A 1970’s Time Capsule
Be sure to visit my News and Noteworthy post today as well.
The A to Z Challenge has dueling decades going on. Check out the 1980s theme from a fellow bloggerHERE
The Osmonds are an American family music group. From its beginnings singing barbershop music as children to achieving success as teen-music idols, from producing a hit television show to continued success as solo and group performers, the Osmonds were a big part of the 1970’s decade. The Osmonds are devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and their religious values have influenced their careers.
The Osmond family was not one single act, but a group of several. The Osmond Brothers began as a barbershop quartet consisting of brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay Osmond. They were later joined by younger siblings Donny and Jimmy, both of whom enjoyed success as solo artists as well. With Donny, the band became known as The Osmonds, and enjoyed their greatest pop success. Their only sister Marie, who rarely sang with her brothers at that time, launched a successful career in 1973, both as a solo artist and as Donny’s duet partner. A revival of the original Osmond Brothers lineup in the 1980s achieved moderate success in country music and continues to perform to the present day. Collectively, the family has sold 102 million records worldwide.
The Osmonds achieved pop music success in 1971 and 1972. At this time the Osmonds also recorded several hits that were billed to Donny, the lead soloist on the songs: “Sweet and Innocent” (#7), “Go Away Little Girl” (#1), “Hey Girl”/”I Knew You When” (#9) and “Puppy Love” (#3). The Osmonds were at their peak of popularity.
With their clean-cut image, talent, and energetic pop-rock sound, the Osmonds toured to crowds of screaming fans in the US. They even had their own 1972–1973 Saturday-morning cartoon series The Osmonds on ABC-TV.
By this time the Osmonds had broken through in the UK as well: counting group and solo recordings, members of the Osmond family charted 13 singles on the UK charts during 1973. Some observers coined a new word, “Osmondmania”, to describe the phenomenon, by analogy with the similar “Beatlemania” of nearly a decade earlier: the same type of hysteria was generated at their concerts during this period.
Soon the younger Osmonds launched solo careers. Donny was a big hit in Japan and 13 year-old Marie hit with Paper Roses.
From 1971 to 1976, Donny had 12 Top 40 hits, including 5 in the Top 10. For most of these, the Osmonds were still performing as a full band, but backing and giving star billing to Donny for songs on which he sang lead. By 1976, though, the Osmonds started a new venture: the older brothers began producing The Donny & Marie Show which was a hit on ABC from 1976–1979.
But this success came at a cost. The family built and operated at great expense a first-class television studio in Orem, Utah, where the show was produced beginning in 1977. As a result, the Osmonds as a performing band became a lower priority to Donny and Marie. The older brothers deferred or gave up their dreams of being a rock-and-roll band. Donny experienced stage anxiety and Marie had a brief bout with an eating disorder after a network executive told her she looked heavy. (This makes me so angry. Same thing happened to another big 1970s artist, Karen Carpenter). When the show was cancelled, the Osmonds were taken by surprise, as they had believed that the show would be renewed, and found themselves in debt and without a clear direction. They recovered and eventually paid their debts and re-established their careers. Rather than go into bankruptcy, they resolved to honor all of their financial obligations. I will write about the Donny & Marie Show again in V is for Variety Shows but here is their song that became a big part of that show.
The following is my all time favorite Osmond’s recording.
A to Z on the Music Charts
One Bad Apple by the Osmonds reached number 1 on Billboard Hot 100 on February 13, 1971 and stayed number 1 for five weeks.
A to Z At the Movies
Number 17 of the top grossing movies of 1975, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was the first film to take all the major awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress) since Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night (1934). It was nominated for nine Academy Awards in total and gave Jack Nicholson his first win with Best Actor.