Jimmy Osmond: My Greatest Mistake
by Mark King
March 23, 2012
Submitted by Diane Leigh
There's been hundreds of mistakes in my career. One came up again recently because my brother Jay included it in his book, even though it was meant to be confidential.
We used to perform at the International Hotel in Las
Vegas, which is where Elvis played. I was about eight or nine, so this was pre-Long Haired Lover from Liverpool. I used to try and be like Elvis, so I would come out dressed in a jumpsuit and eat a lot of the free food they served. They did great grilled sandwiches and "orange freeze" drinks.
Our spot was a dinner theatre, so there were lots of tables where the audience would eat. On this occasion, when it came to my time to come on stage, I zipped up my suit, got out there and launched into I Got A Woman. You have to remember I'd eaten a lot of orange freezes.
When it got to the part where I start singing I Got A Woman, and the lines "I want you all to know that ... I got a woman". I got as far as "I want you all to know that ..." when I threw up all over a lady in the front row. I slipped and fell on to the table too, and ketchup was flying everywhere. It was horrible. My brother picked me up and it was then that I noticed Elvis in the lighting booth, smiling down at me – he'd seen the whole thing.
Throughout it all I kept on singing and that's the main lesson I learned – in showbiz you never stop. It also got one of the biggest standing ovations of my career. We were known as the one-take Osmonds. Our father was loving but tough and we learned early on that you just didn't make mistakes.
I remember another time we were playing at an outdoor concert in Indianapolis and the night before I was playing around when Donny pushed me and I landed on a toothbrush that went straight into my throat.
Merrill then accidentally swallowed some glass and Donny hurt his hand doing some karate – and we still performed, even though I had a hole in my throat and the brothers had broken bones and problems.
We always kept going because we loved performing – we still do. My brothers have been in showbiz for 54 years and you don't keep going that long unless you love it. You can't fake it for that many years. I don't eat many orange freezes these days but I do love my ice cream.
The Osmonds' Up Close And Personal tour is across the UK until 6 May – see osmond.com.