"When I met Chet"
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I was starving in NYC when my first publishers, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, sent me to Nashville to plug my own songs. This was the 60s, when Chet was Mr. RCA, Mr. Guitar, Mr. Everything, and I was an unknown W. Va. songwriter, who'd migrated to Manhattan from studying playwriting at Yale.

Chet listened politely to my songs on acetate: "Can't use this...Can't use this...Like this one but have no artist for it...Let me hold this one." (It was Blue Roses that he cut with Hank Snow.) I was too nervous to initiate conversation, and Chet was just naturally reticent. So our meeting was brief.

A few years later when I was running U.A. Music in Nashville, Chet used to invite people like Norro Wilson and me--guys who liked jokes--to his office to share a few laughs. Chet has a GREAT sense of humor. From that, we started playing golf together, then writing songs while we walked and talked. (I can't play many of the songs--Chet worked out all the chord structures & melodies, I just contributed ideas--but I cherish every one. Cherish, in fact, all our moments together.)

Chet is not just the world's all-around best guitarist, he's a wonderful human being, full of stories & wisdom and, surprisingly to me, an appreciation for peoples' various talents. A very positive man. I can't remember hearing him say a bad word about ANYBODY, even those in the CMA who tried to fix it so he wouldn't keep winning Instrumentalist-of-the-Year Awards.

And as Chet sometimes says, "That's my opinion...and it ought to be yours!"

- Billy Edd Wheeler

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