The Joup Friday Album: Donny & Marie – New Season

dm recordMy fondness for Donny and Marie Osmond can be traced back to this Fisher Price record player, which I’m sure a lot of kids in my generation remember receiving for Christmas or birthdays in the early ‘80s. Matching red footie pajamas for my sister and I, up way before the sun and my parents, anxiously glimpsing beneath the silver tinsel Christmas tree. Would this be the year Santa caught onto our bullheaded brattiness and leave us empty-handed?

Nah. It was the year the aforementioned record player was delivered, along with our first record album: New Season by Donny and Marie Osmond. I had no prior knowledge of their cheesy-ass variety show, but as the proud owners of our very own Donny & Marie dolls, I recognized the pink and purple disco suits.

Released in 1976, New Season went to No. 85 on the Billboard Top 200, proving the smooth sounds of FM radio hadn’t yet been totally conquered. The album cover is weird and kind of trippy; a big picture of D&M in the center, wearing their disco fineries, surrounded by filmstrip loops of scenes from their show. I remember lying on the shag carpet, squinting at the album cover, wishing I could sing like Marie. With a brown perm and Garanimals wardrobe, I wasn’t destined for stardom, but I knew enough to be wise to the fact Donny was – and is – a drip. I skipped past his songs, cheesy love ballads, because sheesh, seriously?

Covers of the Marvin Gaye-Tammie Terrell classic, “Aint Nothin’ Like the Real Thing,” and Mel Carter’s “Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me” were the standouts on New Season; yeah, white appropriation of Black classics was still an OK thing, and all I knew was those songs were tight. But when it comes to songs that still get lodged in my head like the proverbial Khan’s ear worm, there is no substitute for “Anytime Sunshine.” And I don’t know why. I can’t pinpoint any defining, “Wonder Years”-esque moment that keeps my cerebellum churning up random bits of this tune. Other than it always seemed a little creepy, even to my child’s mind, that Donny and Marie were singing love ballads to each other. It was supposed to be wholesome and we weren’t supposed to see lust in the eyes, voices, and hearts of two good-old, gosh-golly-gee Mormon kids from a huge performing family straight outta Utah.

But yeah, it was creepy as hell. Donny went on to do Broadway and make a bunch of dick-ish comments about fat women; Marie got married a few times, had a facelift (or two), and sold stuff on QVC. They seem wise enough to recognize their time in the spotlight is done, and their careers pretty much hinge on the buffet circuit – or any gay revivals that honor their legacy of pink and purple tulle.

Go on, Amy … #tagyoureit

For whatever reason, the entire album isn’t available on YouTube; here’s a selection of some of their finest. <= said with no irony whatsoever.

Melissa Fowler

Melissa Fowler

Smart, opinionated, crabby, fortysomething who loves to word. Hates squirrels; rampant stupidity in the form of willful ignorance, bigotry and intolerance (yeah, reconcile THAT); and is starting to realize that Mike Judge is indeed a soothsayer.

One Response to The Joup Friday Album: Donny & Marie – New Season
  1. Shawn C. Baker Reply

    Okay, not gonna lie. I loved this article but can’t bring myself to listen to more than a little bit of the album’s tracks represented here. The residue the Fisher Price record player left in my head perpetually after childhood is more unrecognizable gobbledygook I have no hope ever finding again. Vestiges of it wash up now and again – an errant lyric or beat, a disco hi-hat or indistinguishable melody. I’ll never know what they are from so I’m jealous you can put a name and face to Yours. Well, I’m a little jealous – some things may ultimately be best left to whatever subconscious toybox we pack our childhood into.

    Great Post, as Usual Melissa!

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