Bill Anderson Celebrates 62 Years As a Grand Ole Opry Member

Bill Anderson was honored with a star-studded celebration at the Grand Ole Opry over the weekend, celebrating his tenure as the longest-serving member of the Opry. Anderson, who has been a Grand Ole Opry member for 62 years, was honored by Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Jamey Johnson and Jeannie Seely , among others, during the celebratory show.

Later, Anderson reflected on the celebration, honoring more than six decades as part of country music’s sacred institution.

“It’s been a wonderful night,” Anderson said. “I want to thank all of you for your many cards and letters of support. People sent me flowers, people sent me all kinds of wonderful messages, and you’re what makes it all worthwhile. You’ve been so kid to me for 62 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

Ahead of the celebration,  Opry Vice-President and Executive Producer, Dan Rogers, paid tribute to the 85-year-old, and his faithfulness to the Grand Ole Opry for so many years.

“The Grand Ole Opry continues to be built on the shoulders of Opry members such as Bill Anderson,” Rogers said. “Singling Bill out as the Opry’s longest-tenured member in our history among so many greats who came before him as well as so many contemporaries he calls his friends is a tremendous honor for all of us. We look forward to celebrating his achievement and dedication later this month.”

Grand Ole Opry inductions, as well as invitations, are now a cause for much fanfare and celebration, a far cry from how it was when Anderson became a part of the Opry on July 15, 1961.

“I remember on Monday, following the induction, there were three lines in the Nashville Banner that said ‘Bill Anderson was made the 61st member of the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night,'” Anderson recalled to Taste of Country. “That’s all there was to it.”

Anderson has an exhibit, As Far As I Can See, open now at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The exhibit, which will remain open through September 25, featues numerous artifacts and memorabilia throughout Anderson’s life and career, including the Rawlings leather glove, used when he was a pitcher for Avondale High School’s baseball team in the 1950s; the Royal electric typewriter used in the 1960s by Anderson to type song lyrics and answer fan mail; handwritten lyrics to ‘Give It Away,’ which Anderson wrote Buddy Cannon and Johnson in 2005, and became a No. 1 hit for George Strait, and more.

All of Anderson’s music and upcoming appearances can be found at

Photo Credit: Chris Hollo