Little Jimmy Osmond, long haired lover from Liverpool, isn’t quite as little anymore. He still has a full head of hair, albeit a lot shorter then when Osmondmania sent teenage girls into a frenzy of puppy love in the early ‘70s.
The youngest of the nine siblings (and the only one not born in Mormon Utah), before Jimmy could talk his brothers had already scored a number of hits. As soon as he was able, his age not yet in double figures, a wide-eyed James Arthur was thrust on stage too.
“I thought every kid did what I did, it was amazing,“ the 48-year-old explains. “I was born and joined the circus.“ Jimmy was a record-breaking nine years and eight months old when Long Haired Lover From Liverpool reached the number one spot in the UK chart, staying there for five weeks, and the family’s youngest has remained a touring member of the group ever since.
This month, after 54 years playing approximately 100 shows a year together, Wayne, Merrill, Jay and Jimmy are calling it a day and waving goodbye to the UK with their biggest ever tour on these isles.
“We still have love and deep respect, but we see things a little differently now,“ says Jimmy, who resides in the UK for around eight months of the year. “At only 45 years performing, I’m still the rookie. No matter how many years I go on I always will be!
“My older brothers have been working non-stop for even longer – a very long time. Merrill, the lead singer, wanted to do new things. It’s bittersweet.“
As the end of this line-up of Osmonds approaches, Jimmy takes the opportunity to look back on a long and successful career. What was it like, starting out so young?
“I didn’t have the normality. All I’ve ever known is working and touring.
“I wish I could do something of value. I know it is a valuable job, giving people enjoyment, but I wish I had more. Been a doctor or dentist, have a nine to five job where you go in everyday.
“I kind of regret not having those everyday experiences but if I wasn’t grateful, I’d be an idiot. Everyone is given a different hand, we all put our pants on one leg at a time. I wouldn’t change my life, those experiences don’t come every day.“
Despite their popularity (between them the family has sold 102 million records worldwide) their dazzling white smiles and clean-cut image saw the band the butt of many jokes.
“My whole life I’ve had to deal with hurtful comments,“ admits the father-of-four. “When people say things, now it doesn’t hurt, but as a kid it did.
“I used to wonder what was wrong with me, but despite the mocking we felt really blessed. People made fun but we were laughing all the way to the bank.“
With 50 dates before the band waves goodbye to the UK, Jimmy, who has handled The Osmonds’ merchandising and is forging a career as a television personality, can’t help but look forward to what’s next.
“Now I don’t know what to do!“ he admits. “I’m kind of scared in a way because it’s always been so comfy.
“We are a family. We will always do stuff together. We do disagree constantly. We do fight and we do argue. I probably drive my brothers crazy but we keep coming back for more. I’m really excited to see what unfolds.“
The Osmonds Up Close And Personal Final UK Tour comes to Watford Colosseum on March 14 at 7.30pm. Details: 0845 075 3993