b. 2 February 1938, Val-d’Or, Quebec, Canada, d, 19 January 1995, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Raised in Toronto, MacLellan played guitar and sang, working with the rock band, Little Caesar And The Consuls. From the mid-60s he lived for several years on Prince Edward Island, appearing on radio and television, including spells on Don Messer’s Jubilee and Singalong Jubilee. On this latter show, he met Anne Murray, who recorded one of his compositions, ‘Snowbird’, in 1970, which led to his winning a Juno Award as the year’s Best Composer. In addition to Murray’s version, other artists who recorded ‘Snowbird’ include Chet Atkins, Perry Como, Loretta Lynn and Hank Snow. Another song, ‘Put Your Hand In The Hand’, was recorded in 1971 by the Canadian rock band, Ocean. Later, this song was recorded by more than 100 artists including Joan Baez, Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley. Other notable MacLellan songs are ‘The Call’, ‘Continental Blues’, ‘Thorn In My Shoe’ and ‘Death Of The Black Donnellys’.
In the early 70s, MacLellan took a break from music but returned in 1977 with If It’s Alright With You. He then made a set of gospel songs with Marty Reno. In 1987, MacLellan won PRO Canada’s Wm Harold Moon Award for International Achievement. During the 80s and 90s he was quietly busy, choosing to perform in churches and prisons and for those living in retirement communities rather than in grand settings. The early 90s also saw appearances with Murray, when she was inducted into the Juno Hall of Fame, and at a ceremony where ‘Snowbird’, ‘The Call’ and ‘Put Your Hand In The Hand’ were declared by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada to be Canadian classics.
Following his death in 1995, MacLellan was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Association’s Hall of Honour along with several other posthumous awards.