The Oak Ridge Boys Elvira40 Tour
As one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry, the four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of country hits, earning them Grammy, Dove, CMA and ACM awards. Every time they step before an audience, the Oaks bring four decades of charted singles, and 50 years of tradition, to a show widely acknowledged as among the most exciting anywhere.
Their string of hits includes the country-pop chart-topper Elvira, as well as Bobbie Sue, Dream On, Thank God for Kids, American Made, I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes, Fancy Free and Gonna Take A Lot of River.
The Oaks represent a tradition that extends back to World War II. The original group, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, began performing country and gospel music in nearby Oak Ridge. They called themselves the Oak Ridge Quartet, and they began regular Grand Ole Opry appearances in the fall of 1945. In the mid-fifties, they were featured in Time magazine as one of the top drawing gospel groups in the nation.
Their history will now forever be enshrined in the hallowed halls of the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee, where The Oak Ridge Boys—Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban—were inducted on October 25, 2015.
Meet The Band
A native of Taylortown, Texas, Duane (“Ace”) Allen had formal training in both operatic and quartet singing before becoming a member of the Oaks in 1966. He is a member of the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame and has written a book on the history of gospel music. He also holds an honorary doctorate from a Christian college.
Duane graduated from Paris Junior College, and then Texas A&M University at Commerce, Texas. He received a B.S. in Music from Texas A&M, studying with Metropolitan Opera stars Richard Webb and William Abbott. For his classical music degree, Duane concentrated on voice, piano, and composition. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from both Paris Junior College and Texas A&M in 2017.
Joe is an avid writer and songwriter. He became a published children’s book author in 1997 with The Molly Books, a four-book series published by Ideal’s Children’s Books. In 2003, New Leaf Press published G. I. Joe and Lillie: Remembering a Life of Love and Loyalty, an inspirational biography Joe penned about his parents. His song by the same name was included on the Oaks’ Colors album, released the same year.
Joe has been singing since he was about four years old and in his mid-teens fell in love with Southern Gospel music harmony. He joined the Oaks in 1973, just prior to the group’s emergence on the Country music scene.
William Lee Golden
William’s story began as the son of a farmer in rural south Alabama. Surrounded by music, he started singing at the age of seven and began performing regularly on his grandfather’s weekly radio show. It was there that his love of harmony came alive and by his teenage years, William grew to appreciate the country Gospel, doo-wop, and pop quartets.
It wasn’t long before he was joining up with The Oak Ridge Boys. Nobody back home in Brewton, Alabama could’ve imagined all that William would accomplish with The Oak Ridge Boys since joining the band in 1965 or during his successful period as a solo artist, while on a break from the quartet.
Richard began his singing career as a six-year-old soprano in Sunday school in his native Camden, New Jersey. He loved sports and music, decided he had more talent for the latter, and developed a simple goal: “I wanted to be in the best vocal group in the world.”
Prior to joining The Oak Ridge Boys in 1972, Richard sang with various groups, eventually joining J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, which afforded him the opportunity of a lifetime—the chance to sing with Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll, every night on stage, recording with him, and appearing in one of his movies (Elvis on Tour). It was during this time in the midst of Elvis’ heyday that Richard was offered the position as bass singer for The Oak Ridge Boys.