Era Inducted To: Modern Era
The road to success is not always easy. In 1970, Gene MacLellan was performing with the popular rock band Little Ceasar and the Consults. MacLellan however wanted more. In an uncharacteristically brave move, MacLellan went to the home of Don Messner, hoping to impress him with a song. The strategy worked and MacLellan became a regular on CBC Halifax’s “Singalong Jubilee”. It was on this show that MacLellan met a young singer by the name of Anne Murray and his professional songwriting career began.
Put Your Hand in the Hand was originally written for Anne Murray but was not released as a single. It wasn’t until the group Ocean released the song as their first single that it became a hit. The single skyrocketed to #2 on the Billboard Charts with the album reaching #1 in Canada and #2 in the USA, selling over 2 million copies.
MacLellan used the publicity gained from Ocean to release three of his own LPs, all of which enjoyed modest success. MacLellan, however, did not enjoy the public spotlight and retreated from the music scene, returning in the 80’s to perform at churches and penitentiaries throughout Canada.
Considered by many to be the unsung hero of Canadian music, in 1987 McLellan received PRO Canada’s William Harold Moon Award for international achievement. He was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Country Music Associations Hall of Honour in 1995 and awarded the East Coast Music Association’s Helen Cheighton Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. Put Your Hand in the Hand was declared a Canadian classic by SOCAN and is a standard in any gospel repertoire, having been recorded in 25 countries by over 100 different artists.
COVER ARTISTS INCLUDE: Elvis Presley, Joan Baez, Rita Marley, The Platters, Ray Conniff, Donny Hathaway, Engelbert Humperdink, and Loretta Lynn.