Tony Orlando and Dawn (originally known as Dawn, and later as Dawn featuring Tony Orlando) is a pop music group that was popular in the 1970s. Their signature hits include "Candida", "Knock Three Times", "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree", and "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)".
Tony Orlando was born Michael Anthony Orlando Cassavitis in April 1944. By 1970, Orlando was a retired cover singer. He'd had two Top 40 hits in 1961 and another in 1969 as the lead singer for the studio group Wind, but he had not had any further success for the rest of the decade. He stopped singing entirely, publishing music for April-Blackwood Music, a division of Columbia Records, instead.
Orlando discovered a song, "Candida," which he decided to pass on recording. After an insistence by producer Hank Medress that he dub his voice over the male vocals on the original track, the single was released on Bell Records as performed by "Dawn", so if the record did not succeed, he would not be known as the lead vocalist. The background singers were Sharon Greane, Jay Siegel, and Toni Wine, who co-wrote the song. After the single hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Orlando decided to change career tracks. They then recorded the follow-up song "Knock Three Times" with Linda November joining on background vocals.
Bell Records was desperate to have a real-life act to promote Dawn's records. Tony asked former Motown/Stax backing vocalists Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson to become Dawn for real. The trio went on the road after "Candida" climbed the charts and "Knock Three Times" followed, eventually hitting #1 in early 1971. After a tour of Europe, Telma and Joyce assumed background vocal duties in the studio as well. They were joined in the studio by Joyce's sister Pamela Vincent who in addition to singing arranged all the background vocals as well. Prior touring commitments with Aretha Franklin prevented Pamela from appearing with Dawn. The first single with their voices in the background was "Runaway/Happy Together" in 1972.
The group (now billed as Dawn featuring Tony Orlando) waited until 1973 for their next #1 single, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree." In terms of sales, this single was the most successful in the group's career.
The group's next single, "Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose" (from their concept album Dawn's New Ragtime Follies) went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. CBS gave the group a television variety show in the summer of 1974, after The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour ended its run. The show was in the same vein as its predecessor, and became a Top 20 hit. It ran until December 1976.
With a new name ("Tony Orlando and Dawn") and a new record label (Elektra), the group continued their string of hit singles during the show's run hitting the Top 10 on the Hot 100 and/or adult contemporary charts including "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)" (a reworking of Jerry Butler's "He Will Break Your Heart") which went to #1. A remake of the Sam Cooke song "Cupid", was the group's last Top 40 single on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. "Sing" reached #7 on the Adult Contemporary Chart in 1977 and was the last Tony Orlando & Dawn single until 1991's "With Ev'ry Yellow Ribbon (That's Why We Tie 'Em)". The group went their separate ways later in 1977.
They reformed in 1988 for a 5 week tour that wound up lasting into 1993 with Pamela finally becoming a visible Dawn member stepping in whenever Telma was fulfilling her television obligations.
Orlando is still a popular appearance performer on tour regularly with the Lefty Brothers and Toni Wine. Hopkins made a very successful acting career for herself in series like Bosom Buddies, Gimme a Break, Family Matters, and Half and Half. Joyce and Pamela Vincent continue a prolific career as session singers. A DVD compilation from the variety series was released in 2005 along with the group's catalog of albums on CD. Tony Orlando & Dawn released A Christmas Reunion that same year. Publicity events for those releases marked the first time Telma, Joyce, and Pamela appeared onstage together. Toni Wine also participated in those shows. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2008. Tony Orlando & Dawn occasionally reunites for television and benefit performances.
References in popular culture
Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles. (September 2007)
In the 1976 film Network, Laureen Hobbs (Marlene Warfield) complains about her show being scheduled "up against Tony Orlando and Dawn".
A sketch on the 1970s PBS series The Electric Company featured a Dick Clark-type figure thanking "Tony Oregano and Dusk" (a play on Tony Orlando and Dawn).
A sketch from The Carol Burnett Show featured Harvey Korman, Carol Burnett, and Vicki Lawrence as "Tony Tallahassee and Dusk". The real life trio (who were appearing on the show that night as guests) appeared at the end of the sketch to take over for the trio of Harvey, Carol and Vicki and subsequently sang a song with them.
The song "Disco 2000" by Pulp contains the line ' What are you doing Sunday, baby / Would you like to come and meet me, maybe? ', a reference to Dawn's 1972 hit "What Are You Doing Sunday?"
The song "Bitchin' Camaro" by Dead Milkmen contains the lines ' Bitchin? Camaro, Bitchin' Camaro / Donuts on your lawn / Bitchin' Camaro, Bitchin' Camaro / Tony Orlando and Dawn '.
Yo La Tengo's 2000 album And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out contains a track titled Let's Save Tony Orlando's House, itself a reference to a mentioned Troy McClure telethon in the Marge on the Lam episode of The Simpsons.
Rory and Lorelai go to a costume party as "And Dawn" in an episode of The Gilmore Girls.
In the season 5 Lost episode "LaFleur", "Candida" plays in a DHARMA station while Jerry and Rosie are dancing.