hen "You Needed Me" went to number one and became the biggest hit of Anne Murray's career, the singer had just returned to show business after a two-year hiatus. "One day I just sat down and said look, let's stop this," she remarked in a 1981 Billboard interview. "Let's say no to everything from now on. I need to have some breathing room. And it's made quite a difference."
Part of the reason for that hiatus was the birth of her first child, son William Stewart Langstroth, born August, 1976. "I've always dreamed of a family," Murray told Jeff Wilson of United Press International after the birth of her second child, daughter Dawn. "It's nicer than I ever thought it would be."
Anne resumed her career with the album Let's Keep It That Way, produced by Jim Ed Norman. The first single from the LP, an updating of the Everly Brothers' "Walk Right Back," failed to dent the Billboard Hot 100. The follow-up was a song penned by Randy Goodrum, "You Needed Me." Murray, who does not write songs herself, said to a Las Vegas, Nevada, reporter in 1980, "When I find a song I do like -- I do it. There are times when I do a song for the first time, I know it's going to be a hit. That was true of 'You Needed Me.' I knew right away. I knew because the first few times I sang it I got all choked up. I couldn't even get through it."
Anne Murray was born on June 20, 1947, in Springhill, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her parents were fans of Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Perry Como, singers who became her earliest influences. From her three oldest brothers, she learned about Broadway show tunes, country music and rock and roll, in that order. After studying piano, 15-year-old Anne took voice lessons every Saturday from a teacher who lived 50 miles away.
While attending the University of New Brunswick in 1964, she auditioned for a Halifax television series, Singalong Jubilee. Rejected at first, she was called back two years later and was invited to join a summer edition of the program by one of the producers, William Langstroth -- the man who became her husband in 1975.
When autumn rolled around, Anne returned to college and graduated with a degree in physical education. She taught high school on Prince Edward Island for a year, even though the musical director of Singalong Jubilee, Brian Ahern, wanted to record her. "I thought they were crazy," Anne has said of the people who thought she should record. "Singing was something you did in the bathtub and around bonfires. I felt there was no security in singing."
After a lot of persuasion, Ahern produced an album for a small Canadian label, Arc Records. Then he took her to Toronto to meet executives at the Capitol of Canada label. They signed her up and her first LP for the company included her debut single, "Snowbird," which received the first American gold record ever awarded to a Canadian female singer.
Her records have found homes on the Country and Adult Contemporary charts, but in 1981 Murray complained in Billboard, "I'm sick of ballads... Everybody thinks I want to do ballads because that's all I've ever done, and I'm not saying that I want to do rock... just something uptempo. Nobody ever sends me other kinds of material."
New Kind of Feeling, recorded in 1979, became another platinum album for Anne, who by the early eighties was beginning to find continued success on the Country charts ("Could I Have This Dance," from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, was also a Top 40 hit on the Pop charts in 1980). "A Little Good News" won Murray a Best Country Performance, Female, Grammy in 1983, and was also the Country Music Awards' single of the year. Murray continued to tour and record into the 1990's and has sold an estimated 25 million albums worldwide.
- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.
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