Former Oak Ridge Boys Singer, Calvin Newton, Passes Away at 93

Calvin Newton

Calvin Newton, a former member of the legendary country music group the Oak Ridge Boys (the Oak Ridge Quartet at the time), died earlier this month at the age of 93.

Newton served as the lead singer for the Oak Ridge Boys (who were mostly known for Gospel music at the time) in the 1950s for three years before shifting his musical career to other opportunities.

He also joined the Sons of Songs in the late 1950s and continued to be involved with the music group across the next several decades.

Newton was never a part of the version of the Oak Ridge Boys quartet that most of us know today (Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, Richard Sterban), but he helped lay the foundation that allowed for the longevity of the legendary country group.

Members of the quartet have come and gone over the years, but the “brotherhood” of Oak Ridge Boys performers (past and present) have always looked out for one another. “Crying in the Chapel” and “I Believe” are two songs in the Oak Ridge Boys catalogue that Newton was featured on.

A tweet from the official Oak Ridge Boys Twitter account showed that the surviving members of the group attended Newton’s services, which took place today:

Most importantly, Newton was a proud Korean War veteran. His obituary states that he was a versatile member of the the United States military, utilizing both his medical skills and singing voice:

“After basic training, Newton went to Tokorozawa, Japan—served as a medic, and also sang at night in two clubs in Tokyo—the Rocker Four Club was a noncom officers’ club, and the Crystal Ballroom was an officers’ club (both clubs under one roof). Calvin was honorably discharged in 1953.”

Newton was also recognized for his Gospel music career, being inducted into the Tri State Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame as well as the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The present version of the Oak Ridge Boys, along with former members and other musical groups, honored Newton at his service with the singing of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” The Oak Ridge Boys announced on social media that it was blessing to sing and share the moment with so many longtime dear friends.

The gifted Calvin Newton had been sharing his beautiful singing voice since he was the age of six when he sang with his mom and dad on a Saturday morning radio show. Newton said at a young age that singing at church was just as natural as speaking was for him.

Though Newton passes on from the world, the former Oak Ridge Boy’s lasting impact and contributions to both gospel and country music will live on far beyond his years on Earth.


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock