The Oak Ridge Boys will perform in Pigeon Forge at Country Tonite on May 23. The Oaks are celebrating a big year in 2015. The band has released a new gospel CD titled, “Rock of Ages,” a compilation of gospel classics. In October, they will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. “It’s very humbling to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Richard Sterban, bass singer. “It’s difficult to find the words to describe how honored we are.”
Sterban is marking his 43rd year with the iconic band this year. Sterban got his start in the music industry working with the greatest rock and roll star ever, Elvis Presley. Sterban joined J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet which sang backup for the king.
“I got to know Elvis pretty well,” said Sterban. “Elvis liked to sing gospel music and he frequently had us gather round the piano and harmonize together. I remember this one time when we were singing together at the piano he walked over to me and put his arm around my shoulder and started singing bass into my ear to prove he could sing bass too.”
A year after joining the Stamps Quartet Sterban was offered an opportunity to join the Oak Ridge Boys. Having long been a fan of the band he found the opportunity too good to pass up despite some objections from friends.
“Elvis was understanding about me leaving,” said Sterban. “He asked if there was anything he could do to make me stay with the Stamps but my mind was made up. A couple years later we were performing in Las Vegas across the road from where Elvis was performing and I took the rest of the band over to meet him and he asked me again if I would like to come back and be a part of his band. I was flattered but I turned him down again. History has proved that I made the right decision.”
Indeed history has proven him right. Since joining the band the Oaks have toured the world and compiled numerous number 1 hits including their most iconic song “Elvira.”
“When we first heard the song we were all excited. We knew it was a special song but we did not know how special it was,” said Sterban. “We all thought this was the song we had been looking for. Our first performance of the song was in Spokane, Washington. We did the song right in the middle of the show and the crowd loved it. We encored it three or four times right there in the middle of the show and again at the end of the show.”
The band soon released “Elvira” which went straight to number one on country and pop charts. The song has since become one of the biggest selling singles in history.
The Oaks are one of the most enduring bands in music history. All the current members have been performing together for 42 years. William Lee Golden has been a member for 50 years, Duane Allen for 49 years, Sterban for 43 and Joe Bonsall for 42 years. Their timeless music continues to reach fans of all ages attracting new generations each year. The band performs 150 shows a year and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
“Our show is a family oriented show featuring great country music and great entertainment,” said Sterban. “We are accustomed to seeing young fans in our audience. We are stilling having fun and we have no plans to retire. As long as the Lord continues to bless us with good health we will continue to do what we do. The good Lord will let us know when it is time to retire.”
For ticket information call Country Tonite at 865-453-2003. The Oaks will be performing two shows on the 23rd at 3 and 8 p.m.