• Joe Bonsall is a singer and author, best known for being a member of the gospel/country vocal quartet The Oak Ridge Boys.
• He was born in 1948 in Philadelphia and became interested in music while attending Frankford High School.
• He joined The Oak Ridge Boys in 1973 and the group is known for their collaboration with the Carter Family and Johnny Cash on the song “Praise the Lord and Pass the Soup”.
• He has authored numerous books, is married with two daughters and enjoys travelling and reading books in his spare time.
• He is 73 years old, stands at 6ft (1.85m) and has an estimated net worth of over $1 million.
Who is Joe Bonsall?
Joseph Sloan ‘Joe’ Bonsall Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA, on 18 May 1948 – his zodiac sign is Taurus, and he holds American nationality. He’s a singer and author, who’s probably known best for being a member of the gospel/country vocal quartet The Oak Ridge Boys.
Early life and education
Joseph was raised alongside his younger sister Nancy Marie in Philadelphia, by their mother Lillie Maude Collins and father Sloan Bonsall Sr.; it’s said that their father was a church minister, and their mother was a housewife.
Joseph became interested in music while attending Frankford High School, especially country music which he enjoyed listening to together with his parents.
It was when he was 15 that he started singing and playing the guitar, and 17 when he joined his first band. Joseph was interested in a couple of other activities during his four years at Frankford, including appearing in school plays, playing soccer and practicing creative writing.
Joseph matriculated in 1966, and even though he hasn’t spoken of his further career, some of his fans believe that he attended college, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1970.
The quartet The Oak Ridge Boys
The Oak Ridge Boys were founded back in the ‘40s – Joe joined the quartet in 1973. It was in 1943 that the country group Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers was formed in Knoxville, Tennessee; the men were asked so often to perform at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, that they eventually changed their name to what it is today.
The quartet initially comprised Wally Fowler, Johnny New, Curly Kinsey and Lon ‘Deacon’ Freeman, and they recorded their first song in 1947.
Wally was left alone in 1949, after the other three men formed their own group Curley Kinsey and the Tennessee Quartet, which led Wally to hire the Calvary Quartet to perform with him. They released their debut album in 1958 under Cadence Records.
It was in the ‘60s that The Oak Ridge Boys gained recognition, after releasing two albums under Warner Bros. Records, also an album under Festival Records, two under Skylite and another under Stateswood. They released 12 albums between 1966 and 1973, and then Joe joined the boys as their tenor. In that year, they collaborated with the Carter Family and Johnny Cash on the song “Praise the Lord and Pass the Soup”, which found itself in country music charts for the first time.
They became popular following the release of this song, and the following 15 years saw them tour around the US, Canada and Europe, and release many albums, such as “Y’all Come Back Saloon”, “Greatest Hits” and “Fancy Free”; they also made a guest appearance in various talk-shows, such as “The Merv Griffin Show” and “The Mike Douglas Show”.
The Oak Ridge Boys’ album “Where The Last Fast Lane Ends” was released in 1987, and they went on to release four more albums under MCA, and three under RCA Nashville.
In 1999, their baritone Steve Sanders committed suicide, after which they had various problems, mostly because record labels haven’t been keen on promoting them. They released their album “Front Row Seats” in 2006, and it spawned the hit song “It’s Hard to Be Cool in a Mini-Van”.
The Oak Ridge Boys released two more albums in 2012, and most recently, in December 2018, attended the funeral of George H. W Bush, the 41st US president, and sang “Amazing Grace”.
Their YouTube channel
The boys launched their YouTube channel “oakridgeboys” on 26 April 2007, and it’s today subscribed to by close to 50,000 people, and numbers over 20 million views of all their videos combined. They are mostly focused on uploading their songs, but one can also find videos featuring them giving interviews, performing live and spending time with their fans. We’re going to mention three of their most popular videos, which have helped them gain many subscribers.
The Oak Ridge Boys’ #1 video “Oak Ridge Boys – Gonna Take A Lot Of River” has been watched over a million times, and is a song about a man whose girlfriend has just broken up with him.
The boys’ second most popular video, “Oak Ridge Boys – Love Song” has been watched close to 400,000 times, and is about a man expressing his love for a woman.
Their third most watched video, “The Oak Ridge Boys – Little Things” has been watched more than 350,000 times, and is another love song.
Joe published his first book, the children’s book “Molly” in 1997, and in the same year his second, “The Home”. “Outside” followed in 1998, then “Brewster” in 1999, “G. I. Joe & Lillie” in 2003, and “The Oak Ridge Boys, an American Journey”.
He’s authored four other books: “An Inconvenient Christmas” and “An American Journey: Over 30 Years on the Road to Memories, Music and Legend” in 2004, “From My Perspective” in 2010, and “On the Road with The Oak Ridge Boys: Forty Years of Untold Stories and Adventures” in 2015.
Love life and wife
Joe prefers to keep the details of his love life away from the media’s attention, but has still allowed his fans to have a glimpse into it. Joe’s today married to Mary Bonsall, a non-celebrity American woman whom he met while he was performing with The Oak Ridge Boys in 1980; they married in 1982 in a private ceremony attended by many friends and family members.
Joe and Mary have two daughters together, Jennifer and Sabrina, a grandson Luke and a granddaughter Breanne; they also have a great-grandson Noah Chance.
Joe hasn’t spoken of any other women whom he has perhaps been with, and as of March 2022, he’s married to Mary Bonsall, and they have two daughters together.
Hobbies and other interests
Joe is passionate about travelling, and his career has taken him all around the world, while his dream travel destination seems to be Bristol, Tennessee, which is believed to be ‘the birthplace of country music’.
Joe was physically quite active during his 20s and 30s, as he and his friends enjoyed playing various sports together, especially soccer and tennis, however, he doesn’t play anything nowadays.
Joe enjoys reading books in his spare time, and his favorite author is Nicholas Sparks, while a couple of his favorite books include “Message in a Bottle”, “Dear John”, and “The Notebook”.
Joe is a fan Hollywood movies – his favorite actor and actress are Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, while a couple of his favorite films include “You’ve Got Mail”, “Sleepless in Seattle” and “The Terminal”.
Age, height and net worth
Joe’s age is 73. He has short grey hair and brown eyes, his height is 6ft (1.85m) and he weighs around 175lbs (80kgs).
As of March 2022, Joe’s net worth has been estimated at well over $1 million.