Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

OAK RIDGE BOYS

Originally a country gospel vocal quartet formed '57 in Oak Ridge TN by Smitty Gatlin, turned full-time pro '61, broadened appeal by turning to country music. Lineup '80s incl. William Lee Golden (b 12 Jan. '39, Brewton AL), Richard Sterban (b 24 April '43, Camden NJ), Duane Allen (b 29 April '43, Taylortown TX), Joe Bonsall (b 18 May '48, Philadelphia); band incl. Mark Ellerbee, Harold Mitchell, Garland Craft, Don Breland. They won Gospel Music Association Dove award several times, Grammy awards '71 for 'Talk About The Good Times', '76 for 'Where The Soul Never Dies', CMA awards '78; chart hits incl. no. 1 'Cryin' Again' '78. Heavy touring, TV appearances kept them on top: no. 1 country hits '83--5 incl. 'American Made', 'Love Song', 'I Guess It Never Hurts To Cry Sometimes', 'Everyday', 'Make My Life With You', 'Little Things', 'Touch A Hand, Make A Friend'. LPs incl. Old Fashioned Gospel Quartet Music, All Our Favourite Songs, Smokey Mountain Gospel on Columbia, three vols of Spiritual Jubilee on Accord, Sensational on Starday. Albums on ABC-Dot incl. Room Service, Oak Ridge Boys Have Arrived, Y'all Come Back Saloon '77, Together '78; hits on parent MCA label incl. Fancy Free, Bobbie Sue, American Made (no. 2 country LP) and Deliver (no. 6, both '83), Step On Out '85 (no. 3); Golden issued solo American Vagabond '86, was voted out of group '87 with 'continuing musical and personal differences', replaced by band member Steve Sanders (b 17 Sep. '52, Richland GA). More albums were Where The Fast Lane Ends '87, Monongahela '88, New Horizons '89 on MCA; they switched to RCA for Unstoppable '91, The Long Haul '92. Sanders's marital problems saw his former wife attacking his girlfriend; this got out of hand by early '96 and he left the group replaced by returning Golden, differences forgotten. The hits had slowed down but they were still a big touring act.