Synopsis of Pop Music
"One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl,
Oh, give it one more try before you give up on love..."
The Osmonds were the most popular sibling-oriented musical group to become popular in the wake of the Jackson 5. However, this boy-group wasn’t riding anyone’s coattails. Before they rose to worldwide fame, they had been working and recording as a group for well over a decade. In fact, the Osmonds began performing in 1959, singing barbershop-quartet songs and gospel tunes at venues in their home of Utah.
The Osmonds traveled to California to audition for Lawrence Welk in 1962 but could not get in. Their father took them to Disneyland to cheer them up, and the Osmonds ended up performing an impromptu concert with the park’s barbershop quartet. A Disney talent scout saw this added the boys as regular performers at the park. They also appeared on the Disneyland After Dark television show. Andy Williams' father saw them perform on the Disneyland show and encouraged Andy to put them on his show. The Osmonds were a hit, performing on The Andy Williams Show from 1962 to 1967.
The Osmonds got their break as recording artists in 1970 when they were signed to MGM Records by label president Mike Curb. He saw them as his ‘answer to the Jackson 5’ and had them record “One Bad Apple,” a bubblegum soul song that, ironically enough, had been passed over by the Jackson 5. It balanced a soulful lead from Merrill with exuberant Michael Jackson-style exclamations from young Donny and the group’s smooth harmonies. The song quickly shot to the top of the charts and stayed there for no less than five weeks.
The Osmonds followed “One Bad Apple” with a string of killer pop-soul hits that continued into 1972, including “Double Lovin’,” “Yo-Yo” and “Down By The Lazy River.” Each of the songs balanced bubblegum, soul and doo-wop elements, resulting in records that were sweet enough for kids but were sophisticated enough to appeal to older listeners. The group also put out a pair of surprisingly hard-rocking singles in 1972: “Hold Her Tight” and “Crazy Horses.” Each song balanced r&b-styled horns with chugging guitar riffs and gritty rock vocals. Both went to #14 on the charts.
The Osmonds ambitiously followed their singles success with a concept album called The Plan in 1973. The group did all of the writing and performed most of the instrumental backing on this album, which explored their beliefs as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). It spawned a Top-40 hit in the string-backed ballad “Let Me In.” The Osmonds also went Top-10 the next year with another slick ballad, “Love Me For A Reason.” They continued to have hits through 1976 with songs like the orchestrated Frankie Valli cover “The Proud One” and the bouncy, disco-styled “I Can’t Live A Dream.”
In the late 70’s, the Osmonds performed extensively on The Donny and Marie Show, which starred the two title Osmond siblings. They broke up in 1980, but returned as a quartet (sans Donny) in 1982. Calling themselves the Osmond Brothers, they focused exclusively on country music and the adult-listener market. They became a second-time success, making several records and touring the world. A notable achievement during this time was the fact that they topped the Wembley, England “Country Music Festival” two years in a row during the mid-80’s.
The Osmonds continue to record and perform today. With their younger brother Jimmy, they opened the Osmond Family Theater in 1992 in Branson, Missouri, and have performed there on a regular basis ever since. Another notable event in the 90’s was the formation of Osmonds Second Generation, a musical group consisting of Alan’s eight sons. Like their father and uncles, they are recording artists and live-performance pros. Between these superstars of the future and the past legacy of the Osmond hits, this is one family that will be in the music business for a long, long time.
Artist Release History1971 - Osmonds
1971 - Homemade
1972 - Phase-III
1972 - The Osmonds (live)
1972 - Crazy Horses
1973 - The Plan
1975 - The Proud One
1975 - Around the World: Live in Concert
1976 - Brainstorm
1976 - The Osmond Christmas Album
1991 - Osmond Family Christmas
1992 - Second Generation
1992 - Greatest Hits
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music Albums21 Hits – Special Collection (Curb)
Band MembersAlan Osmond vocals
Wayne Osmond vocals
Merrill Osmond vocals
Jay Osmond vocals
Donny Osmond vocals