Day 26. One of the top songs that was released the year you were born:
“Snowbird” — Anne Murray*
I’ve got to qualify this by saying “Snowbird” was one of the top singles released in 1970. It was actually released on her This Way Is My Way album in 1969, but released as a single in the summer of 1970. It was a big chart hit that year.
You could kind of say I grew up with Anne Murray. Alright, that’s an exaggeration, but I do remember hearing her music a lot as a kid. She was definitely on my mother’s list of favorites in the 8-Track rotation for a while.
I don’t know if I explicitly mentioned it before, but my parents were country people. Not “You Might Be A Redneck If…” country people, but people who liked country music. Or “Hillbilly music” as my mother called it. (That probably would have been considered an insult until a couple of years ago. Now “Duck Dynasty” is all the rage—for reasons I have not yet come to understand, and hope never to understand—and the word “Hillbilly” now seems to be okay. Go figure.)
When I hear “Snowbird,” I picture our living room in our house in Pennsylvania. I came to know the song through Anne Murray’s Greatest Hits. And while it seemed like I heard that collection for years and years while we lived there, research has shown that it was released in November of 1980, and we moved away in November of 1981, so it wasn’t as long as I thought. (Although a year when you’re 10 is like 22 when you’re an adult, so maybe it applies, I don’t know.) Subsequently, even though “Snowbird” was Anne Murray’s first hit—ten years previous—I heard it a lot.
If you’d have asked me then, I’d have said I hated it. I was starting to form my own musical opinions, and of course when that happens, you typically don’t want to like the same music your parents do. And you certainly wouldn’t admit it to friends and siblings. (Although my sister liked Barry Manilow, so… yeah, I’m not sure what I was worried about there.) But I secretly liked it then, and I still do now. So the secret is out.
In fact, the album was played enough that I knew all the songs. By heart. Let me rephrase that: The album was played enough that I know all the songs. Today. Still. Maybe not by heart now, but pretty well.
I might be ashamed of this had it not been for a Family Guy episode entitled “Chris Cross.” In it, Stewie discovers Anne Murray’s music and becomes a major fan. Brian belittles him for it, but after Stewie serenades him with “You Needed Me” (also on Greatest Hits) he becomes a convert. In typical Family Guy fashion, things go downhill from there and chaos ensues, but I’ll let you watch the episode to find out what happens.
At the end of the day, I’ve learned that it’s okay to like Anne Murray and AC/DC. Prince and Queen. Even Barry Manilow, I guess.
But not Michael Bolton. You shouldn’t like Michael Bolton. And if I find out you do, I’ll taunt you mercilessly and beat you about the head and neck. There are some lines that simply cannot be crossed.
Interesting side note: You could say my dad grew up with Anne Murray. Alright, that’s an exaggeration, but as a kid he spent summers with his cousins in Nova Scotia. He said it was the same town Anne Murray was from, and that he knew her growing up. Of course, all of this is unverified, and probably unverifiable, but I’m not sure why he’d have lied about it.