Festive shows for merry Osmonds
By Martin Hutchinson
THE OSMONDS are back – well, two of the singing brothers are heading back to the UK with their band to recreate the joy of their Christmas shows – but with a difference.
The group, famous for hits Love me For A Reason, Let Me In and of course Crazy Horses, has been performing in some guise or other for six decades – and still filling concert halls around the world.
Merrill Osmond, the silver-haired one, who has also had a successful solo career, tells me the story behind their new album and rockin’ Christmas show.
Speaking from his home in America, Merrill explained that he’s just back from his travels.
“I’m just back from Hawaii, where we celebrated Marie’s birthday with a spectacular show.”
Marie, who hopes to do some shows in the UK sometime soon, celebrated her 59th birthday in style.
“It was very good,” Merrill said. “I’m so proud of Marie, she really stepped up and put on a great show.”
“Jay and me also performed, and Alan and Wayne – who have both retired – were also there. Donny couldn’t make it, but he had donated some film footage for the backdrops, so he was a part of it too. We all had a great time.”
When The Osmonds last did a Christmas tour in Britain, they put on a variety-type show with special guests, and three brothers as Jimmy toured with them.
“Well, we’ve had a lot of adjustments recently. Jimmy decided to go out on his own so Jay and I have regrouped and formed this new band.”
It’s the band that tours with Merrill on his solo ventures.
“And they really sound great.”
Before the tour, Merrill and Jay are to release a Christmas album, and it’s almost ready and the cover is just being designed.
But an old friend has been in touch.
“A very old and dear friend – Mike Curb, who produced a lot of our music back in the day – got in touch and said he’d like to be involved. So we’re just having discussions with him, too.”
And the album – like the shows to come – is a little different.
“We’ve done a lot of traditional songs, but rock and roll. We’ve taken a liberty to create new styles and arrangements. There’s quite a broad variety of Christmas songs done differently, and a bunch of new songs.”
“I tell you, we’re so proud of this album. Of the 100 or so we’ve done, I’d say it was in the top five.”
It sounds like they had fun.
“It was a lot of fun. We used two studios, one in Nashville and one in Utah, where we did most of the vocals. It’s a brand new take on the songs.”
This will be reflected in the Christmas shows.
“There’ll be Jay and myself, four more in the band and maybe a couple of backing singers. The show is gonna be a little different as we’re focussing not on variety, but the sounds of Christmas, but done in a different way.”
“People will be surprised at what we’ve done to these songs. White Christmas will be our opening number – it’s an amazing arrangement. And another highlight will be when we do Drummer Boy. Jay will be on the drums and the rest of us on other percussion instruments.”
“We’ll be doing quite a bit of the album, it’s a Christmas show after all, plus the hits of course. It’ll be great singing away and doing the album we’ve always wanted to do.”
Merrill is still amazed by the enduring popularity of The Osmonds’ music.
“People just seem to like the sound. We’re actually quite humbled by it. Those were great days in the seventies. You know, I’m chuckling because an image of Elvis just came to mind. He said to us that when your fans start bringing their kids, you’ve passed the generation gap. And there appears to be a lot of youngsters at our shows these days.”
After the shows, 2019 looks just as busy as 2018.
“Well, we’re gonna be focussing on touring and we’re also working on a new album.”
“And there’s a big show in Las Vegas, a big Osmonds’ Convention with fans from all over the world, at the same time as Donny and Marie will be there. “It’ll be an Invasion of Vegas.
“But I’m really looking forward to coming to the UK again.”
“The band is really cooking and we’re getting more bookings. I’m seeing it as a new era for The Osmonds.”
“It’s been 62 years, and the way we are feeling right now is that we’re gonna keep going for another 62.”
The Osmonds’ Christmas Show, starring Merrill and Jay Osmond, touris the UK throughout November and December.