Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Liz Anderson RIP

Famous country singer/songwriter Liz Anderson passed away Monday evening (10/31/2011) of complications from heart and lung disease, her family announced. The singer, who is the mother of country/pop singer Lynn Anderson was admitted to St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville on Friday. She was 81 years old.

Born Elizabeth Jane Haaby (1/13/1930) in Roseau County, northern Minnesota, she played the family mandolin as a child and also sang in the local church. When she was 13, her family moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota. She got married to Casey Anderson when she was 16 and had her daughter Lynn just a year later. In 1957, the family moved to California, where - after being convinced by her husband Casey - she started writing songs.

Liz began publishing her songs and became a groundbreaking songwriter at a time when woman songwriters were not excepted in the country music business. She made fast friends within the burgeoning country music community in Bakersfield during the early 1960s. "Be Quiet Mind" by Del Reeves and "Pick of the Week" by Roy Drusky were some of her first hits as a songwriter. In 1965, Merle Haggard recorded her song "All My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers", and was able to celebrate his frist Top Ten song. He would later name his band "The Strangers" after this song.

Liz won a first BMI award for this song. She also wrote Merle's first number one hit "The Fugitive". Daughter Lynn told me in an interview in Grindelwald, that often, musicians would drop by the house after their shows. While Liz was cooking some early breakfast, Lynn was told to sing the songs to people like Merle, Buck Owens, Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins, Freddy Hart. Liz published over 260 songs during her career and won 5 BMI awards. Many major artists of the 1960s recorded her songs, including Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette, Brenda Lee, Ernest Tubb, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Skeeter Davis, Waylon Jennings, Kitty Wells, Connie Smith and Bill Anderson.

Liz later moved to Nashville and became (with Casey) a co-founder of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).

In 1965, after hearing some demos, Chet Atkins signed her to RCA. Produced by famed producer Felton Jarvis (Elvis), some of her hits included "Husband Hunting," "Go Now, Pay Later," and the two Grammy nominated songs "Mama Spank" and "The Game of Triangles," a trio with Bobby Bare and Norma Jean.

Liz Anderson - "Husband Hunting"

10 - Mama Spank by amucomm

Liz was also influential in the start of her daughters career, and wrote some of her early hits, like "Ride, Ride, Ride," "If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)" - before Lynn had the country/pop number one hit "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden".

Mother and daughter also had Top 25 in 1968 with "Mother May I," which appeared on the Mother's Day edition of the Lawrence Welk Show.

By the start of the 1970s Liz's career started to fade, in 1971 she moved to Epic records and released four minor charting singles. She semi-retired from the industry in 1974 and only made a handful of records since then, but kept on writing. Lorrie Morgan charted with the Liz Anderson song "Tell Me I'm Only Dreaming".
In the mid 1990s Liz started her own record company, Showboat Records (where I actually found some of the information in this article). If you are interested in Liz Anderson albums or would like to leave a memory, please visit Showboat Records.
Liz is survived by her loving, co-writing husband of 65 years (Casey), daughter Lynn, three grandchildren (Lisa Lynn Sutton, Gray Stream and Melissa Hempel) and two great-grandchildren (Grace Stream and Geddings Hempel).

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