Morna Anne Murray CC ONS (born June 20, 1945) is a multiple award-winning Canadian singer in pop, country and adult contemporary music whose albums have sold over 54 million copies worldwide as of 2012.
Murray was the first Canadian female solo singer to reach No. 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 Alanis Morissette, Nelly Furtado, Céline 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 received four Grammy Awards, 24 Juno Awards (she holds the record for the most Junos awarded to an artist), three American Music Awards, three Country Music Association Awards and three Canadian Country Music Association Awards. She has been inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Juno Hall of Fame, and The Songwriters Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame Walkway of Stars in Nashville, and has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles and on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto.
Early life[edit source | edit]Edit
Morna Anne Murray was born June 20, 1945, in the coal-mining town of Springhill, Nova Scotia. Her father, James Carson Murray, was the town doctor. Her mother, Marion Margaret (née Burke) Murray, was a registered nurse who focused her life on raising her family and community charity work. Murray had five brothers.
After expressing an early interest in music, she studied piano for six years. By age 15 she began taking voice lessons. Every Saturday morning, she took a bus ride from Springhill to Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, for singing lessons. One of her earliest performances was of the song "Ave Maria" at her high school graduation in 1962.
Following high school, Murray attended Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax for one year. She later studied Physical Education at University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. After receiving her degree in 1966 she taught physical education at a high school in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, for one year.
Murray married Bill Langstroth (died 2013) on June 20, 1975 (her 30th birthday), and gave birth to two children - William (born 1976) and Dawn (born 1979), a singer/songwriter and artist who has recorded with her mother a number of times, including the duet "Let There Be Love" in 1999 for Murray's What A Wonderful World album. Anne and Dawn were featured in a mother-daughter duet of "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do" on Murray's hit 2008 U.S. CD (released in late 2007 in Canada), Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends, Murray's highest-charting release in nine years.
Early career[edit source | edit]Edit
In 1965 Anne Murray appeared on the University of New Brunswick student project record "The Groove" (500 pressed). She sang two songs on the record - "Unchained Melody" and "Little Bit of Soap". On the label her name was misspelled "Anne Murry".
While at university, Murray was encouraged to audition for the 1960s CBC musical variety television show Singalong Jubilee, but Murray was not offered a singing position. Two years later she received a call fromSingalong Jubilee co-host and associate producer, Bill Langstroth, and was asked to return for a second audition. Following that second audition, Murray was cast for the show.
After a summer of singing in local venues across the Maritimes, Murray began teaching Physical Education at a high school in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. After one year of teaching, she was offered a spot on a television show Let's Go, and returned to Singalong Jubilee.
As a regular member of the "Singalong Jubilee" cast, Murray appeared on the Singalong Jubilee Vol. III soundtrack and Our Family Album - The Singalong Jubilee Cast records released by Arc Records. The show's musical director, Brian Ahern, advised Murray that she should move to Toronto and record a solo album. Murray's first album, What About Me, was produced by Ahern in Toronto and released in 1968 on the Arc label.
Success[edit source | edit]Edit
Murray's debut album was on the Canadian Arc label, titled What About Me (Arc AS 782). The lead single was the cut of the same name, was written by Scott McKenzie, and was a sizable Canadian radio hit. The project was produced by Brian Ahern, and covered songs by Joni Mitchell, Ken Tobias and John Denver. After a year-long stint on Arc, Murray 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 No. 1 hit in Canada. "Snowbird" became a surprise hit on the U.S. charts as well, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970. It was also the first of eight No. 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 (RIAA certified Gold on November 16, 1970). As one of the most successful female artists at that time, Murray became in demand for 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 No. 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 No. 1 Hot 100 hit "You Needed Me" (1978) — oddly, though, the biggest pop and commercially successful hit of her career (and, she claims, her personal favourite song in her entire repertoire) stalled out at No. 4 on Billboard's country singles chart and No. 3 on Billboard's U.S. Adult Contemporary chart; "I Just Fall in Love Again", "Shadows in the Moonlight", and "Broken Hearted Me" (all from 1979); her revival of The Monkees' 1967 No. 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); and "Time, Don't Run Out On Me" from 1985.
She 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. Following the last game at Maple Leaf Gardens, she concluded the arena's closing ceremony by singing "The Maple Leaf Forever" at center ice wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey
Murray was a celebrity corporate spokeswoman for The Bay, and she also did commercials and sang the company jingle ("You Can Count on the Commerce") for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).
Murray's last Hot 100 charting pop hit was "Now and Forever (You and Me)" from 1986; it also was her last No. 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, Murray signed on with a new manager, Bruce Allen, who also has managed careers for Bryan Adams, Michael Bublé, Martina McBride and Jann Arden. She recorded her first live album in 1997 and in 1999, she released What a Wonderful World, a Platinum selling inspirational album, which went to Billboard No. 1 Contemporary Christian, # 4 Country and No. 38 on the pop charts. She released Country Croonin' in 2002, the follow-up to her successful 1993 album, Croonin'. 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.
In 2006 Murray received a tremendous honour when the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame chose her and Leonard Cohen as recipients of the Legacy Award for their extraordinary contributions to and support of the Canadian songwriting industry. Murray was recognised for her unfailing support of Canada’s songwriters, through her performances and her recordings.
On June 29, 2007, Canada Post issued the limited edition Anne Murray Stamp. She was recognised along with three other iconic Canadian recording artists: Paul Anka, Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell.
Murray's final studio album Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends, was released in November 2007 in Canada and January 2008 in the U.S. The album comprises 17 tracks that include many of Murray's biggest hits over her four-decade career, re-recorded as duets with other established, rising, and – in one case – deceased female singers. These artists included Canadian superstars Céline Dion and Shania Twainalong with other fellow Canadians k.d. lang, Nelly Furtado, Jann Arden, a CD-closing French-language duet with Québec'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 No. 1 hit from 1970, "Snowbird," with world's biggest selling soprano, Sarah Brightman.
Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends was recorded in four cities - Toronto, Nashville, New York and Los Angeles. According to Billboard magazine, the album reached No. 2 on the Canadian pop album charts and was 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 No. 42, making it her highest-charting U.S. CD release since 1999's What a Wonderful World, which peaked at No. 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 No. 8 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and at No. 3 on its Top Internet Albums chart. Murray was nominated for the 2008 Juno Award for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year.
Murray's 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, and Sony BMG Music released an Elvis Presley Christmas album, titled Elvis Presley Christmas Duets, on October 14, 2008 featuring a virtual duet of "Silver Bells" with Anne Murray.
On October 10, 2007, Murray announced that she would embark on her final major tour. She toured in February and March 2008 in the U.S., followed by the "Coast-to-Coast – One Last Time" tour in April and May in Canada. Anne Murray's final public concert was held at the Sony Centre in Toronto on May 23, 2008.
On February 12, 2010, Murray was one of the eight Canadians who carried the Olympic flag during the opening ceremonies of the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
TV work[edit source | edit]Edit
Murray has had five highly-rated US specials on CBS (over 40 million viewers each), countless Canadian specials on CBC (such as Anne Murray in Nova Scotia, Intimate Evening with Anne Murray, Anne Murray RSVP, A Special Anne Murray Christmas, Legends & Friends, Greatest Hits II, What A Wonderful World, Ladies Night Show, Anne Murray in Walt Disney World and Anne Murray's Classic Christmas) and has appeared on Solid Gold, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dean Martin Summer Show, Singalong Jubilee, Dinah!, The Today Show, Dolly!, The Mike Douglas Show, Christmas in Washington, Boston Pops, The Helen Reddy Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, Perry Como's Christmas in New Mexico, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Night of a 100 Stars, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, The Pat Sajak Show, Royal Canadian Air Farce and Good Morning America. 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, Céline Dion, Bryan Adams, Dusty Springfield, Bananarama, Dionne Warwick, John Denver, k.d. lang, Kris Kristofferson, Barenaked Ladies, Alan Thicke, Roch Voisine, Glen Campbell, Valerie Harper, Ruth Buzzi, Rita MacNeil, Andrea Martin, The Rankin Family, Diana Krall, Dawn Langstroth, 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.
On February 17, 2013, Family Guy devoted the "Chris Cross" episode to Murray. In the episode, Stewie and Brian become obsessed with Murray's music. Murray also appears in animated form contributing her voice.
Autobiography[edit source | edit]Edit
In January, 2009, Alfred A. Knopf Canada announced that Murray, in collaboration with author Michael Posner, would be writing a memoir of her private life and 40-year career in show business. The autobiography, titled All of Me, was released on October 27, 2009. All of Me documents Murray's life, from her childhood in the tragedy-plagued small coal-mining town of Springhill, Nova Scotia, to her success on the world stage. The book remains on Canada's non-fiction best sellers list.
Following the release of her autobiography, All of Me, Murray embarked on a 15-city book signing tour, starting in Nashville on October 27, 2009 and ending in Ottawa on November 24, 2009. The tour also included a special In Conversation interview with Michael Posner at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on October 30, 2009.
Personal life[edit source | edit]Edit
In recent years, Murray 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 No. 1 in both Canada and the U.S.; the death of her beloved manager and close friend, Leonard T. Rambeau, from colon cancer; the separation and subsequent divorce from her husband, Bill Langstroth (died May 8, 2013); 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 emerged from those personal adversities in 1999 with her best-selling album in 20 years, What a Wonderful World, which was certified Platinum, and her 2002 CD Country Croonin’ was certified Gold by the RIAA. Murray's 2007/2008 Anne Murray Duets: Legends & Friends CD was the second-highest debuting album on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart (U.S.) for the week ending February 2, 2008, and was Murray'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 No. 8 and Top Internet Albums chart at No. 3 for the same week.The Anne Murray Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia
Murray has always kept ties with her hometown, Springhill, Nova Scotia, located about an hour south of Moncton, New Brunswick, and two hours north of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Anne Murray Centre, located in Springhill, houses a collection of memorabilia from both her personal life and professional career in a series of displays. The Anne Murray Centre, which opened on July 28, 1989, is a registered Canadian charity. As a non-profit association, all the revenue generated from its operation is used to provide employment for local people and for its ongoing maintenance. The Anne Murray Centre aims to foster tourism in the area and promote awareness of the music of Nova Scotia and Canada.
Anne Murray was involved in the construction of the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia. Murray served as the honorary chair of the fundraising campaign to replace the town arena that collapsed after a peewee hockey game in 2002. Named for her parents, the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre sports an NHL-size ice sheet with seating for 800 people, a walking track, multi-purpose room, community room with seating for up to 300, and a gym. The Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre has become an integral part of the Springhill community since opening on September 15, 2004.
Murray's personal success combined with her visible love and support for Springhill was featured in the article, “Women of Success – Impact on The Economy of Their Hometowns,” in Progressive Choices – Canadian Women In Business magazine (Summer/Fall 2004 edition).
When a tsunami brought tragedy on December 26, 2004, Anne Murray joined other Canadian music stars in the Canada for Asia Telethon, a three-hour, tsunami relief concert broadcast on CBC Television (January 13, 2005) to support CARE Canada’s efforts. Bryan Adams and Murray closed the show with a duet, "What Would It Take".
Anne Murray has also been involved in a variety of charitable organizations. In addition to being the Honorary National Chairperson of the Canadian Save The Children Fund, she has served as a spokeswoman for many charities throughout her career - most recently Colon Cancer Canada. On May 20, 2009, Colon Cancer Canada launched the inaugural Anne Murray Charity Golf Classic. Over $150,000 was raised through the event.
Murray's father, Dr. Carson Murray, died in 1980 at the age of 72 from complications from leukemia. Her mother, the former Marion Margaret Burke, died April 10, 2006, at the age of 92 after suffering a series of strokes during heart surgery.
A longtime golf enthusiast, Murray made history in October 2003 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, by becoming the first woman to score a hole-in-one on the 108-yard, par 3, 17th hole at the Kaluhyat Golf Club.
On May 11, 2007, Golf For Women magazine named Murray the world's best female celebrity golfer, noting her 11 handicap.
Discography[edit source | edit]EditMain article: Anne Murray discography
Since 1968, Murray has had 32 studio albums (15 of which have either gone multi-platinum, platinum or gold in the U.S. alone), and 15 compilation albums.
Awards and honours[edit source | edit]Edit
Anne Murray is the winner of four Grammy Awards (including one in the pop category), three CMA Awards, and has also won several Juno Awards, American Music Awards, and numerous other awards.