(29-2-2012) Singer Donny Osmond recently spoke about his life-long friendship with Michael Jackson in a new interview with Life After 50 Magazine. He talked about the similarities he and Jackson shared as kids and about the last time they spoke on the phone. You can read part of that interview below.
LA50: You and Michael Jackson came upon the American music scene at the same time. You were both the front person of a brothers group. What are your thoughts about him?
Donny: We were considered contemporaries when we were in our teens. But then he totally left me in the dust and went on to superstardom. There was a point in time when he and I were neck-and-neck. We were always looking over the fence at one another – ‘What’s Mike doing?’ ‘What’s Donnie doing?’ It’s funny, because the comparisons are amazing. „One Bad Apple,” our first number-one record, was written for The Jackson Five. Mike once told me they had passed on that song because they pretty much had their album done with „I Want You Back” and „ABC.” So we got that song, and I think it was three or four months later, we had the number-one hit with it. I remember one time, years later, I said to him: ‘Okay Mike, I’ve got a story for you about your song „Ben.” I told him that it had been written for me. He said: ‘Get out of here.’ And I told him how I had met the writer years later who told me he had written „Ben” for me, but we were out on tour and had to finish a movie so he said: ‘Let’s just get Michael to sing it.’ It became Michael’s number-one solo record. He sang about a rat and I sang about a puppy. We would get together and would laugh our heads off at the comparisons of our families. He would always ask me about my mom, my brothers and how they were doing. Mike and I were both the seventh of nine children. He was the lead singer of The Jackson Five and I was the lead singer of The Osmonds. Our mothers’ birthdays were the same day. His mom played clarinet, my mom played saxophone – it just goes on and on and on.
LA50: Were you and Michael close friends?
Donny: We kind of protected our relationship and I did especially during the last couple of years with all that’s happened. Today, everybody’s gotten on the bandwagon with their stories. But now that Mike is gone and Dr. Conrad Murray has been convicted and the headlines are over, I feel a bit better about coming out and telling some stories – like the last time we talked. He had called me – this is probably a year or more before his passing – and when I asked him where he was calling me from, he said he couldn’t tell me. I said: ‘Come on, you’re talking to me here, we’re buddies. Where are you?’ He asked me to promise not to tell anyone where he was and then told me he had rented a big motor home and, with his kids, had driven to Phoenix and was in hiding. I asked him who he was hiding from and he said, ‘Well, things are hitting the fan and there’s so much pressure.’ I asked him if he would do me a favor – to get in his bus and drive up to Utah where he and his kids could stay with me. Nobody would know, and they could have a little normalcy in their life. He said he was going to take me up on it, but he never did.