And though the country music quartet is an all-male group, it’s a woman behind much of their success: “Our producer walked into the studio with ‘Elvira’ and showed us what three minutes of magic could do for a career,” said Duane Allen. Member Joe Bonsall agreed, saying “‘Elvira’ took us from being a pretty big name in country music to being a household name in America.”
The song was released in 1981, and became a crossover pop smash for the group, earning them a Grammy and selling more than 2 million copies. “‘Elvira’ was one of the biggest hits ever,” said Brenda Lee at the Hall of Fame announcement on Wednesday. “Few country music artists have had the enduring popularity, cultural influence or crossover success of the Oak Ridge Boys.”
Lee, a member of both the Rock and Roll and Country Music Hall of Fames, announced the newest inductees before family, friends and colleagues gathered in the rotunda of the Hall of Fame building in downtown Nashville. “We’ll be making room for more bronze plaques on the wall this year,” she said.
On those plaques representing the class of 2015 will also be Bonnie, Maxine and Jim Ed Brown of the family trio The Browns (representing the Veterans Era Artist) and late guitarist and member of The Nashville A-Team, Grady Martin, whose career spanned five decades with hundreds of artists and albums.
“Grady’s name may not be known to country music fans,” said Lee. “But his guitar created the instantly recognized licks on Marty Robbins’s ‘El Paso,’ Roy Orbison’s ‘Oh, Pretty Woman,’ Willie Nelson’s ‘On the Road Again’ and Loretta [Lynn]’s ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter.’ He played on every album of my career, and I would not go in the studio without him there.”
The addition of the three new acts will increase membership in the Hall of Fame – created in 1961 – from 124 to 127 members. Thanking the Hall of Fame for voting the Oak Ridge Boys in, Bonsall pointed out, “There is Cooperstown, there is Canton, there is Cleveland. When it comes to the pinnacle of country music, there is Nashville, here in this building and we are honored.”
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