NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Noel Fox, a former bass singer with the Oak Ridge Boys who became a power in the music business, died at a Nashville hospital after surgery following a series of strokes. He was 63.
Fox died Thursday, according to longtime band manager Jim Halsey.
"His positive attitude and always-smiling face is what this world needs more of," Halsey said.
Fox was born and raised in Columbia, about 40 miles south of Nashville. He sang with the Oak Ridge Boys for five years before leaving in 1972 for a Nashville music business career that included booking, talent management and publishing.
In 1978, Fox began managing the Oak Ridge Boys' publishing entity, Silverline/Goldline Music Inc. He later served as vice president of MCA Music/Nashville and president of Maypop Music Group, which was owned by members of the group Alabama.
An early champion of singer-songwriter Steve Earle, Fox signed him to a publishing deal and introduced him to then-MCA Records producer Tony Brown. MCA subsequently signed Earle and released his 1986 debut hit "Guitar Town."
The Oak Ridge Boys began in Knoxville in 1943 as the Oak Ridge Quartet, singing country and gospel music. The group has won two Grammys.
Lead singer Duane Allen called Fox "a fine human being, a devoted family man, a great bass singer for the Oak Ridge Boys, a great publisher, manager and agent, and my best friend."