Bill Anderson Was Still in College When He Heard Himself on the Radio for the First Time
Bill Anderson is in his sixth decade as one of country music's most highly regarded songwriters. Ray Price gave "Whisperin' Bill" his big break when he recorded "City Lights," a song Anderson wrote when he was just 19 years old, in 1958, and took it to No. 1 on the country charts; however, that song wasn't the first of his compositions that Anderson heard on the radio.
Below, Anderson recalls to The Boot what it was like to hear one of his songs on the radio for the first time.
I was in college at the University of Georgia. I got the record -- it was sent to me by the record company out in Texas. I went to the post office and picked up a box of the records. I took them over to the radio station. They had country music on from 11[PM]-12 AM every day; the guy that did the show was a friend of mine, and I asked him ... I said, "I want you to play this, please. But don't play it until I've got time to go back to my dorm room and turn the radio on."
I left the record with him about 11 o'clock or so, and I went racing across campus at the University of Georgia back to my dorm room, went upstairs, turned my radio on, and in a couple of minutes, he played my record! The record was -- I don't know which side he played -- the uptempo side of the record was called "Take Me," and the other side was called "Empty Room."
We're talking late 1956 or early '57. It was a thrill!
This story was originally written by Pat Gallagher, and revised by Angela Stefano.