Few can make the claim that they grew up in the public eye as truthfully as Donny Osmond can. He has been performing since he was old enough to talk, and audiences the world over have seen his development every step of the way through music, film, and especially television.
Donny Osmond got his first professional break at the tender age of five when he joined his brothers, The Osmonds, for a performance on The Andy Williams Show in 1963. He brought the house down with a hip-swinging jazz version of You Are My Sunshine.
Donny joined the family band as a regular and earned his stripes as a performer on The Andy Williams Show between 1963 and 1967.
In 1970, The Osmonds lived up to their promise as “the next Jackson 5” with the hit bubblegum soul song, One Bad Apple. Of course, Donny was prominently featured on vocals as the group’s counterpart to Michael Jackson.
In 1971, his popularity with fans led to his own solo career. His first single, Sweet and Innocent, was an instant Number Seven hit. The follow-up, a cover of the old Steve Lawrence hit Go Away, Little Girl, did even better by going to #1 and staying there for three weeks.
By 1972, Donny Osmond was a genuine heartthrob to little girls around the world. Styled after classic teen idols like Frankie Avalon and Paul Anka, Donny specialised in sugary-yet-emotional odes to love delivered in a sweet tenor voice.
He began the year with the double-sided Top-10 hit of Hey Girl and I Knew You When and followed that double-smash with a #4 cover of Paul Anka’s Puppy Love.
That song was everywhere in Britain in 1972 and Donny was exactly the right age to be a teenybopper God. He was sweet and innocent, he had a lovely family, he was a good wholesome Mormon boy – He was the perfect fantasy boyfriend for a million young girls.
In between successes with The Osmonds (including a wildly successful tour of England), Donny had another three cover-version hits in Why, Too Young and Lonely Boy.
1973 started with a bang for Donny Osmond when he scored a #8 hit with his version of the Johnny Mathis chestnut, The Twelfth of Never.
The hits kept rolling for Donny in 1974 with hit covers of Are You Lonesome Tonight? and When I Fall In Love (a double-sided #14 hit). He also began a duet career with his sister Marie that year, beginning with a hit version of the oldie I’m Leaving It All Up To You. It was a sign of things to come.
In 1976, 18-year old Donny became the youngest-ever host of television variety show with his sister Marie. The Donny and Marie Show would run for four years, becoming one of the most successful variety shows of all time. Donny also scored a Top-40 solo hit with a cover of The Four Seasons‘ hit C’mon Marianne. In 1978, he appeared with Marie in the feature film Goin’ Coconuts.
Donny Osmond remained in the public eye as he moved into the 80s. He appeared on two episodes of The Love Boat and performed on Broadway in Little Johnny Jones.
He returned to his recording career in 1989 when Peter Gabriel encouraged him to give it another try. Donny recorded the Donny Osmond album – featuring musicians who had worked with Sting and Tears For Fears – which explored a contemporary, electronic-oriented dance sound. It also produced the hit single Soldier of Love.
Donny continued his solo success in 1990 with the album Eyes Don’t Lie and its Top-40 hit My Love Is A Fire.
He returned to the stage in 1992 to take the lead role in a Canadian production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He also participated in a cast recording for this show that has since gone quadruple-platinum. Donny would go on to tour with this production for five years.
In 1998, Donny Osmond’s television career came full circle when he reunited with Marie for a new version of The Donny and Marie Show.
However, they dispensed with the ice skaters and the disco medleys this time out and instead opted for a cosy talk-show format.
Like its predecessor, it was a success, though its expensive production costs led to a premature cancellation in 2000. Despite the disappointing cancellation, the show confirmed that no matter what role he plays, Donny Osmond is a show-biz winner.