Our Songbird's Career Takes Flight
In the studio with Brian Ahern and friends
After a summer of singing, Anne began teaching physical education at a high school in
Summerside, Prince Edward Island. However, her first year of teaching was destined to be
her last. She was offered a spot on a teen television show, Let's Go and returned to
Singalong Jubilee during the summer as a featured soloist. After much soul searching,
Anne decided to give the music business a "try." After all, if it didn't work out, she
could always go back to teaching. She has never looked back!
Gene MacLellan, writer of Snowbird, Put Your Hand
in the Hand and more
A Singalong Jubilee cast album was eventually released by tiny Arc Records, one of
Canada's first record labels. The show's musical director, Brian Ahern, convinced Anne,
after much cajoling, that she should record her first solo album. The result was What
About Me, produced by Ahern in Toronto, and released in 1968 on the Arc label. A year
later, Anne signed with Capitol Records, and in the fall of 1969, she released her second
album, This Is My Way.
This album gave the world Anne's first hit single, Snowbird. (Snowbird was not the first single from
this album. Capitol's Paul White had chosen Thirsty Boots for this honour. Snowbird was the
flip side of the second single.) The song's composer, Gene MacLellan, was a shy fellow Canadian,
who did not start writing songs until 1968.
Glen Campbell presents
Snowbird gold record
Snowbird was only his second composition and was written in about 25 minutes. However,
radio stations loved it and it went on to become one of North America's most played songs
of 1970. And for the first time in history, an American gold record was awarded to a solo
Canadian female - Anne Murray.
Suddenly, Anne was in demand for television and stage appearances all over North America.
She had hit the big time. The success of Snowbird was followed by hits on both the pop and
country charts. She became a regular on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and her popularity
increased even further. It was a chaotic and exhausting time, and Anne felt she was burning
out. She picked up the phone and called an old friend - Leonard Rambeau.
Anne with Leonard Rambeau
Anne had first met Leonard when she was teaching Phys Ed. He had hired her to sing at a
youth group benefit. Anne was very impressed by Leonard's professionalism and organizational
skills, and told him, "If I ever need a manager, I'll call you." From that first concert,
their friendship grew. Leonard offered to help Anne with her business affairs, including answering
fan mail. Anne moved to Toronto when her career started to take off.
"I got a call from Anne in April of 1971, asking me, 'Are you ready to come to Toronto?'
I gave it some thought, because I had this career of my own going, but I knew I would rather
go through life knowing I had given it a try, rather than wondering what would have happened
- Leonard Rambeau
Leonard decided to give up his government career to form Balmur Ltd. with Anne. As general
manager of Balmur, Leonard did everything from road manager to running the lights at shows.
In 1977, Leonard took over Anne's exclusive management. For the next 18 years, he was Anne's
manager, mentor and friend.
"It was a great relationship. We used to finish each other's sentences."
- Anne, about Leonard Rambeau
"To my number-one man, my manager and right arm, Leonard Rambeau, for a list too long to recite."
- Anne, thanking Leonard Rambeau
at Canadian Music Hall of Fame
One of the things that made them such a strong team was that they both shared the same basic
philosophy - what is most important in life is family and friends. When Anne was inducted
into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1993, she saved her final thank you for Leonard.
Anne with Bill, William and Dawn
in Australia 1982
Anne Murray married Bill Langstroth in 1975. Anne and Bill welcomed their first child, William
(Will), in 1976. After taking some time off, Anne returned to her career with enthusiasm and commitment.
Referring to Will's birth, Anne remarked, "I figured, if I can do that, I can do
anything!" Three years later, the Langstroth family welcomed a new addition - a baby
girl, named Dawn. When her children were young, Anne took them on the road with her,
lining up extended engagements in Las Vegas to try and bring some stability to an
otherwise hectic life. "You just do what you have to do when they're young."
Juggling career and family, Anne continued to make television and concert appearances
and records throughout the 1970s and '80s.