Country Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Famer, Whisperin’ Bill Anderson, is being honored by WJJC in Commerce, Ga., the station that started his career in the music industry more than 60 years ago. WJJC is re-branding as Whisperin’ 95.1 to honor the legendary songwriter and performer. This humbling recognition comes after Anderson’s role as the first disc jockey for the classic country radio station in 1957. The station is also launching a new website, Whisperin951.com.
To celebrate the re-naming, Anderson went live on air Friday morning at 10 a.m. EST, kicking off the special hour long programming that exclusively premiered a new recording of “City Lights,” which Anderson wrote while working at the station. The song was later recorded by Ray Price and topped the Country Charts at No. 1. To stream Anderson’s interview, click HERE. The interview also features congratulatory messages from Congressman Doug Collins and Commerce Mayor Clark Hill.
Before his illustrious career in writing and performing began, Anderson was a journalism student at the University of Georgia. He worked his way through college as a disc jockey, first at WGAU in Athens then moving to Commerce when WJJC took to the airwaves June 27, 1957. A young Bill Anderson was the station’s first on air personality. Now more than sixty years later the station is being re-named in his honor.
Recently, during this unprecedented time in history, the National Health Service (NHS) workers in the United Kingdom re-recorded a Whisperin’ Bill Anderson hit song by an all star cast. Anderson wrote “Happiness” in 1964 and it became a smash for Sir Ken Dodd overseas. As the Daily Mirror recently reported, celebrities across the U.K. re-recorded “Happiness” as tribute to all those in health service. Click HERE to watch.
“Whisperin’ Bill” Anderson, who is known for his breathy, conversational vocal style, has received many accolades over his extensive career that spans more than half a century. He has achieved 37 Top Ten hits as a recording artist and more than 50 BMI awards for songwriting. Anderson’s songs have been recorded by James Brown, Kenny Chesney, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dean Martin, and hundreds of others, among them Hall of Fame members, Porter Wagoner and Kitty Wells. In 2005, Anderson and Jon Randall Stewart wrote “Whiskey Lullaby,” recorded by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss. It was CMA Song of the Year, and in 2007, Anderson won the CMA and ACM Song of the Year awards for “Give It Away,” written with Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson and recorded by George Strait. A Grand Ole Opry member since 1961, Anderson entered the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975, the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002 and the New York-based Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018. In late 2020, he will be honored with an exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame that will give visitors an inside look into the legacy that is “Whisperin’ Bill” Anderson.
ABOUT BILL ANDERSON:
Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry titan Bill Anderson is the rare songwriter whose first major label cut went to No. 1 on the charts, was named Song of The Year and sparked a writing career that is currently in its seventh decade. The song, “City Lights,” was written when Anderson was a 19-year old Georgia disc jockey and became a career-defining hit for Ray Price in 1958. The song opened doors for him in Nashville, leading him to signing with BMI and Tree Publishing. Anderson was far from a one-hit wonder. He followed “City Lights” with country standards like “Tips Of My Fingers,” the GRAMMY-nominated “Once A Day,” “Saginaw, Michigan,” “That’s What It’s Like To Be Lonesome,” “I Missed Me,” “Cold Hard Facts Of Life,” which earned him another GRAMMY nomination, “Mama Sang A Song,” the crossover smash, “Still,” and countless others. He was voted country Songwriter of the Year six times during his first decade in Music City. His success continued into the 1970’s with award-winning hits like “Slippin’ Away,” “The Lord Knows I’m Drinking,” “I May Never Get To Heaven,” and the disco-flavored, “I Can’t Wait Any Longer.” The 1980’s saw Anderson’s chart-topping career take a hiatus as he became a TV network game show host, spokesman for a national restaurant chain and a nonstop touring Grand Ole Opry performer. In the 1990’s he came roaring back with a vengeance, however, as he seriously turned to co-writing for the first time. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, his collaborations with the newer generation of Nashville tunesmiths resulted in hits like “Wish You Were Here,” the GRAMMY-nominated “Two Teardrops,” “A Lot Of Things Different,” for Kenny Chesney, “Which Bridge To Cross (Which Bridge To Burn),” for Vince Gill and two CMA Song Of The Year trophies for “Whiskey Lullaby,” with Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss and George Strait’s “Give It Away,” in 2005 and 2007 respectfully. He continues to write today with songs like Brad Paisley’s “Dying To See Her.” For more information, visit BillAnderson.com.