Sometimes the group was called Dawn and at some points it was referred to Tony Orlando and Dawn. But we will call this group Dawn for ease. The lead singer was Tony Orlando who was born as Michael Anthony Orland Cassavitis in 1944 and had a moderate singing career in the 1960s.
The first hit under the name of Dawn was called Candida which he wanted to sing as a solo, but contractual problems prevented him from doing so. So he did it under the Dawn group. Candida was written by Toni Wine and Irvine Levine, Toni was also on backing for Willie Nelson’s Always On My Mind. Irwin died in 1997, but was responsible for most of Dawn’s chart hits.
The B side to Candida was Knock Three Times, which also became the group’s next single release which became a UK and U.S. number one in 1970. In 1971 the group had more success with three more singles such as I Play And Sing, Summer Sand both reasonable U.S. hits. The third single that year was a No. 3 hit in the UK called What Are you Doing Sunday?
1972 three singles released and three failed to get into the top twenty, or even the top fifty. So it was 1973 when the group had their biggest hit called Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree, this huge No. 1 was inspired by the 19th century tradition of ladies wearing a yellow ribbon to keep their husbands or boyfriends in mind whilst they were fighting in the war.
The yellow ribbon was also worn in the 1970s to signify the hoped return of a loved one from abroad or prison. The single sold three million copies in three weeks and was the subject to court cases that were later dropped. The song put Dawn back in the pop charts, and the record was sung to inspire the return of loved ones from wherever they may be.
Dawn had several more hits in the 1970s including Say Have You Seen My Sweet Gypsey Rose, Who’s In The Strawberry Patch With Sally? And many more. In fact in the U.S. Dawn had fourteen top twenty hits.
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