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Monday, April 11, 2016

Rita MacNeil


Rita MacNeilRita MacNeil, CM, (May 28, 1944 - April 16, 2013) was a Canadian country and folk singer from the community of Big Pond on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. Her biggest hit, "Flying On Your Own", was a crossover Top 40 hit in 1987 and was covered by Anne Murray the following year, although she has had hits on the country charts throughout her career. In the United Kingdom, MacNeil's song "Working Man" was a surprise #11 smash in 1990.

She continued to be a popular figure in Canadian music. In 1990, she was the bestselling country artist in Canada, outselling even Garth Brooks and Clint Black. She is also the only female singer ever to have three separate albums chart in the same year in Australia.


A native of Big Pond, Cape Breton County, MacNeil first performed on stage in 1971, and recorded her first album, Born a Woman, in 1975. She performed at folk festivals throughout the 1970s and 1980s, culminating in her major label debut and pop breakthrough in 1987.

MacNeil hosted a CBC television variety show, Rita and Friends, from 1994 to 1997. She also ran a tea room in her hometown of Big Pond, which has become one of Cape Breton Island's most popular tourist attractions.

She was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1992 and was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia in 2005.

She was also featured in the season 4 episode 8 episode of Trailer Park Boys, wherein she and her band are forced to harvest marijuana.

Is a member of the Mensa society after being persuaded to join by CBRM Mayor John W. Morgan, who himself has a tested IQ of 176.

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