Canadian country singer Anne Murray had a relatively slow route to stardom, spending a year as a high school gym teacher after she left college. She first recorded for the Arc label in 1968, but there were another two years to wait before her US chart debut at the age of 25.
After that debut country and pop success with ‘Songbird,’ there were several subsequent chart singles, but it wasn’t until early 1973 that Murray made her way back to the top ten on both surveys. When she did, it was with a song first recorded by Loggins and Messina for their Sittin’ In album of late 1971, and written by Kenny Loggins for his brother of that name, to mark the birth of his son Colin.
Anne might not have been family, but she made ‘Danny’s Song’ her own. Her version, as ever on Capitol, took its bow on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart for 23 December 1972, on which Freddie Hart and the Heartbeats continued at No. 1 with ‘Got The All Overs For You.’
After a modest start at No. 71, ‘Danny’s Song’ made steady progress in early 1973, as it did in the pop market after an early January debut on the Hot 100. Murray’s single ended up peaking at No. 10 on the country countdown and did even better on the pop side, climbing to No. 7. But its best showing was in the Adult Contemporary market, in which the song spent two weeks at No. 1. Anne’s rendition earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, but it lost out to Roberta Flack’s ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song.’
Between 1974’s remake of ‘He Thinks I Still Care’ and the 1986 smash ‘Now And Forever (You and Me).’ Murray would reach No. 1 on the country chart no fewer than ten times, and her best-loved hits were anthologised on the two-disc, 41-track album of September 2017, The Ultimate Collection.
‘Danny’s Song’ is on Anne Murray’s The Ultimate Collection, which can be bought here.
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