Billy Hill and the Hillbillies: Unique, Just Like Everyone Else
Billy Hill and the Hillbillies was not the first show performed at the Golden Horseshoe. That honor goes to Slue Foot Sue’s Golden Horseshoe Revue, which ran from July 16, 1955 until October 12, 1986. This variety show had over 50,000 performances and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-running musical of all time. Since 1986 there have been a few different productions on that stage, with the current one being Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.
It’s a fairly complicated history, but the short version is that the Billys first performed in Critter Country, beginning at the same time as the opening of Splash Mountain (July 17, 1989), and moved into the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in late December of 1994. Billy Hill and the Hillbillies is made up of 4 members (or at least 4 members perform at a time), and part of the “gimmick” is that all of them are named Billy Hill. Even when they introduce each other for solos or spotlight features, the intro always consists of something like, “Please welcome my brother, Billy Hill!”
The show is a mix of comedy and impressive musicianship. They perform a bluegrass/country music centered show, but they also throw in classic rock and rap (performed in a bluegrass style—go ahead, wrap your head around that). But what is the purpose of talking about it on this blog (besides to persuade you to go see them next time you’re at Disneyland—which I hope you do!)? To answer that question, let’s first take a look at a conversation between Helen Parr and her son Dash in the movie The Incredibles.
Dash: You always say ‘Do your best’, but you don’t really mean it. Why can’t I do the best that I can do?
Helen: Right now, honey, the world just wants us to fit in, and to fit in, we gotta be like everyone else.
Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone’s special, Dash.
Dash: [muttering] Which is another way of saying no one is.
We all want to be special. Who we are, our identity, is often wrapped up in making sure we stand out from everyone else, having a name for ourselves. We want to be unique.
And we are. But that must be balanced with and find its full expression in being part of something else—or Someone else.
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5)
The members of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are unique. They have different talents and skills, different personalities, and probably even different preferred performance styles. They even all have different real names. But for the sake of the show, they are all called “Billy Hill”. They combine their skills, talents, and abilities for the sake of the group and the show. They play different instruments during the show. Different Billys are highlighted in different portions of the show. But they are all still “Billy Hill.”.
We are each unique and special. That comes from Christ, and finds its truest expression in Christ and in His body. Is “everyone’s special” “another way of saying no one is”? Do we have to stand out from everyone else—even try to stand above everyone else—to have value in who we are? Not at all! Just as each Billy is unique but identified with the others by their name, all who are in Christ are unique but are identified with the others by His name, and as part of His body. For the sake of each other, and Christ, we submit our uniqueness to Him.
We don’t have to be “better” to be unique, and uniquely valuable. We just have to be His, and to embrace our identity in Him.
Question: How have you seen God’s unique design in you, and how are you using it as part of His body? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.
(And just for fun, here’s part of one of the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies shows.)