'Osmond-mania' made Utah group as big as The Beatles in London

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SALT LAKE CITY — Merrill, Jay and Jimmy Osmond did 52 concerts in 60 days this year, and they describe it as both amazing and heartwarming as they reconnected with perhaps their greatest fans.

The fame and attention The Osmonds enjoyed in London decades ago was nothing short of incredible. In fact, it could easily be compared to the fame The Beatles found in the United States.

"We landed at Heathrow airport, and there were so many girls that the balcony actually collapsed," Jimmy recalled. "It was like, 'What is going on?'"

We landed at Heathrow airport, and there were so many girls that the balcony actually collapsed. It was like, 'What is going on?'

–Jimmy Osmond

Hotels even banned us because the girls would actually do damage," he continued. "A gal took an axe and broke the plate glass window because they wouldn't let her up to see us."

But a couple of other women were much more inventive.

"Two very creative ladies figured that they would put a crate together and get in it and somehow address that, address (it) to The Osmonds,'" Merrill said. "They literally were delivered up to our floor in a crate."

Body guards intercepted that crate. They also helped them get out of the hotels.

These two guys hauled Jimmy off in a trunk to avoid the craziness that was going on outside. I think the rest of us went out in a bread truck, and Donny went out on something," Merrill said.

The Osmonds also met Queen Elizabeth, and little Jimmy wasn't the only one to say something unexpected.

Jimmy Osmond greets Queen Elizabeth for the first time.
Jimmy Osmond greets Queen Elizabeth for the first time.

"All this protocol," Jimmy said. "'Don't raise your hand unless she raises hers.''Don't speak to her unless she speaks to you first;' and of course she came to me first, and I said, 'Hello, Mrs. Queen.'"

The men's mother, the late Olive Osmond, also met the queen during one of their trips. Jimmy recalled her giving a copy of The Book of Mormon to her majesty and saying, "I want to give you my most treasured possession."

"Later on, I performed for her majesty once again with my brothers," Jimmy said, "and she stopped and talked to me for a second — she normally doesn't do that. And she said, 'I remember your mother, and I still have ... your Mormon Bible.'"

The Osmonds also got know England's most famous export.

"(Paul) McCartney himself said, 'The reason why I admire you guys is because you have something to stand for, you believe something,'" Merrill recalled.

Merrill, Jay and Jimmy returned to Great Britain for a concert tour earlier this year. Once again, they were met with sold-out crowds, as several generations greeted them, sang with them and shared memories.

"There's something about being in the UK that is special for us, especially this last tour," Jay said. "The fans are more like friends. They've grown up with us, and it's more like a family reunion.

They really are family. Their ancestors on their father's side are English.

Keeping the singing Osmonds together involved both struggle and sacrifice. We will bring you that story Friday night, following the Olympic opening ceremonies on KSL 5 News.http://cms.ksl.com/graphics/clear.gif


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