The Osmonds first started singing together 50 years ago as a boys’ barbershop quartet, and it’s been 25 years since all seven members of the musical family have shared a stage together. To commemorate those anniversaries, the Osmonds are reuniting Monday for the first of three sold-out shows in Las Vegas.
“It is very emotional,” Donny Osmond told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira in an exclusive interview. “I remember that last tour. We didn’t realize when we stopped that it would be 25 years.”
It’s not as if the family has split apart. Everyone’s just busy.
“We get together as a family all the time,” Jimmy told Vieira. That’s unusual in show business, he added. “A lot of families don’t make it that long, especially in this industry, and still like each other.”
The difficulty in putting on the show was synchronizing everyone’s schedules. Several of the brothers perform in a theater they built in Branson, Mo., while Donny still has a strong following in the United Kingdom.
Actually performing together again was not a problem, musically speaking.
“After all these years, we snap right back into the same old routines,” said Jimmy. “It really is like riding a bicycle.”
Rise to family fameDonny, who was born in 1957, the year his elder brothers formed their act, and his sister, Marie, are the most famous of the family. In 1976, after the family had already established itself with their 1971 Jackson 5-ish hit, “One Bad Apple,” Donny and Marie at the ages of 18 and 16 became the youngest brother and sister to host a prime-time television show.
The original Osmond quartet — Alan, 58, Wayne, 55, Merrill, 54, and Jay, 52, got their first big break in 1960 through Disneyland, which hired them to sing. Crooner Andy Williams also had them on his show.
By the time they recorded “One Bad Apple,” the brothers had been joined by Donny, who was born Dec. 9, 1957. Eventually “Little” Jimmy, who was born April 16, 1963, would make them a sestet. Marie, 47, was not part of the act and had already recorded her first hit single, “Paper Roses,” when, in 1976 at the age of 16, she joined Donny as the co-host of the prime-time “Donny & Marie” show on ABC. At the time, they were the youngest brother-and-sister team to host their own network show.
“The difficult part was to be the only girl and to have all these brothers and to start to sing and to say, ‘What do I have to do to fit in here?’” Marie recalled of her first time singing with the entire family.
Vieira asked if it was tough being surrounded by so much testosterone. “I think I had more than they did,” Marie laughed. “Amen,” one of her brothers chimed in.
It was Jimmy’s idea to bring the family back together for the first time in a quarter century.Donny said it should be just as emotional for the paying customers as for the family.
“They’re going to be reliving it along with us,” he said. “Who knows what’s going to happen on that stage?”