This past Saturday night I had a very special treat. Did you ever watch a show where the famous entertainer was all smiles and was overwhelmingly charming to win the audience over, and then you find out or read they were totally insincere? I am more than pleased to say that we saw Tony Orlando, and he is still very talented, charismatic, funny, charming, and ended his terrific show by honoring our troops and America as the greatest nation. He not only was extremely generous in his praise, he turned out to be one of the most honest, sincere people I’ve ever met. He has a great group of very talented musicians working with him, many of whom have been with him for decades. For example the multi-talented Toni Wine, who has known Tony Orlando for 53 years and has been part of his group. She has written and performed hit songs, and is well known in the industry as one of the top-voice over talents. Others musicians in the group are also extremely talented, so it was one hell of a show.
I went to the show with Sheila Kirshner, (widow of Don Kirshner). Don Kirshner, who was named by Time Magazine as “The Man With The Golden Ear, ” helped shape the history of modern music. He was responsible launching the careers of; Bobby Darin, Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, Quincy Jones, Toni Wine and of course, Tony Orlando, and many other singer song-writers to voluminous to mention. Sheila and Tony shared great affection for each other and when we visited him back stage before the show, he was beyond gracious. We chatted about the old days and he was so pleased to tell me how he lost almost 100 lbs. He looks great! The diet is very simple; cut out the white stuff,(bread, cake & pasta) and be sure to walk everyday with one simple rule. Just walk a little further than you walked the day before. Tony, I’m on my way following your advice.
Tony (at 16) was signed by Kirshner and introduced to fellow employee Carole King (17) who promised Tony to write a hit song for him. Her song “Halfway To Paradise,” became his first hit, eventually followed up many others; Candida, Knock Three Times, Dream Lover, Don’t Let Go, He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You), and of course his most recognized tune, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.”
Toni Wine, also a singer-songwriter has had several songwriting and performing successes to her name. She either wrote or co-wrote, A Groovy Kind Of Love, Candida, Sugar, Sugar, and Knock Three Times plus many others. Her longest “gig” has been the cat voice, (meow, meow, meow, meow) on the Meow Cat Mix commercial for 30 years.
All in all, it was a wonderful evening. We reminisced with the talented singers and musicians recalling the old days, smiling and applauding throughout.
Have you enjoyed a similar experience where you were to relive the music and songs of your youth provided by similarly talented entertainers? Send me your story in the comments section.
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