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"Snowbird" is a song by the Canadian songwriter Gene MacLellan. Though it has been recorded by many performers (including Bing Crosby, Lynn Anderson, and Elvis Presley), it is best known through Anne Murray's 1969 recording, which—after appearing as an album track in mid-1969—was eventually released as a single in the summer of 1970. It was a No. 2 hit on Canada's pop chart and went to No. 1 on both the Canadian adult contemporary and country charts. The song reached No. 8 on the U.S. pop singles chart, spent six weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart, and became a surprise Top 10 U.S. country hit as well. It was certified as a gold single by the RIAA, the first American Gold record ever awarded to a Canadian solo female artist.[1] The song peaked at No. 23 on the UK Singles Chart. In 2003 it was an inaugural song inductee of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.[2]

Single by Anne Murray
from the album This Way Is My Way
B-side"Just Bidin' My Time"
ReleasedJune 1970
GenrePop Music, Country music
Songwriter(s)Gene MacLellan
Producer(s)Brian Ahern
Anne Murray singles chronology
"Bidin' My Time"
"Put Your Hand in the Hand"

Anne Murray and Gene MacLellan had met while both were regulars on the CBC television series Singalong Jubilee and Murray recorded two of MacLellan's compositions, "Snowbird" and "Biding My Time", for her first major label album release, This Way Is My Way, in 1969. Murray would recall: "Gene told me he wrote ["Snowbird"] in twenty minutes while walking on a beach in PEI." [3]

The theme and approach broadly resemble that of the earlier hits "Message to Michael" (a.k.a. "Kentucky Bluebird" in hit versions by Lou Johnson and Adam Faith) and "Yellow Bird" in contrasting the narrator's being stranded in the place of his/her heartache to the bird's ability to just up and fly away. "Snowbird" sold well over a million copies and was recently picked as 19th on the 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version list, a partially populist approach to defining the most influential songs by Canadians.

Gene MacLellan made his own recording of "Snowbird" on his 1970 album Street Corner Preacher: MacLellan's version features an additional verse to the song's standard two verse format.

In 2007 Anne Murray remade "Snowbird" for her Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends album, the song being rendered as a duet with Sarah Brightman.


Chart performanceEdit

Other versionsEdit













In popular cultureEdit

  • Anne Murray performed the song on episode 4.15 of The Muppet Show, where she kept getting interrupted by a badly punning dodo.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Chris Cross", Brian and Stewie spend the third act arguing about the meaning of the song. When they travel to Canada to meet Murray in an attempt to ascertain its true meaning, Stewie becomes upset when he learns she did not write the song and holds Murray hostage.
  • DTV Disney set the song to the Pluto short, Cold Storage.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Snowbird by Anne Murray Songfacts". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  3. ^ "Bio". Gene MacLellan. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  4. ^ "RPM Country Tracks for August 22, 1970". RPM. Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  5. ^ "RPM Top Singles for September 26, 1970". RPM. Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1970-11-07. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  7. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Snowbird". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  8. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  9. ^ "Anne Murray Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Anne Murray Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
  13. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1970/Top 100 Songs of 1970". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-07-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit