Tony Orlando, after an early career as a singer, had become a record company executive by 1970. That year, though, he ended up recording a demo of a song called CANDIDA and its B-side, KNOCK THREE TIMES. Both became surprise hits, credited to the fictitious group, Dawn.
After awhile, Orlando waned to go on the road again so he hired back-up singers Joyce Vincent Wilson and Telma Hopkins--neither of whom had sung on the records--to tour with him as Dawn.
Eventually, they went into the studio together to make more hit records. In the wake of Sonny and Cher's divorce, in 1974 CBS offered the renamed Tony Orlando and Dawn their own variety hour,
With his seventies mustache, sartorial style and a million dollar smile, Tony quickly proved to anyone and everyone that he was a real find for TV. He excelled in comedy as well as music and had an absolutely amazing rapport with the audience that was showcased in a popular segment in every episode of the series.
Telma also proved adept at comedy as well as singing and had a great television presence. She would go on to a long and successful acting career in various programs.
The series was quite a hit and was going along well. Additional hits were helped along by the show and in turn, the show was helped by the music.
Tony, Telma and Joyce went on tour in 1976 and their appearance at the newly opened Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati became the very first concert I ever attended. The concert was much like the show as far as Tony's interactions with the audience.
Late that year, in the wake of various personal issues, Tony Orlando had a breakdown and the show suddenly went away...as did the group itself.
In time, he healed but the moment was passed. Tony Orlando and Dawn have gotten together off and on in the years since and Tony had a long and successful Vegas run but for one brief moment in the mid-seventies, Tony Orlando really was one of the world's greatest entertainers...or at least it seemed that way.