Member Since 1961
If you want someone’s attention, whisper. That maxim could’ve been written just for Bill Anderson.
The soft-spoken Country Music Hall of Famer’s way of breathing a song earned him the nickname “Whispering Bill.” And after more than 40 years in the business, his songs—whether he sings them himself or they’re recorded by others – still demand attention.
The South Carolina-born, Georgia-raised entertainer learned guitar at age 12 and soon formed his own band. While Bill was studying journalism at the University of Georgia, Ray Price covered the then-20-year-old’s “City Lights” and took it to No. 1 for 13 weeks in 1958. Decca Records quickly offered Bill a recording contract, and by the end of that year he had his own record on the charts.
Bill’s recording career kicked into high gear when he joined the Opry in 1961, just as “Po’ Folks”—the song that gave his backing band its name and inspired a restaurant chain —entered the charts. The following year, “Mama Sang a Song” spent seven weeks at No. 1. Bill’s signature song, “Still,” repeated the feat in 1963.
In all, Bill has had 80 singles reach the country charts. But he wrote so many songs he couldn’t record them all. Two songs with his name on them hit No. 1 in 1964—first Lefty Frizzell’s “Saginaw, Michigan,” then Connie Smith’s “Once a Day.” He penned “When Two Worlds Collide” with Roger Miller, and Conway Twitty had a chart-topping hit with Bill’s “I May Never Get to Heaven.”
Artists ranging from Roy Acuff to Aretha Franklin, from Dean Martin to Jerry Lee Lewis have cut Bill’s songs. His “The Tips of My Fingers” has been a five-time hit, first for Bill in 1960, and most recently in 1992 for Steve Wariner.
Steve’s revival of “Tips” led to a renewed interest in songwriting for Bill, who’d already been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association and Georgia Music Halls of Fame. In 1995, fellow Opry member Vince Gill recorded “Which Bridge To Cross, Which Bridge To Burn,” a song they’d written together.
Bill’s other recent credits include Steve Wariner’s Grammy-nominated “Two Teardrops”; Mark Wills’ “Wish You Were Here”; Kenny Chesney’s “A Lot of Things Different”; Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss’ award-winning duet, “Whiskey Lullaby.” With the help of co-writers Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson, Bill was able to earn his first ACM Song of the Year honor for the George Strait-recorded and Grammy nominated, "Give It Away."
Bill’s career has extended far beyond country music. He’s hosted TV game shows and has appeared on the daytime drama One Life to Live. He has penned a best-selling autobiography and a book of anecdotes. He also continues to record.
The First 10 Years Box Set