January 16

The Oak Ridge Boys Takes On The Southern Gospel Standard “Jesus Is Coming Soon”

Before The Oak Ridge Boys, a vocal quartet from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, shifted to country, they were known for their dynamic four-part gospel harmonies. One of the gospel songs they picked to rend was R.E. Winsett’s 1942 track “Jesus Is Coming Soon” for their 1969 album Happening. 

The Oak Ridge Quartet

Before we discuss the song’s meaning, let’s take a quick look at the gospel roots of the Oak Ridge Boys, which consists of lead singer Duane Allen, baritone William Lee Golden, bass singer Richard Sterban, and tenor Joe Bonsall. 

In the 1940s, Wally Fowler, aka Mr. Gospel Music, moved the Oak Ridge Quartet (their former name) to Nashville. They became regulars on the Grand Ole Opry, appearing on the Opry’s Prince Albert Show. Fowler sold the rights to the name, and it was in 1962 that a group experimented using the name. In 1966, the Oak Ridge Boys were officially born. 

In just a few years, they have already become one of the most acclaimed gospel music acts, with three Grammy Awards and several Gospel Music Association Dove Awards under their belt. 

Meaning Behind The Song

“Jesus Is Coming Soon” was composed by R.E. Winsett in 1942, and it has since become a Southern Gospel standard. Then, in 1969, it won the “Song of the Year” at the very first GMA Dove Awards. The first band to professionally cover the song was The Sheltons. The Oak Ridge Boys followed with their own. 

Unlike the original acapella hymn, which is very rhythmical, their version with the instrumentals was more upbeat. Their harmony is a treat to the ears, giving a dynamic feel to the track. 

In April 2008, a VHS transfer copy of their 2005 Feed The Children TV special “Songs From The Heart” was uploaded on YouTube. The video has since been viewed 445,000 times, and it’s easy to see why they hook listeners. That is because they perform like they’re having the best time of their entire lives, and you couldn’t help but sing along with them and sway to the beat. 

If you’re looking for a song to perform in Church, we recommend The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Jesus Is Coming Soon,” which you can listen to in the video below. You can also check out the early The Oak Ridge Boys songs for more options.


The Oak Ridge Boys

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