The Osmond Brothers, Merrill and Jay, are no strangers to show business.
When they started their barbershop quartet with Brothers Alan and Wayne, they never imagined that it would become the group that music historians note as the longest running group in history, having never been disbanded. Their barbershop roots create that familiar harmonizing that has become the “signature” of their music.
Their career started when they wanted to earn the money to purchase hearing aids for their two older brothers, Virl & Tom. These older brothers were heroes to them then and they continue to inspire them to this day.
The brothers were discovered by Walt Disney in 1961. As he mentored them, they were asked by Andy Williams to join his show weekly in 1962. The four original Brothers continued working with Andy, becoming a world class success. They also entertained in Sweden, Japan and other countries in the summers for several years. Their career also included regular guest appearances on The Jerry Lewis Show, The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour, The Sonny & Cher Show, The Flip Wilson Show and Many others. They also starred along with Kurt Russell in “The travels of Jamie McPheeters. The four brothers added Donny in the 60s and the group of five continued to evolve. They were honored by Walt Disney when they were asked to launch the Haunted Mansion attraction in Disneyland along with friend Kurt Russell. This also was made into a television movie.
Selling millions of records worldwide, the family earned more than 53 gold and platinum records along with other prestigious awards. The Osmond Brothers surpassed both Elvis and the Beatles best single year success by being honored with nine gold records in 1971. In Las Vegas the Osmond Brothers were voted ‘Best Musical variety Act of 1974’ which was followed by them being presented with the ‘People’s Choice Award’ as America’s Favorite Musical Group in 1975.
When The Osmond Brothers entertained in Las Vegas with Nancy Sinatra, they became good friends with her Father, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Elvis became as a Big Brother to them and greatly influenced their careers by watching his interaction and devotion with his fans. They emulated his charisma and he even shared his wardrobe designs with the Brothers.
The Osmond Brothers have created a niche all their own in the field of entertainment. Their remarkable success with Pop, Rock & Roll, Country, and Gospel music has enabled them to touch audiences both young and old, and every age in between. Mastering this variety of musical genres is the contributing factor that has seen the Osmond Brothers tremendous success in television, recording, and concert performances.
Their membership in the Mormon church and devotion to God and family, along with a wide-range of talent, creates the unique combination that has led to the tremendous success of the Osmond Brothers.
In the late 70s, Marie and Jimmy added their talents to the group and the group became the Osmonds. The Brothers, Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay had several country hits in the 80s, winning them a prestigious CMA award for best song and video. In the early 90s, Jimmy became a part of the Osmond Brothers in Branson, Missouri and continued to perform with them until 2016 when he decided to step out and make his solo career.
Because of health reasons, Brothers Alan and Wayne no longer perform with the Brothers. Merrill and Jay as the Osmond Brothers are still going strong and are re-visiting their Rock & Roll roots. They have recently recorded their favorite hits from the 70s and have released it by popular demand. The Vintage hits with their mature voices have received great reviews and they continue to have tremendous support from their fans, who have become more like friends over the decades that they have been together. The Osmond Brothers are as at home on the road as they have been when performing for record-breaking crowds for many years all over the world. The audiences who come to see Merrill and Jay not only see a world class show, but leave feeling like a family. It’s that charismatic interaction these brothers have with people that make audiences come back show after show.
Highlights in their careers involve a BBC Documentary, “On tour with the Osmonds” and “Osmonds at Shepheards Bush” in the early 70s. Also, an ABC made-for- television movie about the Osmond family, “Inside the Osmonds,” which aired in 2001. Several CDs have recently been released, including “The Osmonds Ultimate Collection” which soared to the top of the U.K. charts in 2003. August 7, 2003 brought a highly esteemed honor to the Osmond family; the seven performing Osmonds received a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. All six performing Osmond Brothers were honored to be among the performers for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at the 75th Royal Variety Performance held in Edinburgh November 24, 2003. The Osmond Brothers were honored once again, when they received an unprecedented two standing ovations during this Royal Variety Performance. There have recently been several sold-out U.K. tours, as well as many successful tour dates across the U.S., including the August 2007 50th Anniversary Celebration with all family members joining together onstage in Las Vegas.
Merrill Osmond, the middle son of nine children in the Osmond Family, has spent his entertainment career as the Osmond Brothers’ lead singer and an established solo artist. In collaboration with his brothers, Merrill has written the music and lyrics for five number one hit records and contributed vocally and instrumentally to the group’s collective 27 gold records – many of which he shared the production credits. Merrill is also no stranger to live theater. He has recently performed in productions with the music of many great composers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Merrill’s most recent live theater performance was in the lead role of “The Civil War” with the music of Frank Wildhorn.
Merrill’s experience in providing great entertainment for audiences has enabled him to develop important skills in working with people from all aspects of the industry. His hand in producing special events and festivals was also lent to a special and memorable event when Merrill produced the “Making of an Inauguration” for President Ronald Regan. Inexhaustible energy, creative thinking, decisive management skills and charismatic performing abilities are all talents of Merrill Osmond. He continues to entertain with his brother, Jay, as well as a solo artist, is a writer, and a motivational speaker.
Jay Osmond went from the little guy following the cameras on The Andy Williams Show, to a polished and multi-talented entertainer. He was the instigator on many of the projects that kept the family together and moving forward during all the years of success. Jay is the youngest of the original Osmond Brothers group, with a career in entertainment that started at the age of two and a half. Jay was eight years old when he learned to play the drums, and went on to be voted one of the top 10 drummers in the country during the 1970s. Jay, along with the brothers, co-wrote many of the hit records. In 1972, Jay sang lead on “Crazy Horses,” which skyrocketed to the Osmonds’ best selling single overseas, and it remains a fan favorite to this day.
Jay choreographed the shows for the Brothers, as well as Donny & Marie. His style was influenced by his karate skills learned from his personal instructor, Chuck Norris. Jay has also worked “behind the scenes” as a producer. His production credits include the 1970s television programs, “The Donny & Marie Show” and “The Osmond Family Hour,” the 1980s variety show “Marie,” the movie depicting the life of the Osmond family “Side by Side,” and the family’s50th Anniversary PBS special and DVD projects. Jay released a solo CD, “It’s About Time Again” in 2009, and his autobiography, “Stages”.
The hard work and dedication that started in their youth and evolved into the hysteria caused by five teenaged boys has evolved into a genuine love and respect.
Deserving of all that, they have managed to stayed true to themselves, their Christian religion of LDS beliefs, their fans, and the talents they still share with us today.
Looking at the lifetime of achievements and the success of the Osmond Brothers shows how they truly are Legends and Icons in the entertainment world.