Was there ever an act like the Osmonds?
Not only did they make the leap from child stars to adult performers, they dabbled in an insane variety of genres — from barbershop to disco – that would have put Spinal Tap to shame. They were squeaky-clean Mormons who, by all accounts, never indulged in the better-known temptations of showbiz. Their hair and teeth were downright Kennedyesque. And their heyday, of course, was the 1970s, so the clothes and the choreography were just to die for.
The Osmond Brothers’ Discovery
Long before they became teen idols, Mormon brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay Osmond were the hottest kiddie barbershop quartet of the 1960s. Come 1972, the Osmond Brothers went into Hollywood’s MGM Recording Studios with something to prove.
After younger brother, Donny joined the group, Mike Curb, the boss of their new label MGM Records aimed to change that. This future Lieutenant Governor of California made a high-profile announcement in late 1970 of his plan to rid MGM of acts that “advocate and exploit drugs” while simultaneously reintroducing these wholesome lads as groovy bubblegum soul. Originally intended by R&B singer-songwriter George Jackson for the Jackson 5 (no relation), “One Bad Apple” was ultimately produced in Muscle Shoals by Southern soul kingpin Rick Hall. “One Bad Apple” so perfectly mimicked Motown’s sibling quintet that it not only topped the pop chart in early 1971 but also reached Number Six on Billboard’s R&B chart. Years later, George Jackson co-wrote the even more enduring “Old Time Rock and Roll,” made famous by Bob Seger.
Their Kind of Music
From the start, The Osmonds knew that variety was their key to a successful recording career. They have covered just about every music genre imaginable, including Barbershop, Pop, Rock, Disco, Country, Gospel, Broadway, Swing, and Jazz. In addition, they have recorded in eight different languages – Swedish, Japanese, Samoan, German, Spanish, French, Latin, and of course, English.
Launching into an emotional ballad about relationships that steady life’s storms, the Osmond brothers harmonize effortlessly. They blend their voices into a rich melody and showing their audience why music—and life—are better with family around.
For the Record!
Together, the Osmonds have recorded more than 200 albums and sold 100 million-plus copies, earning 63 gold and platinum records. One of America’s most enduring musical groups, the singers have performed continuously since 1957, though their lineup has changed through the years.
The Osmond Family were one of the great families of entertainers in the ’60s and ’70s, starting young and honing their performance skills for years before breaking through with “One Bad Apple” in 1971.
The last time all seven siblings were on stage together was in 2008. They held their 50th-anniversary world tour and sold out arenas in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Asia. The reunion proved that Osmond fans hadn’t forgotten the frenzy that the heartthrobs caused during their heyday in the early 1970s.
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Donny Osmond, One Bad Apple, Osmond Brothers
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