Anne Murray says farewell with All of Me
The Anne Murray that Michael Posner discovered while writing All of Me is a woman of singular determination who was not going to give up on her musical career, even when the going got really tough.
Posner, the Globe and Mail writer who ghostwrote the autobiography of Canada's Songbird, called Murray a "classy lady" whose success is in part due to her own attention to detail.
"She wasn't going to give this up until she proved she couldn't make it, but deep down, she believed she could," Posner said in an interview with CBC News.
The chronicle of Murray's 40 years as a singer has some surprising revelations.
"There was a time when she recorded You Needed Me, her great hit and she knew it was a hit, she was sure it was a hit and her management was sure, but the Capitol Records executives in Los Angeles with whom she was dealing had not decided to release it as a single," Posner said.
Murray normally left dealing with the "suits" to her management, but she knew from the minute she recorded the song that it should be released as a single.
"She went directly to the top of Capitol Records and appealed to the president of Capitol Records and said, 'Trust me on this.' He did trust her and she was right."
Murray paid attention to detail in everything from finding the right songs, choosing the band members and appearing in the right places, to talking to the right media people.
"It speaks eloquently to her capacity as a brain, never mind as a singer, to have done that," Posner said, and accounts in part for the longevity of her career.
But she freely admits that she often hated her life early in her career.
"I hated my life when I was going through those early days and having to deal with drunken musicians and drugged musicians. I hated it," Murray said in an interview with Peter Mansbridge for Mansbridge One on One.
"I wasn't the least bit happy and I was very lonely. I was on my own with a whole group of men. I had no one to talk to and it was not a good time in my life…. It was the live performances that were very tough on me and I was doing a lot of them."
She also recalled appearing drunk on stage at Massey Hall shortly after she'd moved to Toronto from Halifax. Friends from Nova Scotia arrived in Toronto to visit her and they spent an afternoon drinking rum, right before her two shows.
"The next morning I got up and read the papers, the reviews were magnificent reviews because I was so relaxed," Murray said. "Scared the living daylights out of me. I never even had a drink before a show since then, not to this day."
Posner said Murray is too nice a person to dish dirt on those in the music industry who made it difficult for her.
Throughout the writing process, she turned her attention to getting details of her career right and compared notes with family to help how a girl from Springhill, N.S., became a star.
"She was very hands on. We had many hours of interviews and dozens of phone conversations and literally hundreds of emails, all of them dealing with her goal and desire to get it as right as she could get it," he said.
"She was also very active in talking to her former band members and current band members, at least until she retired a year ago and her brothers and her brothers' wives to flesh out her own memory of events. She was very actively involved."
All of Me is a goodbye of sorts. Murray, who has sold 54 million records and earned four Grammy Awards, 24 Juno Awards and three American Music Awards, plans to stop performing in public.
Her 2008 tour was her last, she said.
"I did ... 29 cities in U.S. 27 in Canada. I proved I could to do it, the voice held up I was able to make a good showing I think and that was enough," she said.
Murray will be is interviewed by Posner about her new memoir on Friday at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto. She also plans a book tour stretching from Vancouver to Moncton.
With files from CBC Halifax's Mainstreet