The Oak Ridge Boys. "Elvira". New Live Music Video.

Music video by The Oak Ridge Boys performing "Elvira"

Elvira" is a song written by Dallas Frazier which became a famous country and pop hit by The Oak Ridge Boys in 1981, now considered one of their signature songs.

 

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. 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 #72 on the Billboard Hot 100. A number of other artists recorded the song through the years with varying degrees of success, most notably Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.

 

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). While Crowell's version was only a very minor hit, it 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 record the song as well.

 

The Oak Ridge Boys already had a very successful career by 1981. They had five gold albums to their credits, with one Greatest Hits collection about to go platinum. Most of their hits had reached number one in Billboard or CashBox, and a few had crossed over to the pop and adult contemporary charts. However, they were still looking for that one song that really defined them. In May 1979, William Lee Golden told People magazine: "Inevitably our music will cross all borders and labels. Someday we're going to run across something that everybody will like at the same time. When THAT happens, we'll have made it."

 

"Elvira" proved to be that song. Released in March 1981 with Joe Bonsall on lead vocals, "Elvira" quickly climbed the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and over Memorial Day weekend it became the group's fourth no. 1 country hit. Their rendition—which included bass singer Richard Sterban's deep-voiced vocal solo on the chorus ("giddy up ba-oom papa oom papa mow mow")—was also their biggest pop hit, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 that July and August.

"Elvira" was certified platinum for sales of 2 million units by the Recording Industry Association of America, a distinction that, for years, it shared only with "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

 

Single and album edits

 

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).

 

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

Lyrics

 

Elvira, Elvira, my heart's on fire, for Elvira

Eyes that look like heaven, lips like cherry wine
That girl can sure enough make my little light shine
I get a funny feelin' up and down my spine
'Cause I know that my Elvira's mine
So I’m singin'

Elvira, Elvira, my heart's on fire, for Elvira
Giddy Up, Oom Poppa Oom Poppa Mow Mow
Giddy Up, Oom Poppa Oom Poppa Mow Mow
High-o Silver, away.

Tonight I'm gonna meet her at the Hungry House Cafe
I'm gonna give her all the love I can, yes I am
She's gonna jump and holler
Cause I’ve saved up my last two dollars
We're gonna search and find that preacher man
And I’m singin’

Elvira, Elvira, my heart's on fire, for Elvira
Giddy Up, Oom Poppa Oom Poppa Mow Mow
Giddy Up, Oom Poppa Oom Poppa Mow Mow
High-o Silver, away.

Elvira, Elvira, my heart's on fire, for Elvira [fading]

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