In conjunction with his backing duo Dawn, singer Tony Orlando was one of the biggest pop stars of the early '70s, best remembered for the mammoth hit "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree." Born Michael Anthony Orlando Cassavitis in New York City on April 3, 1944, he entered the music business at the age of 16 following a successful audition for producer Don Kirshner. Orlando's first hit, 1961's "Halfway to Paradise," was written for him by Carole King, who also authored the Top 20 follow-up, "Bless You." However, after scoring a minor chart entry with "Happy Times (Are Here to Stay)," his career ground to a halt when Kirshner sold his company to Screen Gems, which showed considerably more interest in publishing music than recording it. Orlando was given a job with the company's promotional department, and in 1967 he was tapped by Columbia Records to head their own publishing division, April-Blackwood Music.