On This Day: The Oak Ridge Boys Were Invited to Join The Grand Ole Opry by Little Jimmy Dickens Dressed as William Lee Golden

by Jon D. B.
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On July 8, 2011, “One of the longest-running groups in country music,” The Oak Ridge Boys, would finally be invited to join The Grand Ole Opry family.

“According to historian Charlie Haymes it was 10 years ago today that Little Jimmy Dickens came onstage dressed as @wlgolden and invited us to join the greatest family on earth THE Grand Ole OPRY,” tweets the Oak Ridge Boys’ official Twitter Thursday.

And sure enough, on this day a decade ago, one of country’s most beloved groups would get their invitation to join the prestigious Opry family. Their official induction would then take place on August 6, 2011.

As for the one and only Little Jimmy Dickens – the man needs no introduction for classic country fans. The diminutive Dickins joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983. And in 1996, he and his wife, Mona, spent their 25th anniversary renewing their marriage vows on the Opry stage. There, he would remind the world: “I’m little … but I’m loud!”

Sadly, Dickens would pass from a stroke in 2015. But his memory lives on thanks to the Oak Ridge Boys and the Opry themselves!

“On this day in 2011, The @oakridgeboys were surprised with an invitation to become members by Little Jimmy Dickens!” the Opry posts in tandem to the Boys on their official Twitter. “We are so excited to celebrate their 10 year Opry anniversary on August 7th!”

That’s right, The Oak Ridge Boys are celebrating their decade induction anniversary come August 7th, 2021 at the Grand Ole Opry. See the tweet above for more info!

The Remarkable History of The Oak Ridge Boys

As the Opry describes the legendary country boys, “The Oak Ridge Boys were first nationally known as a gospel quartet. After moving onto the country charts, they took hit after hit to the top in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.”

Their sound, however, would remain “deeply rooted in country gospel harmony,” as any fan knows.

Fascinatingly, The Oak Ridge Boys‘ existence “dates back to World War II, circa 1942-1943,” cites the Opry on their official bio of the boys. It was then that a group from Knoxville, Tennessee began performing gospel songs in the nearby town of Oak Ridge. As any Tennessean knows, Oak Ridge was (and is today) the home of an atomic bomb research facility.

When they first began, the group was known as the Oak Ridge Quartet. Remarkably, their first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry would come all the way back in 1945. After that, they would make their first recordings for the masses in 1947. Then, with a move to Nashville, the Quartet would become the Boys – and the rest is history.

As for the Oak Ridge Boys we know today, Opry cites that “William Lee Golden joined in 1965, Duane Allen in 1966, Richard Sterban in 1972, and Joe Bonsall came onboard in 1973.”

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