“Tie a yellow ribbon…”

tony orlandoTony Orlando

Submitter: Nothing brings the youth to the library like Tony Orlando. My colleague and I are in our 30’s. Together, we had to google his name just to see if we knew any of his songs. This is sitting in the children’s section at a large city library. One who just finished a large public weeding project. Why this was skipped is anyone’s guess.

Holly: Hmmm…a big city library just finished a large weeding project and they left this one? This one?? Makes me wonder what the state of the collection was, if this one made the cut! Especially in a children’s section. I’m 40, and while I’ve heard of him, I couldn’t have named you one of his songs before I researched him for this post. He’s not even that interesting, really. A couple of kids, a couple of divorces, and became a Christian in 1978 after “life struggles.” My mom probably likes him.

Tony Orlando the Key

Tony Orlando Candida

Tony Orlando Yellow Ribbon

Tony Orlando Splish Splash


  1. Late 40’s here and Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree” was a huge hit when I was a kid. I think they had a TV variety show too, as did so many singers in the 70’s.

    1. I just turned 43 and I remember the TV show and the song. Of Course, I also remember the Captain and Tonnille show too. What can I say, those three channels I had to change for my dad did not have a lot of variety.

  2. May have left it in circ possibly because there are a lot of people who “tie a yellow ribbon” around a tree because of service persons, or others “missing in action”?

    1. And the weird thing is, that song is explicitly about a guy who’s been serving jail time. Not sure how it ever got to be associated with supporting the troops. :S

      1. People also tied a yellow ribbon around things during the Iranian hostage crisis. There’s also the song that goes, “Round her neck she wore a yellow ribbon, she wore it in the winter and the merry month of May, when I asked her why the yellow ribbon she said it’s for my lover who is in the cavalry!”

      2. Probably for the same reason people played Paradise under the Dashboard Light at weddings. They only listened to one line of the song.

        1. Nooooo way! they don’t?? I mean, really??? Wow!

          But then, people think that Bobby Brown by Frank Zappa is a nice cool ballad, too.

        2. Or when people dedicate “Every Breath You Take” to their spouse or child. That one I especially don’t get, because even if you just hear the most prominent lines of the song, they still sound creepy on their own. And the music itself sounds dark and menacing, as was the intention. What on earth are these people hearing?

        3. Yes, and people also play U2’s “One” at weddings — one of the most depressing relationship songs I know. Guess not listening to the lyrics is pretty common.

  3. I’m 40 and when I was really young I remember my parents playing that “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” song on our record player quite a bit. Never knew who originally sang it until now. I even remember it once being spoofed on the Muppet Show as “Tie a Yellow -Ribbit- Around The Old Oak Tree”.

  4. I’m 42, and just old enough to barely remember my parents watching his variety show. For some reason my memory has retained a skit that worked his hit “Knock Three Times” into a gag involving a plumber banging on pipes. Or, maybe that was on another crappy variety show. There were so many back then…

  5. “Nothing brings the youth to the library like Tony Orlando”–hilarious! This book wouldn’t have been cool when I was in elementary school 30 years ago. I barely know who he is, aside from “Knock Three Times,” which I must have heard on the oldies station.

  6. Well, I remember him and this song, too. And, I remember “Dawn”. He actually had a short-lived talk show in Detroit during the 1980’s.

  7. Tony Orlando was HUGE when I was a kid. Of course, I now feel about 8000 years old, after reading all the comments. I suppose it just reinforces how fleeting fame is. Today’s superstars will have some librarians scratching their heads 35 years from now and saying, “I think I’ve sort of heard of him …”

  8. I’m in my late 30’s and totally know who Tony Orlando and Dawn are. But then again, I grew up in Vegas and tend to assume everyone considers Tom Jones, Julio Iglesias, Pia Zadora and Engelbert Humperdinck household names.

  9. Seriously? None of you at least knew Tie A Yellow Ribbon if nothing else by him? I’m 38 and I actually had to sing that song in choir!

  10. I’m *ahem* years old and I remember him very well. “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” was a huge hit especially during the long Iranian hostage crisis during the Jimmy Carter years. It was what started the yellow ribbon (any kind of ribbon) craze. Even then, though, he was still your gramma’s star not really appealing to youth very much. Tony Orlando and Dawn had this really terrible variety/comedy show on tv back when there were 13 channels. I shall now end the librarian impulse to tell you more information than you wanted or needed. None of this justifies keeping that book. 🙂

      1. That’s the legend, but it doesn’t bear out–there’s a good Straight Dope column documenting the origin of the practice in 1981 by the wife of a hostage in Teheran.

        1. Okay, whatever. I was 9 years old in 1973 and living in Grandview, Missouri, while my father was stationed at Richards-Gebauer Air Force Base in Belton.

          Which is where a majority of the POW’s flew into, because my mother took us to stand on the runway when they arrived.

          But we’ll go with your version of things since I obviously don’t remember the childhood I lived.

  11. … all I know about him I learned from Yo La Tengo… Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House is a great song about how Frankie Valley wants to get even with him for stealing Dawn…

Comments are closed.