Bill Anderson At Grand Ole Opry
Bill Anderson was born in November of 1937 in Columbia, South Carolina. He represents the true Nashville sound in his country songs and has made a place for himself in the hearts of many because of it throughout the years. His whisper-like voice gave him the nickname he will carry for the rest of his life, “Whispering Bill.” While he is now one of the most influential songwriters in the history of the genre, he started out as a journalism student with a fondness for sports writing. It was during his time at the University of Georgia that he tried his hand at songwriting and singing as he worked as a radio DJ. He began his ascent to the top at the age of nineteen when his song “City Lights” was recorded by Ray Price and soared to the top of the country music charts. Anderson wasted no time after this to move to Nashville, where he was signed to Decca Records. After five years of chart-topping songs like “That’s What It’s Like to Be Lonesome” and “Tip of My Fingers,” he was given the opportunity to join the Grand Ole Opry as a member in 1961.
“Tip of My Fingers” may have been his first top ten song, but more hits followed right after. “Mama Sang a Song” became his first Number One and “8 X 10” fell into place right behind it at Number Two a year later. Some of his other favored songs include “Po’ Folks,” “I Get the Fever,” “For Loving You,” “World of Make Believe” and “Sometimes.” Anderson was able to reach the top five nineteen times from the start of his career until 1978.
Throughout his career, Anderson has gathered a number of awards. He has been voted and nominated for awards like Songwriter of the Year (six times), Male Vocalist of the Year, Band of the Year and Duet of the Year with both Jan Howard and Mary Lou Turner. In 1975, he was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In the mid-eighties, he was given the chance to be one of the members of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Georgia Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame. He has also been inducted into the South Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame and Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame.
“Whispering Bill” has written songs for artists like Connie Smith, Mark Wills, Steve Wariner and Kenny Chesney. He collaborated on a song with Brad Paisley, Buck Owens and George Jones entitled “Too Country,” which won the CMA Vocal Event of the Year honors for 2001. Anderson has ventured out of the music world, as well, becoming the first ever country artist to host a network game show (ABC’s The Better Sex). He also appeared for a three-year stint on the soap opera One Life to Live. In 1989 his autobiography Whisperin’ Bill was published and became a bestseller on lists all across southern America.