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Bill Anderson Reminisces ‘The First 10 Years’

Jason Kempin, Getty Images for BMI

Country legend Bill Anderson is celebrating 50 years as a Grand Ole Opry member with ‘The First 10 Years, 1956-1966,’ the singer’s first comprehensive anthology that chronicles his first decade as a recording artist.

The collection, now available through Bill’s official website, Amazon and select music stores, is a four-disc box set on Germany’s Bear Family Records, with 126 music tracks and a 64-page hardcover book. The set features 21 of the Georgia native’s chart hits, including the fan favorites ‘Mama Sang a Song,’ ‘Still,’ ‘Bright Lights and Country Music,’ ‘I Love You Drops,’ and ‘I Got the Fever’. Also included is a complete set from Bill’s first eight Decca albums, plus seven non-LP ‘B’ sides and three unissued studio tracks.

The Country Music Hall of Fame member also shares personal moments, including a detailed biography of his remarkable career through 1966, illustrated by photos and memorabilia from the singer’s personal archive.

The 2007 CMA Song of the Year winner (for George Strait‘s ‘Give It Away’) knew from a very early age he wanted to be a songwriter. “When the teacher would say in school that our assignment was to write something, everybody would moan and groan, and I’d jump up and say, ‘Yippee! I get to write!’” he reminisces with The Boot. “My three loves in life have always been any kind of writing, sports and country music. I was a sports writer when I first started out. I did some work for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and for some weekly papers around Atlanta, but when I got to the University of Georgia and met a couple of guitar pickers, that focus shifted to music and I started seriously to try to write songs.”

In addition to his illustrious singing, songwriting and television career, Bill is equally as proud of his association with the Grand Ole Opry.

“I was on the Opry several times before they made me a member, but you never forget the first time you sing there,” Bill tells The Boot. “It was at the Ryman, in January 1959. I was on the 10:45 show — they put me on real late at night — and Porter Wagoner introduced me. I sang ‘That’s What It’s Like to Be Lonesome,’ which was my first Decca record that came out the preceding fall. The reason I remember the date is that when I was doing some research for the new [box set], I found a copy of the first check I ever got from the Opry, for $12. It was dated January 1959.”

www.BillAnderson.com

Click here to learn more about ‘The First 10 Years, 1956-1966.’ Bill will personally autograph the first 100 sets ordered through his website.

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