The Oak Ridge Boys (Photo: Win McNamee)They say music has the power to heal--and in the case of George H. W. Bush, the adage seems to hold water. The former president, who has been hospitalized since November for bronchitis and related issues, was moved out of intensive care after being serenaded by country legends the Oak Ridge Boys on Friday.
The idea for the intimate concert came from former First Lady Barbara Bush, who called the band--one of her husband's favorites--and asked if they'd mind doing a special performance to cheer him up.
The Boys, who have been friends with the Bush family for years, were happy to oblige. Although they were all on vacation at the time, they gathered in their office to sing together over the phone. "We asked what song he would like to hear," stated band member Joe Bonsall. "He said 'Elvira,' so we blasted some oom pop a mau maus in the direction of Houston, Texas."
The band followed that with a verse from the classic hymn "Amazing Grace."
Apparently, the gesture lifted Bush's spirits enough to actually improve his health. He was transferred to a regular patient room at Houston's Methodist Hospital the following day, and his camp released a statement saying the Boys' singing was a greatly appreciated "shot in the arm."
Bush, 88, was admitted to intensive care on December 23, suffering a lingering fever and other complications. As of Saturday, his spokesperson reported the positive news that he is continuing to do better.
If you don't remember Bush's requested tune, the Oak Ridge Boys' 1981 hit "Elvira," here's a video of the group performing it back in the day, complete with its well-loved "oom pop a mau mau" chorus.