Yesterday on NPR I heard the rather alarming news that 50-year-old Donny Osmond has put out a new CD — which he mixed himself, in his dressing room, between performances of Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast — entitled Love Songs of the 70’s. And indeed, that is what the album is comprised of. Here is the playlist as reported by Amazon.com, along with the original, um, artists:
1. I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash
2. Sometimes When We Touch – Dan Hill
3. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
4. Laughter In The Rain – Neil Sedeka
5. When I Need You – Leo Sayer
6. How Long – Ace
7. Mandy – Neil Diamond
8. You Are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
9. Will It Go Round in Circles – Billy Preston
10. How Deep is Your Love – Bee Gees
11. Alone Again Naturally – Gilbert O’Sullivan
12. If – Bread
I was surprised (and relieved?) not to see “Close to You” or “I Honestly Love You,” until I realized that Donny was covering only songs originally recorded by males, which would preclude the Carpenters or Olivia Newton-John. Which leads me to ask, HOW could he not cover Shaun Cassidy? Was not “Heaven in Your Eyes” at least as sappy as “How Deep is Your Love”?
When I was in third and fourth grade, I had a wild fangirl obsession over Shaun Cassidy. I had a plastic cup in my desk at school, covered in Shaun Cassidy pictures cut from Tiger Beat, and dedicated to hold love notes to Shaun that my friends and I would compose to send later. I remember reasoning that money would show him my TRUE devotion, so I once taped a quarter to one of the letters I sent. I bought a Dynamite magazine ENTIRELY DEVOTED to photos and posters of Shaun so that I could tape them all up on my side of the room, agonizing over the pages that had a picture of My Love on both sides, from which I had to choose. I badgered my grandma into buying me a Shaun Cassidy Tshirt–she bought my younger (brainwashed) sister one, too, and we wore them until they wore out. When the all-too-brief “Hardy Boys” series staring Shaun as Joe Hardy (and Parker Stevenson as Frank) was cancelled, I mourned and wrote a letter of protest and begging–but never sent it because I didn’t know who to send it to. I just knew I was his #1 Fan–I didn’t know how pathetic I was.
But then Shaun just vanished from the music scene . . . . I had to move on. After such a loss, I was never able to attach myself to any other (ahem) rock star in quite the same way, no matter how beautiful he was or how plaintively he sang to me. He was my first love, irreplaceable, unrequited, doomed to dwell forever as a 70’s has-been.
Then there’s Donny. I have nothing against Donny. He’s probably a million times more talented than Shaun, I grant you. But this particular batch of 70’s love songs should be raised from the dead for only one purpose: to beat them severely until they die again.