(VIDEO) The Oak Ridge Boys Joe Bonsall Passes Away at 76

Remembering Joe Bonsol: A Legacy of Music, Faith, and Family

Joe Bonsall Dead: The Oak Ridge Boys Member Was 76

Joe Bonsol, the beloved tenor of The Oak Ridge Boys, passed away at the age of 76. The announcement came in a heartfelt statement released by the group, marking the end of an era for the legendary quartet. Bonsol, a key member of The Oak Ridge Boys for over five decades, left an indelible mark on both the country and gospel music scenes.

Early Life and Joining The Oak Ridge Boys

Born on May 18, 1948, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Joe Bonsol’s journey into the world of music began at a young age. His passion for singing and music eventually led him to join The Oak Ridge Boys in 1973. At that time, the group was transitioning from gospel to country music, a move that would prove to be highly successful. Bonsol’s tenor voice became a defining feature of the group’s sound, helping to propel them to new heights of fame and popularity.

A Remarkable Career

Over the years, The Oak Ridge Boys produced numerous classic songs, including “Elvira,” “Bobby Sue,” and “American Made.” The group’s harmonious blend and distinctive sound earned them several Grammy Awards and an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Bonsol’s contributions were pivotal in shaping the group’s legacy.

In a statement released by The Oak Ridge Boys, they paid tribute to Bonsol, highlighting his impact and achievements: “Joseph S. Bonsol, 76, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, passed on to glory on July 9, 2024, from complications of ALS. As a 50-year member of the American music group The Oak Ridge Boys, Joe is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and has been 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.”

Personal Life and Interests

Beyond his musical talents, Joe Bonsol was a man of many passions. He was an avid reader, writer, and banjo player, and he loved working on his farm and cheering for the Philadelphia Phillies. However, his family and faith always came first. Bonsol’s family shared, “Joe loved to sing, he loved to read, he loved to write, he loved to play the 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.”

Joe Bonsol’s literary contributions included 11 books, with his latest memoir, “I See Myself,” set to release in November. His writing provided another outlet for his creativity and passion for storytelling, allowing fans to connect with him on a deeper level.

A Battle with ALS

In January of this year, Joe Bonsol announced his retirement from touring due to his battle with ALS. In a personal statement, he wrote, “Many of you know I’ve been battling a slow onset over four years now of a neuromuscular disorder. I am now to a point where walking is impossible, so I have basically retired from the road. It’s been a great 50 years, and I’m thankful to all The Oak Ridge Boys band, crew, and staff for the constant love and support shown to me through it all. I will never forget, and for those of you who have been constantly holding me up in prayer, I thank you and ask for you to keep on praying.”

Despite the challenges posed by ALS, Bonsol faced his condition with courage and grace, continuing to inspire those around him.

Tributes and Legacy

Following his passing, numerous artists and friends paid tribute to Joe Bonsol, underscoring the profound impact he had on their lives. Lee Greenwood, a friend of nearly 50 years, wrote on social media, “I’m saddened by the loss of my friend of close to 50 years, Joe Bonsol. For so many years, he was the high voice with The Oak Ridge Boys, who I toured with almost every year of my career. Joe and I would have conversations on the road, sometimes before a concert and sometimes afterwards, about the crowd, the music, and who we are as Americans. My family sends prayers to the Bonsol family and The Oak Ridge Boys. We will miss you, Joe.”

John Rich also reacted to the news, stating, “We lost the great Joe Bonsol of The Oak Ridge Boys, and country music is crying today. Joe was a real friend and someone I looked up to, not only as an artist but as a man. He left a legacy of incredible music and endless accounts of his kindheartedness.”

The Bellamy Brothers shared their condolences, saying, “Heartbreaking to hear the news about Joe Bonsol passing. Joey was a true road brother and a great friend for many years. Deepest condolences to his family and to all The Oak Ridge Boys organization and his many fans.”

A Final Farewell

In accordance with Joe Bonsol’s wishes, there will be no funeral. Instead, his family has requested that donations be made to the ALS Association or to the Vanderbilt Medical Group ALS and Neuroscience Research Center. This gesture reflects Bonsol’s selflessness and commitment to helping others, even in death.

Unfortunately, this loss comes on the heels of another tragedy for The Oak Ridge Boys. William Lee Golden recently announced the death of his son, Rusty, at the age of 65. The group released a statement expressing their condolences: “Our hearts and our prayers are with William Lee Golden and family as he mourns the loss of his eldest son, Rusty. Rusty was a friend to all and a multi-talented songwriter, singer, and musician. We love you, Rusty, and we will see you on the other side.”


Joe Bonsol’s passing is a significant loss to the music world, but his legacy will continue to live on through his music, his writings, and the countless lives he touched. His story is one of talent, faith, and unwavering devotion to family. As we remember Joe Bonsol, we celebrate a life well-lived and a voice that will resonate in our hearts forever. Rest in peace, Joe Bonsol. Your legacy will continue to inspire and bring joy to generations to come.

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