Anyone who was there at the time will find themselves oddly warmed by much of this...
Chris Jones 2008
Or... seven siblings who shook the world! The original Utah saints are back on the shelves in their umpteenth hits collection to support renewed interest and a tour. So let's take time to re-assess what makes the toothiest family in Christendom such a fondly remembered act. Originally a four-piece consisting of Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay, making regular cheesy appearances on the Andy Williams Show as well as being moderately successful in Sweden (fact!); it was the addition of teen brother and heartthrob Donny that saw the combo hit worldwide fame.
Their first hit, One Bad Apple, shamelessly saw the boys ripping off rivals the Jackson 5 (but without an ounce of funk) but one year later they came into their own with Down By The Lazy River. This Memphis horn-injected piece of arm waving was followed by the insanely rocking Crazy Horses. If you remember that the boys prided themselves on playing everything themselves, you begin to wonder why, after this, they didn't go on to conquer the known world of AOR. Unfortunately it was Elvis rhinestoned jumpsuits and a predominance of schmaltz and morality that stymied them. From this point the family gave us classics of the proto-boyband type like Love Me For A Reason and Let Me Go. What's more, parallel to the group's hits, various other combinations started making their own moves on the charts. Donny's Puppy Love is a reasonably moving attempt at 50s balladry, but the novelty of 'little' Jimmy Osmond's Long Haired Lover From Liverpool still grates like fingernails on a blackboard.
And then there was Marie. The prettiest (except maybe Donny) member of the family not only found solo happiness with the countrypolitan sheen of Paper Roses but also chalked up a number of quite punchy retro duets with brother Donny (Leaving It All Up To You, Deep Purple) and the nursery rhyme awfulness of Morning Side Of The Mountain. It wasn't helped by the strangely disturbing sight of the pair gazing into each others' eyes as they sang this stuff.
So it's cheese, Jim, but not as we know it. Anyone who was there at the time will find themselves oddly warmed by much of this bubblegum, and anyone who resists Crazy Horses must be six-feet under. But to younger listeners this will be irredeemably hokey. Overall the band never really exceeded or even equalled their potential. One for the Christmas knees-up only.