Sep 07


FT + Popular70 comments • 4,266 views

#336, 25th August 1973

Once a teen idol has reached the peak phase of his career, the question becomes – how to stay there? Building a profile is no longer so important – any given single release has a good chance of topping the charts, or close to it, so it’s a matter of selecting songs that either confirm or extend a singer’s image. Both have their risks. A pop idol is playing a role, and can be typecast like any other performer: gradually people lose interest, and the star becomes stranded. But attempting to contradict or develop an image often involves gambling that you understand your audience’s desires better than they do themselves – when in fact their withdrawal of assent (in the form of sales) leaves your rebranding as a ‘mature’ or ‘sexy’ or ‘rebellious’ performer looking inept and chumpish.

Later we’ll meet performers who’ve mastered each strategy – for now here’s Donny Osmond, playing it safe with a cover of a smash from the previous great era of teen stars. His “Young Love” is more unctious than Tab Hunter’s, maybe less sincere, but also a little more winning – Donny can carry off chocolate and candyfloss and his spoken-word interlude here has a pulpy romantic charge for all its corn. The musicians do a creditable job; everyone departs happy and the compact is remade for another record at least.



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  1. 61
    Waldo on 19 Sep 2007 #

    Just back from a mini break in Madrid. Magnificent. And I certainly didn’t confine myself to “Frozen Orange Juice”, I promise y’all…

    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør – I agree with and accept everything you say with regards the wonderful world of euphemisms, metaphors and oxymorons, as we cordially draw a line under the “pond” debate. I remember once an exchange between myself and a Glaswegian colleague, who was in the TA. I suggested to him that “military intelligence” was an oxymoron, which displeased him to say the least. Somebody walking past patted me on the shoulder and said “Brilliant, Waldo!” This, alas, enabled the TA bloke to fix me with a hateful glare and practically spit out “THAT’S a f***ing oxymoron for you, pal!”

  2. 62
    Marcello Carlin on 19 Sep 2007 #

    James “1973” Blunt to thread.

  3. 63
    mike on 21 Sep 2007 #

    Oh, is this blog up and running again, then? Big whoops… but better late than never.

    In which case, I have to be the voice of dissent, as “Young Love” is my favourite solo Donny hit. The pre-pubsecent songs were too strained and pleading for me, whereas DO seems a lot more relaxed and at ease here, stretching back and enjoying the peak of his success. The clippety-cloppity Windy-Miller-style “ambling gait” is also a key factor.

    But then, I lived in an Osmonds World. My younger sister was in the official fan club and adored them without reservation, and so they were pretty much inescapable during the second half of 1973. The brothers’ finest hour was of course The Plan, their splendidly wonky attempt at a deep and meaningful concept album, which – although we didn’t know it at the time – under-performed badly in the US, causing the brothers to retreat into showbiz, abandoning any further rock-oriented aspirations forthwith.

    Key memory of “Young Love”: at the presenter’s suggestion, turning down the brightness control during the video clip on TOTP, so that only the waggling teeth remained.

  4. 64
    richard thompson on 9 Jun 2008 #

    Didn’t Donnys voice break at this time?

  5. 65
    Brooksie on 8 Feb 2010 #

    Least favourite Donny song. Loping and lumpen. I also don’t like his vocals; “Feeeeled with deep devooooshan.”

  6. 66
    Auntie Beryl on 27 Mar 2013 #

    Donny Osmond’s Soldier Of Love written by Peter Gabriel? Not in this universe.

    (Six year late nitpick, there.)

  7. 67
    Lena on 6 Aug 2013 #

    Radio as time machine: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/when-i-was-young-carpenters-yesterday.html Thanks for reading, everybody!

  8. 68
    Lena on 22 Aug 2013 #

    Dancing to a pan-European pop: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/hold-her-tight-barry-blue-dancin-on.html Thanks for reading, everyone!

  9. 69
    lonepilgrim on 5 Oct 2019 #

    ghastly and dull – then and now

  10. 70
    Gareth Parker on 22 May 2021 #

    Not too much to say about this one, 3/10 from me.

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