Crazy Horses

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"Crazy Horses"
Crazyhorsesmgmsingle.jpg
Single by The Osmonds
from the album Crazy Horses
B-side "That's My Girl"
Released October 14, 1972
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded June 23, 1972
Genre Hard rock
Length 2:40
Label MGM
Songwriter(s) Alan Osmond,
Merrill Osmond,
Wayne Osmond
Producer(s) Alan Osmond,
Michael Lloyd
The Osmonds singles chronology
"We Can Make it Together"
(1972)
"Crazy Horses"
(1972)
"Goin' Home"
(1973)
"We Can Make it Together"
(with Steve and Eydie)
(1972)
"Crazy Horses"
(1972)
"Goin' Home"
(1973)

"Crazy Horses" was a 1972 hit single by The Osmonds reaching number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100[1] and number 2 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] The song has since been covered by numerous other performers.

Recording and content[edit]

Singer Merrill Osmond said of the song, "Before that, my brothers and I had been what’s now called a boyband: all our songs were chosen for us by the record company. But now, having been successful, we wanted to freak out and make our own music. We were rehearsing in a basement one day when Wayne started playing this heavy rock riff. I came up with a melody and Alan got the chords. Within an hour, we had the song. I had always been the lead singer, but I sang Crazy Horses with Jay. The line “What a show, there they go, smoking up the sky” had to be sung higher, so I did that and Jay did the verses because his voice was growlier, and this track was heavier than anything we’d ever done." Merrill Osmond also added that the record company initially were sceptical the song would be successful but relented when the song performed well in the charts (particularly in the United Kingdom, where the song proved to be a breakthrough for the quintet, as well as much of the rest of Europe).[3]

Jay Osmond said, "The song was recorded at MGM in Hollywood and we added that distinctive “Wah! Wah!” intro sound afterwards. Alan had written the lyrics, which talked about horsepower, and he said: “It’s got to sound like a horse somehow.” We tried everything, then finally found something on Donny’s organ that sounded like a neighing stallion.[3]

Donny, the usual co-lead, had no vocal parts on account of his voice being in the middle of changing due to puberty. The record was co-produced by Alan Osmond and Michael Lloyd, who had previously been in psychedelic rock group The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.

Jay Osmond said, "Crazy Horses was way ahead of its time. It’s a song about ecology and the environment: those “crazy horses, smoking up the sky” are gas-guzzling cars, destroying the planet with their fumes. We shot the record sleeve in a junkyard, surrounded by big old cars."[3][4] The song was initially banned in France when authorities believed the lyric “smoking up the sky” was about drugs.[3]

Cover versions[edit]

It has been covered by numerous other bands including The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Mission, Tank, Lawnmower Deth, Neal Morse, The Frames, KMFDM, Electric Six, and Lifescreen. Westlife covered the song live in 2003, and even performed the song alongside Donny Osmond. English band Pop Will Eat Itself sampled the record on their 1988 single Def Con One. The song was also covered by Tigertailz on the 2010 live album Bezerk: Live...Burnin' Fuel. The song was also covered by Mat Sinner on the solo album Back to the Bullet 1990. Donny Osmond recorded a new version of the song as a hidden bonus track on his 2002 covers album Somewhere In Time[5] and performs the song frequently on his tours. He did not sing on the original record.

In 1995 UK electronic music group Utah Saints released a remixed version of the song, which reached number 50 in the UK singles chart. This version was reissued in 1999 and peaked at number 34.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1972/1973) Peak
position
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)[6] 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles[7] 12
Dutch GfK chart[8] 1
Dutch Top 40 1
France (IFOP)[9] 1
Irish Singles Chart[10] 17
Swiss Singles Chart[11] 5
UK Singles Chart[2] 23
US Billboard Hot 100[1] 14

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Osmonds > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. 
  2. ^ a b "Chart Stats - The Osmonds - Crazy Horses". Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The Osmonds: how we made Crazy Horses" The Guardian 23 January 2017
  4. ^ "Crazy Horses by The Osmonds Songfacts". Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "Donny Osmond". Ink19.com. Retrieved 13 December 2002. 
  6. ^ The Osmonds, "Crazy Horses" Belgian Chart Position Retrieved February 21, 2015
  7. ^ "RPM Volume 18 No. 16, December 02 1972". Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  8. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - The Osmonds - Crazy Horses" (in Dutch). Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  10. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "The Osmonds - Crazy Horses - hitparade.ch" (in German). Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
Preceded by
"Ich hab' die Liebe geseh'n" by Vicky Leandros
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
December 16, 1972 (1972-12-16) – February 2, 1973 (1973-02-02) (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Block Buster!" by The Sweet