Anne Murray:  Snowbird

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

"So little snowbird take me with you when you go to the land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow."

artist:   Anne Murray

songwriter:  Gene MacLellan

date released:  1970 by Anne Murray

Anne Murray was born on June 20, 1945, in the small, coal-mining town of Springhill, Nova Scotia.  Her father was the town doctor, and her mother, a registered nurse.  Recognizing her love of music early, Murray studied the piano for six years and by the age of fifteen, Murray was taking classical voice lessons.

Following high school, Murray enrolled at the University of New Brunswick majoring in Physical Education.  Soon after, she was teaching her specialty in Summerside, Prince Edward Island and continuing in her passion for singing.

After a year of teaching, the call to music pushed her to audition for a music show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).  Her performance spring-boarded her to record her first solo album in 1968, "What About Me".  

Then, came her second album in 1970 containing the sleeper hit, "Snowbird."  The song indelibly defined her image which she has kept to this day--the sweet small-town Canadian girl, flying into the States from the frozen north.  The real bird was actually a snow bunting.  In its habits of migration, a new expression was born into the Canadian vernacular---"a snowbird" which describes the flight of a well-off Canadian who can afford to spend winters in Florida.  

"Snowbird" soared up the international music charts bringing our Canadian songbird to instant celebrity and appearances on a variety of television shows in the U.S.  

The daughter of Eugene MacLellan, the songwriter, would later go on to muse that the melody touches every part of the scale sweeping up and down as in the flight of a bird.  The lyrics summon the desire to flee when the heart is broken and further, the indecision that comes in deciding to stay or go.  Perhaps it was this effect which gripped Elvis Presley who also made an international hit of it.  

During her long career, Anne Murray dominated the Adult Contemporary, Pop and Country music charts.  Many were her hits and many her awards:  4 Grammy Awards, 20 Juno Awards, 3 Canadian Music Awards and countless other national and international music awards.  Her highest accolade was being made a Companion in the Order of Canada in 1984.  Anne Murray's singular success paved the way for other Canadian divas such as Celine Dion, Shania Twain and Sarah McLachlan.