The Grand Ole Opry honored Whisperin’ Bill Anderson for his 50th anniversary as an Opry member Saturday night. Bill made his Opry debut just a few weeks before turning 21 and became a member less than three years later. “I’m more nervous tonight than I was 50 years ago!” Bill said during his performance Saturday.
Video taped messages from Brad Paisley and Steve Wariner aired during the celebration and a #50 Ryman Martin guitar was presented to Bill by Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. Alison Krauss made a surprise appearance, performing “Whiskey Lullaby” with Jon Randall and Dan Tyminski. The song was written by Bill and Jon and was recorded by Brad Paisley and Alison.
Bill’s career started in 1958 when Ray Price recorded his song “City Lights,” which stayed in the No. 1 position on Billboard’s country charts for 13 weeks. He went on to have hits of his own such as “Po’ Folks,” “Mama Sang a Song,” “Still” and “Bright Lights and Country Music.” Bill has also penned hit songs like Connie Smith’s “Once A Day,” Conway Twitty’s “I May Never Get To Heaven” and more recent hits, “Give It Away” by George Strait and “Whiskey Lullaby,” both of which won CMA Song of the Year awards.