Monday, November 1, 2010

Bill Anderson

Today, I would like to take a moment and give recognition to Grand Ole Opry member Bill Anderson, who on November 1 is celebrating his 73rd birthday. Bill was born James William Anderson III, on November 1, 1937. He has had an outstanding career with numerous #1 records and has recorded almost 50 albums (and is still going strong). He is also a great songwriter, author and former game show host. He also hosted his own television show. He also had numerous duet hits with Jan Howard and Mary Lou Turner.

Bill became a member of the Grand Ole Opry on July 12, 1961, and in 2011 he will be celebrating his 50th anniversary as an Opry member. In 1975, he was voted as a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 2001 he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

His career is still very active today as he is still writing books, writing and publishing new songs and recording new record albums. He also has continued a pretty active touring schedule.

I have had the opportunity to meet Bill several times and I have always found him to be a very friendly and personable guy. He has always taken the time to answer my questions and to take a few minutes to say hi. And, he always receives a great reception while at the Opry.

In honor of Bill, I thought that I would post the Opry line-up from Saturday July 15, 1961. This was the first show that took place after Bill became on Opry member on July 12, and during this show he was officially welcomed as the newest Opry member.

7:30: Ray Price(host); Cowboy Copas; Bill Monroe; Stringbean; Tommy Jackson; Jan Howard
8:00: Flatt & Scruggs(host); Dick Flood; Bill Anderson; Loretta Lynn; Crook Brothers
8:30: Porter Wagoner(host); Bobby Lord; Archie Campbell; Jordanaires; Margie Bowes; Bob Luman
9:00: Roy Drusky(host); Glaser Brothers; Stonewall Jackson; Skeeter Davis; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Cousin Jody
9:30: George Hamilton IV(host); Bill Monore; Johnny Forbes; Lonzo & Oscar
10:00: Flatt & Scruggs(host); Jan Howard; Jordanaires
10:15: Bobby Lord(host); Loretta Lynn; Stringbean
10:30: Roy Drusky(host); Margie Bowes; Stonewall Jackson
10:45: Glaser Brothers(host); Cousin Jody; Crook Brothers
11:00: Porter Wagoner(host); Bob Luman; George Hamilton IV; Lonzo & Oscar; Sam & Kirk McGee; Jordanaires; Fruit Jar Drinkers
11:30: Bill Monore(host); Bill Anderson; Skeeter Davis; Dick Flood; Johnny Forbes

A couple of quick observations regarding the Opry on that particular night. First, it was one show, as it was back in those days. Bill Monore and the Jordanaires were featured on 3 different segments that night. And, do you notice how many of the Opry stars are missing? How about Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, Grandpa Jones, Marty Robbins, Minnie Pearl, Ernest Tubb, among many others. We complain now about Opry line-ups, but to be honest, the line-up from this particular night was not the strongest line-up we have seen from that era.

Again, congratulations to Bill Anderson on his 73rd birthday!!!!!!!


  1. Thanks for posting that lineup, and here's an interesting thought or two for you about it.

    First, I THINK Ol' Whisper once said that Billy Grammer inducted him. So his memory may have been shaky.

    Second, granting the big names missing, notice that a lot of those present were younger or newer members--Porter Wagoner, Bobby Lord, Archie Campbell, Margie Bowes, Roy Drusky, the Glaser Brothers, Skeeter Davis, and George Hamilton IV all had joined in the past five years. If this weekend's Opry had the equivalent number of recent inductees, we would probably be downright delirious!

    Third, noting that Monroe was on three segments, bear in mind that a lot of performers preferred not to do the 11:30 segment. Also, he was then in a fallow period, with Flatt & Scruggs getting most of the attention; the folk revival hadn't happened yet.

    Finally, I noticed that Ray Price and Cowboy Copas did only the first segment and then were out of there, and that future members Jan Howard, Loretta Lynn, and Bob Luman were all guests.

  2. I doubled checked and nowhere on that show do I see Billy Grammer listed. And what I posted was the actual show line up.

    You are right that there were some good performers on that show. I guess that I was just amazed that some of the Opry's heavy hitters were missing. And, there was some fluff in that line-up--people like Johnny Forbes and Dick Flood for example.

    This was in 1961, when the Opry was requiring its members to be there at the Opry at least 26 times during the year--and those were 26 Saturday nights. If you remember, it was just a couple of years later that the Opry fired numerous members for not meeting the attendance requirements.

  3. I may have misheard Ol' Whisper--he can be hard to hear! But I don't think so. Maybe he meant for his first guest appearance.

    I remember reading Grant Turner's line that the best time to see the Opry was in the winter when just about everybody was in off the road. Mid-July would have been a big touring time, so I suppose it's understandable. Still, looking at that lineup ... not too bad!