Tony Orlando, who now runs a Missouri music theater where he performs, had several bouncy pop hits in the '70s with his group Dawn, including "Knock Three Times" and "Tie a Yellow Ribbon."
He was born Michael Anthony Orlando Cassavitis in New York on April 3, 1944. When he was 16, producer Don Kirshner introduced him to Carole King , who wrote the singer's first singles. When they proved to be less than blockbusters, Orlando worked briefly in record promotion.
In 1970 the Tokens' Hank Medress teamed him with the female singing duo Dawn (Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent). Dawn's first recording with Orlando, "Candida," went top five, and its follow-up, "Knock Three Times," topped the Billboard singles chart in 1971.
Two years later, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" became the biggest-selling single of the year. After being used in 1981 to welcome U.S. hostages home from Iran, the tune has become associated with homecomings.
Following the 1975 #1 "He Don't Love You," Orlando and Dawn's hits stopped, though they hosted a television variety show for several years. After battling cocaine addiction and manic depression, Orlando spent a few years as a solo act. In 1988, Dawn re-formed briefly.
Other birthdays Monday: Jeff Barry, 62; Jan Berry (Jan & Dean), 59; Wayne Newton, 58; Mel Schacher (Grand Funk Railroad), 49; and Phillipe Wynne (Spinners), 19411984.