Arms of Mary

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"Arms of Mary"
Single by Sutherland Brothers and Quiver
from the album Reach for the Sky
B-side "We Get Along"
Released March 1976
Format 7 inch single
Recorded 1975
Genre folk rock
Length 2:40
Label CBS Records
Writer(s) Iain Sutherland
Producer(s) Howard and Ron Albert
Sutherland Brothers and Quiver singles chronology
"Ain't Too Proud"
(9/1975)
"Arms of Mary"
(3/1976)
"Secrets"
(10/1976)

"Arms of Mary" is a 1976 hit single by the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver; group member Iain Sutherland wrote this mid-tempo ballad whose singer reminisces about the girl with whom he had his first intimate encounter.

The song was introduced on the September 1975 album release Reach for the Sky which marked the debut of the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver on CBS Records. Iain Sutherland would comment: "The main reason we left [previous label] Island [Records] was because they wouldn't distribute singles from our albums in the United States." [1] (In fact the group had reached #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1973 with the Island release "(I Don't Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway".

Subsequent to the unsuccessful lead single release from Reach for the Sky: "Ain't Too Proud", "Arms of Mary" had a spring 1976 single release in both the UK and the US affording the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver their UK chart debut; a Top of the Pops performance broadcast 8 May 1976 helped boost the track ten notches to #6 on the UK chart dated 15 May 1976 with a #5 peak reached the next week. "Arms of Mary" was also an international success most notably in Ireland and the Netherlands - in which territories the track was #1 for respectively four and three weeks - with the track also reaching #1 on the Dutch charts for Belgium.

However "Arms of Mary" did not afford the Sutherland Brothers the American hit in hopes of which they'd moved to CBS Records: the track did debut on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1976 but failed to accrue enough interest to rise higher than #81.

In 1978, Canadian band Chilliwack remade "Arms of Mary", the only instance of Chilliwack recording a non-original song. Released as the lead single from the album Lights from the Valley - whose title derives from the song's lyrics - "Arms of Mary" bested the original's Hot 100 peak but also failed to become a major hit rising no higher than #67. In Canada the track reached a chart peak of #49.

"Arms of Mary" has also been recorded by Lady Flash (Beauties in the Night 1976), the Everly Brothers (Born Yesterday 1985), Keith Urban (Keith Urban 1991), Piet Veerman (In Between 1992), Leo Kottke (Peculiaroso 1994),1 Boyzone (Said and Done 1995), Smokie (Uncovered 2000), Dominic Kirwan (Under Your Spell 2002), Kevin Kennedy (Present Kennedy 2002), Jan Keizer (Going Back in Time II 2004), Nicholis Louw (My Hart Is Aan Die Brand 2004), Janne Önnerud & Co (Kryddboden 1978) and Wisex (Miss Decibel 1978). The New Pornographers included "Arms of Mary" on their 2007 EP Spirit of Giving placing the song in tandem with "Looking at a Baby" - recorded by Chilliwack in their earlier incarnation as the Collectors - and presenting the track as a Christmas song. In 2012 The Minus 5 recorded a version for a fund raising cd titled "Super Hits Of The Seventies" for radio station WFMU.

Translated versions of the song include "Ich seh' dich mit meinen Augen" a 1976 single by German singer Rebekka, "Marys arme"2 on the 1977 album Din Sang by Bamse, "Naisen verran"3 on the 1977 album Enkelit on harvinasta riistaa by Seppo Närhi and "Laat me in je armen rusten"4 on the 2007 album Hommage III by Mama's Jasje.

Charting single versions[edit]

Artist Year Recording info US chart position
Billboard Hot 100
***
Cashbox Top 100
International
chart positions
Sutherland Brothers
and Quiver
1976 producer: Howard Albert, Ron Albert
CBS 4001 B-side "We Get Along"
(album Reach for the Sky)
81
***
71
#5 (UK), #28 (Australia)
#1 (Belgium), #17 (Germany)
#1 (Ireland), #1 (Netherlands)
#32 (New Zealand), #3 (South Africa)
Chilliwack 1978 producer: Bill Henderson, Ross Turney, Marc Gilutin
Mushroom 7033 B-side "I Wanna Be the One"
(album Lights from the Valley)
#67
***
#92
#49 (Canada)
Piet Veerman 1992 producer: Gerard Stellard, Piet Veerman
Columbia Holland 6582801B-side "Together Again"
(album In Between)
- #44 (Netherlands)

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Sumter Daily Item May 19 1976 p.18