Anne Murray ready to release new album

JANE STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 11:42 PM ET

July 23, 1996

Anne Murray, the album, as opposed to Anne Murray, the person, boasts songs and backing vocals by the likes of Bryan Adams and Jann Arden.

So just where the heck is K.D. Lang among this patriotic group hug on Murray's 30th studio album that hits record stores Tuesday?

Lang, after all, has admitted to having a long-standing crush on Murray, and Murray is a big fan -- at least musically -- of Lang.

"I'd love to do a duet with her," said Murray, 51. "On this album, there wasn't like a song that presented itself. But down the road somewhere I'd love to sing with her."

Murray, in a frank and funny discussion yesterday, also thinks too much has been made of Lang's crush on her.

"I know that she idolized me," said Murray, the married mother of two from Springhill, N.S.

Murray will allow, however, that she's always had a healthy lesbian following.

"I wouldn't say it's large, but they're there, no question. They've been a part of my audience since day one. One time I got a letter from a lady who said, 'Will you stop trying to explain the fact that you have lesbians in your audience? We are women who admire what you're doing, who admire your independence, your determination and your success and your talent and we come out to see you.'

"And a lot of the times those women are the ones who lift up the show because they're so enthusiastic and very vocal. It's great. I love it."

So far there are no plans for Murray -- whose last album was 1993's Croonin' -- to do a Canadian tour despite 31-odd U.S. shows from August until October.

"There was talk of a Christmas show but I don't know,' said Murray, whose 1995 CBC yuletide special was highly-rated.

Meanwhile, whether or not Murray fans will rush out to buy her latest recording remains to be seen.

But one thing's for sure, Murray, who's sold 25 million albums worldwide and sells a million a year whether she's got a new album or not, isn't worried either way.

"This, to me, is happening at a time when I thought everything would be winding down," said the former phys-ed teacher who's now an avid golfer. "But my career was peaking when I was having babies, for God's sake. That's not what's supposed to happen."

She will admit, though, that it would be nice to get radio play.

"I think when you haven't had a hit for 10, 11 years, you lose a little confidence in your ability," said Murray. "I even finished the album earlier this year and went, 'No, that's not it.' I wanted to make sure that it was right 'cause people aren't going to just listen to another Anne Murray album just like that."

Consequently, she recorded three new uptempo songs.

Murray also admits that making her new album, whose first single is the Bryan Adams-penned What Would It Take, was made all the more difficult following the death of Leonard Rambeau, her manager of 25 years who succumbed to cancer last year.

"In many ways it was starting over," she said. "When all of that happened it was so traumatic for me I didn't even want to be bothered. I wasn't really all that motivated to do anything, even to sing at all, for that matter, without Leonard."

But she has since signed up with Adams' cantankerous manager Bruce Allen -- whom she calls "a desk-thumper" -- and disagrees that it's an odd partnership given her "girl-next-door" image.

"I told him the last time I talked to somebody I had said, 'You met your match with me, you're nothing but a pussycat.' And he goes, 'Aw, Anne, you're ruining your f--ckin' image!!!"

On top of everything else, Murray does a pretty good Allen imitation.

FAST FACTS

Anne Murray, never one to mince words, on working with David Foster on the 1985 benefit song Tears Are Not Enough: "He wanted me to sing it over a thousand times even after I had it right. And I go, 'Why are you making me do this?' 'Well, you just never know when you might get that magic!' I said, 'The magic has been had, you dork!"


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