SONNY JAMES – THE PRODUCER
Sonny produced the first 3 albums for Marie Osmond. The first album went Certified Gold in the US and the first single “Paper Roses” also received a Certified Gold recognition. The phenomenal success of “Paper Roses” would see Marie nominated for a Grammy Award. Each of these three albums also contained recordings of a number of James’ #1 hits.
An industry powerhouse and long-time close friend of Sonny’s Mike Curb, who had overseen Donny Osmond’s solo hit covers of oldies like “Go Away Little Girl,” “Puppy Love,” “Sweet and Innocent,” and “Hey Girl,” used the same approach with Marie. According to Curb in the book Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson, when Curb was looking for country songs for Marie to record for her first album, Sonny James suggested Marie sing “Paper Roses” which had been a #5 Pop hit for Anita Bryant in 1960.
“Paper Roses” was the first song James’ recorded of Marie, and also her first single release. The single was released in August 1973. MGM promoted the single first to country radio, and received a favorable reaction to the song from radio stations and disc jockeys. Soon the song became a hit for Osmond, going all the way to #1 on the country charts. Before long, the song crossed over to pop radio as well, becoming a #5 Pop and #1 Easy Listening singles hit in the US as well as receiving similar success internationally.
Upon reaching No. 1, Osmond became — at less than one month after her 14th birthday — the youngest female artist and youngest overall solo artist to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, a record that still stands.