I have no idea what led to the conversation, but the other night the wife, myself and a collection of friends got to talking about the the old Oak Ridge Boys song “Elvira”. Later that night, having it firmly lodged in my head, I played in on my local joint’s internet jukebox…
“Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow; Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow; Heigh-ho Silver, away”
It was the first time I had heard the song in probably 10+ years. Gotta love those internet jukeboxes in times like these. Later the next day it was still stuck in my head, so I decided I’d download it. The search results were curious, so I decided to see what Wiki had to say about this song from the past suddenly occupying so much time in my mind.
Songwriter Dallas Frazier penned “Elvira” in 1966 and included it as the title track of an album he released that year. A number of recording artists, most notably Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, recorded the song through the years, to varying degrees of success….
…In 1978, alternative country recording artist Rodney Crowell recorded his cover of “Elvira,” which became a very minor hit that year. However, Crowell’s version did have its fans most notably, The Oak Ridge Boys. In 1980, when the band began planning for their upcoming album Fancy Free, they decided to cover the song as well.Released in March 1981, “Elvira” quickly climbed the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart, and became their fourth No. 1 hit that Memorial Day weekend. Their rendition complete with Richard Sterban‘s deep voiced vocals on the chorus (“ba-oom papa oom papa mow mow”) would also become their biggest pop hit, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 that August.
Today, “Elvira” remains the Oaks’ most widely known song.
So, the Oak Ridge Boys covered it. Who knew? I sure didn’t. I knew Rodney Crowell covered it, but it never occurred to me that his version was pre-Oak Ridge Boys. Naturally, I went in search of the other versions. I found them all except the Dallas Frazier version. If anyone has that one please email it to me. Here are the other versions in chronological order:
Oak Ridge Boys performing Elvira: