Bill Anderson Biography
There's an old saying:
"If you want someone's attention, whisper."
Bill Anderson has been using that philosophy for over forty years to capture the attention of millions of country music fans around the world, en route to becoming a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and one of the most popular, most enduring entertainers of our time.
He’s known, in fact as “Whispering Bill,” a nickname hung on him years ago as a result of his breathy voice and his warm, soft approach to singing a country song. His credentials, however, shout his prominence: One of the most awarded songwriters in the history of country music, a million selling recording artist many times over, television game show host, network soap opera star, spokesman for a nationwide restaurant chain, and a consummate onstage performer. His back-up group, The Po’ Folks Band, has long been considered one of the finest instrumental and vocal groups in the business.
Bill Anderson was born in Columbia, South Carolina, but spent most of his growing-up years around Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, having worked his way through college as a disc jockey on nearby radio stations. It was while he was still in school that he began performing and writing songs. At the age of nineteen he composed the country classic, “City Lights,” and began rapidly carving his place in musical history.
He moved to Nashville, Tennessee, secured a recording contract with Decca Records, and began turning out hit after hit with songs like “Po’Folks,” “Mama Sang A Song,” “The Tips Of My Fingers,” “8X10,” and the unforgettable country and pop smash, “Still.” His compositions were recorded by such diverse musical talents as Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, Debbie Reynolds, Ivory Joe Hunter, Kitty Wells, Faron Young, Lawrence Welk, Dean Martin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Walter Brennan and many others.
Bill has been voted Songwriter Of The Year six times, Male Vocalist Of The Year, half of the Duet Of The Year with both Jan Howard and Mary Lou Turner, has hosted and starred in the Country Music Television Series Of The Year, seen his band voted Band Of The Year, and in 1975 was voted membership in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Ten years later, the State of Georgia honored him by choosing him as only the 7th living performer inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was made a member of the Georgia Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame. In 1994, South Carolina inducted him into their Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. And in 2001, he received the ultimate honor, membership in Nashville’s prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame.
An entertainer in every sense of the word, Bill Anderson was the first country artist to host a network game show, starring on ABC-TV's, "The Better Sex." He also appeared for three years on ABC's Daytime soap opera, "One Life To Live."
For six years he hosted a country music game show on The Nashville Network called, “Fandango,” later an interview show called “Opry Backstage,” and somehow found time to be co-producer of another TNN Show called, “You Can Be A Star.” In addition, Bill has appeared frequently as a guest star on television’s top variety and game shows, including The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Match Game, Family Feud, Hee Haw and others.
Bill Anderson’s autobiography, “Whisperin’ Bill,” was published by Longstreet Press in 1989 and relates the fascinating details of his life and lengthy career in show business. The book, which Bill personally wrote over a period of three years, made bestseller lists all across the south. Bill’s second book, a humorous look at the music business titled, “I Hope You’re Living As High On The Hog As The Pig You Turned Out To Be,” was published in 1993 and is currently in it’s third printing.
Bill Anderson continues to paint a broad stroke across the Nashville music scene. He has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1961 and performs there regularly. In 2000, his latest album, “A Lot Of Things Different,” received rave reviews. Each song on the album was written, or co-written, by Anderson. His 1998 release, Fine Wine, was produced by Steve Wariner and released on Warner Brothers’ Reprise/Nashville label. Bill Anderson’s Greatest Hits Volume I & II have been released on Varese-Sarabande Records along with The Best Of Bill Anderson on Curb.
Despite his hectic schedule and the demands of his multi-faceted business enterprises, Bill has made a renewed commitment to his first love – songwriting. “I feel like I’ve come full-circle,” he smiles, because songwriting is what got me to Nashville in the first place.” In 1995, Billboard magazine named four Bill Anderson compositions – “City Lights,” “Once A Day,” “Still,” and “Mama Sang A Song” – among the Top 20 Country Songs of the past 35-years. No other songwriter had as many songs listed. Anderson began 1999 with a pair of #1 hits, “Wish You Were Here,” by Mark Wills and the Grammy nominated “Two Teardrops” by Steve Wariner. His song, “Too Country,” recorded by Brad Paisley along with Anderson, Buck Owens and George Jones, won CMA Vocal Event Of The Year honors for 2001. The folowing year saw Kenny Chesney soar with his version of the Anderson-Dean Dillon masterpiece, "A Lot Of Things Different." In November 2002, BMI named Anderson its first country songwriting Icon, placing him alongside R&B legends Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and James Brown as the only recipients of that prestigious award. His compositions can also be heard on recent recordings by Vince Gill, Lorrie Morgan, John Michael Montgomery, Collin Raye, Sara Evans, Bryan White, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and others, serving notice that the first forty years may well have been only the beginning.
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why no words | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/1/14
what is it with you that no one can have most of the words especially the Po Folks cd? I have it and have tried tried to get the words for some of the song, I like to sing along but if I can't understand the words I can't.
Bii Anderson is one of the best | Reviewer: Grover Derrick | 2/27/14
One song he sangs is mama song which I love very much. It reminds of my mother. Iam also from Columbia, S.C. I would like to know where lived in Columbia. Bill and I knew Snuffy Jenkins of the Hirde Hands which Snuffy use ti come WIS Tv .Also Snuffy and my mother and Dad and use to belong to the since church. Snuffy had son name toby.
Saw at Grand Ole Opry | Reviewer: Steve Cohen | 7/3/13
Being a native New Yorker I have never been an avid country music fan. I like it but my home is in the rock genere. I had never heard of Whistling Bill until I saw him last week at my first Grand Ole Opry. A riot! So funny and entertaining. So in tune with the audience. Country music always tells a story but Bill does it with a huge does of clever and funny. Just read his bio and didn't have a clue as to how accomplished he was. Can't wait to learn more about him and find some of his music.
The Greatest of all time | Reviewer: Marion Tiny Parcell | 10/27/12
I have lisned to Bill Anderson for 50yrs and he is not only the greatest singer and song writer in country music he also loves people and he loves the Lord. Just listen to the words of Moma sang a song. GOD Bless you Bill Anderson Tiny Parcell
A REQUEST | Reviewer: ROY GLENN HICKS | 6/28/12
I WAS WATCHING COUNTRY FAMILY REUNION ONE OF YOUR GUEST WAS JOHNY
RUSSEL THE SUBJECT CAME UP ABOUT DIENG HE SAID HE WAS ALWAYS AFRAID
OF DIEING UNTIL HE HEARD A SONG SANG BY BUCK WHITE I THOUGHT IT WAS
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG THAT I HAVE EVER HEARD AND THAT GOES BACK A LOT OF YEARS AS I AM 91 YEARS YOUNG. I TRIED TO GET THE WEB SITE OF THE WHITES BUT NO LUCK
latest book | Reviewer: Jo Ann | 5/2/10
I would like to purchase the book bill wrote that has been mentioned so many times on the RFD Family reunion program. i have purchased all the DVD's and love all of them. the name of his book is a long title and i can't remember the name.
Lyrics to Still Believing In Christmas | Reviewer: Judy | 12/8/07
I was wondering if you would have the lyrics to Still Believing In Christmas by Bill Anderson. I heard it on XM radio today and I really liked it. I have searched the web, but to no avail. Thank You sooooo much.
One of the most considerate country stars Iv'e seen. | Reviewer: Ellen Sullivan | 9/23/07
I've been a fan of his since 1962. Every
show I ever went to, Bill always took time
to talk to his fans. And he still does today.
He'll sign books, pictures,or just a piese of
paper. He'll have his piture taken with him.
He is a great person. A fan Forever Ellen
Writing of song, By the tips of my fingers | Reviewer: Gary Smith [Smitty] | 8/5/07
I sat on the porch in avalon pittsburgh pa and the real Bill Anderson and me and a few more guys sat and wrote the words to this song,You no how us guys use to sit around and harmonize back then. His brother wrote the music,The song did not do to well so there was not many copies. It was a 45 record and on the flip side was No Mans Land. Bill anderson sold the song to the other Bill Anderson when I went into the service from what I understand.The Bill Anderson that was my close friend moved and I never heard from him again.I wander were he moved. Anyway Bill Anderson Who made a hit out of it.[He was a Better singer and had the right voice for the song] I still sing and injoy the song today and I"m 62 Thanks Smitty, [My Nickname from back then]
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