MSN Music Blog - Reverb

Donny and Marie killed music

Warning: Cheesy takes on classic rock may ruin your life

By Mark C. Brown Apr 8, 2013 9:48AM
Wanted for crimes against humanityAh, Facebook. You're my trusted friend when I need to know what is on the lunch menu for acquaintances I haven't seen in years. But occasionally a friend posts something so offensive as to be life-changing.

You can't unring a bell and there are some songs that once you hear them you're stuck with them forever. So be warned before you click on any videos below.

Donny and Marie Osmond had a variety show in the '70s and someone got the bright idea to take major hits of the day and turn them into show tunes. The one I stumbled across on Facebook may be the worst offender, where the two take Steely Dan's "Reelin' in the Years" and turn it into pure mush without a trace of irony or self-awareness.

They didn't stop there. Oh no. Queen's "You're My Best Friend" got the same awful treatment.

"Baby Come Back" by Player was excruciating in its original form - yet they actually made it worse.
Along with "That’s the Way I Like It."
Even the Beatles weren't safe. It was one thing to take Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs" and do it up - it's hard to make the nadir of McCartney's solo career any worse.

But then they took on "Here Comes the Sun" and turned it to total blasphemy.

The only thing out there more bizarre was when a couple on "The Lawrence Welk Show" had absolutely no idea what the Brewer and Shipley song "One Toke Over the Line" was about and sang it straight-faced.

Apr 9, 2013 4:33AM
Donny and Marie were pop not rock performers. So anything song they cover will be converted into an acceptable format for mass consumption. I personally found their musical talent to be lame, but they were targeted to the mainstream audience. They essentially took over from the pioneers of crossover lameness such as Pat Boone.

There will always be such acts that will transform the song hits of others into a mush of acceptable music for the masses. I just try to avoid them as they are better not seen or heard.
Apr 8, 2013 7:16PM

Amazing how defensive both sides of this issue get when talking about Donny and Marie or their favorite bands from the 70s. My sister was (and remains) a major Donny fan and I've teased her about it nonstop since her crush began. Truth be told, the two of them are very talented people and most likely always will be. What surprises me is that these two tried to present a wholesome image to everyone yet get raked over the coals for any slip ups while performers who have less talent and are more prone to outrageous behavior are given a pass. Sad but true.


The days of the variety show are sadly long gone. Kids today have no idea what you're talking about when you even say the words. Many of us remember The Hollywood Bowl or even Ed Sullivan where groups like the Stones and Beatles and Elvis as well were welcomed by the public. Groups and performers today don't have that outlet. Then again perhaps that's for the best seeing some of them.


No, Donny and Marie didn't kill rock music. Greed did. Corporate empires decided that making money was more important than making good music. The majority of today's performers are products as opposed to musicians. It's easier to market someone in a meat dress than someone who can write and perform a meaningful song, even more so when you can release that person's same song under various mixes yielding 10 or more CDs out of 3.


To know where rock music died simply look at a listing of the record charts from the 60s and 70s and then look at them today. How many of the songs from the old ones can you still hum, whistle or recognize? Now, how about the new ones? You would think that since they are new you'd recognize more but my guess is it's the older ones that stick in your head.


The segregation of radio and demise of the DJ has also killed rock music. Where we could once tune in a station and hear Pink Floyd, the Stones, Steely Dan, Freddy Fender, the Four Tops, El Chicano, Earth Wind & Fire, Mac Davis, the Doobie Brothers, Abba, Aretha Franklin and Steppenwolf all played in that order now stations focus on one single style of music. All rap, all metal, all R & B, all easy listening, each one a single style that allows no cross over artists. And rather than a DJ who might find something interesting, something new, something not everyone else is playing, we have pre-programmed stations run by computer or satellite download.


There are many things that have led to the demise of true rock music but Donny and Marie aren't one of them.

Apr 8, 2013 6:11PM

What about The Monkees?  Hey, all these years after the show ended, they still toured in various forms and people loved it! 


Hey, I like The Monkees.  Great pop/rock songs, and Michael Nesmith is no slouch, if one listens to some of the stuff he did back in the day.....


The Monkees didn't kill pop/rock.  Donnie & Marie were no different from older performers who sang on their shows during the same time period - it may make your eardrums bleed, but it didn't kill anything.  Except your eardrums...

Apr 8, 2013 6:00PM

Awe, I liked and like the Osmonds. They were different at the time. And I had forgotten what nice voices they have until now.  Donnie's rendition of Baby Come Back was not half bad. And was he ever good looking! What attractive people. It was formats like the Osmonds that I think, made mainstream rock and pop more palatable to the masses. I think those kids had a method to their madness. If nothing else, it struck a chord of curiosity for one to be open to listening to mainstream when someone came across it. I think the show's concept was clever.


As a kid I thought their show was fun.  I believe it was on before the Carol Burnett Show - which was funny as heck! Or maybe it was around the Sunny and Cher Hour (hmm was not that into that show). Nevertheless, all of them, Osmonds, Sunny & Cher, The Burnett Show cast, offered more talent than most of the stuff offered today. Yeah, they all got corny towards the end. All shows flat line after a while, ideas run out.  They were replaced with newer shows like the Gong Show, Hee Haw, Dance Fever, Solid Gold, and eventually Star Search and Putting on the Hits.


Do you  remember the $1.98 Beauty talent show with Rip Taylor? He literally gave the winning girl a buck ninety eight and bunch of carrots!  LOL Variety shows were really funny and then they were not.  I never liked Circus of the Stars yawn, and was over those Ms. America, USA Pageants dominating the airwaves. Variety now is watching unstable people behaving in ways that would make you spray them like a roach with mace and call the freakin cops if they got near you!


The majority of Television shows have been weak since the writers strike. A lot of music has gotten so absolutely foul and lacks imagination. You almost need a penicillin shot after listening to the crap! I listened to one song that was so damn raunchy, I had to go and buy the morning after pill to protect myself! I wasn't sure what happened! Funny, he never called afterwards...just kidding! LOL


Fame like beauty fades. A lot of "big" artists these days think more of themselves than they really should.  They wont leave the same imprint like the Osmonds, the Beetles, the Jacksons, the Stones and so many artist of old.  But hope is near with some of the newer really talented people like Adelle and RIP Amy Winehouse and a few others. They have amazing voices and write songs that are interesting and have depth! Its exciting! 


Thanks for the flash back! 

Apr 8, 2013 5:57PM
Does anyone remember a group called Bubble Puppy or how about Thunderclap Newman?
Apr 8, 2013 5:55PM
It's a good thing the writer of the article lives in a free world and allowed to have an opinion such as they provided, because it has to be one of the most witless articles I have ever read.  All variety shows of the day took songs from other artists and performed them on their show, such as Sonny and Cher and yes, even Lawrence Welk.  Unfortunately, the audience today is subjected to "reality television" rather than family promoting musical variety. 
Apr 8, 2013 5:53PM
Marie was hot. I had a huge crush.
Apr 8, 2013 5:45PM
Hello,who's show is always sold out on the Vegas Strip?Let me give you a clue.....I'm alittle bit country,I'm alittle bit rock n roll !!! Just like the person who wrote another, I watched ALL the old must see TV of my time.(and our parents) My sister and I still have  record players, we still  listen to our old albums(and 45's) Brady Bunch,Partridge Family and of course The Osmonds(even up graded to cd's on some)Our kids (23,13,9)  have grown up listening as well. Dick Clark had them on his show(so they didn't kill it too bad I don't think. I actually want to THANK YOU for writing and showing the clips. You brought back memories of  happier  times.Now I going to get off the internet and listen to good music and do my dishes.
Apr 8, 2013 5:44PM
Doors, Steppenwolf, Stones, Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge, and who can forget Frank Zappa or the Fugs...... those were the days man...far out...
Apr 8, 2013 5:44PM
AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!JUST SHOOT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111
Apr 8, 2013 5:43PM
I'm sorry, but this article is stupid.  Donny and Marie have more talent in their baby fingers than today's entertainers have in their whole bodies.  Could that be why their careers have lasted five decades?
Apr 8, 2013 5:36PM

Well, it worked back then and, oh yes, and what is the #1 show in Vegas right now in 2013?? DONNY AND need to say anything more.


Apr 8, 2013 5:36PM
nothing these two turkeys did could ever be considered rock. Only thing they killed was themselves.
Apr 8, 2013 5:27PM

You haven't heard great cheese until you hear Steve & Eydie's version of "Black Hole Sun."  The more you listen, the less weird it sounds...

Apr 8, 2013 5:21PM
This story is witless. It has Yahoo overtones. Donny and Marie never killed music. This person apparently has no taste or any idea pop music was in the 1970s. The decade had many great talents such as 1970s cover girl Linda Ronstadt, Steely Dan, White Plains, Freda Payne and others. It was 2000s nontalents such as Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and who killed popular music.
Apr 8, 2013 5:20PM
Donnie and Marie were suited to the time.  But my opinion is somewhat biased as a friend of Donnie's when they began taping their show in Orem Utah.  Their guest were always actors of the time; Loretta Swit (MASH), Ruth Buzzy (Laugh-in) and many others.  And yes, the music of the Osmonds isn't for everyone, but neither is some of the rock bands of the 70's or even now.
Apr 8, 2013 5:15PM
Killed music huh? So I guess Metallica, New Order, Radiohead, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Jane's Addiction, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Outkast, Arcade Fire, to name a few, never existed? 
Apr 8, 2013 5:13PM

OK, yeah, Donny and Marie did take some decent songs and amp up the 'cheese factor'. But that's NOTHING compared to the Lawrence Welk couple singing One Toke Over the Line...and not knowing what the words meant!  I laughed my a$$ off!

Apr 8, 2013 5:08PM
How about a story on who killed Country Music!!!!!!!!!
Apr 8, 2013 5:08PM
What is pathetic is watching any interview of Donnie Osmond. He is conceited, self-centered, and egotistical. There are a million performers as accomplished as he was. He thinks he's a 16 yr old heart throb. He's dated and has contributed absolutely nothing to music. 
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