Bill Anderson

Po' Folks - Bill Anderson

Still - Bill Anderson

Wild Weekend -Bill Anderson

Birth: 11-01-1937 | Birthplace: Columbia, South Carolina

Inducted: 2001

Equally successful as singer and composer, James William Anderson III has thirty-seven Top Ten Billboard singles as an artist and has earned more than fifty BMI songwriter awards. He wrote many of his #1 hits, including "Mama Sang a Song," "Still" (a pop Top Ten), "I Get the Fever," and "My Life."

While earning a degree in journalism, Anderson worked his way through the University of Georgia as DJ (WJJC Commerce), sportswriter (DeKalb New Era), and performer. In 1957, Anderson recorded "City Lights" for TNT Records in San Antonio, Texas. The honky-tonk themed song found its way to Columbia’s Ray Price, whose May 29, 1958, recording became a #1 country hit on the Billboard charts.

Signed within weeks to Decca, Anderson recorded his first session for the label in August 1958 and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1961. He helped discover Connie Smith and wrote her #1 breakthrough, "Once a Day" (1964), plus five Top Ten follow-ups. Others scoring substantial hits with Anderson tunes include Jim Reeves, Roger Miller, Hank Locklin, Kitty Wells, Porter Wagoner, and Cal Smith. His songs breathed new life into the careers of Lefty Frizzell ("Saginaw, Michigan"), Charlie Louvin ("I Don’t Love You Anymore"), and Jean Shepard ("Slippin’ Away"). His "Tip of My Fingers" made the Top Ten for himself (1960), Roy Clark (1963), Eddy Arnold (1966), and Steve Wariner (1992). Revivals of Anderson songs worked for Mickey Gilley ("City Lights," #1, 1974) and Conway Twitty ("I May Never Get to Heaven," #1, 1979). He is known for his breathy, conversational tenor.

- Adapted from the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s Encyclopedia of Country Music, published by Oxford University Press.