Osborne Brothers

Iconic bluegrass duo The Osborne Brothers was founded in Hyden, Kentucky in 1953 by vocalist / mandolin player Bobby Osborne (born on December 7, 1931) and his brother, banjo player / vocalist Sonny (born October 29, 1937). They began their musical partnership in Dayton, Ohio before Bobby was drafted into the United States Marine Corp during the Korean War. During this time, Sonny began working with bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe and stayed with him until Bobby was discharged in 1953. Reunited, the duo began working alongside fellow bluegrass musician Jimmy Martin and appeared on radio shows in Knoxville, Tennessee and Detroit Michigan. The Osborne Brothers and Jimmy Martin recorded six songs for RCA Records in November 1954, but Sonny and Bobby split from Jimmy Martin and began working with a new band that featured vocalist / guitarist Red Allen. Between 1956 and 1958, the Osborn Brothers released a series of singles with Red Allen including the hit “Ruby Are You Mad” (1956). After Red Allen’s departure, the Osborne Brothers continued performing and recording a string of well-received albums including Bluegrass Instrumentals (1962), Cuttin’ Grass Osborne Brothers Style (1963), Up This Hill and Down (1966), Yesterday, Today and The Osborne Brothers (1969), and Ru-Be Eeee (1970). Inducted as members into the Grand Ole Opry in 1964, the duo released their biggest hit, “Rocky Top,” in 1967, although they also achieved chart success with singles such as “Making Plans” (1965), “Tennessee Hound Dog” (1969), and “Midnight Flyer” (1972). In 1973, the Osborne Brothers was the first bluegrass act to perform at the White House. Sonny and Bobby continued to record throughout the 1980s and 1990s and were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association in 1994. Sonny Osborne retired from music in 2005, and Bobby continued to perform with his sons as the Rocky Top X-Press for nearly two decades. Sonny Osborne died from a stroke on October 24, 2021, at the age of 83. Bobby Osborne died at the age of 91 on June 27, 2023. Over the years, the group’s recordings have been re-packaged on numerous compilations including The Osborne Brothers' Bluegrass Collection (1989), The Osborne Brothers, 1956-1968 (1995), The Osborne Brothers, 1968-1974 (1995), Dayton To Knoxville 1949-1954 (2000), and A Bluegrass Jamboree with the Osborne Brothers (2014).

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Stations Featuring Osborne Brothers

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