An Oak Ridge Boy Loves the Jersey Shore

Richard Sterban (Image by Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia)
The Oak Ridge Boys provide their unique 4-portion harmonies to Surflight Theatre’s out of doors stage in Beach front Haven on Monday, Aug. 31, for two reveals, at 5:30 and 8 p.m.
For the bass singer, Richard Sterban, the Island overall look normally takes him back again to his teenage years. Born in Camden and elevated in Collingswood, Sterban stated a church he attended had a men’s group that favored to consider deep sea fishing visits.
“So they would constitution a boat out of Barnegat Gentle,” he recalled. “I usually appeared ahead to people outings, riding down the Boulevard and heading via Surf City, Harvey Cedars, Loveladies, prior to having to Barnegat Mild. I truly like the Jersey Shore. For a when, I had a rental in Atlantic Metropolis.”
He’ll consider of those times when he crosses the Causeway Bridge en route to Seashore Haven.
“The shore is a terrific position to unwind,” he claimed. “The pace is a little slower. I have normally like boating, sailing and swimming.”
Sterban reported he expects to see a good deal of lovers at their gig.
“Country new music has a massive subsequent in South Jersey,” he claimed. “And what’s definitely fantastic is to see so numerous youthful admirers.”
The Oak Ridge Boys depict a custom that extends back to Environment War II. The initial group, centered in Knoxville, Tenn., started executing state and gospel audio in close by Oak Ridge, where the atomic bomb was staying made. They originally referred to as on their own the Oak Ridge Quartet and commenced frequent Grand Ole Opry appearances in the drop of ’45. In the mid-’50s, they ended up featured in Time journal as a single of the top rated-drawing gospel groups in the country.
By the late ’60s, with more than 30 customers owning occur and long gone, they had a lineup that incorporated Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, Noel Fox and Willie Wynn. Allen and Golden, known for his “mountain man” appear, are however with the group. Sterban became a member in 1972 a calendar year afterwards, Joe Bonsall, who handles most of the lead vocals, joined. Except for a period when Golden still left the team, the line-up has stayed intact.
And they are not exactly, very well, “boys.” Sterban and Allen are 77, and Golden is 81. The “baby” of the group, Bonsall, is 72.
“We’ve expert a good deal of longevity,” mentioned Sterban. “I feel the explanation is the love we have for what we do – the want, the longing to truly get up there and do it. We really like to sing alongside one another, to harmonize with each other. It is what our lives are all about.”
Sterban commenced his singing profession as a 6-12 months-aged soprano in Sunday school. By seventh grade he was a tenor in the glee club the next 12 months he dropped two levels to a bass.
“I beloved sports and tunes, but I found I experienced more talent for the latter, and designed a easy goal: I wanted to be in the finest vocal team in the world,” he recalled.
Prior to becoming a member of the Oak Ridge Boys, Sterban sang with numerous teams, finally becoming a member of J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, which afforded him the opportunity of a life time – the prospect to sing with Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, singing with him on stage, recording with him, and showing in 1 of his movies. “Elvis on Tour.”
From Elvis to Elvira: My Daily life On Phase
It was for the duration of this time in the midst of Elvis’ heyday that Sterban was made available the position as bass singer for the Oak Ridge Boys, and he had to make a big determination –remain on the significant stage or chase his possess dream.
This time period of Sterban’s existence is protected in element in his new reserve, From Elvis to Elvira: My Lifestyle On Stage, co-prepared with Steven Robinson. The e-book involves lots of stories and anecdotes about Elvis and The Oak Ridge Boys.
Upon conference Elvis for the initial time, he reported, Presley had “incredible magnetism.” In his reserve, he writes, “I was certainly familiar with his audio – and preferred considerably of it – but I wasn’t what would be deemed a huge lover. When I met him, even though, I immediately comprehended the attraction that fans experienced to him. I imagined, ‘Wow, there is a rationale this person is the most important star in the environment.’ It appears like a fantasy or a cliché, but I swear you could just about perception him in advance of he walked into a room. On this occasion, he was ‘fashionably late.’ Every person was completely ready, even anxious to start off but, as we would study, rehearsals – like recording classes and sometimes concerts – would start only when Elvis was completely ready for them to start out. Inevitably, we listened to footsteps coming down the corridor and then, instantly, the door to the ballroom opened and in walked ‘the fellas.’ It seemed as if there were six or far more guys who came in and then parted, like the Crimson Sea, to expose Elvis strolling in driving them, seeking each and every little bit like the King of Rock. He was dressed exactly like a single may well be expecting to see him: a darkish two-piece match with his signature superior, Napoleonic collar, a patterned large-collared shirt, and carrying a black cane with a gold ornament on top.”
It was in the spring of 1981 when the Oak Ridge Boys launched “Elvira” and their career took off. The track was penned and initially recorded by Dallas Frazier 15 yrs earlier. Kenny Rogers had a edition of it when he fronted his band the To start with Edition, in the late ’60s.
“There ended up in all probability 10 artists who had recorded it ahead of us,” explained Sterban. “Our producer, Ron Chancey, played it for us, and we all appeared at every single other and assumed ‘This could be a strike.’”
The authentic track had the “giddyup oom papa oom papa mow mow.” But Sterban reported it did not have those lines sung in bass type, so Chancey informed him to “have entertaining with it.” Sterban gladly obliged.
“‘Elvira’ is unquestionably a highlight of our concerts,” he said. “When the song starts off with the opening instrumental chords, people stand up and clap.”
Ahead of it concluded its tremendous operate, “Elvira” had sold far more than two million copies as a single and a different three million for the album, which was titled Fancy Absolutely free. It topped the nation chart, then crossed over to top rated the pop charts. It received the group’s initially Grammy for a nation document, and a few country new music entities named it “Single of the Calendar year.” It even won Chancey a “Producer of the Year” award from the Region Songs Association.
“It totally carried us to a different stratosphere,” mentioned Sterban. “The song, particularly the strains I sang, was seemingly on everybody’s lips. It was unbelievable.”
Other live performance favorites consist of the stick to-up hit to “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue,” “Y’all Appear Back again Saloon,” “American Made,” “I’ll Be Correct to You” and “Thank God for Youngsters.”
Sterban reported the Surflight concert will also function newer music.
“We’ve performed a good deal of recording above the training course of the several years, and we’ve been working with Dave Cobb, who is probably the most in-demand from customers producer here in Nashville,” he said. “We like going into the recording studio and creating new audio. That creative approach is some thing that retains us heading.”
Considering that the early 1970s, the group has released additional than 35 albums, together with 8 Christmas albums. They are customers of both the Gospel Songs and State Music halls of fame.
“We also appreciate America and the freedoms we have in this country, so our exhibits also involve patriotic tunes,” he claimed. “What we give is a entertaining evening of amusement for people today of all ages.”
Sterban mentioned undertaking has taken a back seat due to the pandemic.
“It’s been a tricky yr, not currently being able to travel all-around substantially,” he reported. “It’s also been tough because we shed two seriously close close friends, Kenny Rogers and Charlie Daniels.”
Tickets are $69.50 per individual. For tickets, connect with the box place of work at 609-492-9477 or log on to
— Eric Englund

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