The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum honored legendary songwriter Bob McDill in a ceremony celebrating the donation of Mr. McDill’s personal collection to the museum. McDill’s substantial collection comprises hundreds of artifacts including 217 legal pads containing the handwritten lyrics to more than 200 recorded songs, 110 awards and plaques, and the Martin 1967 D-28-S that McDill played exclusively while composing songs for almost 30 years.
McDill made a rare public appearance to attend the donation ceremony, an afternoon of words and song illuminating his incredible songwriting career and monumental donation. Surprise guests on hand to perform some of McDill’s beloved hits included:
- Bobby Bare, “Amanda”
- Jon Byrd, “Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold)”
- Jamey Johnson, “The Door Is Always Open”
- William Michael Morgan, “Don’t Close Your Eyes”
- Don Schlitz, “Good Ole Boys Like Me”
Longtime friend and collaborator Allen Reynolds spoke of his history with McDill and their musical adventures together. Near the conclusion of the ceremony, Mr. McDill addressed a capacity crowd, which included fellow songwriting heavyweights, music industry leaders, and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. McDill offered elegant and humorous remarks on his career and donation to museum.According to Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young, “McDill’s donation to this museum is one of astounding consequence. We are humbled and honored by his generosity, and we will use this collection to educate generations of songwriters and scholars on the extraordinary career and craft of Bob McDill.”
For nearly three decades, Bob McDill elevated country music with songs that run the gamut from poignant love songs to literary works of art. In addition to the songs performed in the ceremony, McDill’s extensive list of classic songwriting credits includes “It Must Be Love” (Don Williams, Alan Jackson), “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” (Mel McDaniel), “Song of the South” (Alabama), “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful” (Sammy Kershaw), “Gone Country” (Alan Jackson) and many more.
While at Lamar University (1962–1966), he wrote “The Happy Man,” which was recorded in 1967 by Perry Como. McDill was serving a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy when Como cut the song. The following year, his second hit, “Black Sheep,” was recorded by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs. Memphis songwriter and music publisher Allen Reynolds had helped McDill place the tunes, and in 1970, McDill and Reynolds went to work for Jack Clement’s publishing company, Jack Music, in Nashville.
McDill was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985. He retired in 2000 after nearly thirty years of hits.