Elvira (song)

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"Elvira"
Elviradallasfrazier.jpg
Single by Dallas Frazier
from the album Elvira
B-side"That Ain't No Stuff"
ReleasedJune 3, 1966
GenreCountry
Length2:30
LabelCapitol
Songwriter(s)Dallas Frazier
Producer(s)Marvin Hughes
Dallas Frazier singles chronology
"Space Command"
(1954)
"Elvira"
(1966)
"Just a Little Bit of You"
(1966)

"Elvira" is a song written and originally performed by Dallas Frazier in 1966 on his album of the same name. Though a minor hit for Frazier at the time of release, the song became a bigger and much more famous country and pop hit by The Oak Ridge Boys in 1981. "Elvira" is now considered one of the Oak Ridge Boys' signature songs.

Song history[edit]

Songwriter Dallas Frazier wrote "Elvira" in 1966 and included it as the title track of an album he released that year. The title of the song was inspired not by the name of a woman, but by the name of a street in East Nashville, Tennessee.[1] The song's chorus bears a resemblance to the song "Searchin" written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and recorded famously by the Coasters.

Frazier's version peaked at No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was a top 40 hit in Canada, reaching No. 27.[2] A number of other artists recorded the song through the years with varying degrees of success, most notably Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.[3] Rogers' version appeared on the album Something's Burning, which reached the top 30 of the Billboard 200. In 1978, alternative country recording artist Rodney Crowell recorded his cover of "Elvira" (with "Ashes by Now" on the B-side).[4] Crowell's version hit No. 95 on Billboard's country chart.[3]

Cover versions[edit]

Rodney Crowell version[edit]

"Elvira"
Elvirarodneycrowell.jpg
Single by Rodney Crowell
from the album Ain't Living Long Like This
B-side"Ashes by Now"
ReleasedAugust 1978
GenreCountry
Length3:30
Label
Songwriter(s)Dallas Frazier
Producer(s)Brian Ahern
Rodney Crowell singles chronology
"Elvira"
(1978)
"Baby Better Start Turnin' 'Em Down"
(1978)

In 1978, twelve years after Frazier's original version, Country singer Rodney Crowell covered the song and released it as his debut single on Warner Bros. Nashvile and Reprise Records, and later appearing on his debut studio album Ain't Living Long Like This. Crowell's version peaked at 95 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.[3] Crowell's version also served as an inspiration for the Oak Ridge Boys's version.[3]

The Oak Ridge Boys recording[edit]

"Elvira"
The Oak Ridge Boys - Elvira.jpg
Single by the Oak Ridge Boys
from the album Fancy Free
B-side"A Woman Like You"
ReleasedMarch 1981 (U.S.)
Recorded1981
StudioWoodland Sound Studios, Nashville, Tennesse[5]
GenreCountry, doo wop
Length3:45 (album version)
2:39 (single edit)
LabelMCA
Songwriter(s)Dallas Frazier
Producer(s)Ron Chancey
The Oak Ridge Boys singles chronology
"Beautiful You"
(1980)
"Elvira"
(1981)
"(I'm Settin') Fancy Free"
(1981)

The Oak Ridge Boys, who were fans of Rodney Crowell's version of "Elvira",[3] decided to include the song on their 1981 album Fancy Free. Their rendition featured Joe Bonsall on lead vocals,[6] as well as bass singer Richard Sterban's deep-voiced vocal solo on the chorus ("giddy up ba-oom papa oom papa mow mow").[7] "Elvira" quickly climbed the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and over Memorial Day weekend it became the group's fourth number one country hit. It was also their biggest pop hit, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 that July and August.

"Elvira" was certified platinum for sales of two million units by the Recording Industry Association of America, a distinction for a country song that for years it shared only with "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

Single and album edits[edit]

The single version fades out after the first key change, more than a minute earlier than the album version (which features two more key changes and "oom pa-pa mow mow" choruses).

Re-recordings[edit]

The group has re-recorded the song several times since its original release.

In 2009, a live version was released on the group's "A Gospel Journey" DVD and CD. This version includes a guest appearance from Tim Duncan on bass vocals for one line.

In 2011, in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the group's original recording, a new version was recorded and released on "It's Only Natural", an album released exclusively through Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. The new version was produced by the original's producer, Ron Chancey.

Also in 2011, a version was recorded with the Dukes of Dixieland for their "When Country Meets Dixie" album.

Another live version was released on the Oak Ridge Boys' 2014 live album, "Boys Night Out."

In 2015, the Oak Ridge Boys recorded the song with a cappella group Home Free on their album Country Evolution.[8]

In 2017, the group recorded a live-in-the-studio version with Blake Shelton as a Spotify exclusive release.

In 2018, the group wrote a variation of "Elvira", in collaboration with the Tennessee Titans, named Titans Code of Conduct.[9] Although the lyrics were drastically changed, the melody stays the same.

Chart history[edit]

Dallas Frazier[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 72
Canadian RPM Top Singles 27

Rodney Crowell[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[11] 95

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Elvira by The Oak Ridge Boys". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  2. ^ Jason Ankeny (1939-10-27). "Dallas Frazier | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  3. ^ a b c d e Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Elvira - The Oak Ridge Boys | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  5. ^ "Fancy Free".
  6. ^ Kosser, M. (2006). How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A.: 50 Years of Music Row. Hal Leonard. p. 253. ISBN 9780634098062. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  7. ^ Poyfair, Pat (24 June 1994). "For Music's Oak Ridge Boys, Harmony Is A Way Of Life". Deseret News. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Home Free - Elvira (feat. the Oak Ridge Boys)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-14. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  9. ^ "Titans 2018 Code of Conduct - Oak Ridge Boys". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-14.
  10. ^ "Dallas Frazier Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Rodney Crowell Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  12. ^ David Kent: Australian Chart Book, Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd., 2010, ISBN 9780646529950
  13. ^ "The Oak Ridge Boys – Elvira". Top 40 Singles.
  14. ^ "The Oak Ridge Boys Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  15. ^ "The Oak Ridge Boys Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "The Oak Ridge Boys Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 8/01/81". Tropicalglen.com. 1981-08-01. Archived from the original on 2017-01-18. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  18. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  19. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 26, 1981". Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2017.

Works cited

  • Whitburn, Joel, "Top Country Songs: 1944–2005," 2006.
  • Whitburn, Joel, "Top Pop Singles: 1955–2006," 2007.