WHY would audiences flock to hear 1970s cheesy classics like YMCA, Blame It On The Boogie, We Are Family and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart?
Because those old hits were the soundtrack to their lives, according to a legend from the era and now a star of stage show Boogie Nights – ‘Little’ Jimmy Osmond.
“Why is there such an appeal for the music?” he asks. “When you go on your first date or whatever, all those experiences are set to music, so it takes us back to earlier parts of our life.”
And don’t get the idea that it’s just women who like to re-live their musical youth.
“A lot of them bring their guys along and they look disgruntled at first,” says Jimmy laughing.
“They sit there with folded arms making out ‘the women dragged us here’, but at the end they’re rocking out and singing along – and that makes me so happy. It makes me feel like I’ve had a good experience.
“You also see sons and daughters come along because they have experienced the music with their families.”
Boogie Nights is also a family affair for Jimmy. As well as Gareth Gates and X Factor stars Andy Abrahams, Laura White and Chico, the show includes his brothers Merrill and Jay.
“When my brothers come out we play ourselves and do a medley mix that includes Love Me For A Reason and Crazy Horses and we might throw in a few lesser known ones,” he reveals.
“But it has all the music we all love. It’s fun for us to perform other people’s hits as well.
“I did Boogie Nights years ago and I had such a blast, so I was keen to come back and do it again.Then, at the end of last year’s Osmonds tour, Jay and Merrill said ‘Hey we fancy that’.
“The producers had already hired Gareth Gates and Andy Abrahams but I said ‘Do you mind if my brothers come and join in?’ and they were over the moon.”
Jimmy was too young to be part of The Osmonds originally but he is keen to point out: “I was the first one of my family to record. I had the first hit in the family, I was this little kid singing and had a hit in Japan – the song was called My Little Darling.
“And I’d had four or five hits prior to Long Haired Lover (his first big UK hit in 1972). My first show was with Frank Sinatra and Nancy Sinatra when I was three.”
He has always been very much part of the family and has toured with his brothers in recent years.
“Anybody who has lasted has had to reinvent themselves and put themselves forward for different projects. That’s why my brothers and sisters have lasted,” says Jimmy.
“We’ve kept going because we’ve always been open to new things and never been so precious about who we are, or take ourselves too seriously.
“Every one of our personalities is different and we look at things differently, and we have learned to agree to differ. It’s a tough business but we still get along. So many families fall apart because of the narcissism of it.
“It helps that our dad always taught us there’s something bigger than us, which is a relationship with your family and a belief system, and that helps to get you through.
“Sometimes one of us will go off and try something else but they always come back, and we all have our roles to play. I don’t really have any expertise but I guess I’m the clean-up guy. I’ve always loved the business side and represented other artists as well as my brothers and sisters.
“But the most fun is to be part of the team. It can’t be just about me. It comes in things like Boogie Nights where you’re one of the cast, or on tour with The Osmonds where you’re one of the family. Those projects are such fun and it uses all your skills.”