Bill Anderson

Induction Year: 1975

Birth Name: James William Anderson III

Birth Date: 11-01-1937

Place of Birth: Columbia, South Carolina

During his long and illustrious songwriting career, Bill Anderson has been responsible for more than 100 charted country singles. Early in his career, he wrote hits for Jim Reeves and Lefty Frizzell, and in the twenty-first century he's written hit songs for Kenny Chesney and George Strait. More than 25 years after entering the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, he was still being recorded by top country artists.

Known as "Whispering Bill" for his breathy tenor voice, Anderson was born in South Carolina but raised in Georgia. Inspired by Hank Williams, he wrote his first song while still in his teens 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 his breakthrough song "City Lights." In 1958, Ray Price made it a hit, and Anderson came to Nashville to sign a song-publishing contract with Tree Publishing and a recording contract with Decca Records.

In 1960, he started having Top 10 hits as an artist, and he scored his biggest with 1963's "Still." Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he also provided dozens of hit songs to other artists, including several Top 10 country hits for Connie Smith. Anderson went through a comparatively fallow period as a songwriter in the 1980s, then staged one of the most remarkable comebacks in Nashville music history in the 1990s and beyond.

It started with the 1995 hit "Which Bridge to Burn," which Anderson co-wrote with fellow Grand Ole Opry star Vince Gill. Over the next decade and half, Anderson achieved some of his biggest successes in songwriting, creating #1 hits for Mark Wills and Kenny Chesney ("A Lot of Things Different"); the 2005 Country Music Association (CMA) Song of the Year with "Whiskey Lullaby," which was a duet hit for Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss; and the Song of the Year for both the ACM and the CMA with "Give It Away" for George Strait.

Anderson has been a member of the cast of the Grand Ole Opry since 1961. He hosted his own nationally syndicated television series from 1965 into 1974, The Bill Anderson Show. He published his autobiography in 1989 and a memoir of humorous stories in 1993.

He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He is also a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame (1985), the South Carolina Music Hall of Fame (1993) and the Georgia Broadcasters Hall of Fame (1993).

"A Lot of Things Different"

(written with Dean Dillon)

Kenny Chesney2003 #6 country, #55 pop

"Cincinnati, Ohio"

Connie Smith1967 #4 country

"City Lights"

Ray Price1958 #1 country, #71 pop
Johnny Bush1971 #53 country
Mickey Gilley1975 #1 country
Mel Tillis1989 #67 country

"Cold Hard Facts of Life"

Porter Wagoner1967 #2 country

"Give it Away"

(written with Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson)

CMA Song of the Year

George Strait2006 #1 country, #35 pop

"I Can't Wait Any Longer"

(written with Buddy Killen)

Bill Anderson1978 #4 country, #80 pop

"I Get the Fever"

Bill Anderson1966 #1 country

"I May Never Get to Heaven"

(written with Buddy Killen)

Conway Twitty1979 #1 country

"I Missed Me"

Jim Reeves1960 #3 country, #44 pop

"I Never Once Stopped Loving You"

(written with Jan Howard)

Connie Smith1970 #5 country

"I'll Wait for You"

(written with Harley Allen)

Joe Nichols2006 #7 country, #71 pop

"If It's All the Same to You"

Bill Anderson & Jan Howard1970 #2 country


(written with Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles)

Sugarland2009 #17 country, #89 pop

"Mama Sang a Song"

Bill Anderson1962 #1 country, #89 pop

"Must You Throw Dirt in My Face"

The Louvin Brothers1962 #21 country
Waylon Jennings1970 
Roy Clark1978 #60 country
Elvis Costello1995 

"My Life (Throw it Away if I Want To)"

Bill Anderson1969 #1 country

"Nobody But a Fool"

Connie Smith1966 #4 country

"Once a Day"

Connie Smith1964 #1 country
Martina McBride2005 

"Po' Folks"

Bill Anderson1961 #9 country

"Saginaw, Michigan"

(written with Don Wayne)

Lefty Frizzell1964 #1 country, #85 pop


Bill Anderson1963 #1 country, #8 pop, #3 adult contemporary, #18 adult contemporary

"The Lord Knows I'm Drinking"

Cal Smith1973 #1 country, #64 pop

"Tips of My Fingers"

Bill Anderson1960 #7 country
Roy Clark1963 #10 country, #19 adult contemporary
Eddy Arnold1966 #3 country, #8 adult contemporary
Jean Shepard1975 #16 country
Steve Wariner1992 #3 country

"Two Teardrops"

(written with Steve Wariner))

Steve Wariner1999 #2 country, #30 pop

"When Two Worlds Collide"

(written with Roger Miller)

Roger Miller1961 #6 country
Jim Reeves1969 #6 country
Jerry Lee Lewis1980 #11 country

"Where Have All Our Heroes Gone"

(written with Bob Talbert)

Bill Anderson1970 #6 country, #93 pop

"Which Bridge to Cross"

(written with Vince Gill)

Vince Gill1995 #4 country

"Whiskey Lullaby"

(written with Jon Randall)

Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss2004 #3 country, #41 pop

"Wild Week-End"

Bill Anderson1968 #2 country

"Wish You Were Here"

(written with Skip Ewing, Debbie Moore)

Mark Wills1999 #1 country, #34 pop

Bill Anderson

Induction Year: 1975