Ask Bill – March 1, 2023
1) I have written lyrics to a song but have no musical ability to add a tune. Would you consider reading the lyrics and guide me in how to get music put to it?
You have no idea how many requests similar to yours that I receive, and as much as I’d like to help, there is simply no way I have the time to do so. If there is a good musician that you know of in your hometown, seek them out and perhaps they’d like to collaborate with you. Schools or churches might be a good place to start looking for someone. Or perhaps a person who gives music lessons. I wish you the best of luck.
2) Is the house where Roy Acuff lived at Opryland still there? If so, what is it used for?
I asked Dan Rogers, vice president of the Opry, for an answer to your question. He replied, “Roy’s house still stands today. While a portion of the home is utilized as office space for Opry Entertainment staff, other rooms of the home have been used for exhibits lately, including an exhibit of Les Leverett Opry photography and last year an exhibit celebration of country music of the 1990s. The Opry says a new 2023 exhibition will be announced soon. If you ever make your way to the house, look for a few photos of Roy inside the house in the 1980s.” So there you have it from someone who definitely knows.
3) I was honored to be on your Fandango show as a contestant back in the 1980s. I heard from somewhere that there will be a new similar game show. If you know anything about it I hope you would let me know.
There have been rumors of such a show off and on down through the years, and I know of one idea that got so far as the actual filming of a pilot episode, but so far as I know neither that show nor any of the others are actually scheduled for broadcast. If I learn anything more I’ll be glad to pass it along.
Oh, and before I continue, let me pause here to eat a little crow. In our most recent Ask Bill column I wrote that I didn’t know of anyone who had recorded my song, “Next Time You’re In Tulsa,” other than myself. I stand corrected by several of you who wrote to remind me that Charlie Louvin also cut that song in a 1968 album called, “Hey Daddy.” Charlie was one of my favorite singers and favorite people, and I apologize for overlooking his heartfelt version of my song. I’ve actually heard it several times, but you know how things slip your mind as you get……..
4) One of my favorite songs is “The Tip Of My Fingers,” and I’ve heard several different versions where some say “tip” and others say “tips.” Which is correct?
That’s a great question, and one I’ve been asked many times over the years. I originally wrote it as “tip” but came to decide in later years that it should be “tips.” So, I started singing it that way. But, to be honest, I really don’t know which is grammatically correct. Any English teachers out there? Settle this for us, please, once and for all. Thank you.
5) Our Question of the Month comes from Marie in Alaska – I absolutely love Gene Watson singing, “When A Man Can’t Get A Woman Off His Mind.” You wrote this, I believe, with Sharon Vaughn. My question is about my favorite line in the song, “I just crushed a Dixie Cup for running out of wine.” Who wrote that line?
Technically, both of us did, but I’m glad you asked because I love to tell this story. Sharon and I had finished writing the first verse and the chorus of the song and were halfway through with the second verse when she asked to be excused from our little writing room to go to the restroom. When she returned I said, “I think I’ve got it,” and I sang, “I just cussed a Dixie Cup for running out of wine.” She screamed, “Oh my God, I love it….but you need to say ‘crushed’ instead of ‘cussed’.” I said, “No, that ol’ boy cussed it!” Sharon said, “Yeah, but after he cussed it, he crushed it!” We both laughed, and the lyric became “crushed.” That’s the sort of stuff that only happens in co-writing sessions, and is the kind of thing that keeps me keeping on after all these years.
6) Out of all the venues you have played, where would you like to play again? Name the top 3 please.
Oh, Wow! That’s a tough question. Off the top of my head, though, I would probably say Carnegie Hall in New York, the Palladium in London, and maybe the football stadium in Athens, Georgia, where we had an audience of over 70,000 people, some of whom had come to see a football game! And then there’s Massey Hall in Toronto, Madison Square Garden in New York, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and….and….and…..
7) Do you plan to go on another cruise this year? I really enjoyed the last one.
Thanks, but I’m not planning another one at the present time.
8) I’ve always wondered how records climb up the Billboard charts. How does a record go from #40 to #20 and so on?
I can’t speak for Billboard, but most people who put together music popularity charts use a combination of record sales and/or streaming numbers, combined with how many times a song is played on radio and television, to come up with the most popular songs during a particular time period. As a song’s numbers increase, that particular song grows in popularity and therefore moves up the charts. Chart methodology is far from an exact science, which is why one survey will show one song as being #1 while another shows a different song entirely. It’s not a perfect system by any means, but it’s the best we’ve got.
9) Have you ever met or collaborated with John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame?
Yes, I have met him and found him to be a very nice, down to earth guy. I’ve never collaborated with him musically, but we’ve discussed it and I’d love to try it someday.
10) Over 50 years ago I worked at a McDonald’s in Ft. Lauderdale. There was a guy sitting on the curb with a guitar who said his name was Bill Anderson. He asked us to listen to a song and we liked it. Years later I became a die-hard country fan, heard you on the radio, and always wondered if that was you and if you remembered it.
No, that wouldn’t have been me. When I was in Ft. Lauderdale, I always worked the curb outside of Wendy’s!
And with that, I think it’s time to ride off in the sunset one more time. Remember if you have a question about country music, send it to me in care of firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to give you either a truthful or a stupid answer (See #10 above). If yours is chosen our Question Of The Month, you will receive any item of your choice from our online store absolutely free of charge. Let me hear from you, and I’ll see you back here in April.