See The Alchemy of the Heavens by Ken Croswell, who interviewed all four authors of the classic B2FH (Burbidge, Burbidge, Fowler, and Hoyle) paper:
[A] few astronomers questioned B2FH's motives, thinking their work a veiled attempt to bolster the steady state [as opposed to the big bang]. Said Geoffrey Burbidge, "Willy [Fowler] used to give talks and come back and say, `Why do they always blame me and say I'm doing this for the steady state?' And I used to say to Willy that some of the antipathy towards you is that they think you are using this as a way of pushing the steady state."
According to Geoffrey Burbidge, some astronomers failed to recognize the big bang's inability to produce heavy elements. "Astronomers never understood the difficulty that the big bang people had with nucleosynthesis, in that you can't get over mass five," said Burbidge. "There is no stable mass five. But the astronomers couldn't understand that, so some of them were quite convinced that the only reason for our developing this theory was that you required it in the framework of the steady state. But it was clear to any good physicist that the mass five was a real problem to get over."
- The Alchemy of the Heavens by Ken Croswell, pages 114-115.
Just as there is no stable mass 5, there is also no stable mass 8. You have to leap over both to make carbon-12, then this gets converted into oxygen-16. Most oxygen arises in massive stars (stars born with more than 8 solar masses), which release the oxygen into the Galaxy at large when they explode.