Bill Anderson

Induction Year: 1975

Birth Name: James William Anderson III
Birth Date: November 01, 1937
Place of Birth: Columbia, SC
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Although his own singing style is soft and understated, "Whisperin' Bill" Anderson's songs are heard around the world. James William Anderson III was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1937 but grew up in Georgia. He wrote his first song in the late 1940s and formed his first band in 1952. While studying for his journalism degree at the University of Georgia and working as a disc jockey, he wrote "City Lights." Ray Price recorded the song in 1958 and took it to No. 1 for 13 weeks. This same year, Anderson signed to Decca Records and Tree Publishing.

In 1960, the young songwriter had his first Top 10 hit, "The Tips Of My Fingers." The song later became a hit for Roy Clark, Eddy Arnold, Jean Shepard and Steve Wariner. Anderson joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1961. He scored his first No. 1 in 1962 with another of his creations, "Mama Sang A Song." From 1965 to 1974, Anderson starred in his own syndicated TV series. His string of chart-topping tunes include "Once A Day," "I May Never Get To Heaven," "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking" and "Still." He was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975 and to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

"People ask me all the time where I got my musical abilities and my desire to write songs and entertain. It certainly didn't come from either of my parents so I guess, in truth, it probably goes back to my grandparents on both sides of the family. When you combine an old-time fiddle player with a circuit-ridin' preacher who used to write for a newspaper, then throw in a guitar-pickin' grandma for good measure, you come up with whatever it is that I am!...It's a thing called empathy, and it's the greatest friend a songwriter can have."

'Mama Sang a Song' is my favorite composition because it is taken from personal experiences. 'Which Bridge to Cross' is meaningful career-wise, because it signaled my return to songwriting after a long hiatus. 'Tips of My Fingers' is special because it has been a hit five times. 'Still' was a career record for me as an having 4 of my songs ('City Lights,' 'Once a Day,' 'Still,' and 'Mama Sang a Song') named among the Top 20 Songs of the past 35 years by Billboard Magazine..."

Former Occupations:
Newspaper carrier
Grocery store clerk
Insurance agency employee
Sports writer
Radio announcer

Grade School--Schneider Elementary (Columbia, SC) (Grades 1-3)
Grade School--Fourth Ward School (Griffin, GA) (Grade 3)
Grade School--Druid Hills Elementary (Atlanta, GA) (Grades 3-5)
Grade School--Hooper-Alexander Elementary (Decatur, GA) (Grades 5-7)
High School--Avondale High School (Avondale Estates, GA) (Grades 8-12)
College--University of Georgia (from 1955 to 1959) (graduated with an AB degree and a major in journalism)

Discography / Career Highlights

Career Milestones:
late 1940s
- wrote first song, "Carry Me Home to Texas"
1952 - formed a band in high school, the "Avondale Playboys"; got a Saturday afternoon radio show not long after on WBGE (Atlanta)
late 1950s - landed a job at WJJC (Commerce, GA); hosted the station's first country music record show; also began to write songs more seriously
1956 - first song recorded, "No Love Have I" with TNT (Tanner 'N Texas Music)
1957 - wrote first hit, "City Lights"
1958 - signed contract with Tree Publishing Company
1958 - signed with BMI
1958 - cut first record for Decca in August
1959 - first songwriting award: BMI citation for "City Lights" (awarded in October)
1959 - first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in November, 1959 as a guest
1959 - appeared on NBC Network Opry in April
1960 - moved permanently to Nashville in January
1961 - joined the Grand Ole Opry as member of cast on July 12
1962 - first #1 record "Mama Sang a Song"
early 1960s - appeared on "American Bandstand" for the first time and performed "Still"
1965 - began syndicated television series in February, "The Bill Anderson Show" (stayed on the air for 9 years)
1977 - signed to host ABC-TV game show, "The Better Sex"
1977 - first soap opera appearance as himself on ABC-TV's "One Life to Live"
1989 - had first book published, "Whisperin' Bill - An Autobiography" in the fall
2001 - elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame

1963 - Billboard\Song of the Year\Still
1963 - Billboard\Record of the Year\Still
1963 - Cash Box\Most Programmed Country Record of the Year on Radio Stations\Still
1963 - BMI\Country Citation\Still
1963 - BMI\Pop Citation\Still
1978 - Billboard\Special Breakthrough Award\I Can't Wait Any Longer\recognizing Anderson's bringing country music and disco together as "The most outstanding creative musical achievement of the year"
1985 - Georgia Music Hall of Fame induction
1993 - South Carolina Entertainment Hall of Fame induction
1993 - Georgia Broadcasters' Hall of Fame induction

Catalog Highlights:
"Tips of My Fingers" - Artists: Bill Anderson (1960), Roy Clark (1963), Eddy Arnold (1966), Dean Martin, Lawrence Welk, Jean Shepard (1975), Steve Wariner (1992), Cleve Francis (1992)

"Once a Day" - Artists: Connie Smith (1964), Jimmy Dean, Bill Anderson

"City Lights" - Artists: Bill Anderson (1957), Dave Rich (1958), Ray Price (1958), Mickey Gilley (1974), Mel Tillis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ivory Joe Hunter, Debbie Reynolds, Don Rondo

"I May Never Get to Heaven" - Co-writer: Buddy Killen
Artists: Don Gibson (1960), Aretha Franklin, Conway Twitty (1979)

"Saginaw, Michigan" - Co-writer: Don Wayne
Artists: Lefty Frizzell (1964)

"When Two Worlds Collide" - Co-writer: Roger Miller
Artists: Roger Miller (1961), B.J. Thomas, Mickey Gilley, George Jones & Margie Singleton

"Mama Sang a Song" - Artists: Bill Anderson (1962), Stan Kenton (1962), Walter Brennan (1962)

"Still" - Artists: Bill Anderson (1963), The Sunrays, Ray Price

"Which Bridge to Cross (Which Bridge to Burn)" - Co-writer: Vince Gill
Artists: Vince Gill (1994)

"The Lord Knows I'm Drinking" - Artists: Cal Smith (1974)

"Think I'll Go Somewhere & Cry Myself to Sleep" - Artists: Charlie Louvin (1965), Al Martino (1965), Billy "Crash" Craddock

"I've Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can Stand" - Artists: Porter Wagoner (1963)

"I Missed Me" - Artists: Jim Reeves (1960)

"Country D.J." - Artists: Bill Anderson (1975)

"Happy Birthday to Me" - Artists: Hank Locklin (1961)

"I Love You Drops" - Artists: Bill Anderson (1966)

"Po' Folks" - Artists: Bill Anderson (1961)

"Walk Out Backwards (So I'll Think You're Coming In)" - Artists: Bill Anderson (1961)


"City Lights" Ray Price #1

"Riverboat" Faron Young #4
"Face To The Wall" Faron Young #10
"That's What It's Like To Be Lonesome" Ray Price #7
"That's What It's Like To Be Lonesome" Bill Anderson #12
"Ninety Nine" Bill Anderson #13

"I Missed Me" Jim Reeves #3
"Tip Of My Fingers" Bill Anderson #7
"Walk Out Backwards" Bill Anderson #9
"Dead Or Alive" Bill Anderson #19

"Happy Birthday To Me" Hank Lochlin #7
"When Two Worlds Collide" Roger Miller #6
"Fickle Fun" Kitty Wells # 29
"To You And Yours" George Hamilton IV #13
"Po' Folks" Bill Anderson #9

“Must You Throw Dirt In My Face” Roy Clark #21
“Must You Throw Dirt In My Face” The Louvin Brothers #21
“We Missed You” Kitty Wells #7
“Losing Your Love” Jim Reeves #2
“Mamma Sang A Song” Bill Anderson #1
“Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands” #14
“When Two Worlds Collide” George Jones

“I’ve Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand” Porter Waggoner #7
“My Whole World Is Falling Down” Brenda Lee #8
"Tip of My Fingers" Roy Clark #10
“Still” Bill Anderson #1
“8x10” Bill Anderson #2
“City Lights” Ferlin Husky

“Saginaw, Michigan” Lefty Frizzell #1
“Once A Day” Connie Smith #1
“No Thanks, I Just Had One” Faron Young & Margie Singleton # 40
“Peel Me A Nanner” Roy Drusky #8
“I’ll Go Down Swinging” Porter Wagoner #11
“I Don’t’ Love you Anymore” Charlie Louvin #4
“Easy Come, Easy Go” Bill Anderson #14
“Five Little Fingers” Bill Anderson #5
“In Case You Ever Change Your Mind” Bill Anderson #38
“When Two Worlds Collide” Jean Shepard

“Tiny Blue Transistor Radio” Connie Smith #25
“Then And Only Then” Connie Smith #4
“I Can’t Remember” Connie Smith #9
“Think I’ll Go Somewhere And Cry Myself To Sleep” Charlie Louvin #26
“Bright Lights And Country Music” Bill Anderson #11
“Three A.M.” Bill Anderson #8
“Certain” Bill Anderson #12
“City Lights” Jerry Lee Lewis
“When Two Worlds Collide” Ernest Tubb
“Tips Of My Fingers” Roger Miller
“Tips Of My Fingers” Conway Twitty
“Once A Day” Loretta Lynn

“Bad Seed” Jan Howard #10
“I Got The Fever” Jan Howard “
“Tip Of My Fingers” Eddy Arnold #3
“Tip Of My Fingers” The Browns
Tip Of My Fingers” Roy Drusky
Tip Of My Fingers” Wanda Jackson
“Nobody But A Fool” Connie Smith #4”
Nickels, Dimes And Quarters” Johnny Wright  #31
“I Love You Drops” Bill Anderson #4”
“The Shirt” Norma Jean #28
“I get The Fever” Bill Anderson #1
“Golden Guitar” Bill Anderson #11
“When Two Worlds Collide” Dottie West
“Once A Day” Don Gibson
“Once A Day” Paul Anka
“Once A Day” George Jones
“Once A Day” Kitty Wells

“Cold Hard Facts Of Life” Porter Wagoner #2
“Cincinnati, Ohio” Connie Smith #4
Connie Smith Sings Bill Anderson
“Off And On” Charlie Louvin #38
“Walk Out Backwards” Liz Anderson”
“Get While The getting’s Good” Bill Anderson #5
“Papa” Bill Anderson #64
“Stranger On The Run” Bill Anderson #42
“City Lights” Dottie West
“Tips Of My Fingers” Dottie West

“Wild Weekend” Bill Anderson #2
“Happy state Of Mind” Bill Anderson#2
“Count Your Blessings, Woman” Jan Howard #16
“I Still Believe In Love” Jan Howard #27
“Once A Day” Trini Lopez
“When Two Worlds Collide” Jim Reeves #6
“You And Your sweet Love” Connie Smith #6
“My Life(Throw It Away If You want To)” Bill Anderson #1
“City Lights” Conway Twitty
“Must you Throw Dirt In My Face” Jim & Jesse
“Once A Day” Lynn Anderson
“Once A Day” Norma Jean

“I Never Once Stopped loving You” Connie Smith 35
“Green, Green Valley” Tex Ritter #57
“The Soul You Never Had” Jan Howard #64
“If It’s All The Same To You” Bill Anderson & Jan Howard #2
“Where Have All Our Heroes Gone” Bill Anderson #6
“Must You Throw Dirt In My Face” Waylon Jennings
“Tips Of My Fingers” Dean Martin
“Once A Day” Hank Locklin

“The Kind Of Needin’ I Need” Norma Jean #42
“City Lights” Johnny Bush #53
“Dis-Satisfied” Bill Anderson & Jan Howard #4
“Quits” Bill Anderson #3

“All The Lonely women In The World” Bill Anderson #5

“Slipping away” Jean Shepard #4
“The Lord Knows I’m Drinking” Cal Smith #1
“The Corner Of My Life” Bill Anderson #2
“If You Can Live With It (I Can Live Without It) Bill Anderson #2

“At The Time” Jean Shepard #13
“Every Time I Turn The Radio On” Bill Anderson #7

“City Lights” Mickey Giley #1
“Sometimes” Bill Anderson & Mary Lou turner #1
“Poor Sweet Baby” Jean Shepard #14
“Tip Of my Fingers” Jean Shepard #16
“Poor Sweet Baby” & Ten Other Bill Anderson Songs LP Jean Shepard
“I Still Feel The Same Way about You” Bill Anderson #14
“Country DJ” Bill Anderson #36
“Once A day” Dean Martin
“Once A Day” Scotty Stoneman

“Mercy” Jean Shepard #49

“I Think I’ll Go Somewhere And Cry Myself To Sleep” Billy Crash Craddock #50
“I Can’t Wait Any longer” Bill Anderson #$
“Double S” Bill Anderson #30
“Must You Throw You Dirt In my Face” Roy Clark #60

“I May Never Get To Heaven” Conway Twitty #1
“Double S” Bill Anderson #30
“I’ve Enjoyed As Much As This As I Can Stand” Jim Reeves

“Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands” David Allen Coe #46
“When Two Worlds Collide” Jerry lee Lewis #11
“More Than A Bedroom Thing” Bill Anderson #51
“Rock ‘n’ Roll To Rock Of Ages” Bill Anderson #58
“I Want That feeling again” Bill Anderson #82

“Homebody” Bill Anderson #74

“Southern Fried” Bill Anderson #42

Laid off” Bill Anderson #82
“Son Of The South” Bill Anderson #71
“20th Century Fox” Bill Anderson #71

“Pity Party” Bill Anderson #62

“Once A Day” The Triffids

“Sheet Music” Bill Anderson #80

“I Wonder If God Likes Country Music” Bill Anderson And roy acuff
“City Lights” Mel Tillis #67

“Cincinnati, Ohio” The Osborne Brothers

“Tips Of My Fingers” Steve Wariner #3

“Walk Out Backwards” rick Trevino
“Tips Of My Fingers” Desmond Decker & The aces

“Which Bridge To Cross” Vince Gill #4
“Must You Throw You Dirt In my Face” Elvis Costello

“You Lied To Me” Tracy Bird

“One Small Miracle” Bryon white #16
“Walk Out Backwards” Sam Evans

“Mama Sang A song” Jimmy Dean
“City lights” Rick Travino

“Wish You Were Here” Mark wills #1
“Two teardrops” Steve Wariner #2
“When Two Worlds Collide” John Prine

“When A Man Can’t get A woman off His mind” Craig Morgan
“I May Never Get To Heaven” Buddy Killen
“Faith In you” Steve Wariner #28
“Christmas In Your arms” Steve wariner # 65
“When Two Worlds Collide” Ray campi

“Too Country” Brad Paisley #58
“Cocktails” Robbie Fulks
“When Two Worlds Collide” Bill Anderson
“Once A Day” Jolie Holliday

“A lot of Things Different” Kenny Chesney #1
“Whiskey lullaby” Melonie Crittindon
“Snowfall On The Sand” Steve Wariner #52
“I’m Your Man” Steve Wariner #58

“Sell A Lot Of beer” The warren Brothers #51
“Must You Throw You Dirt In my Face” Merle Haggard & Carl Jackson
“Must You Throw You Dirt In my Face” The Crow Brothers
“Must You Throw You Dirt In my Face” Hank Wangford

“Whiskey lullaby” Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss #3
“Still” Con Hunley
“Chip Chip” Rusty Blue & Bill Anderson

“Whiskey lullaby” Jon Randall
“Whiskey lullaby” Bill Anderson
“Him And Me” Bill Anderson
“Once A Day” Martine McBride

“Give It Away” George Straight #1
“Once A Day” Van Morrison
“Still Believing In Christmas Bill Anderson

“Separate Ways” Rick Trevino
“I’ll Wait For You” Joe Nichols #1
“Did I Make A difference” The Oakridge Boys

“Cheaper Than A Shrink” Will Peppers

“Joey” Sugarland #1
“I’ll Always Have Denver” Sammy Saddler

“Thanks To You” Bill Anderson

Claims that out of all his awards he is proudest of his induction into the NSF Hall of Fame

Received 54 BMI Songwriting awards from 1959-1994

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