Oh….Well, talk about that. W…That was WJJC in Commerce and there’s a wonderful story that’s in the folklore of country music about “City Lights” and…and how you wrote “City Lights” and you’ve told it a million times. I’m gonna ask you tell…tell it one more time…
A million and one.
Well, I’m glad somebody’s interested in it. There was a little three story hotel in Commerce at the time, called the Hotel Andrew Jackson, and when I got the job in Commerce, I moved into a room at the hotel and when school started back I just decided, well, I’m just gonna stay in the hotel and rather than commute from Athens to Commerce, I’ll commute from Commerce to Athens. And so that’s what I did. And it was in the summer of 1957, I was 19 years old, and I took my guitar up on the roof of that hotel a lot of times at night when it would get hot in the room and…I’d just…somewhere to…to cool off a little bit and I’d go up on the roof and they had some…some lounge chairs, some deck-type furniture up there. And I sat down in one of those lounge chairs on this particular August night in 1957 and got to strumming my guitar and it was a clear night and I remember looking up at the stars and down at what few lights there were in Commerce. There weren’t a whole lot of them. And somehow the idea to write the song “City Lights” just came on me, and I wrote it with a pencil on the back of a radio station envelope that I had in my guitar case. I’d give anything if I had saved that. The one thing I did save…was when I…when I typed the lyrics, I later went down to my room and typed them out on a sheet of paper, and I did write the date down so I’ve known all these years that I wrote it on August 27, 1957.
And it, of course as I said, was the thing that I ended up recording in this very room where we’re sitting and it ended up…being my key to the music business.
I was gonna say, would you say that that particular…you’ve composed hundreds of songs, but did that one song probably have the biggest impact on your life?
(Talking over BA) Over anything?
Because that…when I went to Nashville after that, I could knock on doors and not just say my name’s Bill Anderson and I’m trying to write songs, would you listen to some of them. I could say, my name’s Bill Anderson and I wrote a little song called “City Lights” and I’ve got some others, would you like to listen…Oh, come in! (Both laugh)
The door was open.