Donny Osmond celebrates 50 years of music with The Soundtrack Of My Life cover album
One of the names not commonly brought up during discussions of great pop music artists of the last 50 years—but one that is equally relevant—is Donny Osmond. The former teen idol and frontman of brother act The Osmonds has scored more than 30 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 as part of the group, solo artist, and duo with sister Marie Osmond. The Soundtrack Of My Life is Donny Osmond’s 60th and latest album—a project via Verve Records that features some of the “most important tracks from his life and career” including classic favorites such as ‘My Cherie Amour’ by Stevie Wonder, ‘Ben’ by Michael Jackson, The Supremes’ ‘Baby Love,’ and ‘Your Song’ by Elton John.
“It was so much fun getting to choose songs that have meant so much to me in my life,” Osmond, 57, tells People magazine about recording his renditions of the 12 classic songs on the new album. “You can't mess with these songs too much or people won't like it," he says. “But I definitely put my own twist on them. I stick to the melody in the beginning and then I have some fun with them.” He adds The Soundtrack Of My Life is just that: a summary of his life with each track telling a story. The songs trace the highs and lows of his professional and personal life from becoming a child star to charting No. 1 hits to selling more than 100 million records.
The album opens with the first record the singer ever bought: Stevie Wonder’s 1969 Top 5 hit ‘My Cherie Amour,’ featuring the song’s memorable harmonica solo played by Wonder himself. The 1972 No.1 hit single ‘Ben’ was originally written for Osmond by Don Black and Walter Scharf, but he was unavailable to do recording that was eventually offered to good friend Michael Jackson. Peter Gabriel’s ‘Don’t Give Up’ is a song Osmond’s wife, Debbie, would play for him as encouragement, and he was watching Elton John perform ‘Your Song’ in concert when he realized he would ask his future wife to marry him.
Osmond is respectful of the original versions of each song, according to a press announcement posted on Donny.com, yet brings his own “magic touch” to some of the best pop songs of all time. In addition to three original numbers, Osmond’s autobiographical The Soundtrack Of My Life includes Steely Dan’s ‘Peg,’ the traditional wedding song ‘The Gift Of Love,’ Cole Porter’s ‘I've Got You Under My Skin,’ the Andy Williams signature tune ‘Moon River,’ and The Beatles’ ‘The Long And Winding Road.’
Pollstar reports that in September 2014, the Donny & Marie act celebrated the six-year anniversary of the duo’s residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas. Readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal daily newspaper voted the brother and sister best overall show, best performers, and best singers. The Flamingo honored the pair by renaming its iconic showroom the Donny & Marie Showroom. What’s more, the residency was recently renewed to run for at least 20 more weeks through November. Osmond views his continued success as the result of being able to continually reinvent himself. “You can't rest on your laurels,” the ‘One Bad Apple’ singer comments on CNBC. “People expect you to do one thing. You've got to do something else. Make it fresh. Make it new all the time,” he declares.
Watch Donny Osmond in a live studio performance of Elton John’s ‘Your Song.’
As A Matter of Fact…
* Donny Osmond was born December 9, 1957, in Ogden Utah. The son of George and Olive Osmond is the seventh of nine children that includes eight boys and one girl, Marie. The Osmonds began by singing barbershop harmony on Main Street Disneyland, and a 5-year-old Donny and his brothers made their first television appearance on the Andy Williams Show—remaining on the show as regular guests.
* The Osmond Brothers (eventually shortened to The Osmonds) became an entertainment phenomenon in the early 1970s, releasing international hits such as the No. 1 smash ‘One Bad Apple,’ ‘Sweet and Innocent’ (No. 2), a No. 1 re-make of ‘Go Away Little Girl,’ and No. 3 multiplatinum hit ‘Puppy Love.’
* Osmond began a series of duets with his sister, Marie, in 1974. The pair scored six Top 40 between 1974 and 1978 including ‘I’m Leaving It All Up To You’ (No. 4) and ‘Morning Side of the Mountain’ (No. 8). The two also went on to host the “Donny & Marie Show” variety series, ranking the young stars in The Guiness Book of World Records as the youngest prime time television hosts ever.
* In the 1980s, Osmond sought the counsel of Genesis co-founder Peter Gabriel to again reinvent himself as an edgier artist, scoring the No. 2 hit ‘Soldier of Love’ in 1989, his first Top 40 solo hit since 1976. Two more Top 40 singles followed in 1989-1990 with ‘Sacred Emotion’ (No. 13) and ‘My Love Is A Fire’ (No. 21), earning Osmond the title of Billboard magazine’s “Top Pop Male Artist of the Year.”
* Osmond has appeared on Broadway in productions of George M. Cohan’s “Little Johnny Jones,” Disney’s “Beauty and The Beast,” and in 1992 launched his acclaimed six-year run in the title role of the North American production of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
* Donny Osmond has sold more than 100 million records over a five decade career that has earned him 33 gold records (18 of them before the age of 13) and his 2002 album, Somewhere In Time, went platinum in a little over a week. The performer has also generated millions of dollars for several charitable organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Best Buddies, The Children’s Miracle Network, and The One Heart Foundation.
* Osmond won the Dancing With The Stars competition in 2009 and is the author of The New York Times bestseller, “Life Is What You Make It.” The book reveals the singer’s battle with social phobia—a common, but debilitating anxiety disorder that threatened Osmond’s career and life. He also narrated the PBS documentary, “Afraid of People,” which created awareness about the little known phobia.