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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 16, 2011) The Grand Ole Opry® presented by Humana® honored one of its longest tenured members, Bill Anderson, for his 50th anniversary as an Opry member tonight.  The Country Music Hall of Fame member made his Opry debut just a few weeks before his 21st birthday and became a member less than three years later.
During his performance tonight Anderson said, “I’m more nervous tonight than I was 50 years ago!” Among the highlights of his special evening were video-taped messages from Opry members Brad Paisley and Steve Wariner and the presentation of a #50 Ryman Martin guitar by Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. He was also honored with a surprise appearance by Alison Krauss who performed “Whiskey Lullaby” with Jon Randall and Dan Tyminski.  The song was written by Anderson and Randall and made a hit by Paisley and Krauss. 
Anderson’s music career started in 1958 when Ray Price recorded his song, “City Lights” and it stayed at the top of Billboard magazine’s country charts for 13 weeks.  Soon after this success, he signed with Decca Records and began to have hits of his own such as “Po’ Folks,” “Mama Sang a Song,” “Still” and “Bright Lights and Country Music.”  By now he had affectionately been nicknamed “Whisperin’ Bill” because of his soft-spoken delivery and recitations.  Through the years Anderson has written hit songs for numerous artists, including Connie Smith’s debut smash “Once A Day,” Lefty Frizzell’s “Saginaw, Michigan,” Conway Twitty’s “I May Never Get to Heaven” and many more through the years up to Kenny Chesney’s “A Lot of Things Different,” George Strait’s &ldq uo;Give It Away” and Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss’ “Whiskey Lullaby,” with the last two hits winning CMA Song of the Year honors.
The Grand Ole Opry® is presented by Humana®. Opry performances are held every weekend of the year, and the Tuesday Night Opry continues through Dec. 13.


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