10 reasons to see music legend Tony Orlando

Tony Orlando plays the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver April 9.

Tony Orlando plays the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver April 9.

While his name might not mean much to millennials, Tony Orlando is sure to be remembered by anyone who listened to the radio or watched TV in the ’70s. But there are lots of other reasons besides his many pop hits and his groundbreaking TV series (with Dawn) to see Mr. Orlando when he plays the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver (2080 United Boulevard, Coquitlam) April 9.

1. His song “Halfway to Paradise” was one of Elvis’s favourites. According to an interview with Orlando, Presley once told him that the single was in his home jukebox and was one of his favourite songs.

2. The Beatles covered his version of “Beautiful Dreamer”. Songwriter Gerry Goffin adapted Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer” into a doo-wop version which was first recorded by Orlando and then covered by the Beatles during their 1962-3 tours.

3. His first wife was the president of the Jerry Lee Lewis Fan Club. And she dated Buddy Holly.

4. Tony Orlando and Dawn (1974-76) was the first (and, so far only) primetime American TV show hosted by a Greek-Puerto Rican (Orlando) and two African American women (Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson).

Tony Orlando and Dawn from their 1970s heyday.

Tony Orlando and Dawn from their 1970s heyday.

5. He loves his fans. Following an appearance at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum in the ’70s, he and Dawn spent hours signing autographs for fans.

6. He’s a consummate pro who still plays over 100 shows a year. Not bad for a 72-year-old.

7. He is hip to the music of today. Orlando’s shows aren’t simply exercises in nostalgia; he also sings numbers by Prince (“Purple Rain”) and even Meghan Trainor (“Marvin Gaye”).

8. The hits. Make no mistake, he does have a backlog of hits to draw from, including “Candida,” “Knock Three Times” and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree.”

9. He’s seen fire and he’s seen rain. Despite the hit records, successful performing and TV career, and a stint as head of publishing at Columbia Records in the ’60s, Orlando has seen his share of personal troubles, especially in the 1970s. But he bounced back to become an in-demand act in Vegas and on the touring circuit.

10. “Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House.” The Simpsons bestowed Orlando with the ultimate pop culture laurel when the show referenced the singer in a bit that had recurring character Troy McClure, while emceeing a public television marathon, state: “Hi, I’m Troy McClure. You might remember me from such telethons as Out with Gout ’88 and Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House.” Hoboken, New Jersey indie-rock band Yo La Tengo later nabbed the fake telethon name for a song title on their 2000 album And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out.

For tickets to Tony’s April 9 show, visit ticketmaster.ca. Tickets range from $68-78.

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