Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree – Dawn featuring Tony Orlando – 1973

March 16, 2017

tieayellowribsmWho could forget this one – the #1 hit from Tony Orlando and Dawn, 1973’s Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.

tony orlando and dawn fax

  • Tony Orlando first hit the charts as a 16-year-old back in 1961 but by the time the 70s began he’d given up singing. He’d had two solo top 40 hits and one as lead singer for the studio group Wind.
  • Having retired from singing, he became a music publisher for a a division of Columbia Records. It was here that he came across the song Candida.  Tony wanted to record and release the song but couldn’t use his name because of his role with Columbia.  So, it was released on Bell Records and labelled as being performed by the band Dawn – Tony on lead vocals and the four writers of Candida singing backup.
  • The song became an almost instant success, peaking at #3 on the US singles chart.
  • That was all it took – Tony wanted to sing again. They released a follow-up single, Knock Three Times, which topped the charts.
  • Tony’s recording company wanted a band to tour and promote the records. That lead Tony to ask former Motown/Stax backing vocalists Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson to join him and become Dawn – the band was known initially as Dawn featuring Tony Orlando.
  • Their third single also hit #1 – remember Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree?
  • That was followed by seven consecutive Hot 100 US hits, including the #1 US hit, He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You).
  • In 1973, the band began calling themselves, Tony Orlando and Dawn.
  • In 1974 (through until December 1976), when The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour ended its run, CBS gave the band a television variety show entitled Tony Orlando and Dawn.
  • The band has reformed a number of times over the years, the last time being in 2015.

tie a yellow ribbon round the ole oak tree fax

  • Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree was written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown and recorded by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando (later Tony Orlando and Dawn) in February 19, 1973.
  • The song reached #1 on both the US and UK single charts where is sat for four weeks. It was the top-selling single in 1973 in both the US and UK.
  • In 2008, Billboard ranked the song as the 37th biggest song of all time.
  • The song is sometimes said to be about a released convict returning home, hoping his girl still loves him. Composer L. Russell Brown says this is wrong:

This is “NOT” the story of a convict who had told his love to tie a ribbon book to a tree outside of town. I know because I wrote the song one morning in 15 minutes with the late lyrical genius Irwin Levine. The genesis of this idea came from the age old folk tale about a Union prisoner of war–who sent a letter to his girl that he was coming home from a confederate POW camp in Georgia…. Anything about a criminal is pure fantasy….

tie a yellow ribbon round the ole oak tree – dawn featuring tony orlando – 1973 – video

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