Born as Joseph S. Bonsall on 18 May 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Joe Bonsall is an entertainer, songwriter and author who had been a member of the music group Oak Ridge Boys for over thirty years. An energetic lead vocal, he sings the high harmonies of such songs as: “Love Song,” “Elvira,” “My Son,” “Fall to Fly,” “I Guess it Never Hurts to Hurt Sometime” and “Dancin’ the Night Away.” As a singing group, the Oak Ridge Boys have performed for five U.S. presidents, sold more than 10 million records and won dozens of awards that include 5 Grammys, 4 Country Music Association awards, 2 American Music awards and 12 Gospel Music Dove awards. Towards the end of the 1990s, the group starred in their first weekly TV series, “The Oaks Live in Las Vegas” on CBS Cable.
Aside from charting several hits with the Oak Ridge Boys, Joe Bonsall has a solo chart credit with the band Sawyer Brown in the 1986 single entitled “Out Goin’ Cattin’” where he got credited as “Cat Joe Bonsall,” which is an allusion to his love for cats. An animal lover who owns eight house kitties, Joe is also an author whose Molly the Cat children’s book series published by Ideal Children’s Books in 1997 established him as a talented and successful writer. Intimating that Molly is a stray cat that he adopted one rainy Halloween night, Joe is an animal rights advocate and strongly believes that people must be responsible pet owners.
Joe Bonsall also wrote “G.I. Joe and Lillie: Remembering a Life of Love and Loyalty,” an inspiring story about his parents’ lives during and after World War II which was published by New Leaf Press in 2003. His song composition by the same title, which was included in the Oak Ridge Boys’ patriotic CD album entitled “Colors,” was released during the same year. As of 20 November 2009, the music video of “G.I. Joe and Lillie” became a YouTube phenomenon with almost 2 million hits.
Joe Bonsall also wrote the title song to the Oak Ridge Boys’ album, “The Journey” as well as the text for “An American Journey” which is the singing group’s coffee table book. New Leaf Press also published Joe’s Christmas family book entitled “An Inconvenient Christmas.” His collection of witty, inspiring and sentimental commentaries entitled “From My Perspective” published by Journey Press shares his insights and reflections on life, patriotism, family and God.
Together with the Oak Ridge Boys, Joe Bonsall performed at numerous military bases for the Spirit of America Tour and at patriotic events like the Walk for Freedom. The group also participated in feeding programs sponsored by the international hunger relief organization, “Feed the Children.” For their work as Musical Ambassadors of the National Anthem Project, which was designed to renew knowledge of the American National Anthem, the patriotic singing group received the Fame Award in 2006.