Also known as
AboutThere'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
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 following
year saw Kenny Chesney soar with his version of the
Anderson-Dean Dillon masterpiece, "A Lot Of Things
Different," and in 2004 Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss scored
big with his and Jon Randall's poignant "Whiskey Lullaby". 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 be heard on recent or forthcoming releases by Vince Gill,
Lorrie Morgan, John Michael Montgomery, Sara Evans, Tracy
Byrd, and others, serving notice that the first forty years
were only the beginning.