By David Flynn
The Osmond family from Utah, USA were a successful International music group in the 60s and 70s. They played concerts all over the world and sold records by the millions.
Two of their younger family members had their own hit US television variety show in the mid-1970s, which was also popular in Ireland a decade later.
The Osmond family had many hit records including, ‘Crazy Horses’, ‘Let Me In’, and their No. 1 song, ‘Love Me for a Reason’ (later covered by Boyzone). The young singer, Donny Osmond was well-known for several hit singles such as ‘Puppy Love’ and ‘The Twelfth of Never’ in the early 1970s and his younger sister, Marie was familiar to the record-buying public for the country song ‘Paper Roses’. The duo were picked out by television producer, Fred Silverman to have their own television show after he saw the sibling duo on a music tv show.
Silverman gave the duo their opportunity in a pilot special in Autumn 1975 on the ABC channel in America when he became President of the network. The Donny and Marie Show was a success and was picked up for a mid-season run to begin in January 1976. The teenage singers were at that time, the youngest people to headline a variety show. Donny was 18 and Marie as 16.
The musical show was broadcast on Friday nights at 8pm. Its biggest competition in the timeslot was a smash-hit sitcom, Sanford and Son, which was the No. 7 show on television. Donny and Marie came in at the excellent No. 26 rating for their first season.
Donny and Marie Osmond’s hour long show usually consisted of comedy skits, a lot of music and big guest names such as Paul Anka, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Tina Turner, Glen Campbell, Olivia Newton John, Engelbert Humperdinck and Loretta Lynn.
The theme song of the show was ‘A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock n’ Roll’ which was sung by the duo, and was the perfect way to showcase Marie’s interest in country music and Donny’s love of rock n’ roll music.