BATAVIA – With 55 years under its belt, The Osmonds is the longest running musical act in the world.
Jimmy Osmond, along with his brothers Merrill and Jay, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre, located on the campus of Batavia High School, 1201 Main St., Batavia. The entrance to the Batavia Fine Arts Centre is on Wilson Street.
Tickets are available by calling the Batavia Fine Arts Centre Box Office at 630-937-8930 or by visiting www.bataviafineartscentre.org.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Jimmy Osmond about his illustrious career.
Eric Schelkopf: Great to talk to you. I grew up watching “The Osmonds” animated TV show.
Jimmy Osmond: I’m just now editing the old cartoons together for the Andy Williams Christmas show that we’re producing at his theater in Branson, Mo., for The Lennon Sisters and The Osmonds, to kind of keep that legacy going.
I’m editing those cartoons even as we speak. It’s wild. That was more than 40 years ago.
ES: What thrills you about still being able to perform today?
JO: Well, I think it’s like anything, life is a journey, not a destination. And it’s about filling your life with as many different experiences as possible.
There’s nothing like performing live for us, and to still know there is demand out there for our music. In our case, we kind of grew up on television and people who follow us are everyone from grandma who remembers the old Andy Williams days and Walt Disney days to little kids who are experiencing our music for the first time.
It’s funny how people love to relive the ‘70s, especially in Europe. It was just such an amazing time, and people come to these concerts and they sing all the songs that they know.
We finally figured out that this isn’t about us; it’s about other people remembering their lives. It’s amazing to us that there is still such a demand for the brothers to go out and perform.
ES: And of course you are the youngest brother in your family. Was there a lot of pressure to be part of your family’s musical act?
JO: Well, I wanted to. I was the first one actually who recorded and had a hit record on my own. I was 5 years old at the time.
Now, as I look back, I just think, wow, what a blessed life I had to be able to have these extraordinary experiences and to be mentored by people who became legends. I never really remembered not wanting to do this. I always thought that this was something fun.
I think one reason for our longevity is that we’ve never been afraid of anything. We’ve done each and every genre of music, and we’ve done television and movies and we’ve done all kinds of stuff, and I think that has been the reason that we’ve lasted.
ES: You delivered the first gold record for the group, “My Little Darling,” which you sung in Japanese. Was it hard learning Japanese? And was it a surprise that the song became a hit?
JO: I look back at it now and say, “Wow, how did that happen?” These days, I have a hard time remembering words to English songs, but back in the day, it was just what I did.
I learned it phonetically, I didn’t really know how to speak it.
Later on, I had a television series over there, and then I kind of learned the language.
Japan has a special spot for me in my heart because I had such an amazing experience as a kid, you know.
ES: Even though you are now 50 years old, do you still have people go up to you and call you “Little Jimmy” Osmond?
JO: Yeah, especially in Europe. I had a hit Christmas song over there. It was one of those songs that you love to hate because they played it so much. Every Christmas they played it, for 40 years.
To this day, I go on TV shows over there, and all they want to play is the footage of “Little Jimmy.”
ES: You hear all the time about former child stars who start getting in trouble when they are adults. How did you prevent that from happening to you?
JO: I think it’s because of our family and our beliefs. We did this career together and we never took ourselves that seriously.