Story Behind the Song: Oak Ridge Boys, ‘Bobbie Sue’
In January of 1982, the Oak Ridge Boys released "Bobbie Sue" as the first single from their album of the same name. The song was co-written by Adele Tyler, Dan Tyler and Wood Newton. In April, the tune earned the Oaks their sixth No. 1 single on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart; it also found success on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 (No. 12) and the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart (No. 19). Below, Newton tells The Boot about writing the hit single.
I wrote "Bobbie Sue" with my good friends Dan and Adele Tyler. Dan had a little boy at the time, and one of the first words for a baby is "ba," like "bottle." So his son was saying "ba-ba," and it sparked this idea to write a song about "ba ba ba ba Bobbie Sue."
We both come from that era when Memphis was home to Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and rock 'n' roll: Dan is from McComb, Miss., and I'm from Hampton, Ark., so you grow up with the same kids in those small towns, and when someone is dating a girl from the county over, it's an exciting thing.
I'd never dreamed that the Oaks would be interested in something like this, but then they released "Elvira." We finished the demo, and it got pitched to them and just clicked. They were at a perfect place in their career, and they made this wonderful, exciting record ...
I remember seeing them in Huntsville Ala., and they just packed the crowd in. They had a big show like not many country artists had at the time, and that's where I saw them perform "Bobbie Sue" for the first time. It's one of those unforgettable experiences.
The year the song was out, we got a Music City News award for Song of the Year. At the awards show, which fans could attend, we ended up sitting by a woman named Bobbie Sue, who had eloped with her husband, just like in the song. We never did figure out how we ended up sitting by each other, but I can't believe it was by total coincidence!
This story was originally written by Vernell Hackett, and revised by Angela Stefano.