#43: I Can’t Stop by the Osmond Brothers

City: Calgary, AB
Radio Station: CKXL
Peak Month: June 1967
Peak Position in Calgary ~ #7
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube: “I Can’t Stop
Lyrics: “I Can’t Stop

The Osmond Brothers’ career began in 1958 when Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay began singing barbershop music for local audiences in and around Ogden, as well as during their weekly Latter-Day-Saints church services. In their made-for-TV movie Inside the Osmonds, they explain that they originally performed to earn money to help buy hearing aids for Virl and Tom and to finance their future church missions. Despite their young ages (ranging from nine to three years old), within a few years the boys’ talent and stage presence were strong enough that their father took them to compete in an amateur barbershop singing competition in California. On the same trip they visited Disneyland, and the Osmond Brothers ended up singing with the Dapper Dans on Main Street. Disney hired the Osmonds to perform in the park in the summer of 1959. They also performed minor roles in the television series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, starring actor Kurt Russell. The family also appeared on a segment of Disneyland After Dark, which first aired in April 1962.

The Osmond brothers were all born in Ogden, Utah. Alan Osmond was born in 1949, Wayne in 1951. Merrill in 1953, Jay in 1955, and Donny in 1957.

While the Osmond Brothers were working on Disneyland After Dark, Andy Williams’s father Jay saw them and was so impressed he told his son to book them on The Andy Williams Show. Andy did, and the Osmond Brothers became regulars on the show from 1962 to 1967, where they earned the nickname “one-take Osmonds” among staff due to their professionalism and tireless rehearsing. Donny soon joined them on the show, making the Osmond Brothers a five-member group. In 1963, the Osmond Brothers first single was released titled “Be My Little Baby Bumblebee”. It appeared on the album Songs We Sang on The Andy Williams Show. In the fall of 1964, their single “My Mom” was a minor hit in Los Angeles, Cleveland and Hamilton (ON).

Marie (born 1959) and Jimmy (born 1963) were also introduced on the show a few years later. During this time the Osmonds also toured Europe, performing with Sweden’s most popular singer, Lars Lönndahl. He and the Osmond Brothers released a single where they sang a Swedish version of “Two Dirty Little Hands” (“Fem smutsiga små fingrar“). The single reached the Top 20 in Sweden. As well, they released a single of a Swedish-language version of “Over The Rainbow” (“Ovan Regnbagen”). They also released covers of “Mister Sandman” and the 1940 hit from Cabin in the Sky “Taking A Chance On Love”.

In 1967, the Osmond Brothers released a single titled “I Can’t Stop”/”Fresh Flowers”.

I Can't Stop by the Osmond Brothers

“I Can’t Stop” was written by Jerry Goldstein and Wes Farrell. Gerald Goldstein was born in 1940 in Brooklyn. At the age of 19, in 1959, Goldstein was writing songs in the Brill Building credited to Jerry Goldstein. Initially, his songs were recorded by little known studio groups that Goldstein was part of – Bobbi and the Beaus, The Kittens, Morecambe & Wise, Ezra & The Ivies, among others. But he got B-sides in the early 60’s with Freddy Cannon, Dion, Bobby Lee, Bobby Lewis and the Jive Five. In 1963 he co-wrote the number-one hit for The Angels “My Boyfriend’s Back”.

In 1964 Goldstein was part of a trio that called themselves The Strangeloves. The band had a #11 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965 titled “I Want Candy”. In 1967 Jerry Goldstein co-wrote “Come On Down To My Boat”, a Top Ten hit for Every Mother’s Son. That same year he wrote the lyrics for “The Flower Children” by Marcia Strassman, a hit on Pacific coast cities in the Summer of Love. Jerry Goldstein later suggested to a band called Nightshift, that they team up with Eric Burdon, and they changed their name to War. Eric Burdon & War went on to have a hit in 1970 titled “Spill The Wine”. And War had the best selling album of 1973, The World Is A Ghetto.

Wes Farrell was born Wesley Donald Fogel in 1939 in Manhattan. At the age of 20, he penned “Boys” which became the B-side of the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”. The song was later recorded by The Beatles on an album in 1963. He wrote the B-side for Dion’s “Ruby Baby” in 1963, and wrote other B-sides recorded by Gene Chandler, In 1964 “Baby Let Me Take You Home” became a #21 hit for the Animals in the UK. As well, Farrell wrote “Come A Little Bit Closer” for Jay & The Americans, a #3 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Farrell wrote another hit for Jay & The Americans, charting to #11 titled “Let’s Lock the Door (And Throw Away the Key)”.

Wes Farrell wrote “Come On Down To My Boat” for Every Mothers Son in 1967, a #6 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. He also co-wrote “Indian Lake” for the Cowsills and “Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted” for The Partridge Family. For five years the New York born Ferrell was married to Tina Sinatra, the sister of Nancy Sinatra. Farrell died of cancer at the age of 56 in 1996.

“I Can’t Stop” is a song about a guy who has a single desire to make someone he’s dreaming about “mine.” He’s resilient, as he brags “Play with me and you play with fire. You can’t blow it out cause the flame grows higher…”

I Can't Stop by the Osmond Brothers

“I Can’t Stop” peaked at #7 in Calgary for three consecutive weeks in June 1967. It climbed to #23 in Cranbrook (BC) and the Top 50 in Ann Arbor (MI). The single didn’t crack the Billboard Hot 100. However, Uni Records re-released the single in 1971, and that time it peaked at #96 on the Hot 100. This was powered by a #2 peak in Honolulu, #7 in Cedar Rapids (IA), and a Top Ten peak in Kahului (HI). In 1974, “I Can’t Stop” climbed to #12 in the UK.

From the mid to late 60s, the Osmond Brothers sound was easy-listening baroque psychedelic folk-pop. In the recording studio, they resembled a mix of The Association and The Left Banke.

In 1970, the Osmond Brothers released Hello! The Osmond Brothers. The album featured their own treatment of “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine”, and other hits of the day. Still, the Osmond Brothers weren’t getting any big hits. This changed with when they switched their sound to bubblegum, following in the footsteps of the Ohio Express, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, and the Archies.

In the fall of 1970, the group released their self-titled album Osmonds. It featured “One Bad Apple” which climbed to number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks beginning February 13, 1971. The song was the theme song for The Osmonds cartoon show on ABC-TV. In Canada, “One Bad Apple” peaked at #1 in Calgary, Hamilton, Kingston (ON), Montreal, Ottawa, Saskatoon (SK), Toronto, Vancouver, and Windsor (ON).

In 1971, the Osmonds enjoyed more success. “Double Lovin'” climbed to #2 in Chilliwack (BC), #3 in Hamilton and Vancouver. While “Yo-Yo” peaked at #1 in both Toronto and Vancouver, and #2 in Windsor and Winnipeg, and #3 in Hamilton. In the USA, “Yo-Yo” reached #3 on the Hot 100.

Meanwhile, Donny Osmond has success as a solo artist. “Sweet And Innocent” shot to #1 in Chilliwack (BC), Toronto and Vancouver, and #2 in Hamilton, Montreal and Windsor (ON). The song reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Donny Osmond’s version of the 1963 Steve Lawrence hit “Go Away Little Girl” reached #1 in Hamilton, Montreal, Toronto, and Windsor (ON), and #2 in Winnipeg. It also topped the Billboard Hot 100, and climbed to #14 in South Africa. As well, Donny Osmond’s cover of the 1963 tune by Freddie Scott titled “Hey Girl” reached #1 in Hamilton and Vancouver, and #2 in Toronto.

In 1972, Donny Osmond’s cover of the 1960 Top Ten hit by Paul Anka, titled “Puppy Love”, was a number-one hit in Kitchener (ON), Montreal, Ottawa, Regina (SK), Toronto and Vancouver. Internationally, it reached #1 in Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and the UK, #2 in Ireland and #11 in South Africa. Donny Osmond’s treatment of the Nat “King” Cole hit from 1951 titled “Too Young” peaked at #2 in both Calgary, Hamilton and Kingston (ON). It reached #2 in Ireland, #3 in New Zealand, and #5 in the UK. His cover of “Why” (a number-one hit in 1960 for Frankie Avalon) went to #3 in the UK.

In the summer of 1972, Donny Osmond covered another Paul Anka hit titled “Lonely Boy” which saw its best chart run in Canada in Calgary where it climbed to #2. In 1973, Donny Osmond continued to successfully cover classic pop tunes from the early rock era. His version of the Johnny Mathis standard “Twelfth Of Never” was a chart-topper in Calgary, Hamilton and Toronto. Internationally, it reached #1 in the UK, #2 in Australia and Singapore, #5 in New Zealand, and #8 in both Malaysia and the USA. The Sonny James hit from 1957,”Young Love”, became a hit for Donny Osmond. It reached #1 in Ireland and the UK, and #6 in the Netherlands. While in the summer of ’73, Donny Osmond’s cover of the Jimmy Charles hit from 1960, “A Million To One” reached #2 in Hamilton. Additionally, Donny Osmond had a number-one hit in France with “When I Fall In Love”, which also went to #4 in the UK.

Meanwhile, the Osmonds had a number-one hit in 1972 with “Down By The Lazy River” in Hamilton, Regina, and Toronto. The single reached #1 in the Netherlands. And in 1972-73, “Crazy Horses” reached number-one in Barrie (ON) and Hamilton. Internationally, it reached #1 in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, #2 in the UK, and #5 in Switzerland.

In 1974, the Osmonds “Love Me For A Reason” reached #1 in the UK, and #2 in Ireland, and #10 on the Hot 100. In Canada the single had its best chart run in Winnipeg where it peaked at #2. In 1975, the Osmonds “The Proud One” was a #1 hit in Ireland, and #5 in the UK. This was the last appearance on the Top 40 in the Billboard Hot 100 for the Osmonds.

Separately, Donny and Marie Osmond has two Top Ten hits in 1974: a cover of the 1963 Dale and Grace tune “I’m Leaving It Up To You”, and a cover of the Tommy Edwards song “Morning Side Of The Mountain”. The former peaked at #2 in the UK, #3 in Ireland and #4 in the Netherlands. While “Morning Side Of The Mountain” reached #5 in the UK and #7 in Ireland. Marie Osmond had one notable solo hit in 1973 titled “Paper Roses”, a cover of a Top Ten hit in 1960 for Anita Bryant.

While record sales began to drop after 1974, the whole Osmond family were regulars on The Donny and Marie Show, which ran from 1976 to 1979 on ABC-TV. Donny and Marie Osmond also appeared on stages in Las Vegas for decades.

In the mid-1980s, Marie Osmond enjoyed considerable success on the country singles charts. Donny Osmond enjoyed a comeback in the late 1980s with “Soldier Of Love”. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 in Canada.

February 3, 2024
Ray McGinnis

Troy Brownfield, “The Osmonds: 50 Years of Pop, Country, and Family,” Saturday Evening Post, November 13, 2020.
Jerry Goldstein (producer),” Wikipedia.org.
Irv Lichtman, “Songwriter/Exec Wes Ferrell Dies: Worked On Many Early Rock Hits,” Billboard, March 16, 1996.
The Osmond Brothers at Disneyland,” YouTube.com, 1961.

I Can't Stop by the Osmond Brothers
CKXL 1140-AM Calgary (AB) Top Ten | June 19, 1967 (3rd consecutive week at #7)

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