Bill Rice

Induction Year: 1994

Birth Name: Wilburn Steven Rice

Birth Date: 04-19-1939

Place of Birth: Datto, Arkansas

Bill Rice came to prominence penning country hits for Charley Pride, Conway Twitty, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Paycheck and others with songwriting partner Jerry Foster. Rice, who specialized in accessible, clever melodies, scored country hits in the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s.

Rice was raised in Arkansas and began playing guitar at age 14. Scotty Moore, whose guitar helped propel Elvis Presley to stardom, signed an 18-year-old Rice to a recording contract with Fernwood Records. Presley wound up recording Rice's "Girl Next Door Went A'walking" in 1960, giving Rice his first major credit.

While touring as an artist, Rice met Foster, and each man showed the other some songs. Rice felt Foster's tunes had good lyrics, but needed melodic work. Foster felt Rice's tunes had good melodies, but needed help in the word department. The men decided to join forces, and they accentuated the positives in each other's songcraft. In the early 1960s, Cowboy Jack Clement and Bill Hall signed Foster and Rice to a publishing deal, and by the late 1960s the songwriting pair was spinning country hits.

Rice attempted a career as a solo artist, notching a Top 40 hit in 1971 with "Travelin' Minstrel Man." But his legacy would be as a songwriter, as he joined with Foster to compose chart-toppers for Lewis, Twitty, Price and Mark Chesnutt. They also wrote Top 10 hits for Pride, Mel Tillis, Paycheck, Bob Luman, Nat Stuckey, Mickey Gilley and Hank Williams Jr. In 1972, Foster and Rice received a record 10 ASCAP songwriting awards, then went on to best that record in 1974 — the year they formed production company Farah — with 11 ASCAP commendations. In 1981, Foster and Rice received a Grammy nomination for Gilley's #9 country hit "Here Comes the Hurt Again."

Later, Rice formed another songwriting partnership, with then-wife Sharon Vaughn Rice. Together, they penned hits including Patty Loveless' "Lonely Too Long" and Reba McEntire's "I'm Not That Lonely Yet." They also wrote "'Til a Tear Becomes a Rose," a CMA Vocal Duo Event of the Year for Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan in 1992.

Rice was also involved in helping others find their way to Music City success, bringing in Roger Murrah, Jim McBride, Rich Alves and others to write for his publishing companies. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994.

"'Til a Tear Becomes a Rose"

(written with Sharon Vaughn)

Leon Everette1985 #44 country
Keith Whitley & Lorrie Morgan1990 #13 country

"Ain't She Something Else"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Eddy Raven1975 #46 country
Conway Twitty1985 #1 country

"Heaven Everyday"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Mel Tillis1969 #5 country
Eddy Arnold1971 
Mickey Gilley1982 

"Here Comes the Hurt Again"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Mickey Gilley1978 #9 country

"I Hate Goodbyes"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Bobby Bare1973 #25 country
Lois Johnson1977 #40 country

"I'll Think of Something"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Hank Williams Jr.1974 #7 country
Loretta Lynn1985 
Mark Chesnutt1992 #1 country

"I'm Not That Lonely Yet"

(written with Sharon Vaughn)

Reba McEntire1982 #3 country

"Lonely Too Long"

(written with Mike Lawler, Sharon Vaughn)

Patty Loveless1996 #1 country

"Love Survived"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Tammy Wynette1977 

"Someone to Give My Love to"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Johnny Paycheck1972 #4 country
Hank Williams Jr.1972 
Glen Campbell1972 
Joe Simon1973 
Connie Smith1974 
Bobby Blue Bland1975 
Robert Goulet1976 
Tracy Byrd1993 #42 country

"Take Time to Love Her"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Nat Stuckey1973 #10 country

"The Back Side of Dallas"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Jeannie C. Riley1969 #33 country

"The Day the World Stood Still"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Charley Pride1968 #4 country
Jan Howard1968 

"The Easy Part's Over"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Charley Pride1968 #2 country
Kitty Wells1968 
Ray Pillow1969 
Louis Armstrong1970 
Steve Wariner1980 #41 country

"Think About It Darlin'"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Jerry Lee Lewis1972 

"Travelin' Minstrel Man"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Bill Rice1971 #33 country
Bobby Bare1971 

"When You Say Love"

(written with Jerry Foster, Steve Karmen)

Bob Luman1972 #6 country
Sonny & Cher1972 
Lynn Anderson1972 

"When Your Good Love Was Mine"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Narvel Felts1974 #14 country
Marie Owens1977 #92 country

"Wonder Could I Live There Anymore"

Charley Pride1970 #1 country, #87 pop

"Would You Take Another Chance on Me"

(written with Jerry Foster)

Jerry Lee Lewis1972 #1 country
Carl Smith1972 
Kenny Price1972 

Bill Rice

Induction Year: 1994