Album released in 2018
Want to go?
• The Beacon Theater, Hopewell VA
• Date: Saturday November 9, 2019
• 2 Shows: Doors open 1:15 PM and 6:45PM
• For tickets check the website:
by Millie Voliva-Wiggs
There is not much he hasn’t accomplished in his long career. He’s worn many hats — actor, game show host, singer, and songwriter. Along the way Bill Anderson has won every award possible and has accumulated millions of country music fans around the world — proving to be one of the most enduring entertainers of our time.
It all started with his passion — writing.
He actually began writing around the tender age of nine.
“Including the ones that ended up in the trash, “ he laughs. “I’ve written at least 2,000 songs.”
He wrote most of his material on his own — whenever it came to him.
When asked what prompted him to begin singing, he laughs, “Well I had all these songs I wanted people to hear and I had a small band during my high school years.”
While he made a name for himself as a singer, Anderson is a prolific songwriter. He writes about real life — sometimes even his own. The South Carolina born singer grew up in Atlanta surrounded with the influences of eclectic music. As a journalism graduate of the University of Georgia it was a natural intention to be drawn to songwriting as he worked his way through college as a disc jockey at nearby radio stations.
Early on he was given the nickname “Whispering Bill Anderson,” as a result of his breathy voice and his warm, soft approach to singing a country song. His impact on music would prove to be anything but soft.
By the age of nineteen, Anderson composed the country classic, “City Lights,” and began rapidly carving his place in musical history.
After college, Anderson moved to Nashville and has never looked back.
“I moved to Nashville to become a songwriter, but other opportunities came along,” he relates.
Soon after arriving in Music City, he 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 success as a singer opened doors. His ability to tell stories through song made him popular with other artists too. His compositions were recorded by such diverse musical talents as Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, James Brown, Debbie Reynolds, Ivory Joe Hunter, Kitty Wells, Faron Young, Lawrence Welk, Dean Martin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Walter Brennan and many others.
Whispering Bill Anderson was making a big celebrity splash.
Anderson was the first country artist to host a network game show, starring on ABC-TV’s, “The Better Sex.” He 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,” and later an interview show called “Opry Backstage.” Somehow he still found time to co-produce another TNN Show called, “You Can Be A Star.” In addition, he has appeared frequently as a guest star on a variety of shows, including The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Match Game, Family Feud and Hee Haw. And for seven years Anderson hosted the acclaimed “Bill Anderson Visits With The Legends” on XM satellite radio.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Anderson 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 and hosted and starred in the CMT Series Of The Year. He was even honored to see his band voted “Band Of The Year.”
In 1975, Anderson earned his rightful place into the ‘Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.’ Ten years later, the State of Georgia honored him as only the 7th living performer inducted into the ‘Georgia Music Hall of Fame.’ In1993, he was inducted into the ‘Georgia Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.’ A year later, his birth state inducted him into the South Carolina ‘Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.’
Country fans are certainly happy about that.
After a ten-year self-imposed hiatus in the mid-nineties, Anderson returned to the scene and back to his first love — songwriting. He co-wrote giant hits for Vince Gill (“Which Bridge To Cross – Which Bridge To Burn”), Steve Wariner (“Two Teardrops”), Mark Wills (“Wish You Were Here”), Joe Nichols (“I’ll Wait For You”), and Kenny Chesney (“A Lot Of Things Different”).
He won “Song Of The Year” honors in both 2005 and 2007 for helping to write “Whiskey Lullaby” for Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss and “Give It Away” for George Strait. He won a Dove award for co-writing “Song of the Year,” for the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Jonah, Job, and Moses.” He went on to enjoy his part in the recording of “CMA Vocal Event of the Year,” along with Brad Paisley, George Jones and Buck Owens for “Too Country.”
Anderson is a four time Grammy nominee: 50th Annual GRAMMY Best Country Song “Give It Away” (2007); 42nd Annual GRAMMY Awards Best Country Song “Two Teardrop” (1999); 10th Annual GRAMMY Awards Best
Country & Western Song “Cold Hard Facts Of Life,”(1967); 7th Annual
GRAMMY Awards — Best Country & Western Song “Once A Day” (1964).
“I’ve been nominated four times but never won a Grammy,” he tells us. “I would really like to win a Grammy. I never got into this business for the awards but it would be nice to win a Grammy.”
In 2002, Broadcast Music, Inc. named Anderson its first country music songwriting Icon, placing him in a catergory with R&B legends Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and James Brown. In 2008, the Academy of Country Music honored him with their inaugural 'Poets Award'.
Last year, he was voted into the all-genre “Songwriters Hall Of Fame” and became only the second recipient of the “Kris Kristofferson Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Nashville Songwriters’ Association. The initial award went to Willie Nelson in 2012.
Anderson is a regular Saturday night performer and a long-time member at Nashville’s Grand Ol’ Opry (1961). In a recent interview, Anderson tells us that becoming a member of the Opry and being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (2001) were both defining moments in his career.
In addition to his Opry appearances, he still tours approximately 50 dates a year. One of those dates will be November 9th for the “Old Dominion Barn Dance” at the historic Beacon Theater in Hopewell, VA. Anderson will headline the show and along with Donna Meade, the ODBD cast and Tony Jackson. Anderson was scheduled to appear last year but a good old’ Virginia snow storm cancelled the show. Good news is — though it will be cold — there is no forecast for the ‘flurry’ stuff.
He’s sure to share his classics along with fan favorites including songs from last year’s album titled ANDERSON. Hopefully, he’ll give a sneak preview of the songs that he plans to include on his next recording project. Anderson will hit the studio later this year for a new release in 2020. Regardless, with over 60 albums under his belt, his legendary voice has plenty of material to bring to the legendary Barn Dance.
His distinctive, soft voice has made huge contributions to country music as has his passion for writing.
Add ‘author’ to this journey.
In 2016, he released an updated autobiography written with noted Nashville journalist, Peter Cooper, titled “Whisperin’ Bill Anderson – An Unprecedented Life In Country Music.” Anderson’s first bestseller autobiography, “Whisperin’ Bill,” was published in 1989. His 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 its twelfth printing. (Yes, Bill Anderson has a real sense of humor among his talents.)
Looks like that journalism degree has paid off. One could say “Whispering” Bill Anderson has quietly been writing his own story, his own way for over 50 years — and counting.
... and the beat goes on
Bill Anderson Tour dates