Joe Bonsall, Tenor With the Oak Ridge Boys for 50 Years, Dead at 76

July 9, 2024
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The vocalist announced his retirement from the road earlier this year because of his ongoing battle with ALS

Joe Bonsaill, the longtime tenor vocalist for the celebrated country and gospel group the Oak Ridge Boys, died Tuesday, July 9, from complications of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). He was 76.

The Oak Ridge Boys announced Bonsall’s death in a statement on their website: “As a 50-year member of the American music group the Oak Ridge Boys, Joe was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and inducted into the Philadelphia Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame.”

The statement also noted that Bonsai was a prolific author, writing 11 books, including his recent memoir, I See Myself, which was released last year. It also noted that, at Bonsall’s request, no funeral would be held; in lieu of flowers, donations were encouraged to the ALS Association or the Vanderbilt Medical Center ALS and Neuroscience Research Center.

“Joe loved to sing. He loved to read,” the statement continued. “He loved to write. He loved to play banjo. He loved working on the farm. And he loved the Philadelphia Phillies. But Jesus and his family always came first—and we will see him again on the Promised Day.”

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Bonsall spent just over 50 years in the Oak Ridge Boys: He joined the group in 1973 and announced his retirement from touring at the beginning of the year because of his ALS diagnosis. At the time Bonsall announced that he would step back from the road, it was reported that the Oak Ridge Boys planned to return to the studio in late January to record another album with producer Dave Cobb. 

This story is developing…



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