Country music quartet The Oak Ridge Boys sang "Amazing Grace" at the late President George H.W. Bush's funeral in Texas Thursday, fulfilling their long-held promise to perform for him for a final time at the ceremony.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, the former president wrote long ago that he wanted his favorite country group, The Oak Ridge Boys, to perform “Amazing Grace” at his funeral.

As a result, The group told the local newspaper they were ready to show up whenever needed once they learned Bush died.

The group’s members said they boarded a flight to Houston, Texas, shortly after having a concert in Spokane, Washington, earlier this week to prepare for Bush’s final funeral service. 


“It’s what you do for friends,” The Oak Ridge Boys’ Duane Allen told the paper.

The quartet said they were in talks with Bush’s family for several months about participating in his final proceedings, but it wasn’t until several weeks ago that the group received a call that his health had worsened.

The group first met Bush in the 1960s, when they were hired to distribute campaign materials for him while he was running for office in Texas.

Allen told the paper the group later met with the young politician years later after he became vice president in the 1980s. At the time, Allen said he and the group had been hired to play at a barbecue at the White House. 

“We were doing soundcheck and here came this long and lanky guy with a bag over his shoulder running toward the stage from the White House,” Allen said. “He said, “I’m a huge country music fan and you’re my favorite group. Is there any way you can do some songs for me?’”

Allen said the group ended up playing several songs Bush had requested and recalled the politician giving them vice presidential T-shirts shortly after.

“That was the start of our relationship with George H.W. Bush,” Allen said. “We sang for him at his call after that. We’d fly to Kennebunkport (Maine) with our wives, and stay in their house and spend the summertime with them together. We last went two years ago and had lunch with them. Those were some of the most special times in our lives.”

The group first sang “Amazing Grace” for Bush during his presidential inaugurations, but they told the paper they felt privileged to sing the song for the late politician for a final time. 

"President Bush means so much to us," The Oak Ridge Boys' Richard Sterban told the paper. "George Bush requested before he passed away that we sing 'Amazing Grace,' his favorite song, at his funeral. There's no way we wouldn't do it.”

“He always taught us to do the right thing, and it is a tremendous honor. One final time here on this earth, we're going to sing it for him and we believe in our hearts we'll see him again one day and we'll sing it for him again,” he added.