This was the conversation I had with my dad the morning after my husband took me to see Donny Osmond in concert. When I was eleven, my dad brought home my very first Donny Osmond album, a decision I've often wondered if he regretted--especially after he had to repaint my entire bedroom when we moved because my gazillion Donny posters had pulled all the paint off the wall!
Donny's enjoying a well-deserved resurgence in his career based on his latest CD, WHAT I MEANT TO SAY. The current single BREEZE ON BY is #18 with a bullet on the Smooth Jazz Billboard chart and the most telling review I've seen is the one that reads, "This is the best album George Michael never made." He's selling out 15,000 seat arenas in England and when the tickets recently went on sale for his fall tour in the U.K., they sold out a year in advance in a single day. In the U.S., the CD has been the #1 Pop seller at Wal-Mart and the #2 Pop seller at Amazon. If you like a smooth blend of jazz and pop a la George Michael in his LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE phase, I HIGHLY recommend this CD. (You can find out more about it at http://www.donny.com/ or purchase it here.)
On the real-life hero front, Donny's been married to his wife Debbie for 27 years now (they married when he was 19). They have 5 boys between the ages of 7 and 25 and at 47, he's about to become a grandfather for the first time.
Even my husband was impressed with the two-hour show! Donny did several songs from the new CD and the adoring audience seemed to love them just as much as the old stuff. His voice was better than ever--strong, mellow, and mature. (Andrew Lloyd Webber recently invited him to do the Phantom role in London but he had to turn it down due to a scheduling conflict.) At the beginning of the second half, sitting all by himself at the piano, he did what we'd all been waiting for--several of his older songs reworked in lovely, slightly jazzy arrangements. He followed them with a version of THIS GUY'S IN LOVE WITH YOU (included on the new CD) that was absolutely sublime. (And yes, I did give in to the urge to scream, "We love you, Donny!!!" at least once. His response to such accolades: "I love you, too, babe!")
Whether he was talking, singing, or dancing, he claimed the stage with extraordinary confidence. After struggling for 20 years with the burden of being a genuinely talented individual who could never break free of the "teen idol" label, it was clear that this was a man who had finally embraced his past and felt comfortable in his own skin.
As he sang and danced, I kept catching fleeting glimpses of the boy I had loved superimposed over the man and for the first time in a very long time, I remembered what it had been like to be the girl who had loved him--a girl full of hope and yearning and dreams and possibilities. I went to that concert in search of Donny Osmond, but what I found was a little piece of myself that I hadn't even realized was missing.
And that, Donny, is why we still love you.