Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tony Orlando & Dawn, The #52 Artist of the Seventies*

Tony Orlando had been a singer for a decade with only three Top 40 hits to show for it when he halted his career in 1970.  Orlando began working as a publisher for April-Blackwood Music, a division of Columbia Records.

Shortly after he began his new line of work, a song was given to him that had been turned down by other producers and singers.  Orlando couldn't sing the song himself as it would be a conflict of interest.  Producer Hank Medress insisted that Orlando dub his voice over the male vocals on the original track.  This Tony did, and the single was released on Bell Records by the band "Dawn" in order to protect Orlando.

The background singers on "Candida" were Sharon Greane, Linda November, Jay Siegel, and Toni Wine.  The song caught on, roaring to #3 in the United States and #9 in the U.K.

Astonished by the biggest success of his career, Orlando caught the performing bug again, and he, Wine, and November recorded the album Candida.  In addition to   featuring the title song , it also included another Gold single, "Knock Three Times".  The latter was an even bigger success, #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Bell Records, though, wanted a live group to promote the songs.  Orlando invited Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson to be in the touring group.  

Three singles from the album Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando fizzled, though they did get airplay on Adult stations, most notably "Summer Sand".  Hopkins, Wilson, and Pamela Vincent soon joined Orlando in the studio, but the next three  singles did even worse.
But in 1973, the group returned with the album Tie a Yellow Ribbon.  Dawn was welcomed back with a song that took the world by storm.  "Tie A Yellow Ribbon (Round The 'Ol Oak Tree)" sold three million copies in three weeks in the U.S. alone, and went to #1 for four weeks, becoming one of the top songs not only for the year, but for the Rock Era.  The #1 ranking in the U.K. and Australia matched the performance in the U.S., and the song has now gone over three million in radio airplay. 

Striking while the iron was hot, Dawn returned with two albums later in the year, Tuneweaving and Dawn's New Ragtime Follies.  The latter generated another big hit, "Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose", #3 overall and #1 Adult.

The follow-up, "Who's In The Strawberry Patch With Sally", stopped at #27, but was a #3 Adult hit.

Dawn next found the Top 10 with the #7 song "Steppin' Out (Gonna' Boogie Tonight)", which also reached #4 on the Adult chart.

In 1974, the group released the album Prime Time, which included the single "Look In My Eyes Pretty Woman".  A #11 Popular song, it was more accepted by adults at #6.

Tony Orlando & Dawn reached agreement with CBS-TV to do a variety show in the summer of 1974 to take the place of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.  It was well-rated, and aired through December of 1976.  The group signed a new recording contract with Elektra Records, and continued their music during the run of the television show. 

Tony Orlando & Dawn scored a double #1 with their next release, a reworking of Jerry Butler's "He Will Break Your Heart".  The single "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)" reached the summit on both the Adult and overall charts.

The follow-up was "Mornin' Beautiful", a #2 Adult smash that reached #14 on the Popular chart.

In 1975, a remake of Sam Cooke's "Cupid" was the group's last Top 40 song.   "Sing" reached No. 7 on the Adult Contemporary Chart in 1977.  The group broke up not too long after, but did reform for concerts from 1988 to 1993.

The group enjoyed no less than 21 hits in the Seventies, with six of those going Top 10 and three #1 songs.  They did better with Adults, with an incredible 13 Top 10 songs and three #1's and, as we know, adults carry much more weight than kids.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.