In 1970, Anne Murray’s “Snowbird” was released as a single off her second studio album, This Way Is My Way – and the lighthearted track brought her to international stardom, kicking off a string of Canadian No. 1 hits.
The soft rock ballad was a gigantic hit, spending six weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart and was surprisingly a Top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart. In her home country of Canada, it reached the top spot of both the adult contemporary and country charts and was also a No. 2 hit on the pop chart.
Clearly, “Snowbird” demonstrated what would become of Anne Murray songs, being a distinctive crossover as part pop, part adult contemporary, and part country.
But more notably, “Snowbird” was certified as a gold single by the RIAA for selling more than a million copies in 1970 alone. This made Anne Murray the first Canadian woman to earn a gold record in the United States. In addition to that, the song also helped Murray earn two Grammy Awards nominations: Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Female.
The Story Behind The Song
“Snowbird” was written by novice Canadian songwriter Gene MacLellan, who wrote the song after seeing a flock of birds on a wintry beach of Prince Edward Island, Canada, as they fly off to warmer climates. This made MacLellan question what it could be like if we can also just get up and fly away whenever the going gets too tough.
It was the second song MacLellan had ever penned, and he wrote it within just 25 minutes. Meanwhile, it only took a few seconds for Murray to fall in love with “Snowbird” the first time she listened to it – and that very moment, she didn’t have the slightest idea of the impact it would have on her career.
You can listen to “Snowbird” by Anne Murray in the video below.