Anne Murray: “Snowbird”

Anne Murray (b. 1945; real name Moma Anne Murray) is another Canadian country/pop singer, hailing from Springhill, Nova Scotia. She’s now retired from singing, but was a star for many years.

This lovely song, “Snowbird” (1970, written by Canadian Gene MacLellan) straddles country and pop, and became the first song by a female Canadian soloist to be certified as gold in the U.S.

I was in college when it came out, and believe me, you heard this song every time you turned on the radio. Murray’s voice, with the low “money notes,” reminds me a bit of Karen Carpenter’s.

It’s been covered by, among others, Bing Crosby (dreadful!), Perry Como (mediocre), Andy Williams, Doc Watson, Loretta Lynn, Chet Atkins, Lynn AndersonCatherine MacLellan (daughter of the songwriter), and Elvis Presley. (Click the links to hear the other versions.)  I’m particularly fond of Chet Atkins’s guitar rendition, Catherine MacLellan’s vocals are lovely, and Elvis’s aren’t bad either. But Murray’s is the best—a classic.

19 Comments

  1. BillyJoe
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    “Catherine MacLellan’s vocals are lovely’

    However she struggles to reach the low notes.
    By comparison, Elvis Presley gets there with ease.

  2. Lynn A.
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    A recent version by Kathleen Edwards and Bahamas is also lovely:

  3. Bob Scott Placier
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Spring Hill was the site of a coal mining disaster, a result of which is the powerful song called either The Ballad of Spring Hill or Spring Hill Mining Disaster. You can find it on Youtube in versions by Peter, Paul, and Mary, U2, The Dubliners, etc. But not by Anne Murray, far as I know, which is unfortunate.

  4. marlonrh
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Pretty voice and nice, sentimental lyrics. The tune is a little repetitive to my taste. Thanks for the earworm, though. ;)

  5. Vaal
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Wonderful vocal by Anne!

    I always enjoy hearing a good singer no matter what the context.

    I’m not a country fan, nor a Shania Twain fan in particular, but I really appreciate Twain’s professionalism. She is so rich and consistent in tone, especially in the lower mid register were others falter.

    Karen Carpenter is sheer perfection. Perfect throughout a huge vocal range.
    As pro as they come.

    Vaal

    • goodolddays
      Posted July 20, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Karen Carpenter was the best! Her voice puts a smile on my face.

  6. Cathy
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    What a flashback. Did not recognize the title, but it sure came back when she started singing! I loved this one back in the day, had completely forgotten. Thank you for posting.

  7. Stonyground
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    My musical taste is very ecclectic. As my favourite genre is prog rock it must be hard to believe that Anne Murrie’s Snowbird is one of my favourite tunes, but it is. This is really good as well.

  8. Gerald Spezio
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Who said that Herring Chokers (Nova Scotia natives) don’t have rhythm?

  9. fullyladenswallow
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Hats off to Canadian musical talent!

    Ian & Sylvia
    Leonard Cohen
    Gordon Lightfoot
    Joni Mitchell
    Loreena McKennitt

    Kate and Anna McGarrigle- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB6-sH5jozA

    • Dave
      Posted July 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention Glenn Gould, David Foster, Bruce Cockburn, Paul Anka, Liona Boyd, David Clayton-Thomas, The Guess Who, Rush, John Kay, k. d. lang, , ……………………., and Eric Clapton. OK, maybe not the last one.

  10. Tim
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I have always liked Anne Murray’s version; my wife and I were both surprised to find we like Catherine MacLellan’s even more. Her vocals are terrific and her interpretation of the song is even more evocative. Elvis’s vocals are fine, but his rendering of the song seems rushed and superficial.

  11. Posted July 21, 2012 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Surprised to see this here. My wife is from Springhill. Her Aunt Bobbie (Mum’s Sis) went to school with Anne and they are related on her Dad’s side.

    Herring chokers is new, Bluenosers is more familiar.

    Don’t forget: Payola$, 54-40, The Box, Ian Thomas, Saga, Blue Rodeo

  12. Posted July 21, 2012 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    Spring Hill Mining Disaster

    In town it is known as The Bump. Someone was going to open a restaurant with that name. It was not well received.

  13. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Ann Murray had this lovely warm voice.

    In view of the Elvis cover of Snowbird, it’s intriguing that my favourite Anne Murray song is an Elvis one, Always on my Mind.

    I’d give a link, but the only version on Youtube was compiled by some pompous Indonesian prat who stuck his picture in the corner of the video. Oh what the heck, just blank the screen and listen to Anne Murray –
    “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh4m3x0-9SA”

  14. Geoff394
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    If you grew up in Canada in the 70′s or 80′s and you didn’t hear Anne Murray on the radio constantly, you must have been chained to the floor of a basement or cave somewhere.

  15. Geoff394
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Also, she was Elvis Presley’s favourite female singer.

  16. V.E.G.
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    She was born a British subject (she was born before the 1947 Canadian law). After 1947, people are Canadian Citizens, before 1947, British subjects.


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