Two legendary multi-entertainers, one known for some of the biggest hit songs of the 1970s and the other one of the most recognizable comedians in the world, will share the stage for a unique, once-in-a-lifetime double bill.
Tony Orlando and Don “Mr. Warmth” Rickles are set to co-headline and perform at 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio.
Be prepared to laugh, sing and be thoroughly entertained, old-school style.
“I love what I do, I love to entertain,” Orlando has said.
Known for his successful TV show “Tony Orlando and Dawn” in the mid-1970s as well as a string of hits such as “Candida,” “Knock Three Times,” and “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree,” Orlando has been wowing crowds around the world since his initial heyday.
It’s a career that happened, for all intents and purposes, by mistake. An executive for April-Blackwood music at the time, Tony sang on a demo recording of “Candida” as a favor for a producer friend.
The song was released as a single, unbeknownst to him. His new singing career suddenly took off.
“I think it is really the rule of show business that every big break you get, you back into it without knowing it at the time,” Orlando said. “A few weeks after recording ‘Candida,’ I had forgotten all about it. And then (producer) Hank Medress calls me and says, ‘Hey man, we’ve got a hit.’ The crazy thing was, the song kept climbing the charts ‘till it hit number one.”
Orlando is someone who knows how fortunate he’s truly been. He also recognizes that a singer can sometimes be only as good as the songs he sings.
“I’ve been lucky to be around some great writers like Larry Brown, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil,” said Orlando. “Those writers and songs are what made my career.”
Don Rickles, on the other hand, has been entertaining audiences with his quick wit and “insult” style comedy for over 60 years.
Also known as “The Merchant of Venom,” Rickles pokes fun at people from celebrities to audience members as the core of his act. He was a favorite of Frank Sinatra and became a frequent guest host of “The Tonight Show,” sitting in for Johnny Carson over 100 times.
“(My act) is never mean-spirited,” Rickles has said, defending himself a bit. “And it’s a matter of exaggerating people and things around us. It’s never really an insult.”
Leave to Rickles to sum up his persona better than anyone else.
“I’m the guy that makes fun of the boss at the Christmas party on Friday night and Monday still has his job.”
For further information and tickets, visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.
Chris Baptiste is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.