Now we come to that entertainment juggernaut, The Osmonds. Over my high school years, the Osmond Brothers (later just The Osmonds) had three hits, Donny Osmond had four hits on his own, younger sister Marie had one hit (1973’s “Paper Roses”), and Donny and Marie together had a hit. Jimmy Osmond, the youngest of the bunch, had a song, “Love Is Bigger Than A Baseball” that didn’t reach the Top Ten; guess everyone was a little Osmonded out by then.
Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay Osmond were the original Osmond Brothers, who sang barbershop-style harmony. They had intended on auditioning for Lawrence Welk, but he was too busy to see them. However, a trip to Disneyland proved fruitful, as they ended up with a gig singing at the park. They appeared on a Disney special, where Andy Williams’s father saw them and recommended them to his son. They became regulars on his show, with Donny soon joining them. The rest, as they say, is history.
Their first hit was 1971’s “One Bad Apple.” The song was written by George Jackson, who had intended it for The Jackson Five, but Motown head Berry Gordy turned it down. Merrill sings lead, with Donny joining on the chorus. It spend nine weeks in the Top Ten and reached #1 in 1971.
“Go Away, Little Girl” was Donny’s second solo effort. Done originally by Steve Lawrence in 1962, when he took it to #1 (we did a Battle of the Bands on this a while back), Donny was the second to have a #1 with it nine years later, before his voice changed. Though credited to Donny alone, his brothers appear on this song.
It’s easy to take shots at The Osmonds, but it’s hard to deny they were a big part of the sound of the early Seventies. Their harmonies were tight, and their professionalism was remarkable (they were called “the one-take Osmonds” by the staff of Andy Williams’ show because they rarely needed more than one take to get it right).
The Osmonds, your Two For Tuesday, March 7, 2017.