Bill Lister

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"Big Bill" Lister (January 5, 1923 – December 1, 2009) was an American honky tonk country music singer. Born Weldon E. Lister, he was nicknamed "Radio's Tallest Singing Cowboy," standing over 6-foot-7 without his cowboy boots and hat.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

For several years in the 1950s, he traveled with Hank Williams, Sr., as the opening act for Williams and his "Drifting Cowboys." As a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry, Lister worked with most of the stars of the day, including Little Jimmy Dickens, String Bean, Minnie Pearl, Del Wood, The Carter Family, and others. He was also a recording artist for both Everstate and Capitol Records. He is probably best known for his ties to Williams' song "There's a Tear in My Beer." Lister recorded the song in the 1950s, after Williams gave him a demo recording. Years later, after Lister's wife found the old demo recording in their attic, Lister gave the recording to Williams' son, Hank Williams, Jr. Junior went on to record an overdubbed version of the song in 1988, in which (late) father and son sang together, some 40 years apart. That recording won a Grammy Award and a Country Music Association (CMA) Award in 1989.[1]

After leaving professional music in the early '60s, Lister became one of the best firearms engravers of his generation. Other Lister recordings included "RC Cola and a Moon Pie,"[3] recorded for Capitol Records in 1951.[2]

Big Bill Lister's return to commercial recording came in 1983 with the album "Sho' 'Nuff Country Stuff! (The Second Time Around)," produced for Slim Richey's Tex-Grass label by D. Lee Thomas and Michael H. Price, with accompaniment by the Salt Lick Foundation, a Texas string band that includes Lister's nephew, Harris Kirby. Lister performed extensively during 1983 in Dallas and Fort Worth with the Salt Lick Foundation and with Michael H. Price and Slim Richey's jazz ensemble, Diddy Wah Diddy.


Year Album Label
1983 Sho' 'Nuff Country Stuff! (The Second Time Around) Tex-Grass Records
1999 There's a Tear in My Beer Bear Family
2004 Remembering Hank Williams Heart of Texas


  1. ^ a b [1], Bill Lister, ‘Tallest Singing Cowboy,’ The New York Times, December 5, 2009
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2008-06-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), Big Bill Lister Website
  3. ^ Big Bill Lister sings "RC Cola and a Moon Pie." on YouTube

External links[edit]