Anne Murray is one of Canada’s most beloved additions to the music industry and is well-loved worldwide, but there’s one place no one ever expected to see her: on an episode of “Family Guy.”
But that’s what happened this Sunday on the brassy and bawdy cartoon series about the Griffin family. In an episode titled “Chris Cross,” maniacal baby Stewie falls in love with Murray’s signature tune “Snowbird” after hearing it in the car with his mother, Lois.
“My god, who is this enchantress?” he asks when he comes across the song on the radio. “She sounds like an angel. It’s like her voice is putting my entire body in her mouth.”
As the baby’s obsession with the 67-year-old Springhill, N.S. natve grows, it spreads to his talking pet dog, Brian, even though he says its “vapid, overproduced tripe” with “no edge whatsoever” at first. Stewie eventually succeeds in making Brian into a believer, and showing him “the true meaning of Anne Murray.”
But Stewie and Brian come to odds when they disagree about what “Snowbird” is really about, which spurs them to find Murray herself.
“I guess I always thought it was about human limitation, both mental and physical,” Murray said, voiced by the singer herself. “Okay that, that just blew my face off.”
Unfortunately, the trip doesn’t end so well for Murray when she tells the diabolical Stewie that she didn’t write her own songs, including “Snowbird,” and she ends up bound with rope to her chair.
Murray’s story line on “Family Guy” doesn’t have much of a resolution, but Canadians know her real life story well. She got her start in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (while working as a high school gym teacher in PEI for one year), and released her first solo album in Toronto in 1968. Though it was a hit, it was her 1969 album “This Way Is My Way” with Capital Records that shot her to fame. “Snowbird” was a No. 1 hit in Canada, and No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard chart.
Since then, Murray has earned four Grammys, 24 Junos, a spot in several Halls of Fame, and a star on both Hollywood’s and Canada’s Walk of Fame. She’s also said to have paved the way for other Canadian female musicians like Alanis Morissette and Shania Twain.
She’s a legend no doubt, but what exactly made Anne Murray right for a “Family Guy” episode? The cartoon’s creator Seth MacFarlane had the answer.
“In answer to you all: my dad always played Anne Murray in the car on the way to the dump when I was a kid. Inspiration for the episode,” tweeted the host of this weekend’s Academy Awards ceremony.
Canada as a country is surely thankful for the nostalgic shout-out to our nation's beloved songstress, since most Canadians likely have similar (if hopefully less smelly) childhood memories of "Snowbird."