Friday, July 8, 2011

Donny Osmond--Puppy Love (1972)

     Teen idols normally have a short shelf life. Almost since the beginnings of rock and roll, PR people have figured out that marketing an artist to young teens can boost record sales. However, young teens grow up, and along with it their tastes in music mature as well. The artists that CAN make it beyond those first few years, are the ones who find a way to mature with the audience.

      In the early 70's, there were four teen idols (male department) that vied for the covers of teen magazines. David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, Michael Jackson, and Donny Osmond. Of those four, Sherman left the biz altogether when he sensed it was over. Cassidy had a rough go of it for years because he tried to fight the "teen idol" tag and it almost ate him alive. Jackson and Osmond both made the transition to adult star (although admittedly Jackson did more than transition....he transformed his genre).

      Osmond did it by finding his audience early and never leaving their side. His most popular songs in the early 70's were the ballads, and those same teens (and their parents) were the same who watched Donny and Marie, and have continued to keep up with Osmond through the years. Another thing that might have helped him (and Jackson) were the fact that they had siblings (older ones too) that provided a system of peers who understood and encouraged.

      Let's not forget that Donny had the goods as well. You might not like his music, but you cannot deny his multiple talents. If you ever doubted that, watching him win, "Dancing with the Stars" in his early 50's and smiling that Osmond 100 watt smile the whole way should have been a reminder. He has been star on vinyl, on television, and on the stage as well, and continues to cultivate much of the same audience that has followed him since the early 70's.

      1971 was his breakout year and by far his most popular in terms of record sales. Puppy Love was his next to last top 10 (the "Twelfth of Never" was the last one in 1972), but had two others in 72' that were hits as well. Paul Anka wrote the song for Annette Funicello who he was dating at the time.....


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