Wrote or co-wrote more than 75 songs and instrumentals, including:

  • “Big Spike Hammer”
  • “Bluegrass Express”
  • “Ho Honey Ho”
  • “I’ll Be All Right Tomorrow”
  • “Midnight Angel”
  • “Pain In My Heart”
  • “Sure Fire”
  • “This Heart Of Mine Can Never Say Goodbye”

Early Influences

  • Ernest Tubb
  • Bill Monroe
  • Flatt & Scruggs

Came to Fame With

  • The Osborne Brothers

Performed With

  • Miami Valley Playboys, Middletown OH, 1947-1948
  • Silver Saddle Boys, Welch, WV, 1949
  • Rex & Eleanor Parker, Bluefield, WV, 1949
  • Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, Bluefield, WV, 1949-1951
  • Jimmy Martin & Bob Osborne, Bristol, VA/TN, 1951
  • Stanley Brothers, 1951
  • Jimmy Martin & the Osborne Brothers, 1953-1955
  • Charlie Bailey, Wheeling, WV, 1955
  • The Osborne Brothers and Red Allen, 1956-1958
  • The Osborne Brothers, 1958-2004
  • Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-press, 2004-present

Led the Way

  • Bridged the gap between bluegrass and mainstream country music, headlining in both genres.
  • Introduced the high-lead vocal trio with the song “Once More” (1956). Using this arrangement Bobby could sing lead on both verses and choruses, where he was joined by two lower voices.
  • First bluegrass group to play a college campus, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, March, 1960.
  • Joined the Grand Ole Opry, 1964
  • Vocal Group of the Year, Country Music Association, 1971
  • First bluegrass act to play at the White House, 1973
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 1994
  • National Heritage Fellowship Award, 1997

By the Way

  • At the age of 16, had his mother photograph him in front of a homemade “WSM” sign. Sixteen years later, he was inducted into WSM’s “Grand Ole Opry.”
  • After debuting on WPFB, Middletown, OH (1949), was told not to sing “Ruby, Are You Mad” again, because the staff grew tired of answering telephone requests for it.
  • Bought his F-5 Gibson mandolin from Charlie Bailey of the Bailey Brothers.
  • Bill Monroe once said that there were only three great tenors in country music: himself, Ira Louvin, and Bobby Osborne.
  • Sons Robby, Wynn, and Bobby Osborne, Jr. have also performed as professional bluegrass artists.
  • “Rocky Top,” the Osborne Brothers’ biggest hit, charted higher in re-release (#2 in 1996) than it did in 1968 (#33).

From the Archives

“I quit [music] twice, and the last time I got into it I said, ‘I ain’t gonna quit anymore. It’s something I want to do and I’m gonna go broke – or whatever – tryin’.'”
Quoted in Barry R. Willis, America’s Music: Bluegrass, 1989.
“Sonny and me never laid that mandolin and banjo down and we got a lot of airplay that folks in bluegrass never did get and haven’t got until this day.”
Quoted in Barry R. Willis, America’s Music: Bluegrass, 1989.
“It’s freeing to be out on my own, but it’s hard too. There’s a lot of pressure. You get used to looking over your shoulder and seeing another guy there – but now it’s all up to me: what songs to do, when we start, when we go, and such…. Most people my age are ready to hang it up, but I’m going full speed ahead!”
Quoted in Rounder Records promo sheet for the album “Bobby Osborne: Try a Little Kindness,” 2006.