Seven Osmonds reunite for 50th anniversary


LAS VEGAS (AP) -- They're a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n roll, a lot older and still going.

The Osmond Brothers, joined by siblings Donny, Marie and Jimmy, took the stage this week for the taping of a 50th anniversary reunion show to be aired on PBS next year.

A meeting of no less than seven singing Osmonds onstage hadn't happened in more than 20 years, the siblings say, although no one seems to remember the exact date of the last full family concert. That's likely because some combination of the clan is perpetually performing.

"We do over 200 shows a year," Wayne Osmond told The Associated Press on Tuesday before the second night of taping for the TV special, "Still."

The PBS concert celebrates the anniversary of the Osmond family's original foray into show business, the creation of the Osmond Brothers barbershop quartet in 1957.

Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay Osmond, led by their strict Army sergeant father, worked the state fair circuit in Utah until a visit to Disneyland led to a television debut on "Disney After Dark" in 1962.

The brothers became regulars on "The Andy Williams Show," where they made their name and forged the wholesome and peppy image that would carry through to each of the later configurations of Osmond family performers.

The image is earned.

In an interview with AP, four cheerful Osmond brothers described their careers and their craft in language few younger, cooler musicians would utter.

On the joy of performing: "It's just a reminder that we're all one big happy family," Merrill Osmond said.

On the reunion show: "We make a great shepherd's pie. ... with a pretty garnish named Marie," Jimmy Osmond said.

On what the Osmonds stand for: "We believe in America and the flag. All of my eight sons were Eagle scouts," Alan Osmond said.

Marie Osmond, 47, said her brothers always have been happily out of step with hard-living show business. That's left their accomplishments and savvy under-appreciated, she said.

The Osmonds have recorded 142 albums, selling 100 million copies with 51 gold and platinum recordings. In 1971, the Osmond brothers, including then-heartthrob Donny, tallied nine gold records, surpassing single-year bests by Elvis and the Beatles.

"I don't think they've been honored or the accolades haven't been what they should be," Marie Osmond said. "We think it could be that in the '70s it was drugs, sex and alcohol, and they were clean cut. They were god-fearing moral men. ... I think people think, oh, that's goody-goody. I think it's called smart."

The brothers attribute their longevity to a love of music, humility, constant hard work and devoted fans. The sold-out taping of the special at The Orleans hotel-casino was preceded by a "meet-and-greet" attended by hundreds of people.

"We always tried to be what we were," Alan Osmond said.