Rowdy crowds and drunk cowboys can make for a troubling combination. The American country and gospel group, The Oak Ridge Boys, started gaining traction in the ’50s. They were so popular, in fact, that they were able to get punched by a drunk cowboy at one of their shows.
The Oak Ridge Boys Share Story
The band shared the fun story on its official Twitter account.
“Then there was the that time when a drunk cowboy took a punch at Don because his girlfriend was flirting with him … Don ducks and the punch gets Skip … knocks him out cold … a huge melee’ erupts in Odessa Texas … ah the days … Rest In Peace Boys … you were something!!”
The group was known for their songs like “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue,” and “American Made.” The Oak Ridge Boys consisted of Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban. They also had other members come and go during their long careers in the industry.
Members Who Have Passed Away
The band also included Skip Mitchell, who is the one who was punched in the story, as a temporary guitarist for the group. Today, the information was shared that he had passed away yesterday.
The group honored him in a tweet today.
“Skip Mitchell played leader guitar for us from 1976 to 1986 and earned CMA awards for BAND OF THE YEAR … He was an incredible sound engineer … He was a brother … and a road warrior… and he went HOME yesterday Rest Easy Skip …”
Besides being a guitarist, he was also a sound engineer. He was with the group when they won the CMA for Band of the Year. He was also around when the group won a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “Elvira.”
The Oak Ridge Boys had been a mix of gospel and country. In the mid ’70s they started working with Jim Halsey, who is a country music promoter. From there, they became internationally known and had a major shift to broader country music.
According to Taste of Country, the group also lost another member in 1998. Steve Sanders played with the group occasionally. He made his debut in the “Heartbeat” album and was also on hits like “Gonna Take a Lot of River.” He parted in 1995 after legal and personal battles. Sanders reportedly took his own life.
Members of the group have still been performing live recently. They canceled performances, such as one at the Grand Ole Opry, due to COVID-19.