On ‘Full Circle,’ Anne Murray paints a candid portrait of life as Canada’s musical favorite

When Anne Murray first took the stage, it was in her hometown of Springhill, NS, “probably singing ‘O Holy Night’ at a Christmas midnight church mass,” she said.

More than four decades later, in 2008, after an international career that earned him four Grammy Awards, a record of 24 June. and the title of Canada’s first female solo singer to top the US charts, the pop and country star returned to the small coal mining town for her final concert at the local 800 community center. seats named after his parents, Dr. Carson and Marion Murray.

It is fitting, then, that the new feature-length documentary on Murray’s career is titled “Anne Murray: Full Circle.” Airing on CBC TV on Friday and airing on CBC Gem, the now-retired singer offers a candid account of her time as Canada’s musical favorite.

The film includes archival footage of their concerts, along with never-before-seen home videos of Murray and his family, most of which were shot by her longtime ex-husband and producer, Bill Langstroth.

It was often difficult for him to revisit the events of his previous life. “Sometimes it wasn’t easy going down memory lane, visiting all the hard times. There were many, ”the 76-year-old said in an interview with Zoom from her home in Halifax.

Perhaps the most challenging thing for Murray was leaving his two sons, William and Dawn, behind when he was touring or recording. During his periods in Las Vegas, he rarely had the opportunity to put his children to bed, and he came home early in the morning due to his grueling two-show-a-night performance schedule.

“It was hard not to see them and not be able to see them grow up, like a lot of parents can do,” recalls Murray.

Despite the challenges, in an industry that sheds its stars as quickly as hits fall off the charts, Murray forged a career of unprecedented longevity, all while staying true to herself.

Eschewing the rules of what it meant to be a chart-topping pop singer, she forever remained that Nova Scotia country girl who sang barefoot on a stool with her acoustic guitar.

Murray never gave in to pressure from studio executives who advised her to grow her hair out or give up having children to fit a certain image of a female superstar. She was a woman in a male-controlled industry, but she ruled. After giving birth, Murray returned to her music career and rose to new heights, not one, but two.

The key, he says, was learning to say no, which he admits was difficult early in his career.

“Performers are people who want people to like them. So at the beginning in particular, you say yes to everything because you are afraid that if you reject something you will be making a mistake, “he said. “And then as time goes by, you say, ‘I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to put myself in that position. ‘

Her tenacity paved a way for other women, particularly Canadian women, such as Shania Twain, kd lang, and Jann Arden, who discuss the impact Murray had on their careers in the documentary. The three sing alongside Murray on “Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends,” one of the final albums he released before retiring.

Murray, however, never considered it pioneering to defend his position against unsympathetic executives. “I was flying by the seat of my pants. You only have work to do and you do it. That’s basically what it was. “

But she also has many fond memories of her days making music. The band and the team that accompanied her on her bus tours became her family.

“There were 23 of us, so for the most part we were one big happy family,” he said. “We had so many different types of parties. We play tennis and golf together. All of these things were ideal for wonderful trips. “

Anne Murray: The Full Circle documentary will hit CBC Television and CBC Gem on December 17 at 8pm / 8:30 NT.

Murray says he is still in contact with many of them.

After Murray left the microphone for good in 2008, he co-wrote his autobiography, “All of Me,” with Michael Posner. But the transition to retired life took time. “It was very difficult,” he admitted. “I was definitely ready for that, but I didn’t realize that all of a sudden there were no more goals.”

Now firmly retired for more than a decade, Murray dedicates much of her time to Springhill’s Anne Murray Center, a nonprofit museum she created in 1989 to give back to the community that raised her.

And in the winter, the singer who in 1970 gave the world “Snowbird,” the chart hit that launched her career, is now a snowbird, too.

It is on the golf greens of Florida that Murray has come to appreciate life outside of the spotlight. “I’d be playing golf, and I point to a plane flying over the golf course and I say, ‘There’s a plane and I’m not on it,’” he said with a bright giggle.

“I love that”.

“Anne Murray: Full Circle” premieres December 17 at 8 pm on CBC and CBC Gem.


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