May 18

The Oak Ridge Boys Made The Song “Elvira” Both A Country and Pop Hit

The Oak Ridge Boys are definitely one of the most distinguished quartets in the music industry. Their four-part harmonies helped them earn several country hits – including the song “Elvira,” which is considered the Oak Ridge Boys’ signature tune.

The song was originally released by country singer-songwriter Dallas Frazier as the title track of his 1966 album. However, Frazier only achieved a minor hit. 

Over a decade later, Rodney Crowell brought the song back to the radio when he released it as a single off his debut album. Though Crowell’s version failed to reach Top 40, it was the very version that inspired the Oak Ridge Boys to record and include “Elvira” on their 1981 album, Fancy Free.

When they first performed the song during a concert in Spokane, Washington, the group instantly knew that it would be a massive hit – with the audience going wild. Oak Ridge Boys’ version skyrocketed to Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, peaking at No. 1. “Elvira” was also the group’s biggest pop hit as it ranked No. 5 on Billboard Hot 100. 

Since then, Oak Ridge Boys have re-recorded the song several times.

The Story Behind The Song Will Blow Your Mind

Written by Dallas Frazier, “Elvira” tells the story of a man whose heart is on fire for the woman bearing the titular name. He described her with “eyes that look like Heaven, lips like cherry wine,” who could give him a funny feeling down his spine.

On the surface, you might easily assume that the classic song is about a girl named “Elvira. But the quartet’s bass singer Richard Sterban says what inspired Frazier was actually not a woman – but a street named Elvira in East Nashville, Tennessee.

You can listen to Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira” in the video below. Four decades later, the iconic group still includes the song in their live shows.


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The Oak Ridge Boys


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