Ask Bill – January 3, 2023
1) You sang your song, “Peel Me A ‘Nanner” on the Opry recently, and included a verse that Roy Drusky did not sing on his recording of the song. Did you write it later? And have you made significant changes to any songs you wrote after they were recorded…other than adding a child to “Wild Weekend” after J-Bird was born?
So far as I recall, I wrote that third verse at the same time I wrote the other two verses, but for some reason Roy…or his producer…chose to not include it when they cut the song. Back in those days (mid-60’s), an artist would get more airplay the shorter a record was. Roy’s cut came in under two minutes, and the DJ’s played the fire out of it. I don’t recall any significant changes I might have made to any other songs, but there may well have been some I’ve forgotten about.
2) I have a bunch of your albums and CD’s, and I was wondering how many #1 hits you have had. And which song was your last #1 hit?
Oh boy, you are opening quite a can of worms here. Back in the day when I was having hit records, there were three national country charts published every week. One was in Billboard magazine, one in CashBox magazine, and one in a publication called Record World. These charts would generally reflect the same overall musical trends, but they were seldom identical. A record might be #1 in CashBox and only #5 in Billboard. Or vice versa. No one chart was considered “official.”
Over the years, Billboard kept track of their charts the best, and eventually became the source the industry trusted…partly because the other magazines went out of business and their charts and methodology were lost. If you go by Billboard, I have had 7 #1 records, but if you also include CashBox and Record World, I’ve have had between 15 and 20. In Billboard, I have also had 9 records that reached #2, most of which went #1 somewhere else.
According to Billboard, my last #1 hit was “Sometimes” with Mary Lou Turner in 1975. According to other publications my last #1 was in 1978 with “I Can’t Wait Any Longer.” Now is it clear as mud?
3) What is your biggest regret in your career?
When you’ve had a career as blessed as mine, it’s hard to look back and regret anything. Any regrets I might have would be so few and so insignificant compared to my blessings that they are hardly worth mentioning. So I don’t think I will.
Our Question Of The Month comes from Lori in Alabama: My husband and I love you and your music, but he lost his hearing 10-years ago. We watch Country’s Family Reunion and Larry’s Country Diner, and he likes to watch music videos. But none of your music videos are captioned. Could you maybe caption your videos so that he can enjoy them?
Nobody has ever brought that up to me before, and I appreciate it. My last two videos, “It’s A Good Day (To Have A Good Day)” and “Someday It’ll All Make Sense” with Dolly Parton, were both released in a lyric video format with the words to the songs printed on the screen. You might try checking those out on my website or on YouTube. And I’ll certainly stay aware of your request for any future videos I might put out. Thanks for the suggestion.
Quickies: Are you related to any Anderson’s in California or Washington? Not that I know of. A few of my Anderson kinfolks got as far west as east Texas, but that’s about it. Did you write “Peanuts & Diamonds?” It is right up there with “Golden Guitar” as my favorite of all the songs I’ve heard you sing. Well you picked two songs that I did not write! But I’m glad you like them. Bobby Braddock wrote “Peanuts & Diamonds.” Do you prefer to write by yourself or with others? I enjoy both and feel blessed to be able to do both. Do you have a favorite co-writer? If I did, I wouldn’t mention it here because I’d make all the other co-writers mad! And from England: Did you ever meet Ken Dodd? Yes, I did, and for our American friends, Ken is the British artist who popularized several of my songs in the UK, including “Still,” “8×10”, and “Happiness.” He came to see me once when I was performing ln Liverpool, and it was a great honor to meet him. He was an icon in your country long before he was dubbed Sir Ken Dodd. I treasure the memory of our shaking hands and sharing a few laughs. I am 86-years old and my DVD’s of Country’s Family Reunion are such a blessing. Will there ever be more? I’m glad you enjoy them, but right now I don’t see any new ones on the horizon. I try to never say “never,” but that’s the way it looks here in early 2023.
Thanks for another bunch of great questions. Like always, I have a few left over for next month, but don’t let that keep you from sending yours. You can write to me at email@example.com and I’ll try to respond to whatever is on your mind. Remember our Question Of The Month earns the sender a free copy of any merchandise item from our online store. See you back here in February.