Steve Sanders (musician)
|Birth name||Steve Sanders|
|Also known as||Little Steve Sanders, "Singin'"|
|Born||September 17, 1952|
|Died||June 10, 1998 (aged 45)|
Cape Coral, Florida
|Instruments||Guitar, piano, mandolin, banjo,vocals|
|Associated acts||The Oak Ridge Boys, Pyramid|
Steve Sanders (September 17, 1952 – June 10, 1998) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. After playing rhythm guitar in the Oaks Band, Steve was asked to replace William Lee Golden, the baritone in The Oak Ridge Boys, who had left the group in 1987.
Sanders began singing gospel music at the age of five. -By the age of six, he was the sole support for his family. His father played piano, and "Little Stevie" would sing - mostly church appearances. Although he lacked formal education -Steve did not graduate from Highschool, he was a natural on stage. In addition to appearing on Broadway in The Yearling at the young age of twelve, he was recruited by Otto Preminger in 1967 for the film “Hurry Sundown” with Faye Dunaway and Jane Fonda. He also made appearances on Gunsmoke! Without dispute, Steve Sanders was the largest gospel act during these years. The Oak Ridge Boys, who were also a gospel act at the time, used to open for Little Stevie Sanders! Upon turning 18, he learned his father had squandered all of his money - Disillusioned and broke, Steve headed to London, began a band called Pyramid, and was known to jam with the local scene, including Mylon Lefever and 10 Years After. Years later, upon his return to the United States, Steve would provide vocals for a variety of projects at studios like Bang Records and Muscle Shoals. Steve made his debut with The Oak Ridge Boys band in 1981 as a rhythm guitarist. When William Lee Golden left, he moved to the front and sang baritone with the group from 1987 to 1995. In that position, Steve kept the Oak Ridge Boys on the charts by providing the blue eyed soul on Oaks classics - "Gonna Take Alot of River", "No Matter How High" and "Bridges and walls" -- the last number-one single the Oaks had was with Steve Sanders recording. 
Born in Richland Georgia on September 17 1952 to Lorraine and Herbert Sanders, Steve was the oldest of four children (Siblings David, Debra, Stepbrother Noah from Herbert's second Marriage). Steve didn't have a typical upbringing. His father said before his passing, "I heard his voice from downstairs singing with the piano, and thought, there is my retirement plan!" -- And the career of Little Stevie Sanders was born!
Steve met his first wife Mary Milbourn at Bang Records, they had two children, Gaylea and Sevren.
12 years after his divorce from Milbourn, Steve married Janet Riggins. The two had met backstage at Bally's in Las Vegas, where the Oaks were performing, and Miss Riggins was a dancer. They married at the Tennessee Governor's Mansion after an 18 month courtship.
Immediately after Steve's marriage - his ex-wife, began an incessant barrage of harassment and vexatious litigation ultimately draining him financially and causing Steve to leave the group he loved and whose voice had become a country music mainstay. 8 hours after Steve took his life, sheriff's officers showed up with the most recent and final set of papers filed by Ms. Milbourn.
Years later, the Oak Ridge Boys would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. They have yet to include Steve Sanders.
Sanders died in 1998 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
- 1966: A Young Boy's Prayer (MGM Records)
- 1968: I'm Happy Now (Canaan Records)
- 1969: Little Steve Sings Big (Canaan Records)
- 1969: This Is My Valley (Canaan Records)
- 1970: In The Springtime of his Years (Canaan Records)
- 1971: Now (Canaan Records)
With The Oak Ridge Boys
- 1987: Heartbeat
- 1988: Monongahela
- 1989: American Dreams
- 1989: Greatest Hits 3 (compilation)
- 1991: Unstoppable
- 1992: The Long Haul
- 1995: Country Christmas Eve
Singles he was featured on
- 1988: "Gonna Take a Lot of River"
- 1988: "Bridges and Walls"
- 1988: "Beyond Those Years"
- 1989: "No Matter How High"
- 1990: "Lucky Moon"
- Steve Sanders at the Internet Broadway Database
- Steve Sanders on IMDb
- Steve Sanders at AllMusic
- Steve Sanders at Find a Grave