What ever happened to Tony Orlando and Dawn?
One of the biggest pop groups of the 1970s is poised for a comeback.
Image: Everett Collection
Looking back on pop music in the 1970s, soft rock duos like Sonny & Cher or Captain & Tennille always come to mind. But the decade of soft rock was full of groups that deserve some love.
We're talking about Tony Orlando and Dawn, the pop trio comprised of members Tony Orlando, Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent. The group dominated the music scene with a string of hits in the first half of the 1970s, but like many acts that decade, disco pushed them off the charts.
Aside from a few performances in 1993, the group hasn't performed in almost 40 years. That'll all change this week with two reunion shows covering their extensive catalog of hits.
"It's going to be a full-fledged Tony Orlando and Dawn show," Orlando told The Morning Call. "Right now it's... more or less a ride through our musical history."
There was a point in the 1970s when you couldn't escape hearing one of the group's songs. They started the decade with the hits "Candida" and "Knock Three Times." The latter hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The success didn't stop there. The group ended up charting 15 songs in the Top 40, including "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" (1973), "Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose" (1973) and "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)" (1975).
Like every successful duo or trio in the 1970s, Tony Orlando and Dawn was given a variety show, which ran for three seasons and replaced The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.
Eventually, the group's success faded and each member moved on to other projects. Hopkins became a successful actress, appearing in sitcoms like Gimme a Break! and Family Matters.
The busy schedules of the founding members prevented them from reuniting — until now.
Orlando says the Sands Bethlehem Event Center near Philadelphia, where he's previously performed, approached him about getting the band back together. When he called Hopkins and Vincent to see if they would be interested, they both said they would be thrilled.
"It's always been a possibility," Vincent told The Morning Call. "For one thing, Tony has always remained in contact with us, regardless of what he's doing. We've never been out of touch. It's just part of the journey."
That journey finally came full circle last August with two shows at the concert venue, as well as another show in Connecticut later that year. After the two successful shows, who knows what will happen next.
"I think it's gonna be a fun time, and I want it to be fun," Orlando told The Morning Call. "More than anything else, I want it to be nostalgic... We really were on a magic carpet ride. My God, I was 28 years old. I'm 72 now."