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Interview with Bill Anderson, March 4, 2008

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:52 - Early life in Decatur / Journalism major

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Partial Transcript: I was hoping today that we'd have a chance to-to go back a little bit, let you recall some, uh, times at the University of Georgia...

Segment Synopsis: Anderson recalls recording the song "City Lights" on UGA's campus. He remembers covering high school sports for the DeKalb New Era and Atlanta Constitution newspapers while in high school, which inspired him to major in journalism at UGA. He discusses switching the focus of his major from print journalism to broadcast journalism.

Keywords: Atlanta Constitution (newspaper); Bob Ritter; DeKalb New Era (newspaper); Great Depression; Ray Price; UGA; University of Georgia; WDOL (radio); country music; rock 'n' roll

00:06:55 - Influential figures at UGA / Social life at UGA

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Partial Transcript: What influences did you find here?

Segment Synopsis: Anderson recalls people at UGA who influenced his career decisions, including professors in the Grady College and classmates with whom he formed a band. He discusses his social life at UGA, including joining Kappa Sigma fraternity and writing songs on campus.

Keywords: Burl Womack; Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication; Howard Randolph Holder; John Drewry; Kappa Sigma fraternity; UGA; University of Georgia; Worth McDougal

00:13:48 - DJ career / Country music career

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Partial Transcript: What, um -- we talked a little bit about your sports writing, and then we talked about -- we've not talked about DJ days.

Segment Synopsis: Anderson remembers finding a job as a DJ for WGAU in Athens, getting fired, and moving to Commerce to work at WJJC radio station. He recalls writing the song "City Lights" on August 27, 1957 while living at the Hotel Andrew Jackson in Commerce, and graduating from UGA in 1959. He discusses his early musical successes, including joining the Nashville-based country music concert called the Grand Ole Opry in 1961. He also talks about his number one song in 1962, and his biggest hit, "Still," in 1963.

Keywords: Burl Womack; Decca Records; Grand Ole Opry; Hotel Andrew Jackson (Commerce, Ga.); Howard Randolph Holder; WGAU (radio); WJJC (radio)

00:19:47 - Little Jimmy Dickens / Minnie Pearl

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Partial Transcript: Talk about, um, 1961 and the Grand Ole Opry.

Segment Synopsis: Anderson discusses his relationship with and impressions of country music singer Little Jimmy Dickens and country comedian Minnie Pearl.

Keywords: Grand Ole Opry; James Cecil "Little Jimmy" Dickens; Minnie Pearl; Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon; Sulphur Dell; entertainment; performers

00:24:13 - "Whisperin' Bill" / Television career / Awards

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Partial Transcript: "Whisperin' Bill" -- do you remember when you got that nickname, and when did it happen?

Segment Synopsis: Anderson recalls how he got the nickname "Whisperin' BIll" from comedian Don Bowman and radio DJ Ralph Emery. He discusses various television appearances he has made, particularly on the soap opera One Life to Live. He talks about some of the accolades he has received for his country music and television careers.

Keywords: American Broadcasting Company (ABC); Country Music Hall of Fame; Don Bowman; Georgia Broadcasters Hall of Fame; Georgia Music Hall of Fame; One Life to Live (soap opera); Ralph Emery; South Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame