From Snowbird to Flying High Again
When I was an adolescent, I had a crush on Anne Murray.
Yes, the host of The Rock and Roll Riot, whose list of concerts attended includes Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead and Iron Maiden (five times) once took a shine to Canada’s snowbird.
But check out this photo of Anne from back in the day.
She was a pretty singer who was unavoidable if you watched Canadian TV in the ’70s and, as a young fellow discovering that girls weren’t as icky as I thought, and were becoming more interesting as the months rolled along, that was good enough for me.
My parents bought me Anne Murray’s “What About Me?” album but once I hit 13, and realized Mom and Dad’s preferred radio station, CFRB, was lame, I set the snowbird free and found Wings. As in Paul McCartney and…
The Beatles broke up when I was 8 so I became a fan through their solo hits on Top 40 radio and worked back from there. McCartney’s “Band on the Run” was the first record I bought with my own money and it wasn’t welcome on Dad’s stackable record player. If you’re old enough, you remember those cheapie contraptions that held five discs with a magnetic arm and dropped one piece of vinyl at a time. Any serious audiophile would cringe at the possible damage to the records, but it suited Dad’s listening habits.
I had to listen to my records through headphones, or when Mom and Dad went out.
Anne was replaced, crush-wise, by the eldest Brady Bunch daughter, Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Laurie Partridge and Chris Evert. I suppose if Murray had rocked along the lines of the Wilson sisters in Heart I would have remained a fan, but Annie’s songs seemed more designed to please grandmothers.
And she pleased a lot of them.
No doubt, Anne Murray is a national treasure with worldwide appeal and she has sold zillions of records.
COOL AGAIN, WELL KINDA
Murray avoided the Juno awards for years because she agreed with many Canadian music fans that the show was a joke. She won plenty of Junos but often times didn’t show up to collect ’em. Up your game and I may return, Anne seemed to be saying. They did, she did and the Junos are better for it. Not a whole lot, but better.
DON’T CHALLENGE ANNIE!
I also loved the moment during the recording of “Tears Are Not Enough,” Canada’s answer to famine relief singles “Do they Know it’s Christmas” and “We are the World,” when Murray battled producer David Foster. The whole session was captured on video.
Anne sang her line. Foster asked for another take. Anne said she’d nailed it, but agreed to another go at it.
Later, Foster admitted Murray’s first take had been the keeper.
In recent years, Anne Murray has given interviews and pulled no punches. Murray takes no crap, and she’s also pretty damn funny.
Then again, if you look at that photo above, it’s no surprise the snowbird turned out to have sharp claws.