Should’ve Been a #1… ‘Crazy Horses’, by The Osmonds

I’ve done a few posts like this before, but thought I’d start making it more of a regular feature. Having just featured Donny and co’s sole UK chart-topper – the decidedly so-so ‘Love Me For a Reason’ – we might as well visit their first big British hit.

‘Crazy Horses’, by The Osmonds – #2 in November 1972

I had heard of ‘Crazy Horses’ long before I ever listened to it. Aged twelve or so, I was the proud owner of the ‘A-Z of Behaving Badly’, a spin-off book from the ’90s sitcom ‘Men Behaving Badly’ (Wiki link provided, if you have no idea what I’m on about). Said book named ‘Crazy Horses’ as one of the best songs for singing loudly on your way home from the pub…

In those pre-internet, iTunes, Spotify days… amazing to think of it actually… I went years without ever knowing what the song sounded like. It sounded cool: ‘Crazy Horses’. But it was by The Osmonds, who were lame, so it mustn’t have been that good…

How wrong I was. ‘Crazy Horses’ is brilliant. One of the catchiest, zaniest, most enjoyable hits of the early seventies. Just watch the video below. How much fun is Jay Osmond having on lead vocals, doing the funky chicken! How much fun is Merrill having shrieking his way through the bridge! How much fun is Donny having making horsey noises on his keyboard! A lot of fun, is the correct answer.

I’ve seen ‘Crazy Horses’ described as metal. It’s not, but for The Osmonds it might as well have been. Their one, minor hit as a group before this had been the catchy-but-super-cheesy ‘Down by the Lazy River’. Just a few months before this made #2, lil’ Donny had scored his first chart-topper with the cloying ‘Puppy Love’.

Not only is ‘Crazy Horses’ ridiculous, and ridiculously catchy, it also has a message behind it. What a show, There they go, Smokin’ up the sky… ‘Crazy horses’ being cars, whose fumes are destroying the planet: Crazy horses all got riders and they’re you and I…! How woke is that, for 1972!

Unfortunately, some countries banned the record, as they thought all the talk of ‘horse’ and ‘smokin’ were… gasp… drug references! Which simply makes it even more rock ‘n’ roll, and even more amazing that The Osmonds were behind it.

So there you have it. After sitting through all the middling to awful #1 singles involving the Osmond brothers, we desperately needed to give their best song a moment in the sun. ‘Crazy Horses’ should definitely have been a number one!


13 thoughts on “Should’ve Been a #1… ‘Crazy Horses’, by The Osmonds

  1. You can see why several rock groups, notably the wonderfully eccentric Sensational Alex Harvey Band, covered this one. The Osmonds’ next single, ‘Goin’ Home’, summer 1973, was a real no-holds-barred belter as well, probably the equal of ‘Crazy Horses’. It’s ironic that the ballad ‘Love Me For a Reason’, which sounded much more like Donny’s solo material, was the only one that went all the way to the top.

  2. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while!
    This one rocks…and the album…I’ve listened to a few tracks and one of them reminds me of a Zeppelin song…so I give them credit for trying…

  3. Great record. My fave was always Goin’ Home at the time, it seemed so hyperactive, and I still think the really great singers amongst the boys were the ones that didnt have a solo career – Jay especially could give it some oomph! In retrospect Crazy Horses is def the jewel-in-the-crown (and I speak as someone who likes the brothers more harmony-based stuff. I grew up liking The Osmond Brothers on the Andy Williams Show, they were well-known long before Donny hit puberty, the acapella/harmony years šŸ™‚ I still suspect the band would have preferred to do more gutsy stuff if they hadnt been diverted into teen ballad cover versions. The ones they wrote themselves seem more honest.

  4. I really like this one, too. It was their first chart hit in the UK. The fact that Donny gives up on his keyboard halfway through to do the funky chicken makes me question if they were really playing live… ‘Goin’ Home’ is similar to this – country-ish rock ‘n’ roll.

  5. Pingback: Should Have Been a #1…? ‘God Save the Queen’, by The Sex Pistols – The UK Number Ones Blog

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