1986 makes a significant year
in the life of Anne Murray. An international star for fifteen years,
she's released an album Something To Talk About, that's the most
artistically challenging she's ever recorded.
Three of the rnost talented producers in contemporary
pop music - David Foster, Keith Diamond and Jack White - have, for
the first time, lent their talents and resources to an Anne Murray
project. The result is an album that may be the most exciting in
Anne's hit-filled career. 'Starting in 1978, my career took off
right away with You Needed Me,' and for the next few years I had
hit after hit. They were all kind of ballady, and it's really hard
to look a gift horse in the mouth. You get on a roll like that and
you don't want to change things. I was certainly not one to turn
my back on the success I was having and start experimenting at that
time. But music moves onto something else, and you've got to change
with it. I've had a history of pop success in the past, and there's
no reason that it shouldn't happen again. People tend to categorize
me as a country singer. That's right, when I'm singing a country
song. But I can do a lot more. I want to stay contemporary. I want
to be around in this business for a long, long time."
Foster's recent credits range from Chicago to Kenny
Rogers, from Barbara Streisand to Earth, Wind & Fire and The
Tubes. A Canadian, he produced the all-star Northern Lights for
Africa single, "Tears Are Not Enough," which marked his
first professional association with Murray. Keith Diamond's recent
credits include work with Billy Ocean, James Ingram, and Starpoint.
Jack White, based in Germany, has produced international hits; his
best-known work in North America is with Laura Branigan.
"I love the new blood, and the excitement
of these guys' being able to do what they do," says Anne of
the sessions for the new album. 'I loved every minute of it."
The feeling's mutual. Foster looks at the project
as the realization of a long-time ambition. "The first time
I heard her was before her first hit, when she was a regular performer
on a weekly television show from Halifax. I thought she was destined
for stardom at that point. All Canada did. She's Canada's national
Four Grammy Awards, 22 Canadian Juno Awards, three
American Music Awards, three Country Music Association Awards, nine
gold albums, two platinum albums, one triple platinum and two gold
singles reflect Anne Murray's continued acclaim by music industry
professionals and by her ever-widening international audience.
One of the top-grossing female performers on the
concert circuit, Anne has sold out such celebrated diverse venues
as New York's Radio City Music Hall, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry,
Los Angeles' Greek Theatre, and the London Palladium.
Her numerous television appearances include four
of her own CBS network specials including 1984's 'Anne Murray's
Winter Carnival from Quebec," and 1985's "The Sounds of
1983, Anne became the first non-American to host the Country Music
Association Awards ceremony on CBS-TV, sharing the duties with Willie
Nelson. Anne repeated her co-hosting chores last fall with Kris
Anne's other television credits include appearances
on 20/20, The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live (twice), Solid Gold
(as host) and The Muppet Show, as well as specials with Johnny Cash,
Chicago, Kris Kristofferson, Mac Davis, and her first male vocal
idol, Perry Coma. Anne was also the first musical artist to be given
an entire hour on The Phil Donahue Show.
Anne has always enjoyed the respect of her fellow
artists. Elton John once said, There are only two things I know
about Canada: hockey and Anne Murray." In a recent interview,
Linda Thompson, a friend of the late Elvis Presley said, "Anne
Murray was the King's favorite female singer and he used to listen
to 'Snowbird' more than any other song.'
Anne's first American hit single, 'Snowbird,"
launched her as a singer without stylistic bounds, scoring on the
pop, country and adult contemporary charts and earning her the first
U.S. gold record ever awarded to a solo female Canadian artist.
After a string of hit singles including 'Cotton Jenny," 'You
Won't See Me," and "Danny's Song," Anne won her first
Grammy for 'Love Song" in 1974.
It wasn't until after a self-imposed sabbatical
from touring in 1977 that Anne's hit making career really took off,
with a string of successes including You Needed Me," "Shadows
in the Moonlight," "Broken-Hearted Me," "Daydream
Believer," 'Could I Have This Dance" (from the film "Urban
Cowboy"), "Another Sleepless Night," 'A Little Good
News," and her two consecutive #1 country singles of 1985,
"Time Don't Run Out On Me" and (a duet with Dave Loggins)
"Nobody Loves Me Like You Do."
In 1978, Anne earned Grammy nominations for "Best
Pop Performer," "Record of the Year," and 'Best Country
Vocal Performer." The following year, her performance of 'You
Needed Me" won her the "Best Pop Female Vocalist Performer"
award, a category in which the other nominees were Donna Summer,
Barbara Streisand, Olivia Newton-John, and Carly Simon.
Her third Grammy award was as "Best Country
Female Vocalist" in 1981 for "Could I Have This Dance,"
and her fourth came with 1984's Best Female Country Vocal"
for "A Little Good News.".ln 1985, "Nobody Loves
Me Like You Do" won Anne and Loggins the Country Music Association's
'Best Duo" award. Her unprecedented number of Juno Awards -
Canada's equivalent of the Grammys - resulted in a Toronto Sun writer
suggesting, not entirely facetiously, that the awards be renamed
Her 1981 album, 'Anne Murray's Greatest Hits,"
has sold more than six million copies, worldwide.
Anne was born and raised in the coal mining town
of Springhill, Nova Scotia, and grew up in an environment more than
a little similar to the American South.
Pursuing music as a hobby, she graduated from the
University of New Brunswick, with a degree in Physical Education.
(She returned to her alma mater in 1977 to receive an honorary Doctorate
of Letters. Her second Doctorate of Letters, in 1982, was awarded
by Saint Mary's University in Nova Scotia.)
It was while teaching high school that Anne was discovered by Bill
Langstroth, producer of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's
weekly Halifax-based "Singalong Jubilee." Working with
that program's musical director, Brian Ahern, Anne recorded her
first album, "What About Me," which led to a contract
with Capitol Records. Her first American hit was 1970's "Snowbird,"
which was followed by a string of Ahern-produced singles and albums.
In 1971, Anne became a semi-regular on "The
Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," commuting to Hollywood from her
Halifax home. She has resisted all incentives to leave Canada, and
continues to live in her native country. In 1975, Anne married her
"Singalong Jubilee" mentor, Bill Langstroth. They are
the parents of two children: William, now 9, and six-year-old Dawn.
The family now lives in Toronto.
Anne keeps her touring schedule down to about 80
personal appearances a year, only a fraction of what it might be.
"That's plenty," jokes the former physical education teacher,
"After all, I have got to get in my tennis. And golf. And squash."
Not to mention cross-country skiing, a sport that's
particularly convenient now that Anne lives near several golf courses,
which are covered several months of the year by Canadian snow. "I
figured a couple of years ago that, if I was going to live in this
climate, I was going to enjoy it."