Annie Murray (U of C): Crazy Fun

Annie Murray is a librarian at the University of Calgary and responsible for the entire EMI Canada collection that was donated to the University by Universal Music Canada that took over EMI Music Canada a few years way back.

Annie says that this collection is probably the most exciting collection she has ever (and will) ever be working with. She says her work is just crazy, super fun.

The U of C librarian can only with difficulty hide her enormous excitement over the impressive archive that was donated to the University and the huge task it is to take care of the beautiful and historically very important collection.

This is definitely the most exciting music collection she’ll ever work with, says the music fan, and the chance to do this kind of work professionally is absolutely mind-blowing. She loves to work on the collection that spans the EMI Canada years until it was taken over by Universal Music Canada in 2012.

Murray is a librarian at the University’s Archives & Special Collections department that is responsible for documenting the impressive and historically important collection of EMI Music Canada collection which perfectly documents an over 60-year period of interesting Canadian music and culture and includes thousands of important original master tapes, contracts, promotion materials, photos, and so much more of interesting artifacts and memorabilia.

The collection spans about everything that EMI Canada has kept over the years: original master recordings, business records, photos, letters, files on artists, all sorts of promotional materials, awards, and artwork for the album covers. This collection offers a great insight into what the record company did in the period 1949 until 2012.

The EMI collection was brought from Ontario to Calgary over the past few years and it took so long, in part, due to its immense size. It took many truckloads to get it all here from Toronto as the collection contains more than 5,500 boxes of historic material and there are more than 40,000 audio and video recordings and some 2 million photos and documents.

The collection includes material from both Canadian recording artists and many documents and recordings from international stars. There are several original Beatles tapes and recordings by artists like David Bowie, Kate Bush, Queen, and Pink Floyd. Probably there’ll be more unreleased music throughout the entire collection and to be honest, that’s exactly where this collection’s real treasures can be found, Murray says.

The collection also includes many Anne Murray recordings and other material. Anne was one of Capitol Records Canada’s most successful artists which allowed Capitol Records to do experiments with many other young Canadian artists. The company was able to develop more Canadian talent because of successful artists such as Anne Murray, Red Rider, and Tom Cochrane. The impressive collection additionally contains original recordings by big Quebec bands like The Grapes of Wrath and artists like Buffy Sainte-Marie and Beau Dommage.

Practically all material dates back to the time before the computer age. There were no plug-ins and auto-tune and the collection offers a great and clear picture of what was needed for those days’ exciting and creative mixing requirements. The University of Calgary has partnered with the National Music Centre in Calgary and has already made much of the EMI archive material available public viewing through exhibits.

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