On Oct. 14, 1972, the Osmond Brothers shocked the world—or at least their puppy and bubblegum loving fan base—with the release of the hard rock album Crazy Horses. The grittier tone of the Utah brothers’ 10th studio album offered a major departure from their wholesome image, but the title track became a surprise hit and it even earned the Osmonds some respect from bona fide rock idols of the day.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Music, Donny Osmond reflected on the Osmonds unlikely metal hit, which has been covered by a slew of artists including KMFDM, Electric Six, the Frames, Tank, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, and Metallica.
“I think it’s kind of interesting how the Osmond name has been really seen on both side of the pendulum,” Donny told Yahoo. “There’s obviously the bubblegum side, but for people who really know about music, it’s clear on the other side. As a matter of fact, I find it quite ironic that Metallica used to cover ‘Crazy Horses.’ It was a cutting-edge album.”
Recorded at the MGM in Hollywood in early 1972, the album was produced by Alan Osmond and Michael Lloyd, a former member of the psychedelic rock group The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. The title track, which you can hear below, featured shrieky guitar wails and screamy vocals as it delivered an anti-fossil-fuel message, went on to garner some unlikely fans from the rock world.
In the new interview ahead of the album’s 45th anniversary, Donny Osmond name-dropped several surprising musicians who have professed their love for the Crazy Horses album and song.
“Ozzy Osbourne came up to me during the [Dancing With the Stars Season 9] finals,” Donny revealed to Yahoo.
“Kelly Osbourne was in the finals with me. During a commercial break, he had to go to the bathroom, and I’m backstage, and I’m on pins and needles because it’s the finals. And Ozzy comes right up to me and says, “I just want you to know that ‘Crazy Horses’ is one of my favorite rock ‘n’ roll songs of all time.”
In addition to the Prince of Darkness, Donny Osmond revealed that Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon also praised the song and even invited him to sing it with his new wave band.
“Simon Le Bon once said to me, ‘I think it would be cool if you would come up onstage and tour with us, and we would do ‘Crazy Horses’ and just blow people away, because I love that song,'” Osmond revealed.
Even more impressive, Jason Bonham revealed that his father, late Led Zeppelin drummer Jason Bonham, once took him to an Osmonds concert and then backstage to meet the famous Mormon brothers during the “Crazy Horses” era.
“They started with ‘Crazy Horses,'” Jason Bonham recalled of the Osmonds’ show, according to Ultimate Guitar. “They were on these wires and they came out across the audience back then, so Bon Jovi wasn’t the first guy to do it.”
Another reported fan of “Crazy Horses” is Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliot. According to Brainyquote, in a backhanded compliment, Elliott was once quoted as saying he was a secret fan of the unlikely Osmond song.
“Even Crazy Horses is a good song, by the Osmonds,” Elliott reportedly said. “I’ve known many bands who have covered that. It’s just a great song. I bought it in a brown, paper bag because I didn’t want anyone to know I had it.”
While Donny Osmond did not sing on the original “Crazy Horses” track due to his then-changing puberty-stricken voice, he recorded a new version of the song as a hidden bonus track on his 2002 covers album Somewhere In Time. Donny Osmond fans also know the “Puppy Love” singer often performs a less metal version of “Crazy Horses” on his tours, which you can check out below.
[Featured Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]