In talking to Merrill Osmond about the career of The Osmonds, it’s almost as if he’s describing two completely separate music groups.
The first is the wholesome pop group, which produced hit singles such as “Down By The Lazy River,” “One Bad Apple” and “Crazy Horses” and spawned siblings Donny and Marie, who had their own television show, and younger brother Jimmy.
Then there is The Osmond experience in the U.K., which, to hear Osmond speak of it, continues to rival Beatlemania.
Want to go?
WHAT: Christmas with The Osmond Brothers
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12
WHERE: The Ritz Theatre, 30 S. Washington St., Tiffin
COST: $20 to $65
INFO: 419.448.8544 or www.ritztheatre.org
“You’d have to see it to believe it,” Osmond said. “I consistently hear the rhetoric that seems to say, ‘Are The Osmonds a legitimate rock’n’roll band?’ and yet you go over to the U.K. and it’s a whole different story. When I get to the U.K. and do months of traveling, the press and the fans [approach the band as] extremely contemporary."
“It’s very, very different. Here in this country, like when we do our shows for the holiday season, you’ll see a very Christmas-y, wonderful, hopeful time to come out and enjoy the family [experience]. If you go to Europe, you might as well plan to have squad cars and fan patrol police everywhere because it’s going to be a rock’n’roll party.”
That’s quite the contrast to America’s moral and clean-living image of The Osmonds, which began its career roughly 50 years ago when brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay became regulars on “The Andy Williams Show.” What was supposed to be a one-shot deal on the family-oriented variety entertainment show actually jumpstarted a career that continues today.
The Osmonds remain a touring entity, with shows over the next year booked all over the country. However, this month the act is focusing on its holiday show, which comes through the area with a Dec. 12 show booked at The Ritz Theatre in Tiffin.
Considering 100,000,000 Osmond fans can’t be wrong – an estimated figure based on the number of albums the family has sold collectively throughout the years – the current tour featuring Osmonds Jimmy and Jay is bound to attract quite a Northwest Ohio audience. Sans fan patrol police, naturally.
“They are going be entertained,” Osmond said. “They are going to have a moment when they can feel comfortable. Our show is geared towards making the people in the audience feel as though they are part of the show. We’ll give them all of the music they want, Plus if they really want to have a holiday feeling, which is what we want to present, they’ll hopefully walk away feeling like they’re ready for Christmas.”