Interview: The Oak Ridge Boys on the Atomic Bomb

By Courtney E. Smith

For most people, the first thought that pops to mind when you say the words the Oak Ridge Boys is that bass chorus on their hit single “Elvira”: “Giddy up, oom poppa, omm poppa, mow mow.” But for music nerds, the first thing that comes to mind is the Manhattan Project.

“We have one of the most unique histories, I think, in the music business to be honest with you — in that the original Oak Ridge Quartet began in Oak Ridge, TN. Right there where they were working on the Manhattan Project, the atomic bomb that would end the war in the Pacific,” tenor singer Joe Bonsall told Those original Oak Ridge Boys would entertain the factory workers between shifts, working on the bomb.

Now that’s an American band.

We chatted with the Oak Ridge Boys about the group’s bluegrass beginnings, how they ended up shooting the first ever country music video because their ’80s fanbase in Australia demanded it and how finding out their new live album would be released on vinyl brought back some old mastering techniques. Watch the full interview with the boys above.

Boys Night Out is in stores on April 15 — and available on vinyl.


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