Country Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Famer, Whisperin’ Bill Anderson, is being honored by WJJC in Commerce, Ga., the station that started his career in the music industry more than 60 years ago. WJJC is re-branding as Whisperin’ 95.1 to honor the legendary songwriter and performer. This humbling recognition comes after Anderson’s role as the first disc jockey for the classic country radio station in 1957. The station is also launching a new website, Whisperin951.com.
To celebrate the re-naming, Anderson went live on air Friday morning at 10 a.m. EST, kicking off the special hour-long programming that exclusively premiered a new recording of “City Lights,” which Anderson wrote while working at the station. The song was later recorded by Ray Price and topped the Country Charts at No. 1. To stream Anderson’s interview, click HERE. The interview also features congratulatory messages from Congressman Doug Collins and Commerce Mayor Clark Hill.
Before his illustrious career in writing and performing began, Anderson was a journalism student at the University of Georgia. He worked his way through college as a disc jockey, first at WGAU in Athens then moving to Commerce when WJJC took to the airwaves June 27, 1957. A young Bill Anderson was the station’s first on-air personality. Now more than sixty years later the station is being re-named in his honor.
Recently, during this unprecedented time in history, the National Health Service (NHS) workers in the United Kingdom re-recorded a Whisperin’ Bill Anderson hit song by an all-star cast. Anderson wrote “Happiness” in 1964 and it became a smash for Sir Ken Dodd overseas. As the Daily Mirror recently reported, celebrities across the U.K. re-recorded “Happiness” as tribute to all those in health service. Click HERE to watch.
“Whisperin’ Bill” Anderson, who is known for his breathy, conversational vocal style, has received many accolades over his extensive career that spans more than half a century. He has achieved 37 Top Ten hits as a recording artist and more than 50 BMI awards for songwriting. Anderson’s songs have been recorded by James Brown, Kenny Chesney, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dean Martin, and hundreds of others, among them Hall of Fame members, Porter Wagoner and Kitty Wells. In 2005, Anderson and Jon Randall Stewart wrote “Whiskey Lullaby,” recorded by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss. It was CMA Song of the Year, and in 2007, Anderson won the CMA and ACM Song of the Year awards for “Give It Away,” written with Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson and recorded by George Strait. A Grand Ole Opry member since 1961, Anderson entered the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975, the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002 and the New York-based Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018. In late 2020, he will be honored with an exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame that will give visitors an inside look into the legacy that is “Whisperin’ Bill” Anderson.