The Oak Ridge Boys
Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
Oak Ridge Boys scored first Top 20 album in over a decade with The Boys Are Back
William Lee Golden left group for nearly a decade
Gained crossover hit with "Elvira"
Scored first No. 1 hit with "I'll Be True To You"
Provided backing vocals for Paul Simon's "Slip Slidin' Away"
Signed with Columbia for series of low-selling albums
Group officially adopted "Oak Ridge Boys" moniker
Group named changed to "Oak Ridge Quartet" in 1947 before Fowler sold rights to another group member
Group launched under the name Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers
Known for such albums as "Christmas" and "Colors"
Popular songs include "Bobbie Sue" and "Fancy Free".
The group's names has gone through a number of changes since its debut in 1943. Initially known as the Georgia Clodhoppers, they became the Oak Ridge Quartet in 1947. Group founder Wally Fowler sold the rights to the Oak Ridge Quartet name to another group member, Smitty Gatlin, in 1957, who led the new group until 1961, when producer Bud Praeger, suggested the Oak Ridge Boys as their new moniker.
The group's guitarist, Steve Sanders, replaced William Lee Golden in 1987. Sanders struggled with a variety of problems, including marital issues, which eventually led to his giving notice in 1995. However, he left the group prior to his declared final date, forcing the group to find a last minute replacement for shows. In 1996, Golden returned to the group, and Sanders ended his own life in 1998.
Their 1983 single, "American Made," was sold to Miller Beer for use in a television commercial against the group's wishes. Though the ad used slightly different lyrics, the group would not perform the song in concert during the ad's network run.