Oak Ridge Boys Sing for Ailing George H.W. Bush

Country veterans serenade 88-year-old former president

Richard Sterban, William Lee Golden, Duane Allen and Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys Credit: Ed Rode/Getty Images

Longtime country music institution the Oak Ridge Boys serenaded an ailing George H.W. Bush over the phone Friday, reaching the former president at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, where he was being treated for bronchitis and a fever. Doctors say Bush, 88, is improving, and he was moved out of intensive care Saturday. 

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The group was on vacation when they heard from former First Lady Barbara Bush, who requested they sing for her husband. The bandmembers convened at their office and contacted the Bushes, singing one of their signature songs, "Elvira," and part of "Amazing Grace" for the ex-president.

"We blasted some 'oom pop a mau maus' in the direction of Houston, Texas," reported Joe Bonsall, who has been with the long-running group since the early Seventies.

"This friendship goes back many years," said Bush's office in a statement, "and what happened yesterday gave the president a real shot in the arm."