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The Osmonds (All You Need to Know)

The Osmonds are one of the greatest pop groups of all time. They reached the height of their success in the 1970s, quickly becoming a household name. Throughout their career, they landed numerous hit singles and albums.

The original lineup of the group, as a barbershop quartet, featured brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay. Then, the group went by The Osmond Brothers and performed on countless high-profile late-night shows and other must-see gigs.

Young brother Donny later joined the group, and they became known as simply The Osmonds. Donny enjoyed a bit of solo success, as did their other brother Jimmy.

The band’s biggest success came in the early- to mid-70s from such undeniable hits as “One Bad Apple,” “Yo-Yo,” “Go Away Little Girl,” and “Puppy Love.” In their careers, they produced hit after hit, with many climbing at least to the Top 20 on Billboard’s many charts.

During their heyday, The Osmonds released seven studio albums in the early ‘70s. Those include a self-titled set (1970), Crazy Horses (1972), and Love Me for a Reason (1974). They were an unstoppable force. While their popularity waned in the latter half of the decade, their legacy had already been cemented.

From their pop and R&B roots, they sprouted wings and explored more rock-influenced work and later country music in the 1980s with the original lineup. Their sister Marie would rarely sing with the band but rather forged her own impressive solo career, from performing as a duo with Donny to hosting a TV variety show. Like her brothers, she was a force of talent.

The Osmond Brothers performing in 1972

Early Life and Background

The Osmonds – Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay – were born to Olive May and George Virl Osmond in Ogden, Utah. From a very early age, they exhibited strong musical skills. They showed such great talent that they began playing in a barbershop quartet when they were their ages ranged from just three years old to nine.

Early on, they began performing on the local circuit around Ogden and in church. Their talents bounded beyond their years, and it became clear they had a hit group on their hands. While competing in a barbship competition, the group visited Disneyland where they were discovered and began performing with the Dapper Dans along Main Street.

Their career was off to the races from there. They soon made their debut on The Andy Williams Show, where they performed for a number of years in the 1960s. Their brother Donny soon joined the group, and they became a five-member band. Marie and Jimmy also eventually made their debuts on The Andy Williams Show, too.

The Osmonds were able to forge impressive foundational elements to what became one of the greatest careers in pop music.

Music Career

After appearing on The Andy Williams Show from 1962 to 1967, The Osmonds signed with The Jerry Lewis Show and performed until the show was canceled two years later. They then returned to Andy Williams’ popular show.

Things began to change when the boys set their eyes on rock ‘n roll music. Despite their father’s concerns over the genre, the group then transitioned from a variety act to a pop-rock outfit. Their debut single “Flower Music” only saw modest success, but it demonstrated their knack for infectious hooks. With even a small taste of success, they ventured further into the music.

Their big breakout success came in 1971 with their smash hit “One Bad Apple,” which spent five weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Following 1970’s self-titled disc, Homemade arrived in 1971 and saw admirable success, reaching No. 22 on the top albums scorecard.

More Top 20 singles followed, including “Down by the Lazy River,” “Double Loving,” and “Crazy Horses.” Their albums continued to do solid sales, as well. But by the late ’70s, their pop stardom began to fade with their last studio album Steppin’ Out arriving in 1979.

The Osmonds in 1974

Solo Careers

While the Osmond Brothers continued performing together throughout the mid-70s, Marie, Donny, and Jimmy splintered off to mount their own impressive solo careers.

When Marie was just 13 years old, she landed her first No. 1 hit called “Paper Roses” on the country charts. Soon enough, she began recording duets with her brother Donny, including the Top 5 hit “I’m Leaving It Up to You.”

All the while, Marie continued to sing country music, snagging several hits, namely the No. 1 “Meet Me in Montana” with Dan Seals. In the ’90s, she hit Broadway and starred in such revivals as The Sound of Music and The King & I.

Meanwhile, Donny made inroads in pop/rock music with a slew of Top 10 hits, from “Puppy Love” to “Twelfth of Never.” He made a return to the genre in 1989 and landed many more hits, such as “Soldier of Love,” “Sacred Emotion,” and “My Love is a Fire.”

Years later, Merrill branched off as a soloist, and his biggest hit came as a duet with Jessica Boucher titled “You’re Here to Remember, I’m Here to Forget,” which was recorded under the moniker Merrill and Jessica. It became a 1987 hit on the country charts.

The Osmonds No. 1 hit “One Bad Apple”
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Country Music Comeback

Even though they never reached the same level of fame as they did in the ’70s, The Osmond Brothers made a return to music in the ’80s. Instead of pop, they opted for country/pop crossover and scored only two Top 30 hits, “I Think About Your Lovin'” and “It’s Like Fallin’ in Love (Over and Over).”

Their success was reportedly hampered by lack of touring. Instead, the band remained in Branson, Missouri with them releasing promotional videos to push their music. Over the years, they’ve continued performing in various lineups and often with their own children.

Their Hit Singles

The Osmonds achieved seven Top 20 hits on the Hot 100.

Song TitleHot 100 Chart Peak
“One Bad Apple”1
“Double Loving”14
“Down by the Lazy River”4
“Hold Her Tight”14
“Crazy Horses”14
“Love Me for a Reason”10
The Osmonds Hot 100 chart history
The Osmond Brothers performing onstage


  • At a very young age, The Osmonds started as a quartet, playing barbershop music, before transitioning to a family affair. Their star began to shine during a stint on The Andy Williams Show.
  • The band’s second album, Homemade, catapulted them into the stratosphere with such hits as “One Bad Apple.” They then became one of the most popular bands of the 1970s.
  • When the band’s fame started to dwindle in the late ’70s, Donny, Marie, and Jimmy branched off into their own highly successful solo careers.
  • Later, the Osmonds made a comeback and switched over to country music in the 1980s, gaining a resurgence in fame.
  • In recent years, the band continued to pursue solo endeavors, with a reunion in 2019.

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