As a child in Nova Scotia, music was always one of Murray's hobbies. While she was enrolled at the University of New Brunswick studying physical education, she auditioned for a spot on the Halifax-based weekly CBC television series, Singalong Jubilee, but she wasn't hired because they already had an alto singer. Following the rejection, Murray graduated from college and began teaching physical education at the high-school level. Two years after the initial Singalong Jubilee audition, the show's producer, Bill Langstroth, called her with the information that a new television show, Let's Go, needed an altoist. After some persuasion, Murray agreed to join the program, although she did not give up her teaching job. For the next four years, she sang on Let's Go, eventually striking up a professional relationship with the program's musical director, Brian Ahern.
Murray began her career as a recording artist in 1968. Early that year, she was still teaching when she received a call from Ahern, asking her to record for the independent label Arc. Accepting the offer, Murray recorded and released her debut album, What About Me, that year. The record was well-received and popular for an independent album, thereby earning the attention of Capitol Records, whose Canadian division signed her to a long-term contract in 1969. The following year, her debut single for the label, "Snowbird," became an international hit, reaching the Top Ten on both the country and pop charts in America, while reaching the British Top 40. Following the success of "Snowbird," Murray moved to Los Angeles, where she began to regularly appear on Glen Campbell
's syndicated television show. However, she didn't like the Californian lifestyle, and she quickly returned to Canada.
Over the course of 1971, it looked like "Snowbird" would be Murray's only big hit, since none of her follow-up singles gained much attention; only "A Stranger in My Place" cracked the Top 40. A cover of Gordon Lightfoot
's "Cotton Jenny" in early 1972 returned her to the higher regions of the country Top 40, peaking at number 11, while its follow-up, "Danny's Song," became a Top Ten hit on both the pop and country charts in early 1973. Following two minor country hits, she returned to the Top Ten early in 1974 with "Love Song." The single was followed by two Top Ten country hits -- the number one "He Thinks I Still Care" and "Son of a Rotten Gambler." Following those two success, Murray spent a number of years struggling to crack either the pop or country Top 40; during this time, she concentrated on raising a family (she married Bill Langstroth and had a son) more than her musical career.
Murray entered her period of greatest commercial success in 1978, as a cover of "Walk Right Back" climbed to number four on the country charts, followed shortly afterward by "You Need Me," her biggest hit since "Songbird"; the single reached number four on the country charts and topped the pop charts, going gold by the end of the year. For the next eight years, she had a virtually uninterrupted string of Top Ten country hits, highlighted by nine number one hits: "I Just Fall in Love Again" (1979), "Shadows in the Moonlight" (1979), "Broken Hearted Me" (1979), "Could I Have This Dance" (1980), "Blessed Are the Believers" (1981), "A Little Good News" (1983), "Just Another Woman in Love" (1984), "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do" (1984), and "Now and Forever (You and Me)" (1986). Murray prospered during the era of urban cowboy, since her music drew as much from pop and easy listening as it did from country.
Murray's sales began to decline in the latter half of the '80s, primarily due to the shifting tastes of the country audience, which was beginning to seek out harder-edged new traditionalist performers. Nevertheless, she maintained a dedicated following during the late '80s and '90s through her occasional recordings ("Feed This Fire" became a surprise Top Ten hit in the summer of 1990) and her concerts. Murray recorded her first live album in 1997 and released What a Wonderful World in 1999. Five years later, she released I'll Be Seeing You in Canada; the album arrived in the United States as All of Me in 2005. Murray returned in 2007 with Duets: Friends and Legends. ~ Tom Roland, Rovi