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3-6-08 Oconee’s John Webb participated in historic music event 50 years ago – City Lights

Athens Banner-Herald--- ….Anderson also recognized two musicians - drummer Johnny Webb and steel guitarist Bobby Farlow - who played on the record and were in the audience…….

AVOC

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March 5, 2008

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Oconee’s John Webb participated in historic music event 50 years ago – City Lights

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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John Webb (Athens High School Class of 1957 and Oconee Resident since late 60’s) and I have been close friends for over 37 years.  Our families have often visited and socialized together and we still “tailgate” for UGA games at each other’s homes.

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John Webb

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In recent years, John has re-ignited an old friendship with Bill Anderson, singer and song writer, who once worked at WGAU in Athens and later at a Commerce radio station.   During that time he wrote his first and biggest hit, City Lights.   John Webb was playing drums in those days and played with Bill some.

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John Webb was the drummer in the band that accompanied Bill Anderson in the recording of City Lights in the late 50’s at the UGA's Continuing Education Studios.   Bill Anderson acknowledged that fact and John’s presence in the audience on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, when Bill Anderson was honored by the university's Music Business Program.   Anderson is a 1959 Graduate of UGA.

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In our almost 40 years of friendship, I have seen John retire as a Met-Life representative and more recently as a Financial Consultant.   John has always been involved in civic organizations and has recently become a drummer in the Classic City Band.   Betty and I joined Nancy at the Classic City Band concert at Oconee Presbyterian Church in Watkinsville last Tuesday night, February 26, 2008.  The CCB (and John) did a tremendous job!

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John and Nancy have attended other functions with Bill Anderson.   They joined his Fan Club to keep up with his appearances etc.   They have visited with Bill backstage and had dinner with him.   He introduced them to his friend, Little Jimmy Dickens, another legend in Country Music.

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We are happy for John and Nancy and are glad John has another “career”.   After all, “retirement” is not best for all people.

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Whispering Bill Anderson

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http://www.billanderson.com/main/

Bill Anderson Site

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For Bill Anderson’s account of his time in Athens and Commerce, SEE:

Athens Banner-Herald 3.3.08; Whisperin' Bill Anderson's a legend, By Chris Starrs

http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/030308/living_2008030300617.shtml

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See Reference to John Webb in A B-H Article

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The Athens Banner-Herald

http://onlineathens.com/stories/030508/news_2008030500687.shtml

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March 5, 2008

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UGA, others sing Anderson's praises

Country music legend honored

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By Chris Starrs

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Of all the tributes bestowed upon country music legend "Whisperin' " Bill Anderson on Tuesday afternoon, perhaps the best compliment came from University of Georgia President Michael Adams, who assured everyone that Anderson doesn't always speak softly.

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"I've had the opportunity on several occasions to be with Bill Anderson, and two of those times were in my box at Georgia football games, once here in Athens and once in Nashville," said Adams. "And I can tell you - he doesn't whisper all the time. He's a very vocal Georgia Bulldog."

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A 1959 graduate of UGA and a 50-year veteran of the country music wars, Anderson was honored Tuesday by the university's Music Business Program, radio station WUGA and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame for his long and productive career in the entertainment industry.

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As part of the commemoration of Anderson's half-century in the music business, a historical marker noting the recording of his first hit song, "City Lights," was unveiled at the former WGTV studios in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

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Anderson also recognized two musicians - drummer Johnny Webb and steel guitarist Bobby Farlow - who played on the record and were in the audience, and he introduced several others who played in his first band, the Avondale Playboys.

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"You don't have a 50-year career by yourself," said Anderson, who was born in South Carolina, grew up in metro Atlanta and now lives in Nashville. "There are so many people, and so many people in this room, who have helped me so much through the years."

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Athens-Clarke Mayor Heidi Davison declared the day "Whisperin' Bill Anderson Day," and David Preston of BMI Nashville awarded four "millionaire" certificates, representing 4 million plays of his songs "A Lot of Things Different," "Give it Away," "Whiskey Lullaby" and "City Lights."

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"To give you an idea of what an accomplishment this is, a million performances for one song would represent six years of nonstop play," said Preston. "That's what Bill has accomplished with the songs he's written."

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Anderson, 70, was lauded by an old friend who couldn't attend due to the flu but sent a letter.

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"No one in the business of music and weaving words has done it better than or as long as Bill Anderson," wrote former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Zell Miller. "The great authors - like Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Mitchell and Pat Conroy - need up to 300 pages to tell an unforgettable story. Bill Anderson could do it in three minutes and he's done it over and over again."

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"Bill's biggest influence, to me, is the kind of man he is," said country singer-songwriter John Berry, who lives in Oconee County. "He goes about his business in a genuinely nice manner, which you can't say about a lot of people you meet. There are few in this business that are as nice and compassionate as Bill Anderson."

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Anderson closed the afternoon with a performance of "City Lights," which became a hit single in 1958 for Ray Price.

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"You mean I've got to follow John Berry?" he said. "That's like following Moby Dick with Flipper."

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Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 030508


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