Friday, September 2, 2011

Donny Osmond: Michael Jackson's Longtime Childhood Friend!

Growing up in the limelight, and always touring with his brothers as one of the lead singers in the group the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson didn’t get many opportunities to make friends his own age. Ironically, though one of the true friends he did manage to make during those years was actually one of the lead singers of a rival singing group "The Osmond's", (Donny Osmond). Donny and Michael met each other when they were 13 and instead of being threatened by one another, they immediately bonded and became good friends. The two shared many things in common believe it or not. In fact it was almost eerie how similar their lives actually were. For not only were they the same age, and the youngest members of their group at the time, and who shared lead vocals with another brother (for Michael his brother Jermaine, for Donny it was his brother Merrill) they were also both from a family of nine children, and were both the seventh born child. It also turns out that their mother’s Olive Osmond and Katherine Jackson were born on the same day. How odd is that? Since Michael’s untimely death, Donny has done interviews sharing memories of his now departed friend. He talked about the appearance they made together at the American Music Awards many years ago. 

                              (YouTube Link Here where you can watch this).

He then went on to talk about the fact that after the awards show they were both hungry and went out for Tacos at "Jack in the Box". It was obviously a special memory for Donny that he never forgot. Over the years, though things changed for the two teen idols. Donny would go on to have a successful TV variety show with his sister Marie, and although Michael too tried a variety show with his family it wasn’t successful. According to Donny, this was no hardship to Michael, who confided in him that he hated every minute of doing the variety show. Donny would eventually marry a lovely young woman by the name of Debra Glen in 1978'. They would go on to have five sons together. As for Michael he would of course go on to achieve super stardom becoming a pop icon with a solo career that no one had ever been able to match. Personally, Michael would of course marry twice and divorce twice and have three children, two boys and girl. However, despite the fact that their adult lives took different paths Donny and Michael never grew apart, the bond between them remained. Over the years they would still talk over the phone and share stuff with each other.

Donny was even reported as visiting Michael from time to time at Never Land Ranch. During one of these visits in 1984' at the height of Michael Jackson’s success with "Thriller", Donny Osmond apparently went to his longtime friend for advice on how to get his own singing career back on track. Michael gave him two forms of advice, change your image and change your name. Was Donny offended? Apparently not, because he went on to follow Jackson’s advice. No he didn’t change his name. But in 1989' he released a different sound cutting edge song called "Soldier of Love" which was a totally different sound for him. Donny also didn’t let the general public know immediately that this song was being released by Donny Osmond. The song was released to radio stations as a mystery artist in order to let the public’s perception not be clouded by the fact that wholesome Donny Osmond was singing this song. The experiment paid off and Donny Osmond had yet another hit song, so I guess Michael wasn’t too far off with his advice to his longtime childhood friend.

So needless to say, that when news of Michael Jackson's sudden death came in June of 2009' it hit Donny Osmond hard. Donny would go onto say in an interview with "Entertainment Tonight" a year after his friend's untimely death that losing Michael was hard but that he would live on in his music. Donny would also go onto say that his favorite song of Michael’s will always be "Ben." Apparently with good reason, the song was actually written for Donny to record, but because he was on tour at the time and not available Michael was given the chance to record the song instead. When you listen to the lyrics of this song it sort of describes the friendship that was Donny and Michael over the years as well as the bond they shared. The last verse might very well describe how Donny might have felt while Michael was being persecuted by the news media for being some sort of freak. The final verse of "Ben" is as follows:

"Ben, most people would turn you away,
I don't listen to a word they say,
They don't see you as I do,
I wish they would try to,
I'm sure they'd think again,
If they had a friend like Ben."

You can watch Michael Jackson singing "Ben" on YouTube Link Here