First Hit #1: April 21, 1973
Tony Orlando tends to sound a little goofy, and in this case that inherent goofiness works quite well, since Tie a Yellow Ribbon is a goofy song. The protagonist was in prison for three years for an undisclosed reason – I’m going to go with arson. My initial choice was aggravated pimping, but it is Tony Orlando – and tells his beloved to tie a ribbon around the tree if she wants him back. So for most of the song he worries about whether or not she tied that ribbon. Then, as it turns out, she tied 100 ribbons around the tree! Comedy!
It’s silly enough, and is fun and catchy in an incredibly goofy way. I remember that back in the day I wasn’t completely fond of it, but listening to it right now it is a fun track that plays to the group’s strength. It downplays anything serious and embraces the goofy charm that Orlando can pour out when he wants to. It’s a song that works best when sung by a bit of a doofus, leading one to believe he’s going to meet up with a cute-but-dim girl and they’ll have a teary and amusing reunion under that same tree. It’s stupid fun, but it’s pop music, some of the best pop songs are stupid fun.