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Halfway to Paradise
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Halfway to Paradise [Paperback]

Tony Orlando , Patsi Bale Cox
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 2003
Singer Tony Orlando is recognized everywhere for his l970s heydey with Dawn, but his career didn't begin with a variety show and a string of #1 pop hits. In the early '60s Tony was a teen idol, with top-selling songs like "Halfway to Paradise." He worked with songwriters like Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and was part of the creative ferment symbolized by the Brill Building in New York and fronted by flamboyant showmen like Murray the K and Don Kirschner. In a rare transition, Tony became a successful music executive before he was lured back onstage in the early '70s. His life as a pop icon was full of contradictions: he was the reliable, squeaky-clean performer who always pleased the crowd, but was plagued by depression and cocaine addiction. His highs were high-and very public-while his lows were low and private: from the constant care required by his beloved sister Rhonda, born with cerebal palsy, to the death of his dearest friend Freddie Prinze.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Forever guaranteed a spot in pop culture history thanks to the 1973 anthem, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree," singer Tony Orlando attempts to present a more three-dimensional portrait of his life in this often sentimental, occasionally dishy autobiography. From his New York childhood, to his short-lived career as a teen idol in the 1960s, to his 1970s variety show with backup group Dawn, one thing remains clear: Orlando is obsessed with show business and star-struck by celebrities. He rhapsodizes about the "superstar essence" of everyone from Connie Francis to Muhammad Ali (and regrets that he himself "never had it"). After meeting Minnie Pearl, Orlando writes, she "became part of my being." The book's final third gets darker as Orlando describes his cocaine addiction and friendship with the troubled comedian Freddie Prinze. While probably only true Orlando fans will enjoy reading about the minutia of the singer's career, there's still enough to keep True Hollywood Story addicts interested: drugs, suicide, a mental hospital, infidelity, divorce and a happy ending-in Branson, Missouri, no less-to top it all off. One 16-page b&w photo insert.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

And now, tie a yellow ribbon 'round the formulaic pop song, and break out the pastel double-knit suits. Tony Orlando and Patsi Cox regale us with the pointedly inspiring story of the former's journey to the top of the pop-star heap and his battle with cocaine addiction, which he won while his close friend Freddie Prinze lost. Cox, who recently assisted with Loretta Lynn's first-rate Still Woman Enough, keeps Orlando's testimony rolling merrily, neither lingering too long in its valleys nor, for the most part, overtrumpeting its peaks. Orlando's take on doing business in the Tin-Pan-Alley mainstream of pop music in the era of punk and disco is informative, and those interested in what Don Kirschner and his ilk were really like will want to read closely. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312319746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312319748
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tony is still one of my favorites!!!! October 11, 2002
By ChiKat
Being a tremendous fan of Tony Orlando, especially back in the 70's, I was eagerly anticipating this book. Although I knew about most of the things he's written about, his breakdown is especially harrowing. There were other incidents I was very surprised about. (You have to read the book). I rather enjoyed his relating of his "Brill Building" days. One must always remember where they came from in order to understand and appreciate (as Tony does) what they have now. I was born the year he recorded Halfway to Paradise, but thanks to my brother-in-law, who purchased for me the older recordings of Tony, I love those early recordings just as much as the ones from the 70's. He is an incredibly talented performer who appreciates what was given to him and it shows in the book.
Memories of my teen-age crush on Tony were brought back with a smile when I saw the picture of Tony circa 1975, which was included in the page of pictures. That particular picture was included in the He Don't Love You album and graced the wall beside my pillow as a teen.
The one nitpick, and I don't know where the fault lies would be the editing. I guess when I read a book, I read a book and I noticed them. Other than that it was an enjoyable journey "Halfway to Paradise."
Thanks for sharing...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! November 29, 2004
I must admit that my knowledge of Tony Orlando wasn't much more than watching him on TV in the 70's with Dawn. My husband and I recently went to a concert of his in Connecticut. We loved the concert and were mesmerized by his charismatic showmanship and his energetic style. He is a truly unselfish performer that gives credit and the spotlight to his backups. One young man did a Led Zeppelin number that knocked our socks off. When someone in the audience wanted him to sign their book, I knew it was a book I wanted to read. There was obviously more to him than just "Tying a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree."

I found this book to be a real page-turner. Anyone that has an interest in the nostalgic days of music will find themselves engrossed in this honest, well told autobiography. Mr. Orlando's association with the top names in the music industry is a virtual Who's Who. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I found it to be a painfully honest look back at a young man's rise to fame, fall from grace, and his ultimate journey back up the ladder.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HALF WAY TO HAPPINESS! October 23, 2002
Tony Orlando has been a very dear friend for over 30 years, I first met him in a recording studio on West 48th Street in New York City back in the late 60's. I was visiting some friends at Wind Records, when they gave me a new album by a group called "WIND" that was being released on their new label. They played some of the songs, and what I heard was lead vocals that sound very odd...I later learned it was Tony Orlando singing on the session!
This book from Tony, is one of alot of love,pain,tears,soul searching and the lost of a very dear and close friend (Freddie Prinze) to a gun shot to his head which no one seems to this day understands!
Tony gives his fans, a real up close and inside view of the pain and many pressures as well stress that he has faced. I really could not put this book down,I for one wanted to learn just what Tony was feeling inside...and this book says it all!
Read the book and learn, just what Tony Orlando the man felt and suffered. You will not be disappointed, but be more of a fan of Tony's than ever you were before!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nobody's Perfect October 6, 2003
By Chris
When they say, "My life is an open book" they are talking about Tony Orlando. His honesty is refreshing and gives insight to the kind of person he is. One has to remember that although he is a performer, he is a human being first and is therefore given the right of privacy. He did not have to write this book but I am more than happy he did. He has been my hero since I was eight. At thirty-nine, this book has given me a new respect for the person he is. He is as star-struck as anyone of us which lends to his understanding of his fans - fans he calls friends.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Anyone old enough to remember back to 1973 knows the name Tony Orlando. That's the year the singer and his female back-up duo Dawn recorded "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree."
The top-40s ditty about a petty criminal welcomed back from prison became the theme song for returning Vietnam POWs, a rallying point for families of American hostages in Iran and soldiers serving in the Gulf War, and an all-purpose anthem for anyone forced to be away from home. As part of the national soundtrack of the late 20th century, the song earned Orlando a place in pop culture history.
Or, as Orlando puts it in his autobiography --- "Almost like flipping a pancake, 'Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree' flipped my life over." HALFWAY TO PARADISE is peppered with such passages --- writing that is clumsy, yet gets the point across. One of the book's most distracting shortcomings is Orlando's fondness for clichéd phrases such as, "singing my praises," "walking on eggs," "turned the tide," and "sweating bullets." He also seems confused about the meaning of the word "literally," as when he describes his father "literally sucking the air out of the room."
Nevertheless, Orlando writes with a self-effacing candor, humility and lack of animosity that gives this book a gentle appeal absent from many celebrity autobiographies. Patsi Bale Cox, who has collaborated on the autobiographies of performers including Tanya Tucker and Loretta Lynn, assisted in the writing. But the book's voice sounds as if it's rising straight from Orlando's sentimental soul.
Although he's fond of using the word "ironically" to describe coincidences, irony isn't on his palette. He makes statements like "The band has become like family to me, as all bands should to an entertainer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Tony Orlando
I have been a fan of Tony Orlando since I was 5 years old. I am now 49 and still get butterflies when I see a picture of him. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Human being!! Fantastic read!!!
I have a fan since I was 10 years old. My very first concert was Tony Orlando and Dawn! I was 10 and remember it like it was yesterday. Read more
Published 3 months ago by corina illuzzi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everything is perfect.
Published 13 months ago by William Looft
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
a geart man good singer . a very good book
Published 16 months ago by the dude
5.0 out of 5 stars Super book
Beautifully and honestly written account of a great entertainer's life. Highly recommend it for anyone who knows Tony Orlando and wants to know him. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Steve Patten
5.0 out of 5 stars TONY ORLANDO ....SHARES HIS TRUTHS
In HALFWAY TO PARADISE, Tony Orlando shares the many truths of his career, personal life and friendships in a very honest manner. Read more
Published 19 months ago by miss miriam
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I used to love seeing Tony Orlando & Dawn whenever he performed on TV. I really enjoyed reading this memoir by Tony because it was very sincere & factual on his life. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Carlos Hernandez
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Bio
I always like Tony & Dawn; still do. I was curious about his life and career. This book answered all my questions with style, candor, and humor. I was thoroughly enjoyed.
Published 23 months ago by Joseph L. Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Tony
Absolutely love this book. It is so enteresting and open. This is a Must if you are a Tony fan, or just want to read about a loving and down-to-earth entertainer.
Published on January 14, 2013 by Kathleen R. Deaton
5.0 out of 5 stars Tony Bares His Soul
Tony Orlando has provided us with a look at his life from growing up near Hell's Kitchen in New York City where he began as a doo wop singer until he settled down in the Ozarks of... Read more
Published on January 17, 2007 by Bill Emblom
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