While he is known for his soft singing and conversational vocal style that earned him the nickname Whisperin’ Bill, his credentials are shouting his prominence. Bill Anderson is one of the most popular songwriters in the history of country music that only a few country artists could match.
He had countless songs he had written and recorded by some of the biggest names in the music industry. Of course, he’s also a million-selling recording artist, with over seventy singles of his own. Today, Anderson has already become a legend and an inspiration to many younger artists.
Let’s get to know more about Bill Anderson with some facts you’ve probably never heard before.
1. He’s a native of Columbia, South Carolina.
Born James William Anderson III on November 1, 1937, the country star was the oldest of two children. Anderson’s father worked as an insurance agent while his mother was a homemaker. During his third grade, the family moved to Decatur, Georgia, where his father opened his own insurance agency firm.
Anderson once noted that though his family did not have many material possessions, he recalled his childhood as never going to bed hungry.
2. His first interest was baseball.
In high school, Anderson became his team’s pitcher and was even scouted to the Chicago Cubs’ training camp. However, he declined the offer knowing that his family would be upset if he missed college.
3. He saved money to purchase his first guitar.
While Anderson played various sports and was active in youth organizations, he was most interested in music. He learned the joy of making music from his grandparents, who are both musicians. Riling his interest even more, are the country musicians he often watched perform on a radio station just above his father’s insurance company.
4. He wrote his first song when he was only ten.
Armed with his first guitar – “a cheap, flat-top model with the strings about an inch above the fretboard,” Anderson recalled – he penned the first among the many Bill Anderson songs. It was “Carry Me to My Texas Home,” showcasing his fascinating imagination. At age ten, Anderson had never been west of Carrollton, Georgia.
5. He graduated with a degree in journalism.
While earning a degree in journalism at the University of Georgia, Anderson started working as a disc jockey at a nearby radio station, WGAU. However, Anderson got fired after playing country records on a strict rock ‘n roll station.
6. He has his own television series.
From 1965 to 1974, Anderson hosted The Bill Anderson Show, where he would tape two sets of thirty minute shows in front of a live audience. At the same time, Anderson appeared in various country music vehicles and made appearances on several national television shows. Anderson’s TV appearances continued until the later years.
7. He also tried his hand at business.
Anderson also ventured into the business industry a couple of times; however, many of which ended up failing. This includes the radio station he acquired in 1975, which failed to gain enough advertising, causing it to be unsuccessful. Six years later, Anderson sold the station and left the radio industry.
8. He married twice.
In 1959, Anderson married his first wife, Bette. He was only 22 then, while Bette was 19. However, the two called it quits ten years after their marriage. Anderson and Bette were blessed with two daughters during their relationship together.
In 1970, Anderson married Becky – a marriage that lasted until the 1990s.
Isn’t it great to know these facts about Bill Anderson? After all, he’s a country legend whose contribution to the genre is beyond comparison.