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Rita MacNeil CM ONS (May 28, 1944 – April 16, 2013) was a Canadian singer from the community of Big Pond on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. Her biggest hit, “Flying On Your Own”, was a crossover Top 40hit in 1987 and was covered by Anne Murray the following year, although she had hits on the country and adult contemporary charts throughout her career. In the United Kingdom, MacNeil’s song “Working Man” was a No. 11 hit in 1990.
In 1990, she was the bestselling country artist in Canada, outselling even Garth Brooks and Clint Black. She was also the only female singer ever to have three separate albums chart in the same year in Australia.
Through her career MacNeil received five honorary degrees, released 24 albums, won three Juno Awards, a SOCAN National Achievement Award, four CCMA awards, eleven ECMA awards, was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and was named to the Orders of Nova Scotia and Canada.
On the eighth anniversary of her death, April 16, 2021, it was announced that Rita MacNeil would be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame posthumously in May of that same year.
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