The Oak Ridge Boys

Richard Sterban, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Joe Bonsall won five Grammy Awards. The four were collectively known as The Oak Ridge Boys and their first such award came in 1970, when the group won for the Best Gospel Performance.

The quartet was to win this same award thrice more: in 1974, 1976 and 1977. The Oak Ridge Boys possessed distinctive vocal harmonies and as the aforementioned awards show, became legendary performers of country music via a background steeped in gospel singing.

In 1978, the C.M.A. joined in declaring the singers to be Vocal Group Of The Year, and in 1981, this same organisation named “Elvira”, Single Of The Year. Nineteen eighty-one also marked their receipt of the fifth Grammy, this time for the Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. “Elvira”, while providing the group with a recording atop the country charts, also entered the pop charts, where it peaked at No.5.

William Lee Golden departed from the group, in 1987, when he was replaced by Steve Sanders. “No Matter How High” became The Oak Ridge Boys’ most successful hit, on the country charts, in 1989.

The names of more recordings by The Oak Ridge can be located in the suggested playlists.

Ronnie Milsap

Being born blind presented Ronnie Milsap with a myriad of additional challenges. One of the first was the rejection of both he and his father, by his mother, shortly after Ronnie’s birth in Robbinsville, North Carolina, in 1943. As a result, the pair moved in with Ronnie’s grandparents.

The radio introduced Ronnie to country music, and he was enrolled in a school for the blind, in Raleigh, in 1949. He studied to be a lawyer, in Georgia, in 1963 and 1964. One night, he attended a concert, in Atlanta, that featured Ray Charles. Ronnie was invited to meet his idol after the show and it was during this meeting that Ray encouraged him to follow his dream and pursue a career as a professional musician.

In 1965, Ronnie secured his first recording contract, in New York, where he was viewed to be a performer of rhythm and  blues. He moved to Memphis, in 1968, where he played and sang on the recording of Elvis Presley’s hit “Kentucky Rain”. A chance meeting with Charley Pride, the most popular singer in country music at that time, prompted Ronnie to try and make headway in Nashville. Still, it was to take until 1973 before his recordings would begin to enter the country charts.

A long succession of number-one hits followed, spanning a period of almost twenty years. Some even crossed over to the pop charts, with Ronnie’s most successful of these being “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me”, which peaked at No.5, in 1981.

The names of more tracks by Ronnie Milsap can be found in the suggested playlists.