Tony Orlando and Dawn (originally known as Dawn, and later as Dawn featuring Tony Orlando) is a pop music group that was popular in the 1970s. Their signature hits include "Candida", "Knock Three Times", "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree", and "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)".
Tony Orlando was born Michael Anthony Orlando Cassavitis in April 1944. By 1970, Orlando was a retired cover singer. He'd had two Top 40 hits in 1961 and another in 1969 as the lead singer for the studio group Wind, but he had not had any further success for the rest of the decade. He stopped singing entirely, publishing music for April-Blackwood Music, a division of Columbia Records, instead.
Orlando's hit song "Candida," was brought to him after being turned down by others. Orlando was not able to originally lend his name to the song since he was working for CBS publishing division April-Blackwood Music. After an insistence by producer Hank Medress that he dub his voice over the male vocals on the original track, the single was released on Bell Records as performed by "Dawn",so that his position at April-Blackwood was protected, it was a professional confict for him. The background singers were Sharon Greane, Jay Siegel, and Toni Wine, who co-wrote the song. Phil Margo played drums on the original session and the arranger was Norman Bergen. After the single hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Orlando decided to change career tracks. They then recorded the follow-up song "Knock Three Times" with Linda November joining on background vocals.
Bell Records was desperate to have a real-life act to promote Dawn's records. Tony asked former Motown/Stax backing vocalists Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson to become Dawn for real. The trio went on the road after "Candida" climbed the charts and "Knock Three Times" followed, eventually hitting #1 in early 1971. After a tour of Europe, Telma and Joyce assumed background vocal duties in the studio as well. They were joined in the studio by Joyce's sister Pamela Vincent who in addition to singing arranged all the background vocals as well. Prior touring commitments with Aretha Franklin prevented Pamela from appearing with Dawn. The first single with their voices in the background was "Runaway/Happy Together" in 1972.
The group (now billed as Dawn featuring Tony Orlando) waited until 1973 for their next #1 single, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree." In terms of sales, this single was the most successful in the group's career.
The group's next single, "Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose" (from their concept album Dawn's New Ragtime Follies) went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. CBS gave the group a television variety show in the summer of 1974, after The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour ended its run. The show was in the same vein as its predecessor, and became a Top 20 hit. It ran until December 1976.