The Osmond Brothers
The sons of George Virl Osmond Sr and Olive May (Davis) Osmond total eight – Virl, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, and Jimmy. Six of them have been performing for more than five decades for adoring fans around the world. Virl and Tom, the two oldest brothers, have hearing difficulties and so have worked backstage for the good of the family, but did perform on stage with their brothers and sister, Marie, especially during the holiday season on Christmas specials.
The Osmond Brothers originally consisted of brothers, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay. They were later joined by brothers Donny and Jimmy.
Their father, George, who loved to sing, taught his sons the tight harmonies of a barbershop quartet. They began singing in and around their native Ogden, Utah. Their father took them to California to audition for Lawrence Welk, but Welk was unable to meet with them. Disneyland hired them to perform at the park and consequently, Walt Disney took a personal interest in them and featured them in a Disney television special. When the father of singer Andy Williams noticed them on the special, he called his son and told him to book the Osmond Brothers on his variety show, which he did. The Osmond Brothers appeared regularly on The Andy Williams Show from 1962 to 1969. Donny became part of the group in 1963.
Oldest brothers Virl and Tom are deaf and were never part of the singing group. In the made-for-TV movie Inside the Osmonds, the brothers explain that they originally began performing to help pay for the special needs of their two older brothers. Their earnings also were to fund missions for all the brothers; they are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Osmond Brothers also appeared regularly on the Jerry Lewis Show in 1969 but were anxious to transition into performing rock and roll. They shortened their name to The Osmonds, and with the help of Mike Curb, landed a record contract with MGM. Their first album, Osmonds, released in 1970. More albums followed, including Homemade (1971); Phase III, The Osmonds Live, and Crazy Horses (1972); The Plan (1973); and Love Me for a Reason (1974). Their last albums with MGM came in 1975, The Proud One and Around the World: Live in Concert. The first six albums were gold; the last three were silver. They have recorded several other albums with other record labels and toured extensively.
The group’s first single to hit the #1 spot was “One Bad Apple,” written by George Jackson. At first, Merrill was the lead singer for the group but Donny eventually became a co-lead singer and they continued to record and perform hits such as “Go Away Little Girl,” “Puppy Love,” “Yo-Yo,” and “Sweet and Innocent.” They also began writing their own songs and playing their own instruments. As their popularity waned, and the older brothers wanted to tour less, they eventually disbanded in 1980. For some years now, the Osmond Brothers were entertainment headliners in Branson, Missouri, having gone there at the invitation of late singer Andy Williams. Donny and Jimmy went on to have successful solo careers.
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Throughout the years, I have been blessed to meet some of the members of the world-renown Osmond family through telephone conversations, emails and letters, and personal meetings. With each encounter, I have been thoroughly impressed by their genuineness, kindness,...