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Rita MacNeil, CM, ONS (born May 28, 1944) is a Canadianmarker country and folk singer from the community of Big Pondmarker on Nova Scotiamarker's Cape Breton Islandmarker. 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 Kingdommarker, MacNeil's song "Working Man" was a #11 hit in 1990.

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 Pondmarker, 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. The show won a Gemini Award in 1996. She also runs a tea room in her hometown of Big Pond, which has become one of Cape Breton Islandmarker'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 featured in a Season 4 episode of Trailer Park Boys, wherein she and her band are forced to harvest marijuana.

Research done by historians Steve Hewitt and Christabelle Sethna on documents from the now-defunct Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service have revealed accounts of the force having spied on feminists, including MacNeil, during the 1970s.

MacNeil wrote her memoirs On A Personal Note with Anne Simpson in 1998, which was published by Key Porter Books.



Year Single Chart Positions CRIA
CAN Country CAN
1975 Born a Woman
1981 Part of the Mystery
1983 I'm Not What I Seem
1987 Flying On Your Own 27 2× Platinum
1988 Reason to Believe 20 2× Platinum
Now the Bells Ring 3× Platinum
1989 Rita 31 2× Platinum
1990 Home I'll Be 22 2× Platinum
1992 Thinking of You 19 19 Platinum
1993 Once Upon a Christmas 44 Platinum
1994 Volume 1: Songs from the Collection 31 Platinum
1995 Porch Songs Gold
1996 Joyful Sounds
1997 Music of a Thousand Nights
1998 Full Circle
1999 A Night at the Orpheum
2000 Mining the Soul Gold
2002 Late December
Common Dream
2004 The Ultimate Collection
Blue Roses
2006 Songs My Mother Loved
2008 Pocket Full of Dreams


Year Single Chart Positions Album
1987 "Flying On Your Own" 42 Flying On Your Own
"Used to You" 18
"Fast Train to Tokyo" 14
1988 "Leave Her Memory" 32
"Working Man" Reason to Believe
"Walk On Through"
1989 "I'll Accept the Rose" 9 Rita
"We'll Reach the Sky Tonight" 3 81
1990 "Crazy Love" 6
"When Love Surrounded You and I" 31
"Why Do I Think of You Today" 17
"You Taught Me Well" 6 64 Home I'll Be
1991 "Watch Love Grow Strong" 9
"Call Me and I'll Be There" 14 81
1992 "Bring It On Home to Me" 44 8 69 Thinking of You
1993 "Shining Strong" 23 5
1995 "Steal Me Away" Porch Songs
"Rolling Thunder" 16 87


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