The groups most popular song, recorded in 1981, vaulted them into the national spotlight. According to their biography, “Their recording of “Elvira” an obscure, doo wop-style novelty song from the ‘60s, became a major, Grammy-winning crossover smash (making) them a genuine phenomenon.”
The Oak Ridge Boys continue their tour of the nation concluding their current tour performing in Nashville, Tennessee for the first time in 20 years.
SUU Alumni Executive Director Mindy Benson said the Oak Ridge Boys’ connection to Cedar City goes back to their 1975 arrival in town. “They hadn’t made it big yet and couldn’t get to the next town without some gas and food money,” she said.
Benson’s father (the late Ken Benson), who was director of student activities at the time, was approached by the group asking for an opportunity to perform to earn some funds.
“I was four (years old) and I fell in love with the bass singer,” she said. “(My father) set up a concert, brought them to our house and fed them dinner, and a few years later they broke it big with their first big hit and they’ve never forgotten Cedar City.”
Benson said the group has performed in Cedar City between 20 and 30 times since their original visit to Cedar City.
“The reason they came west this year and three years ago was because of SUU,” she said. “They called us up and asked if we wanted a show and they booked the rest of their tour around us.”
“Their Christmas show in particular is such a big part of people’s family traditions,” Benson said. “SUU students probably grew up listening to their family’s Oak Ridge Boys Christmas album.”
The Oak Ridge Boys talked with KCSG's Dawn Mclain.