All of Me
by Anne Murray with Michael Posner
Knopf Canada, 2009. ISBN 978-0-307-39844-4.
Reviewed by Penny Appleby
Posted on 04/08/2010
Anne Murray's voice has provided enjoyment to millions for many years. That crystal-clear voice that Rosemary Clooney once said could hit the note "smack dab in the middle" is instantly recognizable. However, Murray says, "for all the talent I had, I doubt that the arc of my career would have been the same without the unpredictable blessing of enormous good fortune."
What was that good fortune? How did the only girl of five children raised in a small town in Nova Scotia grow up to be one of the most popular and recognized vocalists in the world? All of Me, which she wrote with Michael Posner, provides the answers to these questions. The book is structured as a biography, but the elements of a memoir come through because Murray is very forthcoming about her own feelings. And though she wrote the book with the help of an award-winning journalist and playwright, her voice is strong and clear.
Murray traces her career from her childhood up to the last concert. She didn't start out to be a celebrity, but because of her love of singing—a need to sing—each step she made took her further along that path. And it was at times a difficult one that cost her both in her relationship with her husband and with her children. But it also brought her satisfaction and joy to know that she could entertain an audience.
Through Murray's experiences we learn much about the record industry of her era and what was required to be successful. Murray didn't follow the norm; she didn't move to California. Even so, she was able to sell fifty-four million records and earned many awards, including four Grammies.
Murray's voice did not require the high-tech tools available to vocalists today to make them sound better. She explains it by saying, "...my achievement also testifies to a simple but enduring truth: there is ultimately no substitute for good singing, honestly rendered."
Anne Murray fans will enjoy meeting the person behind that wonderful voice, and will put the book down feeling that they have spent some quality time with her.
Anne Murray, born and raised in Springhill, Nova Scotia, has enjoyed an unparalleled career delighting millions with her signature voice and time-honored songs. Visit her website.
Michael Posner is an arts reporter for the Globe and Mail and author of four previous books, including The Last Honest Man, an oral biography of Mordecai Richler.
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