Neo-honky tonker John Anderson was born in Apopka, FL, in 1955 and grew up listening to rock & roll, until he discovered country music at age 15 through Merle Haggard. He moved to Nashville in the early '70s, showing up at his sister's house with no warning, and worked a variety of odd jobs (including one as a roofer for the Grand Ole Opry) while playing clubs at night. Eventually, all the hard work paid off with a contract for Warner Bros., and Anderson released his first single in 1978. His self-titled debut album appeared in 1980 and helped signal the rise of the new traditionalist movement, drawing critical praise as well. Soon the hits started to pile up: "1959" and "Chicken Truck" became his first country Top Tens in 1981, and "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)" went Top Five later that year. 1982's "Wild and Blue" was Anderson's first chart-topper, and he duplicated that feat twice in 1983 with "Black Sheep" and the million-selling "Swingin'," the latter of which was the biggest-selling country single in Warner Bros. history. Anderson returned to the Top Ten several times over the next few years, most notably with 1984's "She Sure Got Away with My Heart," but by 1987 his commercial momentum had stalled, and he and Warner parted ways.