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Oak Ridge Boys’ Richard Sterban Releases Book – ‘From Elvis to Elvira’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Spend a day behind the walls of Graceland as Elvis hosts friends for an unforgettable experience that ends speeding through the streets of Memphis; Hear the encouragement offered by the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, and experience the heartbreak surrounding the death of his beloved wife, June; Sit at the control board and experience the recording process of a great song and watch as it becomes a worldwide hit; and hear the never-before-told details of the last time Richard and Elvis were together. All of these great stories plus so much more are part of the ‘From Elvis To Elvira’ paperback book that Country Music Hall of Fame member, as part of The Oak Ridge Boys, Richard Sterban released.
 
“I have been blessed! I have lived a life that very few get to experience. A boy from New Jersey singing with Elvis, singing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, singing around the world, and still enjoying every moment I walk on the stage,” says Richard Sterban. “I have been thinking about updating the Elvis to Elvira book with Steven Robinson and now with all this newly generated excitement about Elvis and his new movie, I think it’s time to start that process. We have about 50 copies of the old book left, but we will be going back and adding new material to it and making it available to the fans.”
 
Excerpt from Elvis to Elvira: The First Time I Met Elvis
The only member I hadn’t yet met was Elvis himself. As I’ve said, I was certainly familiar with his music—and liked much of it—but I wasn’t what would be considered a huge fan. When I met him, though, I immediately understood the attraction that fans had to him. I thought, “Wow, there’s a reason this guy is the biggest star in the world.” It sounds like a fantasy or a cliché, but I swear you could almost sense him before he walked into a room.
 
On this occasion, he was “fashionably late.” Everyone was ready, even anxious to begin but, as we would learn, rehearsals—like recording sessions and sometimes concerts—would begin only when Elvis was ready for them to begin. Eventually, we heard footsteps coming down the hall and then, suddenly, the door to the ballroom opened and in walked “the guys.” It seemed as if there were six or more guys who came in and then parted, like the Red Sea, to reveal Elvis strolling in behind them, looking every bit like the King of Rock. He was dressed exactly like one might expect to see him: a dark two-piece suit with his signature high, Napoleonic collar, a patterned high-collared shirt, and carrying a black cane with a gold ornament on top. He immediately came over to J.D. and grabbed him in a bear hug.
 
While it’s been told many times, J.D. had been somewhat of a hero to Elvis when he was growing up. As the bass singer for The Blackwood Brothers, he had allowed Elvis to come in the back door of various Memphis all-night gospel sings—long before Elvis could afford to buy a ticket, let alone became famous himself. Also, when Elvis’s mother died, J.D. and the rest of the Blackwoods sang at her funeral. Elvis never forgot J.D.’s kindness, and as he did with so many others, he seemed to make it part of his life’s work to repay such kindnesses many times over.
 
Standing in that hotel ballroom, Elvis and J.D. quickly caught up, and soon J.D. began introducing each one of us to him. Elvis interrupted him to say he didn’t need the introductions because he felt as if he already knew us. He hugged me and then we shook hands. I still remember looking into his eyes that first time. The magnetism was indescribable. I couldn’t believe that he knew my name and knew that I was the bass singer. I don’t know how we gathered ourselves well enough to sing at that rehearsal, but apparently, we did. I just kept thinking over and over that there was Elvis Presley, and here we were singing with him. It was a feeling that would continue every night; it never got old to me.
 
You can get a copy of Elvis to Elvira for $20 at www.oakridgeboys.com

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Formed over 19 years ago by Deon & Susan Unthank originally as SoGospelNews.com, the site was birthed from an email discussion group by the same name. The SoGospelNews email discussion list was created by the Unthanks after the Singing News shut down its extremely popular discussion list. SoGospelNews started as a simple webpage listing artists, fans, individuals, etc. that were avid supporters of the newly formed SoGospelNews talk list. The site eventually took on printing news for Southern Gospel artists, and eventually took on reviewing the latest recordings from both signed and independent artists within the small genre. SoGospelNews became the most viewed Southern Gospel website on the Internet with over 4,000,000 hits per month.

The Unthank family are now involved in the site, as well as the addition of over two dozen staff writers. The website is based out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In April 2010, SoGospelNews changed its name to AbsolutelyGospel.com. The name change allows them to cover news items of not only Southern Gospel, but also Country Gospel, Inspirational, and Black Gospel.

On January 5, 2011, Susan Unthank passed away, leaving the website in control of Deon, their son, Chris, and their daughter Amy.