Hall of Fame Inductees
We are proud of all Hall of Fame Inductees and their contribution to Canadian country music. Click on the Inductee name for more information.
- Inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013
- Birth: May 28, 1944 - Big Pond, Nova Scotia
- Death: April 16, 2013 - Sydney, Nova Scotia
Rita’s shyness, even during childhood singing lessons when “the teacher did most of the singing”, thwarted her first attempt to express herself musically, so she only sang to her mother in the kitchen. As a teen, however, Rita loved to listen to music – Celtic, country, fold, rhythm and blues and rock. Her mother, Renee was a great encouragement, believing in her singing and wanting her to be able to perform, one day, because she knew that’s what Rita loved.
After a number of unsuccessful attempts to find work in the music business, Rita MacNeil found inspiration in the women’s movement. In 1971 she wrote about women having a voice and called it, ‘Need For Restoration’. The next year, she wrote a song protesting a beauty pageant called, ‘Born A Woman’, which became the title of her first album, recorded in 1974. Picked up by Boot Records, ‘Born A Woman’ launched MacNeil into the folk music circuit.
In 1979, MacNeil found work and inspiration and wrote singles, ‘Black Rock’, ‘Troubadours’, ‘My Island’, ‘Brown Grass’, and ‘Working Man’ which instigated press interviews, radio appearances and calls for concert appearances.
In 1988, Rita’s ‘Reason to Believe’ album went platinum, the same year it was produced. In 1990 she sold more records in Canada than Garth Brooks, and in 1993, her CBC TV Christmas special, “Once Upon A Christmas” drew 2 million viewers and her musical variety show, “Rita & Friends” attracted 1 million views.
Rita has received three Juno Awards, four CCMA Awards, 11 ECMA Awards and was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1992.
Rita MacNeil passed away on April 16, 2013 at the age of 69.