Monday, November 24, 2014

Anne Murray, The #46 Artist of the Seventies*

Anne Murray became interested in music at an early age, and studied piano for six years.  She began taking voice lessons at age 15, and sang "Ava Maria" at her high school graduation in 1962.  She went to Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for one year, before studying Physical Education at the University of New Brunswick.  Anne earned her degree in 1966, and taught physical education at a high school in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, for a year.

In 1965, Murray sang two songs on a University of New Brunswick student project, and was encourage to audition for the CBC musical variety television show Singalong Jubilee.  Eventually, Anne won a part on the show.  Brian Ahern, musical director of the show, told Murray she should move to Toronto and record a solo album.

In 1968, Murray's debut album What About Me was produced by Ahern on Arc Records.  The title song was a hit in Canada, which led to a major recording contract with Capitol Records in 1969.

Murray recorded the album This Way Is My Way.  The first single, "Snowbird", took off in 1970 and launched her career.  It reached #8, went to #1 on the Adult chart, and registered a #2 hit in Canada.  "Snowbird" also sold over one million copies.

Murray received requests to appear on numerous television shows in North America, and she became a regular on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.  Her next three albums (Straight, Clean and Simple, Talk It Over in the Morning, and Annie), however, were only successful in her native Canada.

Then in 1973, Murray released the album Danny's Song, which got her career back on track.  It gave her a second Canadian #1, a second U.S. Adult #1, and peaked at #7 overall.

 "What About Me", which Anne had recorded several years before, was released, and landed at #2 on the Adult chart.

Murray returned the following year with the album Love Song.  The title track was #1 in Canada, and #1 again on the U.S. Adult chart, and #12 overall.  Murray won a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance.

The single "You Won't See Me" reached #1 in Canada, #8 in the U.S., and peaked at #5 among adults.

The albums Highly Prized PossessionTogether, and Keeping in Touch continued to get Murray airplay on adult stations, but not to the level of previous releases.  So it was back to the studio.

In 1978, Murray released the album Let's Keep It That Way, which gave Anne her biggest career hit.  The single "You Needed Me" did better overall in the U.S. (#1) than it did on the Adult Contemporary chart (#3), and gave Murray her fourth Canadian #1 song.  It truly was an international hit, reaching #2 in Australia.  Anne won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Murray had her first career Gold album thanks to the huge success of "You Needed Me"; in fact, it went Platinum.  She scored a second straight Platinum album with New Kind of Feeling.  The single "I Just Fall In Love Again" was a triple #1 in Canada (Popular, Adult and Country), and it nearly achieved that feat in the United States:  #1 Adult Contemporary and #1 Country, but it stopped at #12 overall.

Murray's follow-up, "Shadows In The Moonlight", raced to the top of four of those charts mentioned above (#1 Adult and Country in Canada and #1 Adult Contemporary and Country in the U.S.).

Anne released the album I'll Always Love You later in the year, and "Broken Hearted Me" became her seventh #1 song among Adults.  It peaked at #12 overall.

In 1980, Anne's Greatest Hits package of hits in the Seventies sold over four million copies.

In 1992, Murray sang the Canadian national anthem prior to Game 3 of the 1992 World Series in Toronto.  She was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the second-highest honor that can be awarded to a Canadian civilian.  In 2007, Canada Post issued a limited edition Anne Murray postage stamp--Anne was one of four Canadian recording artists in history to be recognized.

Murray exploded for 19 hits in the Seventies, taking full advantage of the decade with her first hit in 1970 and remaining strong through 1979.  In fact, her success carried well into the 80's as well.  Murray sold 7.5 million albums in the Seventies.

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