Bill Anderson marked an amazing career milestone Saturday night (July 16) when he celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Bill became a member of the Opry on July 15, 1961, and has regularly performed and hosted segments of the show since that time. The July 16 Opry show, held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, featured performances from some of Bill's closest friends, including Connie Smith and Ronnie Milsap. Bill also performed his classic hits "Po' Folks" and "Still."
An emotional Bill told the Opry audience, "This takes me back 50 years when Billy Grammar introduced me as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. I'm more nervous tonight than I was 50 years ago."
Is it possible to grow young?
If it is, ageless Grand Ole Opry great Bill Anderson has mastered it. The enduring icon celebrated his 50th anniversary with the show Saturday night (7/16).
“This man has written a least one No. 1 hit in each of the past six decades,” observed Opry GM Pete Fisher. “Isn’t that amazing? It’s inspiring to all of us.”
Anderson took the stage at 8:30 p.m. to host the finale segment of the Opry’s early show. He told the crowd about his landmark anniversary, then sang the song that brought him to the show’s cast on July 15, 1961, “Po’ Folks.” Opry star Billy Grammer inducted him, Anderson recalled.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Singer-songwriter Bill Anderson is celebrating his 50th anniversary this weekend as a performer on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.
Anderson, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, on Saturday night plans to sing "Po Folks," which he performed for the first time as an Opry member on July 14, 1961.
Anderson's other hits include "Still" and "City Lights."
Bill Anderson has been a Grand Ole Opry member for a half-century, and will mark his golden anniversary as part of the venerable institution this Saturday, July 16. The singer-songwriter got his first taste of success in 1958 when Ray Price recorded a song he had written, 'City Lights.' He was 19 years old, and he never looked back. Bill moved to Nashville, landed a recording contract with Decca Records, and went on to have hit after hit, among them 'Po' Folks,' 'Still,' 'Mama Sang a Song' and 'I Get the Fever.' He also had duets with Jan Howard and Mary Lou Turner. He is credited with bringing Connie Smith to Nashville, "Something she's never forgiven me for," he deadpans during a recent conversation with The Boot.
Bill's success as a songwriter is equal to that of his recording career, as he wrote many of Connie's hits, including 'Once a Day' and 'Cincinnati, Ohio.' He received a Grammy nomination for the Steve Wariner song 'Two Teardrops,' and won CMA Vocal Event of the Year in 2001 with his song 'Too Country,' which was recorded by Brad Paisley, Buck Owens and George Jones. The next year Kenny Chesney cut 'A Lot of Things Different,' which Bill wrote with Dean Dillon.
Whitey Ford of the Yankees and Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves were facing off at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in the 1961 Major League Baseball All-Star game.
And Bill Anderson, the affable, 23-year-old disc jockey-turned-singer whose star was rising on the strength of new single “Po’ Folks,” was annoyed. He loved baseball, and anyone who knew him knew that. So why was his telephone ringing when the big game was on?
“I almost didn’t get up to answer it,” Anderson says. “I mean, who in the world would call me during the All-Star game?”
The who in the world was Ott Devine, manager of the Grand Ole Opry. He was calling to ask if Anderson wanted to become an Opry member. A half-century later, Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Anderson is glad he picked up the phone.
Whisperin’ Bill Anderson will celebrate his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday, July 16 at 7 p.m. at the Opry House. Bill made his debut on the Opry stage just a few weeks before turning 21 and was inducted as a member less than three years later.
“Beginning with classics sung by Ray Price, Lefty Frizzell, Connie Smith, and more, and continuing today with unforgettable hits by the biggest names in the business, Bill Anderson tunes have hit the country charts in each of the last seven decades,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager.
Country Weekly magazine will pay tribute to Bill Anderson's 50th Opry Anniversary in their July 25th issue, which is scheduled to hit the stands on July 18th.
Written by CW editor Bob Paxman, the article is bound to be a fan favorite and the magazine would welcome any notes of appreciation. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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