July 2008 in North America as a 14-song package.
A new Christmas album, titled Anne Murray’s Christmas Album with bonus DVD was released in October 2008. She appeared August 25, 2008 on the popular TV program “Canadian Idol” as a mentor, and Sony BMG Music has just announced an upcoming Elvis Presley album out in October 2008 featuring a virtual duet of “Silver Bells” with Ms. Murray.
Murray married Bill Langstroth on June 20, 1975 and gave birth to two children: William, in 1976, and the better-known of her children, Dawn Langstroth 1979, a singer, songwriter, and recording artist who has recorded with her mother a number of times. Anne and Dawn are currently featured in a mother-daughter duet on Murray’s hit 2008 U.S. CD (released in late ’07 in Canada), Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends, Murray’s highest-charting release in nine years.
In recent years, she has faced many personal challenges: her departure from Capitol Records after more than a quarter-century; the apparent suicide of Gene MacLellan, the composer of her first hit single, “Snowbird,” which hit #1 in both Canada and the U.S. and virtually established her international singing career overnight; the death of her beloved manager, Leonard T. Rambeau, from cancer; the separation and then divorce from her husband, Bill; her daughter Dawn’s battle with anorexia (Dawn and Anne reluctantly did the US talk-show circuit to raise awareness of the deadly affliction); and most recently, the loss of her best friend to cancer (she recorded her 2005 album All of Me as a tribute to her).
She overcame all of these obstacles and emerged in 1999 with her best-selling album in 20 years, What a Wonderful World, which was certified platinum by the RIAA. Her 2002 CD Country Croonin’ was certified gold. Her promising new 2007-08 “Duets” CD was the second-highest debuting album on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart (U.S.) for the week ending February 2, 2008, and is already Anne’s highest-charting album in the U.S. since What a Wonderful World was released in 1999. The CD also debuted on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart at #8 and Top Internet Albums chart at #3 for the same week.
Murray has always kept strong ties with her hometown, Springhill, Nova Scotia, located about an hour south of Moncton, New Brunswick and 2 hours north of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has a museum there which houses her memorabilia and employs local people. She has been instrumental in the construction of the local arena, and has been a spokeswoman for many charities.
Murray performed O Canada at the first American League baseball game played in Canada on April 7, 1977, when the Toronto Blue Jays played the Chicago White Sox at Exhibition Stadium. Murray reprised the Canadian national anthem prior to Game 3 of the 1992 World Series at SkyDome.
She was a celebrity corporate spokeswoman for The Bay. Murray also sang the company jingle for CIBC.
Her mother, the former Marion Burke, died April 10, 2006 at the age of 92.
In October 2007, Murray was invited to perform on The Howard Stern Show on an on-air birthday party for comedian and Murray admirer Artie Lange. Her management declined the invitation.
In January, 2009, Alfred A. Knopf Canada announced that Murray, in collaboration with Michael Posner, will be writing a memoir of her life and career in show business. The book, tentatively titled All of Me, is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2009.
Murray has had five highly-rated US specials on CBS (over 40 million viewers each), countless Canadian specials on CBC (Anne Murray in Nova Scotia) and has appeared on Solid Gold, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dean Martin Summer Show,Sing-along Jubilee, Dinah!, The Mike Douglas Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and The Pat Sajak Show. Her 2005 CBC special Anne Murray: The Music of My Life broke ratings records for a Thursday night, with more than 7 million Canadian viewers tuned in. The guests on her TV specials have included Julio Iglesias, Patti LaBelle, C?line Dion, Bryan Adams, Dusty Springfield, Bananarama, Barenaked Ladies, Alan Thicke, Roch Voisine, Glen Campbell, Valerie Harper, Diana Krall, Jann Arden, and Miss Piggy. The record for the highest-rated variety special in Canadian television history is Anne Murray’s Family Christmas, which garnered a 43 per cent share on CBC with 4.2 million viewers.
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