1976 Tony Orlando & Dawn – Look In My Eyes Pretty Woman
Singer Tony Orlando had two hit records in 1961 when he was barely 16 years old. When he was unable to continue recording hit records, he began working for Columbia Records as the general manager of their April-Blackwood Music publishing subsidiary. By 1967, Tony had become the VP of CBS Music Publishing.
Hank Medress had been a member of the Tokens and had become an accomplished producer. Toni Wine had co-written the song Candida and Hank asked Tony to sing lead on a single for Bell Records. Because Tony was still under contract to Columbia, they released the record using the group name Dawn. The backup singers on the record included Toni and Jay Siegel (from the Tokens) and other singers may have been on the recording as well. The record peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 in 1970.
The success of the single led to the recording of Knock Three Times, which topped the Hot 100 a few months later. Tony felt the need to get out on the road and start performing live, but that required coming up with backup singers. When he was producing records for Barry Manilow, Tony had used Motown background singers Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson, and he offered them slots as members of Dawn.
The trio also began recording together after their initial tours, and they released an album billed as Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando. Hit singles kept coming, and the group became Tony Orlando & Dawn in 1973.
They became the hosts of a CBS Summer replacement show in 1974, The Tony Orlando and Dawn Show. The group released a new album when the show returned that Winter, Prime Time, and that became their highest charting album. The only single from the album was Look in My Eyes Pretty Woman. The record reached #11 on the Hot 100 in early 1975.
The group began recording for Elektra Records and topped the Hot 100 with their next single, He Don’t Love You.
The television show continued until 1977. The group split up that year.
Telma began an acting career, Tony pursued a solo career in Las Vegas and Branson, and Joyce continued working as a background singer with The Former Ladies of the Supremes and other acts.
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