Covered Classics: “Sing High, Sing Low” by VACAY

 

Photo of Canadian singer-songwriter Levi Randal

VACAY (Photo: Cathy Irving)

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is happy to announce the induction of the hit song Sing High, Sing Low written by Brent Titcomb and popularised by Anne Murray. To celebrate the occasion, young Canadian singer-songwriter Levi Randall, who goes by the stage name VACAY, performs his own rendition of the song as part of the Hall of Fame’s ongoing Covered Classics series.

“I am honoured and humbled by the induction of Sing High, Sing Low into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame,” says Brent Titcomb. “As a songwriter, you write a tune and release it into the world – it’s been thrilling to see where this song has travelled over the decades.”

The cheerful country-pop song Sing High, Sing Low, recorded by Anne Murray, topped the Canadian country and adult contemporary charts through late 1970 and early 1971. Murray, Canada’s singing sweetheart, won the 1971 top female vocalist Juno award on the strength of that success, and went on to international super-stardom.

Following her worldwide smash hit with Gene MacLellan’s Snowbird, Anne Murray needed a follow-up single to carry the momentum. Capitol Records responded with Sing High, Sing Low, a cheerful country-pop song, written by Vancouverite and former 3’s A Crowd band member, Brent Titcomb.

The optimistic Sing High, Sing Low reflects the composer’s folk-music roots and the mindset of the early 1970s’ social movement. The lyrics espouse harmony, telling us that we may be different, but can find much in common (“We can sing high/We can sing low/It’s all the same, you know”), while the melody employs the device of word-painting to match the lyrics.

A cut from the album “Anne Murray: Straight, Clean and Simple,” Sing High was arranged and produced by Juno-winner Brian Ahern, with a string arrangement by Rick Wilkins. Capitol released the 45-rpm disc with MacLellan’s Days of the Looking Glass on the B side.

Sing High was a double No. 1 hit in Canada. The single topped RPM’s Adult Contemporary chart on December 26, 1970. Sing High simultaneously climbed steadily up the RPM Top 100 Singles chart, topping out at No. 4 on February 20, 1971 behind Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind and the country classic Rose Garden. The following week, Sing High became RPM’s Country No. 1 record, highlighting its successful Canadian run of over two months.

Folk-singer and song-writer Brent Titcomb (born 1940 in Vancouver, B.C.) was a member of the 1960s’ folk group Three’s a Crowd. A guitarist and percussionist, he was in Anne Murray’s touring band for many years. He also found success as an actor. His songs have been recorded by country star Glen Campbell and others.

In the video below, you’ll see VACAY’s incredible tribute performance of the classic Sing High, Sing Low.