Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods are an American pop group, formed in 1965 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Discovered by The Osmonds, the group had a small start with their first charting single “Special Someone” in 1972. But following a move to ABC Records, the Heywoods would later score a more successful hit “The Heartbreak Kid” which barely scraped the Top 40 singles chart in 1974. Later that year the band scored their biggest and most successful hit with “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero”, which sold over three million copies and was certified gold. The follow-up “Who Do You Think You Are” became a sizable hit, breaking into the Top 20 pop singles chart. The band’s last charting single was, fittingly enough, “Our Last Song Together” in 1975. Following disappointing chart performance as well as a failed try at country music, the Heywoods disbanded in the 1980s. In the mid-1990s the band reunited as an oldies music/nostalgia act, having made occasional appearances. The full biography follows below:
Founded by Bo Donaldson (born Robert Walter Donaldson) in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1965, Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods are an American music group who made it big in the 1970’s with their biggest hit “Billy Don’t Be a Hero.” The Cincinnati-based garage band consisted of Donaldson himself (keyboards), Mike Gibbons (lead vocals, trumpet), David Krock (bass guitar, backing vocals), Rick Joswick (lead vocals, tambourine), Gary Coveyou (saxophone, flute, backing vocals), Richard Brunetti (drums).
In 1971, the band was discovered by The Osmonds, who later contracted them for tour dates which also led them to get a contract with Family Productions record label. In 1972, Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods released their first single “Special Someone” which became a minor pop hit.
Bo Donaldson and the Heywood’s peak year with the hit “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero”
After a year, the band moved to ABC Records and released “Deeper and Deeper” which produced by Steve Barri. Although their first two singles were both failures, Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods started to make a big impression in 1974 when they released the third single “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero”. It reached the #1 spot on the US Singles Chart and it received a gold disc award by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in June 1974. The follow-up single, “Who Do You Think You Are” became a minor hit and made to #15 in the US chart.
“Billy Don’t Be a Hero” was one of the most popular songs during this particular 70s music scene.
Final years and split
In 1975, Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods continued to release singles for a variety of labels but unfortunately none of them became a hit. By 1978, the band was known as “The Bo Donaldson Band” and switched to country music but achieved no success. They eventually split up in the 1980’s.
Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods reunited in 1996 as a nostalgia act and were engaged in some appearances which included Original Idols Live, a nostalgia show hosted by Barry Williams. That same year Varese Vintage Records also released a compilation called Best of Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods.