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Interview With Amy Grant, Vince Gill

Aired December 6, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Christian music superstar Amy Grant and country superstar Vince Gill. Their marriage three years ago caused an uproar because they were each married to somebody else with families when they began to fall in love. How did they deal with those secret longings with the conflict between divorce and traditional religious beliefs, and with being tabloid targets? And in-depth personal hour with Amy Grant and Vince Gill is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We got a dandy LARRY KING LIVE in store for you tonight. Two of my favorite people, Amy Grant and Vince Gill. They're in the middle of a special holiday music tour simply titled "Simply Christmas." With Amy Grant and Vince Gill, you can't get more simple than that in explaining what you're doing.

Amy Grant has sold over 22 million albums, has won five Grammys, and had the first Christian album ever to go platinum. Vince has only won 15 Grammys and has taken home more Country Music Association awards than any other performer. 27 of his songs have been number one. And this show will make them. This is it. You'll finally make it being here.


KING: You two are an extraordinary story. And one cannot talk to you without talking about it. By the way, Amy's newest CD is "Simple Things." And Vince Gill's newest CD is "Next Big Thing." We'll be talking about both of those as we go on.

When you met, you were sing -- you both were married to other people. You were singing. How did -- what happened, Amy?

AMY GRANT, SINGER: Well, we actually crossed paths many times before we actually worked together. We sang for the troops during Desert Storm at Fort Campbell. And I just thought he was a nice guy. And then we worked together Christmas of '93 and actually performed together. And...

KING: Something happened?

GRANT: And he -- I was just captivated with his personality. I just thought he was a great guy.

KING: And was your marriage unhappy at the time? I mean, did you think this would happen?

GRANT: No. No.

KING: So you were shocked?

GRANT: Well, there was nothing shocking in '93. You know, we worked together. It was great. I was doing a benefit for the symphony in Nashville. And he was doing a TV show for a Christmas show with Chet Atkins. And I -- and he -- his management called mine and said would she be on the TV show? And I said, "Hey, I'll do that TV show with him if he'll do the benefit with me." And that's really -- that was the connection of our friendship for years was doing these Christmas shows. And every November...

KING: So it was friendship?


KING: So Vince, how did you feel?

GILL: I mean, look at her. Any idiot, you know, would quite taken with Amy. And I was no exception. And just, once again, the connection there that was kind of rare was -- it was -- it felt -- everything felt familiar, you know, when I met Amy. You know, we would have a conversation and it was easy. Everything was easy. The hang was easy, the conversation was easy. And I just said, man, I said that's a great girl.

KING: And it was around Christmas time, right?

VINCE: Yes, Christmas of '80 -- '90...

KING: Was your marriage an unhappy one?

GILL: I wouldn't say so. I don't think that, you know, it was not like -- it's not like something happened that we were both looking for a way to find happiness, you know, in...

KING: There was no depression, like search that...

GILL: No, no, no. I don't think so. I mean, it had its -- you know, it had its moments of good times and bad times, like I think most marriages do.

KING: And you have children from that marriage?

GILL: Yes, a 21-year old daughter named Jenny.

KING: And did you have a child?

GRANT: Three.

KING: Three?


KING: How well do they all get along?

GRANT: Great.

GILL: Amazingly well.


GILL: A lot better than us adults.


KING: Was it a difficult time? In other words, I don't read the tabloids, so usually I'm not...

GRANT: Right, I don't read them either. So I don't know what they said.

KING: ...and so was it very difficult for you? Was it very public?

GRANT: Well, first off, let me say when we first met, I think the first year we worked together, I remember telling Vince if I were a guy, we would have been best friends. We would have been running buddies. But that was really -- that's truly all it was. And November would roll around and I'd go hey, we're doing that Christmas show again. And that happened for several years. I knew hey, I get to see him at Christmas because we're going to do the benefit.

KING: But you weren't thinking I'm falling in love with this guy?


KING: And what were you thinking? I love her?

GILL: Well, the same kind of deal. You know, same kind of deal.

KING: Well, I'm going to work with Amy again.

GILL: Yes, I mean, it's a great hang. You know, and people did start saying things about us. And it was awkward. And a lot of it was unfounded. And I just kind of...

KING: So there were rumors before it was true?

GILL: Sure, yes. Heck, yes. You know, that's how life works. That's how all of us almost make a living.

KING: How then did it finally like happen, happen?

GRANT: Well...

GILL: I don't think it did until, you know, I think that obviously the friendship caused a lot of animosity in both of our...

KING: At home.

GILL: ...yes, on both sides of the fence. And rightly so, probably in hindsight. But you know, the truth is there was never like a magic plan I'm going to go do this and a couple years later you go do this. It wasn't even -- there wasn't ever even a discussion.

You know, I got a divorce. And I said well, I think she'll probably stay. I really did. That's how I felt. You know, I don't think she'll...

KING: So you got divorced first?

GILL: Yes. And...

KING: What happened when he got divorced?

GRANT: I remember a friend of mine read the paper, because that's how I found out. I read it in the paper. And this person said well at least somebody finally married to the law. And I think all -- anybody surrounding our situation could see what a natural friendship we had. And to me, that was the real pain of it is trying to take the high road. But when you have such an easy rapport with another person, what it really does is it highlights where you don't have an easy...

KING: Sure.

GRANT: easy a rapport.

KING: Of course, the other is (unintelligible.)

GRANT: You know, and I don't know how to avoid that. And once having discovered it, I didn't know how to make it go away.

KING: Were you happy to read that?

GRANT: I think I just -- happy, no, because I didn't -- it wasn't like I went oh, good, he's available to me. Because I wasn't. And there was never a conversation between us of any kind of...

KING: Never like I'll meet you here...


KING: ...let's get divorced. No?

GRANT: No, no, no, no.

KING; So then, I'm trying to figure out how it finally happened? Then did you get divorced?

GRANT: I did. You know, the wheels just started coming off. I think, you know, I think because we didn't go the secretive sort of way. In my mind, I justified he can be my friend. And...

KING: What you're saying is there was no adultery here?


KING: So then you got divorced? Did you ever formally propose? Or as friends, did you happen one day to say let's get married?

GILL: I formally proposed. I'm a good Southern gentleman. So how about those Marlins, you know?

KING: I'm going to get off this. It just fascinates me because the two of you sang well together. So there had to be a simpatico to begin first, right?

GILL: There is. But you know the thing that I thing oftentimes gets ignored and neglected is there was 10 or 12 years of life before I met Amy and before she met me, where you know, whatever happened was probably going to happen some day.

KING: yes.

GILL: You know, that I think it's difficult to sit here and connect the dots and talk about all this without, you know, you've got to kind of expose everything and everybody. And from my place, and from the time that I went through my divorce, I also had my father pass away in the middle of all that. And it kind of made everything else just kind of like the back burner, you know. For me...

KING: Well, we're going to move past that. I just...

GILL: I don't mind, but I mean...

KING: When were you married?

GRANT: We got married March of 2000.

GILL: Yes.

KING: So you've only been married.

GRANT: 3.5 years.

GILL: Almost four years.


KING: Is everything OK?

GRANT: You know what? It's so funny because it's so peaceful. It really is.

KING: It is. It's obvious being around you.


GILL: Yes, the companionship is amazing. You know, you can get that physical attraction that happens is great, but then there's an awful lot of time and the rest of the day that you have to fill.

KING: Sure. So you're lovers and friends?

GILL: Yes. At the end of the day is when it's really peaceful. KING: We'll be right back to talk about their careers and other extraordinary things about incredible couple. Amy Grant and Vince Gill, as we go to break, the duet that started it all for them. Here's "House of Love."



KING: We're back to Vince Gill and Amy Grant. We're going to first -- what was the magic of the voices together? Amy, what do you think the two of you have? Now forget the marriage romance and all of...

GRANT: Right.

KING: ...what do the two of you have lyrically, musically that worked?

GRANT: Well, I -- Vince sounds good with everybody. And he's probably been asked to sing on how many records?

GILL: 3500.

GRANT: Hundreds.

GILL: Yes.

GRANT: And it's because he has an effortless voice. And he really can just...

KING: Because that doesn't always work, right? It's not necessarily true that one good male singer is going to pair off well with a good female?

GRANT: Right. I'm just saying he's going to sound great with everybody.

KING: He was.

GRANT: I would not be a good harmony singer with everybody. And I think it was, you know, I asked him to sing on a record. And for the first time he opened his mouth, I just -- I couldn't believe it. And you know, this was all the Christmas of '93 when I was doing his TV show. He was doing my Christmas show. And the week between those two shows, because I'd heard his voice live, I said would you sing on this record of mine, "House of Love?" And it -- yes, it was really -- he has a very captivating voice.

KING: What do you think it was?

GILL: Well, gosh.

KING: Musically.

GILL: I think we liked a lot of the same things. Our career paths have been, I would say polar opposites, you know.

KING: Meaning?

GILL: Just you know, her being in gospel music, me being in country music, and pop music. I was always, you know, on the country side of things, the blue grass side of things. And -- but we found that we both enjoyed a lot of the same things.

And like she said, that's what I did for a living, Larry. I -- you know, I struggled for a long time to ever make any money being a singer. But all those years, I would be hired as a session musician and session singer and work on tons and tons of records.

KING: So you'd play. You'd sing behind people?

GILL: And always -- that's what I aspired to be. I never aspired to be a star. Just...

KING: What made it for you? Was there a record?

GILL: Sure.

KING: Which was?

GILL: One big hit in 1990 called "One I Call Your Name."


KING: And so you suddenly became a single hit -- you became -- (unintelligible). Did you know before that hit?

GRANT: No. A friend of mine -- I guess he would sing an album release singing at a department store in Nashville. And he'd stand in line and they'd give you a Vince Gill CD and two T-shirts.

GILL: It didn't take long. Only about nine people there.


GRANT: And a friend of mine, Joanna, was there. And she said hey, I bought this Vince Gill CD. I mean, I knew who he was, but I'd never owned a CD of his. And it was a -- "I Still Believe in You" was the CD. And it was filled with great songs. And I was so captivated with his voice. I would carry my little CD player around the house...

KING: Wow.

GRANT: the kitchen, doing dishes, you know, into the -- by the fire and...

KING: You were...

GRANT: Had I not married him, I would have been a stalker. I have a lot of empathy for stalkers.

(laughter) KING: You understand the stalker?

GRANT: I do. I understand how you can get -- I mean not a weirdo stalker.

KING: No, but you can get wrapped up in something?

GRANT: I know how you can be so compelled by somebody else's gift, and how you truly can feel connected to somebody.

KING: But why did it work if you were country and blue grass and she was gospel?

GILL: Why did the song work?

KING: Yes, why did the two of you work? It would seem that that's polar opposites, as you said?

GILL: Well, I mean, for me, I actually came and worked on her record, which was a big pop hit called "House of Love." And while I may love and embrace country music and blue grass music, I was also blessed with the talent to hear the difference in whatever music you do. And my voice doesn't sound like a country voice when you hear it sometimes. So it was on a pop record. And it was no stretch that I could do that job.

KING: How did you come the gospel route?


KING: Your religious background?

GRANT: Grew up going to church. When I was in high school, got involved with a really dynamic youth group. And I've always felt like that my -- what I really wanted to do was communicate. And I did it through singing, but I've not felt like hey, my voice is really my strong suit. I was never that sing one song and I knew they were going to give me a standing ovation. I would just think -- I'd try to hit all the notes.

KING: What made it for you?

GRANT: What made it for -- I think...

KING: Yes, you know, his song, what made it for you? When did the public become aware of Amy Grant?

GRANT: Oh, well, slowly. My first record came out, I was a senior in high school. And I would do music festivals. I'd sing in coffee shops. I mean, when I was in high school, one time I had some girls call up saying we're cooking dinner for boyfriends. Would you come serenade us, just be background music? And I said sure, you know.

KING: You were a prop?

GRANT: I was just glad to be under the radar, truly.

KING: So what made -- was there a record hit?


KING: Which was?

GRANT: My senior year in college, I put out a record called "Age to Age." And it had several songs on it, none of which I had written, even though I was writing, that went very -- were very popular. And one is called "El Shaddai." And it's just a song of all the Hebrew names of God. And...

KING: How was the platinum hit?

GRANT: And that was, yes, in fact the studio where we recorded that was called Caribou Ranch. Jimmy Gercio (ph), who was real instrumental in Chicago days, it was his place.

KING: In Nashville or Chicago?

GRANT: No, this was -- in Colorado, right outside Nederland, Colorado. And then, I think in gospel music or contemporary Christian music, maybe a quarter of a million sales was out the roof.

KING: Sure.

GRANT: Like nobody did that. I got resigned -- my first record deal, they said if you can sell 20,000, you get another contract. But the family atmosphere, everybody was up there with their families. The musicians' families were in the mountains, dinner by lantern light. It was just unbelievable.

And Jimmy said I think you're going to sell a million copies of this record, which was unheard of, unheard of. And I said if we sell a million copies, we're all flying back here and toasting with champagne. And...

KING: You did?

GRANT: We sold million, but we didn't go back. We did go back and cut another record.

KING: When did you know about Amy Grant?

GILL: Oh, gosh. I heard her records probably in the early '80s sometime. And I can't remember which song, but I do remember I heard her voice. And I pulled the car over and I said I have to listen to this. I can't drive in traffic. I just have to hear this. Her voice was -- is really compelling.


GILL: Just a quality in it that is so appealing. And there are certain singers like that. Well, Amy will tell you, she's not the greatest singer in the world. She doesn't have the voice of a Mariah Carey or somebody like that, but what she has is what Johnny Cash had, had a kind of voice that when you heard it, you know, knew who it was. And you were captivated by it. And she really is an amazing communicator.

KING: You right all your own songs?

GILL: Yes.

KING: You, too?

GRANT: I write and co-write.

KING: We -- as we go to break, here's Vince Gill's big hit that began his career major wise, "I Still Believe in You." We'll be right back.



KING: I'm told by my ace staff, Amy, that you grew up in a church, the Church of Christ, that doesn't have musical instruments?

GRANT: Right.

KING: You all sang a cappella?


KING: They don't believe in instruments?

GRANT: Well, I think they just think in church, it should be just singing, which is a great way to learn to harmony.

KING: Well, I'll bet.

GRANT: Or at least pseudo harmony. I remember, you know, and there was no choir. Everybody would sit there with their song books. And we loved to sing. And I remember one time my oldest sister pointing to the music, and she said if you'll follow these little black notes, you'll be singing what the rest of us sing. OK, what an awful concept.

KING: Are you also a believer? I mean, do you have faith?

GILL: Yes, since I was a little boy.

KING: You were raised in a strong Christian home?

GILL: I was. And I was for a pretty good part of my life. Then my folks stopped going to church and I kind of sought it out on my own through friends and what not. And I went to a Baptist church all through high school. And then obviously, as I got out and started trying to make my way, it kind of fell by the wayside.

KING: And now? GILL: It's going strong. I got a pretty good helper right here.

KING: Is it Amy that brought you back in a sense?

GILL: Oh, probably in a sense, yes, because I was not a church goer. And the faith aspect of my past life was one that was uncomfortable. And so, I didn't seek it out. And I regret that, but I do now. We're still kind of searching for a place we feel comfortable. And...

KING: Yes? Have you ever lost your faith or doubted it?

GRANT: No. I haven't. I mean, I think there were -- there have been stretches of time where I didn't know how to pray and where I just felt too ashamed to pray. And -- but I think really, it's the hard times that you go through in life, when you come through the other side and you realize that faith or anything about religion is not about our performance as people. It's about receiving the grace and love of God through Jesus. And you've grown up and been a pretty good kid, which I was a pretty good kid, you can kind of confuse who the good guy is. And you go through your adult life. And you really know what it feels like to fail and fall on your face in a lot of ways, public and private.

KING: Yes. When your dilemma was public, when the people were writing about the two of you, did it affect your work?

GILL: Gosh, I don't know that it affected my work. It affected my heart. You know, just more than anything from a protective standpoint for Amy because I cared for her and just -- I just -- I struggled with people, you know, I do anyway. I really -- I have a heard time with the whole cynical side of the way life has become. I'm a real -- maybe I'm old fashioned, but I don't -- I like seeing the best in people.

KING: Me, too.

GILL: And I can't -- I just couldn't fathom how here's someone that, you know, struggled and made some mistakes, and we're all going to make them, and the judgment that would come, I found alarming.

KING: Why don't people want to see other people happy?

GILL: I don't know. I think they do, but I just think everybody's so hell bent on having an opinion, that it's gotten -- it's just gotten out of whack, you know. Everybody seems to have to have an opinion on everything. And I'm -- you know, I watched all this controversy with people speaking out about the war and these things going on in our country. And I just -- I think people are getting sick and tired of hearing celebrities spout off their beliefs on this and that.

So I keep mine pretty close to the vest and have never used the fact that I've done well as a platform to start trying to convince people how they should or shouldn't think.

KING: You too, Amy?

GRANT: Well, I'm listening to what he's saying. And I'm thinking about this time that we were totally off the subject, we were at a -- some place where there was like an open mike. And a fellow got up to sing. And whew, man, his voice was awful, truly awful. And when Vince was talking about seeing the best in people, and I would never like roll my eyes where anybody could see it, but after he sang, I said, God, what do you think about that guy's voice, thinking at least between the two of us, and he always takes me by surprise, because he does not reach for the cynical comment. And he said isn't it amazing every time somebody opens their voice, you feel like you're hearing just a little bit of their soul?

I'm like, yes. You do. You know, but it's true. That is true. It's a vulnerable thing to open your mouth and sing. And I just thought that's why I love and respect him.

KING: Boy.

GRANT: He is not naive on any level. And he sees it all and always has a real good feeling about the lay of the land, but his heart is really unique.

KING: Boy, I'd say.


KING: We're with Vince Gill and Amy Grant, two of the major stars in country music. Do you call it just country music or every music?

GILL: Well, we call mine country music. This is a bona fide pop star here, baby.


KING: Major stars in the world of music. As we go to break, the music video from Amy Grant's smash single, "Good for Me."



KING: We're back with Amy Grant and Vince Gill. They're in the middle of a special holiday music tour titled "Simply Christmas" with Amy Grant and Vince Gill. As we said at the top, Amy has sold over 22 million albums, won five Grammys, and the first Christian album ever to go platinum. Vince has won 15 Grammys, has taken home more Country Music Association awards than any other performer, and has had 27 number one hits.

Roseanne Cash was here recently. You played in her band?

GILL: I did, yes, we're old mates. And her ex-husband, Rodney and I are old, old friends from the mid '70s when I moved out here to southern California to start my career. And I played in Rodney's band and Roseanne's band for a few years.

KING: Did you sing with her, too?

GILL: Yes. And recorded.

KING: Sing with Johnny?

GILL: I did. We'd get to do a few TV things with Johnny. And...

KING: What was that like?

GILL: It was like hanging out with Moses.

KING: Being with God?

GILL: And God, you know. I mean he really is. I -- with all the attention to Johnny in this past year. So it's just been great to reflect on his impact. You know, and I really kind of feel like that he might singlehandedly be the most influential guy in history, more so than anybody. Even more than Elvis.

KING: In your music?

GILL: Just in music, period.

KING: More than Elvis?

GILL: Yes. I really believe that because he was embraced by every Johnny. Everybody really, really loved Johnny Cash because he was out there for the convicts. And he was there for the sinners. He was out there for what was fair. And I really admired him a lot.

KING: Because nobody ever said I don't like Johnny Cash.

GILL: I never heard it.

KING: Did you ever work with him?

GRANT: I did. I think it was Christmas of '96, we did a Billy Graham Christmas special together.

KING: Sing with him?

GRANT: I did not sing with him, no. But we were standing in a hotel lobby, it was probably 10 years ago. And he and June were checking in. And I tend to sort of let people have their space, but his dad had cancer and was treated by my father, who's a physician. And he crossed the lobby and said good to see you. How's your dad? And you know, to me, he just was -- seemed always to be embracing, you know, always pulling in young artists, always reaching out.

KING: Do you share Vince's views of him as -- his force in music history? You don't have to.

GRANT: No. I'm just thinking about it. I think because Vince is a player and he's been involved in so many different kinds of music, he probably feels that impact. You know what I mean? And I'm about halfway through the book, "Cash," that he -- his latest book. And I started reading it about six weeks ago. I'm a very slow reader. And we have a two year old, but I think of it more just as an amazing communicator, an amazing mind. And he was all that.

KING: The two of you, when you work -- how often do you work? Now you're on tour together. Let's say in a year, how often do you like to work together? How often do you go off alone?

GILL: Well, just when it's, you know, obviously the Christmas tour is a great way for us to, you know, have Amy's audience and my audience, you know, be able to both come. And the music's all about Christmas. So it's not a pop audience versus a country audience or anything like that. And it works. And little by little, you know, I was telling you earlier, I said we have no aim to become Steve and Edie of the new millennium. You know, so we just like, you know, because we both had long careers, 20, 30 year careers of doing this, I think we both respect each other enough to where I automatically don't think I should just get to be a part of her career and vice versa. You know, there's such a neat respect level that it just happens when it happens, when it feels right. And we don't...

KING: How do you balance it with a two year old, though?

GRANT: Well, it's been pretty easy up until now. I mean, we've kind of laid low. Not a lot of touring.

KING: Take the baby with you?

GRANT: Definitely, yes.

KING: Yes? Now when you go off, do you go off in concert ties and he goes off on concern ties?

GILL: Yes.

KING: Baby goes with you?

GRANT: Actually, she's gone with him alone, too. Once alone with me, once alone with him. And every other time, we take a sitter. It's a little nerve-wracking without a sitter, because there's nobody...

KING: You mean he's with a little baby? Just him and the baby?

GRANT: And then he'll take like a friend? Jenny was with you part of that time. But I think that's pretty cute. He says it's really a girl -- a babe magnet to have a dad here with a two year old.

KING: I'll bet, yes.

GRANT: You know, oh, she's so cute. Where's your wife? Oh, I've just got her on the road with me.

(laughter) KING: Do you still enjoy singing together?

GRANT: Yes. Oh, yes. And we do a lot of charity work together, things that are just, you know, private and stuff like that.

KING: You mean you do somebody's throwing a fund-raiser at a house? You go sing?

GILL: Yes, we do a lot of that actually. And mostly in Nashville, but some traveling, where you do the private shows.

KING: Why are people in your field in all the worlds of entertainment, your field, the most accessible, do you think?

GRANT: The most accessible?

KING: Accessible. People can reach country music superstars easier than they reach rock superstars, pop superstars. actors, television stars. Country music -- you had a fanfare. I broadcasted a fanfare once. Every major country star at a booth.


KING: Standing at a booth like at a circus.


KING: Signing autographs. That don't happen in the rock world?

GILL: There were a lot of years we really needed them. Most of the years. But it's true. I mean, you think about it. And a country music artist really, you know, a lot of times will come from not the greatest past, you know, and not you know, like Dolly Parton, for example, somebody that was really poor.

KING: Oh, yes.

GILL: And just what it was for her was just to be able to dress up and look -- wear all these wigs and nice clothes and all that stuff. And I just -- I feel like that because it was never the most popular genre of music, that everybody was grateful to get anything. You know, and there is...

KING: So they don't forget where they came from?

GILL: They don't forget where they came from. And plus, there's such a history of longevity in a country music artist's career. You can have hits for 10 or 20 years. And that builds a fan base. And those fans stay with you. They're not quite as, you know, going to go on to the next...

KING: Move...

GILL: Yes.

KING: Why is that? Why do you hold your fan base? GILL: I think the demographic that enjoys this music is a little older, a little more settled in their ways.

KING: More loyal?

GILL: Well...

KING: They know what they like.

GILL: Yes, they do. You know, when you're 35 plus, you're not going to change a whole lot the rest of your life. When you're 16, you're going to go hey, I like this record. Now I like this record. Now I like this...

KING: So you don't have like groups of 14 year olds?

GILL: I don't.

KING: Or appeal to 15 year olds?

GILL: I don't. You know, but it is very much becoming a huge part of our industry, even with the country music world.

KING: Really?

GILL: And you're seeing artists come and go a lot quicker than maybe they did in years past.

KING: We'll be right back with Amy Grant and Vince Gill. We'll now hear music from their album, "A Christmas to Remember." And by the way, listen closely and you'll hear her future husband, Vince Gill, singing back up on this.



KING: We're back with the Gills.

GRANT: You almost said it, I heard you.

KING: Yes, I almost said the Grants.


GILL: You know it's my middle name?

KING: From birth?

GILL: Yes.

KING: You know, there's a term in Jewish that applies to the two of you. It's called "bashirta." That was meant to meet. It's a great word. It's a Yiddish word, "bashirta." You were "bashirt." You were meant to meet. Think I had the same thing with my wife. You were meant to meet. It could happen when you're 70. It could happen when you're 12.

Then there's one "bashirta" in a lifetime. You only get one "bashirta." What did you name your daughter and why?

GILL: Bashirta.


GILL: Her name is Corinna.

KING: Corinna, Corinna.

GILL: Exactly.

KING: Who had that hit?

GILL: Everybody I think at one point. Bob Wills had the one I remember most.

KING: Is that why you named her Corinna, because of that song?

GILL: Yes, I like the song, but I also love the name, because when she was born, she had these big eyes and more hair than you can ever imagine. She had hair to her shoulders when she was born.

GRANT: It was just on her shoulders.

GILL: Was it? OK.

GRANT: To clear up.

GILL: It was long. I mean it was -- they all said it was more hair than they'd ever seen on a baby.

KING: Did you like Corinna right away?

GRANT: Well...


GRANT: was not familiar to me. It's not a southern name. And...

KING: What did you want, Mary Beth Lou?

GRANT: No. But something. We -- my family, we always kind of name names that everybody's already been named. No, your last name is your first name. And -- but she looked so exotic. Her skin was so dark and her hair was just this black mop. And Vince said, we both agreed she needs a very exotic name. And...

KING: So you got used to Corinna?

GRANT: Well, I didn't, you know, I didn't...

KING: You fought it? GRANT: My father called.


GRANT: And we were still in the hospital.

KING: The doctor.

GRANT: She was 2.5 days old. We hadn't named her yet. And he said, what are you thinking about today? What's her name going to be? And I sort of tossed off well Vince wants to name her Corinna. And then my father blasts into the song singing, but to hear my father sing it, it felt different. I said that's a beautiful name. So...

KING: It's obvious. Have you recorded it?

GILL: Not yet, no.

GRANT: But you have sung it with her.

GILL: Yes, I've sung it.

KING: Shouldn't you record it?

GILL: I should some day. I probably will.

GRANT: Great.

GILL: Brooks and Dunne just recently recorded it. So it might be a little too early.

KING: In other words, there were a lot of hits to that song? It seems embedded. When was that song a hit?

GILL: Well, I knew it when Bob Wills probably recorded it in the '40s or '50s.

KING: It goes back that far? Was a country song?

GILL: Bob Wills would have been, yes.

KING: Yes.

GRANT: Had a pop hit?

GILL: It was a pop hit.

GRANT: Then Taj Mahal did it. I mean, a lot of people have done it.

KING: What kind of a little girl is she?

GRANT: She's a whipper snapper. OK? A story about her?

KING: Yes. GRANT: We're in the McDonald's line. I have three older children and a step, but three that I birthed beside Corinna, two teenagers and an 11-year old. And so, we're going through the line. And they're all giving me their special orders, which you know, McDonalds, it's not good for special orders. You just need to take what they offer.

KING: My wife asks what's good today.

GRANT: Yes, good. And but it's taken so long to get through the drive through. And I'm looking back at Corinna in her car seat, and she's two. I said, "Corinna, would you like a cheeseburger, french fries?" She hasn't said a word. And she goes, "I want the money."

And all, she's just one liner after one liner. She's so funny.

KING: Do you ever, I mean I don't want to use the word "bomb," are there nights when it doesn't click ever?

GILL: Between us?

KING: No on stage.


KING: Speaking of that, last night. No, a night where you're singing, you're halfway through and you say, I'm not moving them. I mean, they're clapping...

GILL: Sure.

KING: But it's not working.

GILL: You know, over the years, if you think about how many times I've stepped on a stage and played music over the last 30 plus years, sure, there's a lot of nights you don't have it. You know, you're sick or the crowd...

KING: And what do you do when you know you don't?

GILL: Just play. You just play, do the best you can. It's all I do.

GRANT: It'd be over soon.

KING: Are there nights, Amy, when you're feeling that way and you don't think you're doing well, where you get the most applause? Are there some nights, because I've had some performers tell me, on the nights they think they're think they're not up to par, they get better reaction?

GRANT: Right. Sure. Yes. I mean, you know, what it might be? It might be maybe I'm exhausted, tired, don't feel like doing a show. I know a little girl one night at a concert. And she came up to me and she had a woman with her that didn't look like her mom. Maybe an off night for me. And meeting her totally changed it because she is in a line of people. She comes up to meet me. And as she tries to talk, her face was just awash with tears.

And I'm looking at the woman next to her saying, are you her mother? And she said no. And this girl was a young teenager, probably 14. And she said, no, I was her fourth grade teacher. And so, I'm trying to connect the dots. And the young girl finally collects herself. And she said, "my mother died when I was in the fourth grade. And I recently found a journal of hers of things that she loved and things she wanted to accomplish before her life was over. And one of those things was to meet you."


KING: Hey.

GRANT: ...screw the crowd. I mean, not really, but all I thought was this whole night was about this child. And...

KING: You had a good night.

GRANT: It was amazing.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with -- what a night -- with Vince Gill and Amy Grant. Another single hit by Amy, "I Will Remember You."



KING: We're back with Amy Grant and Vince Gill. What was the wedding ceremony like? Where were you married?

GRANT: On a hilltop in the country. We -- and we mixed and mingled with our friends, like 75, 100 extended family.

KING: In Tennessee?

GRANT: Yes. There's a hilltop where these two...

KING: There's a hilltop in Nashville?

GRANT: It's very hilly in Nashville.

KING: All right.

GRANT: And especially south of town. These old cabins built in the 1860s are still standing, just one room cabins. And we said our vows with all of our friends gathered around. And then we had kind of -- you couldn't really see this, the national pipe and drum bagpipes came up over the hill after we said our vows. And it was just beautiful.

The very first drone of the bagpipe, you kind of thought maybe it was a cow in trouble, just for a split second. And then it was...

KING: That would work with the two of you, right? I mean, with all you've gone through, it could have been a cow.

GRANT: Could have...

KING: Tell me about the Christmas tour. Who -- is there a comedian on the bill?

GILL: There is. Old friend Henry Cho...

KING: So he opens?

GILL: Well, actually not. What we're going to do is just kind of -- Amy and I will start and we're just going to kind of all be in and around each other all night long. He's going to have...

KING: And you'll come out...

GILL: ...three or four bits intermingled in between the songs. And rather than...

KING: It's a good kind of country humor?

GILL: No, not necessarily.


GILL: He's an Asian guy from Knoxville, Tennessee.

KING: An Asian guy...

GILL: Yes, so he says he's South Korean. But he's very funny. And we're old golfing buddies. And Amy and I have done these Christmas shows for years. And said, you know, the one thing we have never done, and we've always brought other guests out to sing, and sing more Christmas song. And so let's take Henry out and make people laugh this year.

KING: Do you do one nighters?

GILL: Yes.

KING: Do you hop by plane and go to...

GRANT: Bus by bus.

KING: Bus by bus.


KING: With how big a band?

GRANT: 40 of us on stage.

GILL: 40, 45.

KING: 40 on stage? GILL: We're going to do some of the new songs, actually, that we've had as pop hits and country hits over the last few years, a segment of that. And...

KING: That are not Christmas songs?

GILL: Yes.

GRANT: Right.

GILL: Yes, there's a little bit of something for everybody.

KING: How long a show was it, Amy?

GRANT: With an intermission, 2.5 hours.

KING: Boy you people, you really give it all, right? I mean, you work.

GRANT: Oh, yes. We -- this was really a fun tour to put together because we really probably started talking into the spring, how do we want it to feel? And all those things take time, you know, to figure out. Especially like, we've never used video. Digging up old family pictures.

KING: You have all that?

GRANT: Trying to find snowball fights? Yes, I mean we're both kind of pack rats, but not organized. And just digging that up.

KING: How close after Christmas do you work? This is December 4. We'll be done -- we'll be home on the 22nd.

GRANT: I thought we had a show the 22nd.

GILL: Well, maybe we do. Then we'll be home the 23rd.

KING: Do you ever -- are you ever singing and you don't know what city you're in?

GRANT: Oh, sure, yes. Yes.

KING: You, Vince?

GILL: I've got a pretty good handle on it.

KING: So does that affect you?

GILL: I've never said hello Cleveland and then Columbus...

GRANT: No, I haven't either.

KING: Like that commercial.

GRANT: No, but like an early morning interview, you know, you wake up and you're dialing the number and you just can't think what area code -- where am I?

KING: What city is this?


KING: Still have a minute left. Want to do a little Corinna, Corinna?


GILL: There you go.

KING: Thank you, guys. Vince...

GILL: Thank you very much.

GRANT: Thank you.

KING: What an honor. Happy -- Merry Christmas. Amy Grant and Vince Gill in the middle of their special holiday music tour, "Simply Christmas" with Amy Grant and Vince Gill. Together they, have whew, Grammys, 20 Grammys together, millions of albums, 27 number one hits, other number one hits. First Christian -- trust me, we will not need a benefit for Vince Gill and Amy Grant. They'll be no charity function in which people will come to perform for them.

We'll be back in a couple of minutes to close it out. Don't go away.



KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE with Amy Grant and Vince Gill. Stay tuned for more news around the clock on your most trusted name in news, CNN. See you tomorrow night. Good night.


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