Bluegrass Legend And Grand Ole Opry Member Bobby Osborne Dies At 91

 Bluegrass Legend And Grand Ole Opry Member Bobby Osborne Dies At 91

Osborne (Photo: Grand Ole Opry archives)

Bluegrass great and GRAND OLE OPRY member BOBBY OSBORNE, the surviving half of the OSBORNE BROTHERS, has died at the age of 91. The OPRY confirmed his recent death this afternoon (6/27). The mandolinist and tenor singer had been an OPRY member since 1964, along with his banjo-playing brother SONNY, who died in 2021. BOBBY played his last OPRY show in MAY.According to BOBBY’S bio on the OPRY website, the KENTUCKY-bred brothers initially embarked on separate music careers, then “formed a duo in 1953 following BOBBY’s discharge from the U.S. MARINE CORPS. Their recording debut came in 1956 with tracks for MGM [RECORDS] that continue to rank among the classic examples of OSBORNE BROTHER style. It was on these recordings — notably including ‘Once More’ — that they changed the customary arrangement of trio harmony parts in Bluegrass. Their sound featured SONNY singing lead in a high tenor, with two harmony parts arranged below.”They signed with DECCA RECORDS in 1963 and continued to record. In addition to the now classic “Rocky Top,” their other hits include “Making Plans,” “Up This Hill and Down,” “Midnight Flyer,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Muddy Bottom,” “TENNESSEE Hound Dog,” “GEORGIA Pineywoods,” and “Ruby.” They charted 18 singles on BILLBOARD’s Top Country Singles chart between 1958 and 1980.They won a CMA Award for Vocal Group of the Year in 1971, and were inducted into the BLUEGRASS MUSIC ASSOCIATION’s HALL OF HONOR in 1994. SONNY retired from performing in 2005, while brother BOBBY continued to record and perform with his band, ROCKY TOP X-PRESS.The success of 1967’s “Rocky Top,” written by SONNY’s friends and neighbors, FELICE and BOUDLEAUX BRYANT, “propelled the brothers to international stardom — playing gigs in SWEDEN, JAPAN and GERMANY, to name a few,” according to THE TENNESSEAN. “The song reached such popularity that at one point the brothers opened and closed shows with [it].”GRAND OLE OPRY/OPRY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP VP/Executive Producer DAN ROGERS said BOBBY OSBORNE “was among the last of his generation of Bluegrass pioneers. What a profound loss for the OPRY family and Bluegrass music fans around the world. Mr. OSBORNE’s legacy will live forever on this stage we love and wherever his style is emulated. Thank you to BOBBY OSBORNE for more than 70 years of music and memories.”Osborne (Photo: Grand Ole Opry archives)

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