Still touring after all these years, The Oak Ridge Boys (or at least the version of the band that experienced the most commercial success since its inception in 1943) launches its 29-city Celebration Tour at the Alabama Theatre at barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, which is located only 10 miles north of The Dayton House on the Myrtle Beach oceanfront.
Guests at The Dayton House can see the multi-award winning quartet live on stage, perhaps for the last time with the complete lineup of lead singer Duane Allen, baritone William Lee Golden, bass Richard Sterban and tenor Joe Bonsall. Well-known for No. 1 hits like "Elvira," "American Made," and "Bobbie Sue," The Oak Ridge Boys belong to both the Gospel and County Music Halls of Fame, and have a combined 19 awards between their Grammy's, Dove Awards, CMA and ACMA honors.
But the story of The Oak Ridge Boys' success story runs deeper than their peak popularity in the 1970s and '80s. Originally formed as Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers in 1943, the band began as a way to entertain workers who were quartered at a top-secret nuclear research facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They soon became The Oak Ridge Quartet before morphing from a bluegrass band to a gospel act, and in 1961 they became known as The Oak Ridge Boys.
That was before the current lineup arrived and helped the act make the transition as a crossover act with commercial country success. Golden and Allen joined the band in the mid-1960s, with Sterban and Bonsall coming on board in the early 1970s. Those four found the chemistry to take Nashville by storm with their unique sound and tight four-part harmonies. "Elvira," still one of the biggest hits in country music history, broke open doors like no other gospel act had before.
The rest is history, and the quartet plans to pay home to the band's rich past when they debut the 2017 version of the Celebration Tour. The Alabama Theatre is a fitting tour debut since it was opened by fellow County Music Hall of Fame member Alabama, but the charmingly intimate and acoustically perfect venue seats only 2,000 so tickets are going fast. To purchase tickets or for more info, visit www.alabama-theatre.com. While you are there, check out these coming shows:
* Texas Tenor, April 8: After gaining national fame on the hit TV show "America's Got Talent," the Texas Tenors bring their one-of-a-kind act to the Alabama Theatre for a one-night performance.
* Rick Thomas, April 15: The Alabama Theatre provides a little relief from Tax Day with the magic of illusionist Rick Thomas. You have to see this show to believe it.
* Rick Alviti, April 30: This international known Elvis Presley tribute artists brings his act and his enter showband to the Alabama Theatre for a look at the life and career of The King.
* Lorretta Lynn, May 6: The "Coal Miner's Daughter" comes to the Grand Strand after a successful career that has spanned nearly 60 years.
For the perfect ending to great night at one of the Alabama Theatre’s many big-name shows, stay at The Dayton House in downtown Myrtle Beach and soak up all the music and magic the Grand Strand has to offer.