Jimmy Osmond on loving life on the road and why he's not so keen on Bieber-like behaviour
PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 August 2013
They were the original boyband, causing near riots in Manchester in the 70s when they played to audiences of screaming teens and even now the Osmonds are causing hearts to flutter after 40 years in the business.
So there are probably still grown women out there who would have gladly swapped places with me at the end of a telephone talking to ‘Little’ Jimmy Osmond about their forthcoming American Jukebox tour (writes Janet Reeder).
And there is no denying that Jimmy isn’t still an attractive character. The youngest of the clan he is an uber successful businessman and producer who masterminds tours like the one that will be at Manchester’s Opera House next month.
The Osmonds have had extraordinary success as a band and individuals notching up over £100m album copies and 59 gold and platinum recordings. They have sold out venues worldwide, breaking box office records and received countless awards, And they made thousands of little girls want to become...Mormons.
Now Merill Jay and Jimmy return with a show that is not only a celebration of their past but a love letter to pop.
Jimmy calls me prior to flying off to Santiago to do a show on the next leg of a world tour.
‘The American Jukebox Show includes Osmonds hits but also the kind of music I grew up listening to in the ‘60s and ‘70s,’ he explains.
‘A lot depends on what the audience want one night we might cover Superstition and the next Crocodile Rock.’
So, no 1970s punk, which was big at the time the Osmonds were rocking Crazy Horses and Let me In?
‘Most of the stuff I listened too was The Eagles, the Steve Miller Band and I love Bread,’ he says..
‘These are songs that I remember . The songs that remain popular are the ones that remind us what we were doing in our lives at that time and that’s cool.’
‘The audience has evolved too for sure. people still like to come and scream but they are a listening audience as well. We were one of the first boybands ever and we are still singing. We grew up almost as vaudevillians and have got all this history. It’s interesting and for me, even the more cheeky songs never seem to die.’
And yes, Jimmy still sings Long haired Lover from Liverpool alongside the more mature stuff, saying it’s part of who he is.
Who can forget too, his laidback self-deprecation on reality TV shows like I’m a Celebrity, where he seems to have picked up a cooler following for himself?
‘I think I am all these things. I am OK with that. If you’re worried what the rock press says about you forget it. I just turned 50 and I figured out since I was around age three I had never done less than 50 shows in a year which is crazy. We started on the Andy Williams’ Show and went right to Vegas working with people like Frank Sinatra but I would never have done it if I didn’t enjoy it. I think success is to be relaxed about what you do, to be comfortable doing it.’ Clearly he thinks little of those popstars who insult their fans by turning up late mentioning no names but we know he’s talking about you Justin Bieber.
‘You know when you meet people who are “old money” they have a respect for money and for people then you get these guys who are like new money - they don’t treat people with respect,’ says “Businessman” Jimmy.
‘It’s saying something that a pop star makes everyone wait for two hours. We grew up in the old Hollywood where you do the job on time.
‘We went through our spoilt time too but it just blows my mind that that kind of behaviour is tolerated by the public. if that’s the way things are going I don’t get it. I admire the person’s talent (and we all know who we are talking about) but for me some old style common courtesy wouldn’t go amiss.
American Jukebox Tour, September 19th
Opera House. Manchester 0161 245 6613