Las Vegas Sun

September 23, 2014

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Columnist Joe Delaney: Head for The Orleans for an Orlando vacation

Joe Delaney's column appears on Thursdays and Fridays. Reach him at [email protected] or (702) 259-4066.

Multifaceted Tony Orlando, the best party-giver since the late Elsa Maxwell, is holding forth in the performance- and audience-friendly Orleans Showroom through Sunday ... Orlando had his first hit record at age 16 with "Halfway to Paradise," written by Carole King, whose "Tapestry" album is a record-setting, longtime Billboard chart rider.

Orlando was successful as a record promoter, then became the youngest vice president at Columbia (now Sony Records) as professional manager of its April Blackwood music publishing arm ... During his tenure, he signed such great writers in their incipience as Laura Nyro and James Taylor ... Sitting at a desk, always with a weight problem, Orlando ballooned to 275 pounds.

Record business attorney Clive Davis talked Orlando into a weight-reducing program ... At the same time, good friend of Orlando to this day, music publisher Hank Medress talked Tony into recording "Candida" and "Knock Three Times" ... Both were hits ... The year was 1971 ... With Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent as the female voices, the trio was simply "Dawn" on the record label.

Clive Davis, now his boss, gave Orlando his blessing, and Tony Orlando and Dawn became official and went on the road ... Two years later, in 1973, they had a hit with "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree" ... This led to headline billing everywhere, five more No. 1 hit singles, a successful network TV variety show and multiple show-business awards.

Hopkins went on to a successful network television career, and Vincent opted for marriage and children ... Orlando continues as a successful headliner and good-cause activist, working especially hard with disadvantaged children and has hosted segments of the "Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon."

Jack Wishna, President and CEO of CPAmerica, was a factor in Wayne Newton's successful long-term deal at the Stardust and is currently involved with Donald Trump, who is building a residential high-rise tower to be erected on land that is part of the New Frontier property ... Wishna recently announced a joint venture with Orlando to create a global entertainment company.

Orlando will preside over the company, a division of CPAmerica, specializing in artist management, protection of intellectual property, and creating business arrangements in all fields of the entertainment media on an international basis ... Orlando's track record managing April Blackwood Music and since augurs well for this ambitious new enterprise.

Orlando trivia: He produced Barry Manilow's first recording session, which led to Manilow's association with Davis at Arista ... Touring on one-night stands with a group of recording artists, Orlando tried to convince Bobby Vinton to record "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" ... Vinton told him to record it himself ... The rest is show-business history.

Weekend-wrap-up

The late Al Dobritch was a friend and a fine theatrical agent ... His son Sandy, a friend for the 27 years he has operated a theatrical agency here, is offering a new marketing concept for aspiring talents, creating video and other presentations reaching more than 100 producers worldwide in all phases of the entertainment industry.

His lasvegas-talent.com will also create web pages ... You can reach Dobritch at 875-9146 or 875-9137 ... Good news for jazz fans: Pianist Ronni DiFillips, Jimmy Russell, guitar, and Chuck Diamond, bass, can be heard Saturdays, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Zodie's on East Flamingo Road ... Diamond was the founder and leader of what is now the Kinda Dixie Jazz Band (Gold Coast).

Monday nights, try the Bootlegger with award-winning Gus Mancuso, on whatever he chooses to play; boss bassist Bob Badgley; and drummer for all occasions, Santo Savino ... Make it both nights; both places ... Fridays, as always, good jazz is at Pogo's, Irv Kluger in charge ... Support good jazz wherever it's played; join the LV Jazz Society.

Speaking of support, your support is urgently needed; give what you can afford to the Las Vegas Sun Summer Camp Fund; all of it is tax deductible ... See you next Thursday.

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