Sunday, July 5, 2015

I can't believe Anne Murray is 70!

I may not be celebrating America's birthday today (check out my previous post to find out why), but I'm in the mood for a birthday celebration, even if it's a belated one. Two weeks ago, on June 20, Anne Murray turned 70, and I'm having trouble wrapping my head around it.

I'm not really sure why. It's not like I have images of ingenue Anne floating around in my head to beg the question: Where did the time go? Unlike her '70s country-pop contemporaries like Linda Ronstadt and Olivia Newton-John, Anne was never really the ingenue.

She always seemed a little older, a bit more settled. Perhaps it was her calm musical approach and her utter un-trendiness. She was like the Julie Andrews of pop, with a strikingly similar hairstyle.

If you compare photos of Anne today to photos of Anne circa 1980, when I first fell in love with her, not much has changed. The woman is as ageless as her music. "Time don't run out on me," she once sang. But it always seemed to stand still as far as Anne was concerned, which is probably what makes it so hard to grasp that she's now entered her eighth decade.

In belated celebration, five of my favorite Anne Murray moments:

"Danny's Song" Like "A Love Song," written by Kenny Loggins but totally owned by Anne. They make me wonder what Anne might have done with later Kenny-written classics like "Whenever I Call You Friend," "What a Fool Believes" and "Footloose."

"You Won't See Me" The one John Lennon called his all-time favorite Beatles remake. The fade-in is still all kinds of amazing.

"Daydream Believer" Makes the Monkees original completely irrelevant. Note how Anne manages to sing flawlessly, completely in tune, while walking around and handing out presents in the video below, like it's the most natural thing in the world to do. That's the very definition of effortless.

"Lucky Me" The first 45 I ever bought. When I met Anne in New York City in the '90s, I brought along the old vinyl Capitol Records single for her to sign. She took one look at it and said, "Oh, another one that didn't do too well." When I considered that it hit No. 9 country and No. 42 pop, Anne's personal musical identity and allegiance became as crystal clear as her voice. She was all about Billboard's Hot 100, not Billboard's Hot Country Singles.

"Another Sleepless Night" Totally naughty to my pre-teen ears...She sang "making love"! The slightly risqueness of it all was one of the reasons I loved it. But today, Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money" video makes it sound about as wholesome as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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