Following the CMA Awards on November 7th, I wrote in this space that I was “speechless.”
I got all kinds of e-mails in response, ranging from, “When was Bill Anderson ever speechless?” to “You’ve won so many awards during your career, how could one more leave you speechless?”
Let me try to explain.
First, I honestly did not think our song, “Give It Away,” was going to be voted the Song of the Year. My feelings were based on the fact that we had won that very award six months earlier at the ACM Awards in Las Vegas. The timing was right back then. George Strait’s record had peaked just about the time the first round of ballots went out to be voted on by the ACM membership, and the song was currently on everyone’s mind. Here is was a half-year later, lots of great new songs had been written, recorded, and released, and I just assumed our song was yesterday’s news.
So when I heard the word “Give…” come out of either Eddie Montgomery’s or Troy Gentry’s mouth, I was totally stunned. Happy, of course, but stunned nonetheless.
Later, in the press room backstage, I was told that this was the first time a sitting member of the Country Music Hall of Fame had ever written a Song of the Year…and that the song was not only written (co-written to be precise) by a Hall of Famer, but also sung by another Hall of Famer, George Strait. That had never happened before.
Peter Cooper, writing for the Tennessean newspaper, wrote, “Among the most gentlemanly and eloquent of artists, Anderson thought for a moment when informed of his firsts backstage. After a pause, his eyes misted and he replied, ‘Damn’.”
Later I figured it was better to be speechless than to go around the rest of the night muttering profanities. Besides, it was three o’clock in the morning. I’m speechless nearly every day at that time.