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Marg Osburne

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Marg Osburne
Marg Osburne
Marg Osburne
Background information
Birth nameVerna Marguerite Osburne
Also known asThe Girl from the Singing Hills
Born(1927-12-29)December 29, 1927
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
DiedJuly 16, 1977(1977-07-16) (aged 49)
Rocklyn, Ontario, Canada
GenresCountry, gospel, folk
Instrument(s)Vocals, Guitar
Years active1945 – 1977
LabelsApex, Coral, Point, Arc, Rodeo, Banff, Marathon, OAK Country Music, Condor

Marg Osburne (December 29, 1927 – July 16, 1977) was a Canadian country, folk and gospel singer. She was a recipient (posthumously) of the ECMA Stompin' Tom Connors award.

Early life[edit]

She was born in Moncton, New Brunswick and received her vocal training as a member of a community choir.


When she was 17 her cousin made her a bet that she did not have the nerve to answer a newspaper advertisement for a female vocalist for CKCW in Moncton. Osburne answered the ad and got the job. Osburne explained in a later interview that she took the job because she "needed money to go to the Movies".

Don Messer was travelling through Moncton in 1947 and heard Osburne singing on CKCW, billed as "The Girl From the Singing Hills". He hired her to fill in for Charlie Chamberlain who was recovering from an automobile accident.[1][2] She soon became the group's lead singer.[3]

Don Messer and His Islanders were then broadcasting on CFCY out of Charlottetown, PEI thrice-weekly beginning in 1939 and the show was broadcast nationwide by the CBC.[4]

Osburne and Chamberlain became regular performers on the show[5] and made a number of recordings. The group toured each summer. They mounted a national tour in 1967 as part of Canada's Centennial, playing 66 shows across the country.[4]

1956 brought about the first appearance of The Islanders on television when CFCY radio launched CFCY-TV. When Messer made the move to Halifax in 1958, most of the band followed - including Osburne. From being occasional TV guests, the band began a summer series called The Don Messer Show on August 7, 1959 as a replacement for Country Hoedown[4] broadcast on CBC television. The show continued in the fall as Don Messer's Jubilee. Osburne remained with the show throughout the 1960s, winning a wide audience across the country as one of the show stars, and enlarging her fan base dramatically.[4]

After Messer died in 1973, Osburne began a second career as a nightclub singer.[6] She performed frequently in the Western Provinces and Territories of Canada.[7] During this period she recorded three songs for Jack Boswell's Marathon label, "Albert County Soil", "Falling Leaves", and "Blues Comin' 'Round".[5] "Falling Leaves" is also the only song she wrote herself.


Osburne continued to perform until July 16, 1977, when she collapsed during a concert in Rocklyn, Ontario and died from the heart attack before she reached the hospital,[8] exactly five years after Charlie Chamberlain's death. She was 49 years old.[6]



Year Album
1959 By Request: Favourite Sacred Songs (with Charlie Chamberlain)
A Century of Folk Songs
1960 Songs Of Reverence - Vol.2 (with Charlie Chamberlain)
1966 The Best of Marg Osburne
1967 They Never Grow Old (with Charlie Chamberlain)
Favorite Sacred Songs (with Charlie Chamberlain)
1968 The Golden Era of Marg Osburne
1972 My Kind of Country (with Melody Faye)
1973 Country Gospel
1974 Old, Gold, and New


Year Single CAN Country Album
1972 "Albert Country Soil" 15 My Kind of Country
1974 "Blues Comin' 'Round" 19 Old, Gold, and New
"City of Tears" 20


  1. ^ "Marg Osburne", The Canadian Encyclopedia, by Anne-Marie Pedersen]
  2. ^ Li Robbins. Don Messer's Violin: Canada's Fiddle. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Societe Radio-Canada; October 2005. ISBN 978-0-660-19489-9. p. 37–38.
  3. ^ Darrell Varga. Rain, Drizzle, Fog: Film and Television in Atlantic Canada. University of Calgary Press; 2009. ISBN 978-1-55238-248-6. p. 142–.
  4. ^ a b c d Sellick, Lester B., Canada's Don Messer, Kentville Publishing Co, Kentville, NS, 1969
  5. ^ a b "Don Messer". The Canadian Encyclopedia. by Richard Green
  6. ^ a b Saturday Night. Vol. 100, Issues 7-12. Consolidated Press Limited; 1985. p. 69.
  7. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductees: Marg Osburne". Country Music Association Awards website
  8. ^ "NS Obits] Obit - Osburne - CAN-NS-OBITS". Lists.rootsweb.com. 2014-10-18. Retrieved 2020-04-07.