“I’m a little bit country…” Those words were sung by Marie Osmond when she opened her variety show with her brother, Donny & Marie, during their four-year stint on ABC from 1976-1979. At the time, she was able to hang the credibility of that line on only one hit from earlier that decade, but a surprise comeback a few years later would cement her as one of the more popular female country artists of the mid-eighties.
Marie Osmond was only three years old when she made her first television appearance, hamming it up with her big brothers on The Andy Williams Show. But when her brothers became bonafide pop sensations in the early seventies, their label saw potential in their younger sister, and signed her up, marketing her as a country act.
The timing was just right. Just as The Osmonds found an eager pop market in the wake of the stunning success of the Jackson 5, a young teenage girl named Tanya Tucker had just broken through in a big way on the country music scene. Osmond was only thirteen years old when she released her debut single, “Paper Roses.” It was a massive hit right out of the gate, selling more than a million copies. The single topped the country chart for two weeks, and the album of the same name reigned for three weeks.
But unlike Tucker, who had one hit after another, Osmond found little success with the releases that followed. Though she continued to record sporadically through the seventies and early eighties, she spent far more time with television and film. As mentioned earlier, Danny & Marie had quite a successful run in the late seventies. She also appeared in made-for-TV movies, and tried both a sitcom and a variety show named Marie, though neither met with much success.
Osmond returned to music in a big way in 1985, thanks to a duet with Dan Seals. “Meet Me in Montana” topped the charts, winning her a CMA award to boot, and kicked off a three-year run of hits that included two more #1 singles. The ACM nominated her for Top Female Vocalist in 1986, and while she didn’t have much chart success after that, she made a deeper mark on country music during those three years than she even came close to doing in the seventies.
Osmond has remained a media star ever since, most recently garnering attention for her stint on Dancing With the Stars. She currently has a talk show in the works for the fall of 2009. Perhaps if she decides to do a little singing on it, she can add to that interesting “little bit country” part of her resumé.
- “Paper Roses”, 1973
- “Meet Me in Montana” (with Dan Seals), 1985
- “There’s No Stopping Your Heart”, 1985
- “Read My Lips”, 1986
- “You’re Still New to Me” (with Paul Davis). 1986
- Paper Roses (1973)
- There’s No Stopping Your Heart (1985)
- I Only Wanted You (1986)
- CMA Vocal Duo of the Year – Marie Osmond & Dan Seals, 1986