On Tuesday (December 13th), John Rich took to Twitter to pay tribute to his friend John Anderson on the fellow country music star’s 68th birthday.
In the post, John Rich shared a snapshot of him and Anderson. “Happy Birthday to my all time favorite honky-tonk singer, John Anderson! He’s been an inspiration, a true friend and mentor to me for many years. Never been another singer like him.”
John Rich and John Anderson have done some collaborations over the years. Anderson revealed how he first met Rich after Rich performed Chicken Truck. “He was a member of Lonestar back in about ’95. A knock came on the door and a young man said, ‘I’d like to meet John Anderson and get a picture with him.’ He said ‘I’m John Rich with Lonestar.’”
While fiddle player and bandleader, Joe Spivey told John Rich to sing one of Anderson’s songs, Rich broke into Chicken Truck. “After he sang about half of it, I overheard and said, ‘Tell him that’s good enough. Send him on in.’ And little did I know that this man would become, 10 years later, one of the greatest songwriters and entertainers, as well as record producers. I must give him full credit on this record for production. He did a great job.”
Anderson then spoke about getting together with John Rich for their first project. “I saw his energy and the things that were happening and the things he was telling the players. Indeed, at first we were going to co-produce the album. But after an hour of me being in the studio, just paying attention and looking, I thought this might be a great opportunity to just let this young man rock with it and I’ll just worry about the singing and we’ll try and make this a good record. And indeed he did a great job.”
John Rich Previously Called John Anderson ‘This Generation’s George Jones’
Meanwhile, when asked how he felt about John Rich calling him “this generation’s George Jones,” John Anderson said it was a wonderful compliment and he was very flattered.
“I’ve always said those are real, real hard shoes to fill,” Anderson said. “I don’t know if I’m as tough as George Jones is. Or some of our other buddies, Merle, Willie, Ray Price. Man, I found those guys are tough. I don’t know if I’m that tough. I guess in 20 more years we’ll find out.”
Along with discussing John Rich, Anderson opened up about his late friend, Lionel Delmore, being a key figure in his life. “Lionel Delmore was one of the most important people to me ever in my career as far as advising me and staying on me about writing songs. When I was a younger man, of course, we had a lot of other things to go do besides sit down and write.”
Anderson then shared the advice that Delmore gave him. “Lionel kept saying, ‘Man, you need to sit down and write. You’re a good writer, and you need to develop that. … One day your songwriting might pull you out of a hole if you ever happen to get there.’ Well, indeed, I got there, a couple times.”