Monday, November 28, 2011

Tony Orlando

One of those guys you love to hate. Seriously. How many people had murderous thoughts every time they heard Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree, (for me it was Knock Three Times).

But Tony Orlando had a life before Dawn. In ’69 he was the lead vocalist of a one-shot studio-only group called Wind (Make Believe). And almost a decade before that, when he was still a teenager, he had a couple of more-than-respectable teen idol hits, which may have been, in their own way, better than anything he did in his more famous years.

Tony Orlando:

Bless You - The lyrics veer between sweet and over-the-top, but the tune (the song is by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill) never moves from glorious, the arrangement - female chipmunk chorus, matinee strings, Mahlerian tympani - is perfect teenage drama, and you can hear exactly where Phil Spector got so many of his ideas. Wonderful bobby sox artistry. From the fall of 1961.
Halfway To Paradise – When I was in school, we had a word (well, two words) for the type of girl he is singing about. But adolescence is such a confusing time. It gets so much easier in middle age. Oh wait, it doesn’t? From the summer of 1961. A hit in England for Billy Fury.

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