QUINCY -- Richard Sterban has no trouble explaining the Oak Ridge Boys' enduring success.
"After all of these years, we still enjoy what we do," he said. "We look forward to getting onstage every night. That has not changed."
Sterban, the highly recognized bass extraordinaire, teams with tenor Joe Bonsall, baritone William Lee Golden and lead singer Duane Allen to form the mighty Oaks -- country music's equivalent of the Rolling Stones. Both groups have been around seemingly forever, have worldwide fan bases and are still going strong.
And Sterban says he hopes that will be the way it remains for the foreseeable future.
"We do not plan to retire anytime soon," he said.
The Oaks, who were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame three years ago, will be performing at the Adams County Fair at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 28, as part of the group's Shine the Light Tour. For more information about the fair, which runs July 25 through July 31, go to adamsfair.org.
The Oaks are one of country music's truly legendary acts. The group's string of hits includes "Elvira," "Bobbie Sue," "Dream On," "Thank God for Kids," "American Made," "I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes," "Fancy Free" and "Ya'll Come Back Saloon."
The group has produced 12 gold, three platinum and one double platinum album, plus more than a dozen No. 1 singles and 30 top-10 hits.
"When I go onstage, I get the same feeling I had the first time I sang with the Oak Ridge Boys," Allen said. "This is the only job I've ever wanted to have."
The Oaks' impact on the country genre can be seen in the rock-influenced style of today's country sound, plus the large arena tours. The Oak Ridge Boys helped popularize both in the 1980s.
Sterban credits the influence of Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers and Elvis Presley for having a major role in the Oak Ridge Boys' success. Before joining the Oaks, Sterban sang for two years with Elvis, performing with J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, Presley's famed accompanying group.
Sterban said "Elvira" is the most demanded Oak Ridge Boys song at every concert, and "Thank God for Kids" is the most emotional song at each event.
"William Lee's interpretation of the ("Thank God for Kids") lyrics is the highlight of the show every night," Sterban said. "That song touches many people. You see tears in a lot of people's eyes."
The Oak Ridge Boys have appeared before five presidents, becoming one of the most successful touring groups ever -- country, pop or otherwise. The group performs 150 dates each year at major theaters, fairs and festivals across the United States and Canada.
"We always look for songs that have lasting value and that are uplifting," Allen said. "You don't hear us singing ‘cheating' or ‘drinking' songs, but ‘loving' songs, because we think that will last."
Age has not softened the Oaks' enthusiasm.
"I feel like I can do what I do onstage just as good now as I could 20 years ago," Bonsall said. "I plan to be rockin' my tail off out there as long as I'm healthy. The people who come out, who bring their families to see us, deserve everything I've got."
Golden is the oldest of the Oaks at 79, Bonsall the youngest at 70. Sterban and Allen are both 75.
Sterban said Bonsall is the "energy" of the group, Allen is the trained musician and Golden "the dreamer."
"The fact is, we're all different, and that's what makes us unique," Sterban said.