John Anderson was born Dec. 13, 1954, in Orlando, Fla., and raised in Apopka, Fla. As an teen, Anderson played in a rock band, but ultimately pursued country music when he moved to Nashville in 1971 where he played in clubs and also helped build the Grand Ole Opry House.
He signed to Warner Bros. in 1977 but didn't crack the Top 10 until 1980. He turned Billy Joe Shaver's "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)" to the Top 5, and "Wild and Blue" spent two weeks at No. 1 in 1982. But it was "Swingin'" that became his first signature hit in 1983. The smash single, which he co-wrote, won a CMA award, and Anderson won the CMA Horizon Award. Suddenly, he found himself in a respected class of new traditionalists such as Ricky Skaggs and George Strait. However, his chart success dried up shortly afterwards. He parted ways with Warner Bros., and a new partnership with MCA was not fruitful, despite the Waylon Jennings duet, "Somewhere Between Ragged and Right."
Many considered his career to be over when BNA, an imprint of RCA, released the single "Straight Tequila Night" in 1991. However, it shot to No. 1, setting the stage for five more years of hits, including Mark Knopfler's "When It Comes to You," "Seminole Wind" and the No. 1 "Money in the Bank." He left BNA after five years, and successive efforts by Mercury and Epic failed to sustain his previous momentum. He revisited his entire musical career with the newly recorded Anthology in 2003.