Nov 07

THE OSMONDS – “Love Me For A Reason”

FT + Popular71 comments • 5,332 views

#355, 31st August 1974

OsmondzOne of many drunken nights ago in a University bar I got into a vicious competition over Boyzone’s version of this song. My table would put the Boyzone song on the jukebox. Another bunch of drinkers at the next table would reply with Weezer’s “Buddy Holly”. This went through six or seven cycles before we were all threatened with eviction – remarkable patience by the bar staff, considering. Now I’ll admit our first play of the track was probably a tiny bit “ironic”. But as we played it again and again, evolving a complex series of arm-dances to accompany it, and as the drink fogged our brains, irony dissolved into territorial love.

I wouldn’t now spend money – even 20p a shot – to hear Boyzone’s “Love Me For A Reason”, and I wouldn’t go to bat for it critically either (except relative to that dreadful Weezer song of course), but it’s left me with a dogged fondness for the song, which even in this much finer original formulation was pretty clockwork stuff. The endlessly repeated chorus has a lulling quality – FUN girl, ONE girl, REASON, LOVE – and “Love me for a reason and let the reason be love” is one of those sublimely banal aphorisms only a boy band can really get away with. The Osmonds do a professional job on the tune, though, and when they wriggle out of the chorus straitjacket there are some quality pop moments: most of all, the lead-in to the final chorus – “my initial reaction is – honey gimme love, not a facsimile of!” – where the words cram into a gabble of excitement that breaks gloriously through the choreographed cooing.



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  1. 51
    Mark G on 19 Nov 2007 #


    They managed to do a pretty damn good performance of Amy Housewine’s “Back to Black” the previous week. (Which has led to Amy’s version crashing into the singles charts on d/l’s)

    Basically, whoever wins will be lining SCowell’s pockets for at least 3 months until the gas runs out. Picking SameDiff over Rhyd would just be smiting his own nos.

    Also, he’s very cagey about voting against an artist who might win through, which is why he chose the boy group to go when he had two acts up. If he;d voted them to stay, the phonein votes might have put them out anyway, and he’d be mentoring a girl group he voted to leave.

    Still, The Osmonds! whoa!

  2. 52
    Marcello Carlin on 19 Nov 2007 #

    Before (if?) we go back to the Osmonds, I must mention that it’s rather ill-becoming of Cowell to complain about substandard choreography when he hired the frigging choreographers in the first place! I was very nearly anticipating a Paul Anka/Buddy Rich moment at one point on Saturday where he drags the choreographer on stage and lectures him about how when he moves, he slices like a freaking hammer, &c.

  3. 53
    mike on 19 Nov 2007 #

    …and Buddy Rich once made the front page of the Melody Maker (late 73, I think it was) for launching a vitriolic diatribe against… The Osmonds!

    And so our wheel turns full circle.

  4. 54
    richard thompson on 10 May 2008 #

    Boyzone couldn’t sing in harmony with their inferior version

  5. 55
    DJ Punctum on 11 May 2008 #

    For a minute I thought you were going to say “with a buzzsaw.”

  6. 56
    Brooksie on 8 Feb 2010 #

    This song does exactly what a teen-ballad should. Ironically, their self-penned ‘Let Me In’ which stalled at # 2 behind Gary Glitter the previous year was even better. But they’re both good.

  7. 57
    Billy Smart on 2 Mar 2010 #

    I’ve just discovered a decent lovers rock cover of this by The Fab Five Inc – the singer sounds like he’s been around the block rather more than either Osmonds or Boyzones – Does anyone know anything more about this version?

  8. 58
    speedwell54 on 28 Sep 2012 #

    If the Osmonds released a 6 track Greatest Hits album in the US and the UK, this would be the only track to make it on to both versions. (for “Greatest” read highest chart positions)

    I guess it was all about touring, and being in the country to promote the singles for the Osmonds in the ’70″s.

    Anyone think of another act in a similar situation?

  9. 59
    wichita lineman on 28 Sep 2012 #

    Gene Pitney? 24 Hours From Tulsa in ’63 was almost the last of his US hits but the first big one in the UK. Nobody Needs Your Love (no.2 ’66) and Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart (no.5 ’67) didn’t even make the Billboard Hot 100.

    Closer to Osmondland, David Cassidy and the Partridge Family’s hits are similarly divided.

    How the hell wasn’t One Bad Apple a hit in the UK? It had enough (TV cartoon) publicity!

  10. 60
    speedwell54 on 29 Sep 2012 #

    Gene Pitney, yes true. Just looked him up; a “24 Hours” started a run of ten top 10 hits in the UK, broken only by “It hurts to be in love” (and that due to change of record label, possibly). I didn’t know he was quite that big!

    One Bad Apple, bizarre. They released it in again in 1988 – maybe on the back of the Norman Cook underground remix. Still didn’t chart. It could happen one day though.

  11. 61
    hardtogethits on 29 Oct 2012 #

    #58 thru #60. Speedwell, great observation, great question. I am sure you know why I am drawn into responding.

    2 big answers strike me. However, for 2 different reasons, neither is a patch on the amazing case of the Osmonds.

    Cliff Richard’s US 6 track would be “Devil Woman”, “We Don’t Talk Anymore”, “Dreaming”, “A Little In Love”, “Daddy’s Home” and “It’s All In The Game”. In the UK – pick 6 number ones – 5 of the above didn’t make #1: We Don’t Talk Anymore is one of the top 6 in the UK on the tiebreaker of weeks at #1. Cliff’s peak in the UK was 20 years apart from his peak in the US.

    Similarly, Elton John – if we exclude collaborations with other charting acts. A few US #1s in the 70s; biggest UK hits dotted across the decades, from “Rocket Man” to “Are You Ready For Love?”. “Candle In The Wind 97” the only one to make it to #1 in both countries.

  12. 62
    wichita lineman on 30 Oct 2012 #

    HTGH you might know this… any idea how Billboard choose/chose their chart return shops? I’m wondering how country and R&B hits were more or less excluded from their pop charts prior to the mid/late 50s.

    As for divided US/UK greatest hits, solo Donny shares only 2 transatlantic greatest hits, Puppy Love (US #3) and The Twelfth Of Never (US #8). Go Away Little Girl was his only US #1.

  13. 63
    swanstep on 30 Oct 2012 #

    @Wichita. Was just watching a bonkers, schlock/horror film, Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) (it’s on youtube). It begins with a 13 minute rant from a hypnotist trying to hypnotize the audience (the film itself says it’s presented in Hypno-scope). Anyhow, the hypnotist’s closing gambit is ‘…You are in London. A part of that strange, weird, ancient city. You are part of London…’ May be too obvious for you, but just in case you’d want to check it out with an ear to a sample I thought I’d give you a heads up.

  14. 64
    speedwell54 on 31 Oct 2012 #

    I should really call a stop to this but….

    Oliva Newton-John would only share 4 songs on a 13 track greatest hits UK/US
    The Bee Gees only 6 on a 16 track Greatest Hits. (12 No1 hits- only 2 transatlantic- Night Fever and Tragedy)

    hardtogethits – I did briefly look at Elton John knowing of his US ’70s No1s. From ’79-90 in the UK it was pretty much 50:50 whether his singles made the top 40 or not, which I think is amazing. It wasn’t like it a was a quiet time for him either with 30+ releases.

    There are two clips posted by LondonLee in “Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop” of Saint Etienne playing in the US a couple of days ago; looks great!

  15. 65
    hardtogethits on 3 Nov 2012 #

    #63 I dearly wish I knew the answer to your question. I don’t. The purpose of the Top 100 (introduced 1955) and Hot 100 (1958) was to ensure all types of music were included, but that just backs up the observation which prompted the question, rather than providing an answer. Not much use, really. Sorry.

  16. 66
    wichita lineman on 4 Nov 2012 #

    Thanks HTGH. If that’s why they were set up, it at least acknowledges there was a problem.

    And thanks Swan, I’ll look it up!

  17. 67
    hardtogethits on 9 Nov 2012 #

    Firstly – don’t stop the thread, Speedwell. We should at least stay here until the landlord notices we’re only drinking pop (or that we’re waiting ’til he starts asking questions for prizes).

    Secondly, Got another for the ‘1 in 6’ club: Fleetwood Mac.
    US: Dreams 1, Don’t Stop 3, Little Lies 4, Hold Me 4, Big Love 5, Sara 7
    UK: Albatross 1, Man Of The World 2, Oh Well 2, Everywhere 4, Little Lies 5, Tusk 6.

    Might work better as “Which was the only Fleetwood Mac single to make the top 5 in both the UK and US?”
    “Little Lies”
    “Come off it” etc.

    Thirdly, whilst at work today OMD’s “If You Leave” popped into my head, a propos of nothing. “Ha!” I thought, “They’re shoo-ins for the Big Disparity Between UK and US Chart Careers Club.” Unfortunately, this isn’t true as apparently they only had 4 US Hot 100 hits. But even though those four were Top 30 hits in the US, none of them reached the Top 10 in the UK – where they had 7 (seven) (remember the days of the teleprinter) Top 10 hits.

    In and amongst researching the OMD bit (it being as much a challenge to find out why they appealed where and when than to recount the chart positions), I found this excellent piece by Wichita: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/mar/07/popandrock1

  18. 68
    speedwell54 on 10 Nov 2012 #

    Re hardtogethits

    Firstly, I’m running out of thoughts on that particular thread, though I did read Lil Wayne recently passed Elvis for number of Hot 100 entries with 109. Not really knowing his music, a quick look on Wiki says he has had just one solo top 75 hit in the UK – “How To Love” yeah, me neither!. He does turn up however on other people’s songs with alarming regularity. I’m thinking quantity over quality.

    Secondly, well done with Fleetwood Mac, like the question, “Little Lies” wouldn’t be the first guess for anyone. Eventually you would though, start working your way through all 7 (seven) singles from “Tango In The Night”.

    Thirdly, small world. I was reading a review of “Dazzle Ships” just last week that gives a warm and balanced view track by track. I was and am a fan of OMD, encouraged by a friend who was mad about them. Dazzle took a bit more getting into and certainly was a change from the synth pop of “Architecture and Morality”. Until reading the Wichita article, I didn’t realise quite the cliff they had jumped off. Tricky fourth album syndrome! Anyway, lost fans didn’t have too long to wait for the more radio friendly “Junk Culture” a year later, so no major damage. Their 2010 release “History Of Modern” made almost every hack dig up the phrase “return to form” but I don’t blame any of them. BTW “If You Leave” top single , stacks up against any of their biggest hits, should have been top 5 hit here.

  19. 69
    mapman132 on 4 Apr 2014 #

    Interesting thread here. I think one reason for the UK/US disparity is that they’re measuring different things: sales only vs. some mysterious combination of sales, airplay, and recently streaming.

    By coincidence I was thinking of this disparity this morning wrt to a certain very famous group of the past 30+ years. Their early career had 3 UK top tens, none of which made the US top 30. They then had 2 back-to-back US #1’s that reached #4 and #6 in the UK. Since then they’ve never had another US #1 but have had 7 UK number ones that peaked at the following positions in the US: 3, 61, 10, 21, didn’t chart (not released?), 31, and 99. Any guesses?

  20. 70
    hardtogethits on 4 Apr 2014 #

    #69. U2? Without internetsearchengining it.

  21. 71
    mapman132 on 4 Apr 2014 #

    #70 Yep. What’s weird is that they haven’t had as many US Top 40 hits as one would think: “only” 15, and only 6 of those hit the top 10. And for such a long running group: their two #1’s were back to back.

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