tv 60 Minutes CBS January 16, 2022 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
you want to thank you for watching. 60 minutes is next. >> we will se and ford. we go further, so you can. >> 77 years ago, in this amsterdam annex, anne frank, her family, and four others were discovered by the nazis after more than two years in hiding. oh, wow. this-- this is the famous-- >> this is the bookcase. >> bookcase. >> th-- this is the bookcase. it was used to camouflage the entrance to the hiding place. >> it's one of the most well- known accounts of life under nazi occupation, and one without a critical answer: who betrayed anne frank's family? this retired f.b.i. agent, and his all star team of investigators, believe they have finally found the answer-- and a surprising twist. wait, wait.
so, in the files, there's reference to a note that otto frank received that mentions this specific name? >> remarkably so. yes. it's listed right there. ( ticking ) ♪ ♪ ♪ >> on stage, chris stapleton can silence an arena with a slow burning ballad. ♪ ♪ ♪ or manipulate his guitar to sound like trouble walking through the door. ♪ ♪ ♪ so, why are musicians like adele and pink so eager to work with this clearly country musician? just listen. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ( cheers and applause ) ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm jon wertheim. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking )
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publication, "the diary of anne >> wertheim: 75 years after its publication, “the diary of anne frank” remains among the most widely-read books in the world. blinkering between hope and despair, the account of a jewish teenager's life in hiding in an annex behind an amsterdam warehouse, gave voice and a face to millions of victims of the nazi genocide. yet, one question has gone stubbornly unanswered all these years: who alerted the nazi search team, in 1944, to anne frank and her family's hiding place? two dutch police inquiries and countless historians have come
up with theories, but no firm conclusions. then, in 2016, a team of investigators, led by a veteran f.b.i. agent, decided to bring modern crime-solving techniques and technology to this cold case. and now, they believe they have an answer, one we'll share with you tonight, to a question that's bedeviled historians, and haunted holland: who was responsible, for the betrayal? vince pankoke had turned in his badge and gun. he was two years into a comfortable florida retirement, when his phone rang in the spring of 2016. >> vince pankoke: i received a call from a colleague from the netherlands who said, "if you-- if you're done laying on the beach, we have a case for you." >> wertheim: were you laying on the beach? >> pankoke: i-- i was actually driving to the beach. i wa-- ( laughs ) i wasn't quite there yet. >> wertheim: pankoke spent three decades as an f.b.i. special agent, targeting colombian drug cartels. his work had also taken him to the netherlands, where his investigative chops left an impression.
were you looking to get back when he told you what it was about? >> pankoke: after he told me it was to, you know, try to solve the mystery of what caused the raid-- for anne frank and the others in the annex, i needed to hear more. >> wertheim: 4,000 miles away, in amsterdam, thijs bayens, a dutch filmmaker and documentarian, had been asking around for a credentialed investigator to dig into a question that he feels holland has never quite reckoned with, one that gets to the essence of human nature. >> thijs bayens: for me, it was really important to investigate what makes us give up on each other. the area where anne frank lived is very normal, and it's a very warm area with the butcher and the doctor and the policeman. they worked together. they loved each other. they lived together. and suddenly people start to betray on each other. how could that happen? >> wertheim: of the millions, literally millions of stories to come out of the holocaust, why do you think this one resonates the way it does?
>> bayens: i think right after the war people were shown the concentration camps, the atrocities that took place, the horror. and, suddenly you find this innocent, beautiful, very smart, funny, talented girl. and she as a lighthouse comes out of the darkness. and then i think humanity said, "this is who we are." >> wertheim: betraying fellow dutch to the nazis was a criminal offense in the netherlands, but two police probes, and a whole library of books dedicated to the anne frank case, yielded neither convictions nor definitive conclusions. this question of who betrayed anne frank, that had been investigated for years. what was going to make your investigation different than the ones before it? >> bayens: if it's a criminal act, it should be investigated by the police. so, we set it up as a cold case. >> wertheim: like so many, pankoke had read the diary in middle school in western
pennsylvania, and it left a mark. there would be no perp walks or busted crime syndicates here, but he was intrigued-- cautiously. you hear, "we're gonna go back and look at anne frank." and that might have the ring of some schlocky media creation. did that worry you? >> pankoke: oh, it did, it did. because as a career investigator, i didn't want to be associated with any type of a tabloid type investigation. >> wertheim: you had to make sure this was serious. >> pankoke: let's face it. i mean, the honor of the diary, the honor of anne frank, we had to treat this with utmost respect. >> wertheim: what ultimately sealed it for vince pankoke: the guarantee of absolute autonomy. the ground rules: thijs bayens would oversee the operation and could film the process for a documentary he's been making. there would be a book about it, which helped finance the project along with funding from the city of amsterdam. but this was going to be an independent undertaking with serious investigators. and vince pankoke was going to take the lead digging in. you'd done cold cases before.
before this, what was the biggest gap in time between when you were approached and when the-- the crime occurred? >> pankoke: it was about a five year crime at that point. >> wertheim: it's 75 years. so, a little different. >> pankoke: it's a lot different. >> wertheim: this is more than cold. >> pankoke: this-- yeah. this was frozen. >> wertheim: to chip away, pankoke had to draw up his own blueprint. he knew that there was going to be more information to plow through than any human could handle, and that artificial intelligence could be a secret weapon. >> the book mentioned... >> wertheim: an f.b.i. man's dream team was assembled: an investigative psychologist, a war crimes investigator, historians, criminologists, plus an army of archival researchers. what did all these people with disparate skills bring to this? >> pankoke: they brought a different view. it was all of these skills that help us understand and put into context a crime that happened, you know, in 1944. we have to look at things differently. >> wertheim: together, they dove into a familiar story: the frank family had moved to amsterdam from germany to escape the rise of hitler.
they found safety in holland, where otto frank ran a manufacturing business. but then the nazis invaded in 1940, two years later. the franks-— otto, wife edith, anne and her sister margot—- along with four other jewish friends of the family, went into hiding in an annex behind otto's warehouse. today it's preserved as a museum. dr. gertjan broek, a historian at the anne frank house, showed us in. oh, wow. this-- this is the famous-- >> dr. gertjan broek: this is the bookcase. >> wertheim: bookcase. >> broek: th-- this is the bookcase. it was used to camouflage the entrance to the hiding place. >> wertheim: the bookcase helped protect the franks, as did a handful of otto's close colleagues at the warehouse who were in on the secret. >> broek: we go inside, mind your head. >> wertheim: oh, wow. after the raid, the nazis took anything that wasn't nailed down.
these recreations show what it looked like. two crammed floors, 761 days-- more than two excruciating years indoors. the office workers brought food and supplies, but the eight in hiding couldn't make a sound during the day. by night they could listen to the radio, desperately plotting updates from the front on this map. >> broek: here's a newspaper clipping from shortly after-- d-day, so, june, 1944-- with the pins that tried to follow the advances of the allied troops in the days and weeks probably after. >> wertheim: this is june, 1944-- >> broek: june, 1944. >> wertheim: so-- >> broek: so there's hope, 'cause allied forces are on the way. their life depended on what would happen. >> wertheim: anne's bedroom walls, familiar to any teenager, preserved from the day she was taken away. here, she chronicled the monotony and the horror of life in hiding. "outside things are terrible, day and night,” she wrote in january, 1943.“ these poor people are being dragged away, with nothing but a backpack and a little bit of money." her last entry was dated august 1, 1944.
she was 15. take me to the day of the raid. it's the summer of 1944, and what happens that day? >> broek: it's a warm day, sunny. and around 10:30, between 10:30 and 11:00, a couple of men walk in. >> wertheim: they were detectives with a dutch police unit working with the nazis. an s.s. officer named silberbauer led the team. they demanded to be shown around the warehouse. >> broek: they end up in front of the bookcase, which is hiding the entrance to the annex. and it's important i think to realize that two of the policemen present had been seasoned detectives, well experienced. they had been searching this type of building in the inner city of amsterdam before. >> wertheim: they knew there was likely something behind that bookcase. the stunned inhabitants they found were marched out. on the floor behind them, anne's diary, which a quick-thinking office worker, loyal to the franks, preserved. of the eight taken away, otto frank was the only survivor.
the others were among the 100,000 dutch jews, three quarters of the country's jewish population, to die at the hands of the nazis. in an interview with cbs in 1964, otto recounted what happened when his family was put on the cattle cars to auschwitz a month after their capture. >> otto frank: on september 4, 1944, the last transport went to auschwitz. well, when we arrived at auschwitz there were men standing there with clubs. women here, men there. we were separated right on the station, so women went to birkenau camp and we went to auschwitz camp from the station, and i never saw my family again. >> wertheim: after the war, otto frank was determined to find out who betrayed the hiding place to the nazis. it was the question many readers asked after he published his daughter's diary in 1947.
but after a couple of years, otto abruptly stopped looking. more on that curious decision, later. when vince pankoke went to amsterdam to begin his search, his first stop, naturally, was the scene of the crime. >> pankoke: i called this the most visited crime scene in the world, because so many people from all over the world, you know, millions of people come here. >> wertheim: so, when you come here for the first time, what are you looking for? >> pankoke: well, as an investigator i want to see what's in the area. of course i want to see inside the building. i want to reconstruct how the actual arrest took place, and who participated in it. >> wertheim: pankoke and his team spent hours in the annex looking for any clue however remote. >> pankoke: so, you can see it right through those bushes. >> wertheim: he also cased the exterior, today almost exactly as it was then. >> pankoke: this is the courtyard that is behind the annex.
and it's-- as you can see, it's totally enclosed. this courtyard area is surrounded by the buildings of the neighborhood. >> wertheim: i'm thinking one cough that gets overheard, one window that happens to be open at the wrong time, the sheer risk factor here is extraordinary. >> pankoke: it is extraordinary. when we first started the case, one of the theories that was out there is that the raid may have been caused by somebody in the immediate area seeing something, hearing something, and reporting it. so, therefore, we tracked and identified every resident that lived in this block and adjacent streets. >> wertheim: using the artificial intelligence program, pankoke and his team mapped potential threats. in the courtyard surrounding the annex, they found nazi party members and even known informants. >> pankoke: all living just a wall or two away from one another. when you take a look at the threats the question isn't, you know, what caused the raid. the question might be: how did they last more than two years without being discovered?
>> wertheim: it strikes me in a case like this, anyone could be a suspect. a nazi sympathizer, an informant, someone who happens to walk by and hear a cough. how did you navigate that? >> pankoke: we had to consider all those options. the team and i sat down and we compiled a list of ways in which the annex could've been compromised. you know, was it carelessness of the people occupying the annex maybe making too much noise or being seen in the windows? you know, was it betrayal? >> wertheim: there is a theory out there that no one betrayed the frank family. this was coincidence, or this was good detective work. you buy that at all? >> pankoke: no. no. i mean, we took that theory apart, you know, bit by bit. >> wertheim: this doesn't play out the way it does, but for a specific tip. >> pankoke: exactly. >> wertheim: who provided that tip to the nazis? when we come back, vince pankoke and the cold case team narrow down their list of suspects, and for the very first time, we'll
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>> wertheim: vince pankoke, the 30-year f.b.i. veteran, had worked plenty of cold cases, but none this cold. it had been more than seven decades since anne frank and her family had been discovered in their hiding place in central amsterdam and ultimately put on cattle cars to auschwitz. as to the question of who betrayed the family to the nazis, all the witnesses were long dead, their evidence thinned by time. but pankoke leaned on decades of experience and intuition, starting with the old case files. >> pankoke: in a normal cold case, you go to a file, you pull it out, you read through everything that the previous
investigation did-- interviews, leads that were followed up on. >> wertheim: two previous dutch place, one in 1948 and another in 1963, were not exactly masterclasses in detective work, and a lot of time had passed. >> pankoke: the files were incomplete. and they were scattered about in probably a dozen different archives. reports were missing. witnesses had passed on. memories had failed. >> wertheim: pulling from the standard cold case playbook, vince pankoke followed up on what leads he could. otherwise, he and his team had to take a fresh approach. they spent years in places like the amsterdam city archives, where the meticulous dutch record-keeping used so brutally by the nazis proved a major asset to the investigation. >> pieter van twisk: people were forced to wear this star. >> wertheim: along with pieter van twisk, a veteran dutch journalist who co-founded this project and led the research team, they showed us a trove of items they dug up, including a
residence card belonging to anne frank. >> van twisk: you can see here her name, her first name, second name, and her surname; and the date of birth. here you see "n.i.", which stands for netherlands. israelis, which is her religion. >> wertheim: "netherland israeli." so, this-- >> van twisk: yeah, i don't-- >> wertheim: she's jewish. >> van twisk: --know why-- that's jewish, she was jewish, yeah, >> wertheim: every dutch resident had to have one of these? >> van twisk: yah, yah. >> wertheim: this is- this is very detailed, and this has her-- her parents' birth dates on it. >> van twisk: yah. that's, of course, also why it was quite easy for the nazis to find people in the netherlands, and to know if who was jewish, or who was not jewish. >> wertheim: one piece of paper in the '40s, and you've got everything you could want to know about someone. >> van twisk: yah >> wertheim: the team fed every morsel they could-- letters, maps, photos, even whole books-- into the artificial intelligence database, developed specifically for the project. then they let machine learning do its thing. >> pankoke: it would identify relationships between people, addresses that were alike. and we were looking for those connections, clues to solving this. >> wertheim: quantify how much time that saved you.
>> pankoke: oh, thousands and thousands of man hours. >> wertheim: this also tells you what's garbage, what's excluded, what isn't going to help your case. >> pankoke: oh, yeah, because much of what we do is eliminating the unnecessary. >> wertheim: the team paid particular attention to arrest records from the time. the nazis were hell bent on ridding the netherlands of all jews, part of the final solution. by 1942, the franks were among some 25,000 jews in hiding across the country. the nazis were coldly skilled at getting people to talk. >> pankoke: their typical m.o. was once they arrested somebody, the first question that was posed to them, "do you know where any other jews are in hiding?" so, what we did is we chronicled all the arrests prior to and just after the annex raid to try to find any connection, any loose thread that would show us that they went from one arrest to another and then ultimately to the annex. >> wertheim: and the implication is, “i'll make your sentence more lenient if you give up some names."
>> pankoke: yeah. >> wertheim: effective? >> pankoke: oh, it was very effective. >> wertheim: before long, suspects emerged-- dozens of them, like willem van maaren, an employee in the warehouse where the franks were hiding, whom the dutch police had interviewed in their investigations. >> pankoke: he was prime suspect number one after the war. he's working downstairs in the warehouse. he was very shifty, suspicious. actually a thief. >> wertheim: so, you say shifty, suspicious, thief. and yet, you eliminated him as a suspect. >> pankoke: not a betrayer, though. he was not antisemitic. he had incentive n-- not to betray them, because if he did, he would've lost his job, the business would've been closed. >> wertheim: what specifically are you looking for when you're considering suspects? >> pankoke: we're looking at, did they have the knowledge? we look at their motive. you know, what would the motive be? were they antisemitic? were they trying to do this for money? and then opportunity. were they even in town?
>> wertheim: so, this-- knowledge, motive, opportunity, that's i'm guessing what you were using when you're infiltrating drug cartels. i mean, this is standard f.b.i. technique. >> pankoke: it's standard law enforcement technique. >> wertheim: what kind of a person would betray the frank family? >> bram van der meer: you would expect maybe that a very bad person did this, a person with-- i would say-- a psychopathic mind would-- would do this. >> wertheim: bram van de meer knows psychopathic minds. he had been an investigative psychologist with the national police force in the netherlands. on vince pankoke's team, he analyzed the behavior and mindsets of suspects they were considering. that's your first instinct? so, it had to be a psychopath to do this? >> van der meer: yeah. but you have to be so very careful. it's war. you're surviving. your day-to-day life is filled with fear. your family might be arrested the next day. you're thinking everyday about your own survival. so, that's the context. >> wertheim: in a vacuum, it had
to be a psychopath to do this. but given the context-- >> van der meer: that's right. >> wertheim: then what kind of person might do this? >> van der meer: yeah, and then-- and then you end up in-- in a situation where it could be anybody. >> wertheim: over time, their focus shifted to someone who, on the surface, might not have raised suspicions. this suspect wasn't a neighbor of the franks and didn't work for them, but the f.b.i. man's sixth sense kicked in. arnold van den bergh was a prominent jewish businessman with a wife and kids in amsterdam. after the invasion, he served on the jewish council, a body the nazis set up, nefariously, to carry out their policies within the jewish community. in exchange for doing the nazis' bidding, members might be spared the gas chambers. >> pankoke: we know from history that the jewish council was dissolved in late september of 1943 and they were sent to the camps. we figured, well, if arnold van den bergh is in a camp somewhere, he certainly can't be privy to information that would lead to the compromise of the
annex. >> wertheim: was he in a camp somewhere? >> pankoke: well, we thought he was. so, due diligence, we started a search. and we couldn't find arnold van den bergh or any of his immediate family members in those camps. >> wertheim: why not? >> pankoke: well, that was the question. if he wasn't in the camps, where was he? >> wertheim: turned out, he was living an open life in the middle of amsterdam, vince pankoke says. only possible if van den bergh had some kind of leverage. to my ears, you're describing an operator. is that fair? >> pankoke: i'd call him a chess player. he thought in terms of layers of protection, by obtaining different exemptions from being placed into the camps. >> wertheim: as it happened, van den bergh, who died in 1950, had come up before, in a report from the 1963 investigation. though, astonishingly, there was little apparent follow up by police. >> pankoke: we read just one small paragraph that mentioned that during the interview of
otto frank, he told them that shortly after liberation, he received an anonymous note identifying his betrayer of the address where they were staying, the annex, as arnold van den bergh. >> wertheim: wait, wait. so, in the files, there's reference to a note that otto frank received that mentions this specific name? >> pankoke: remarkably so, yes. it's listed right there. >> wertheim: the note was so striking to otto frank that he typed up a copy for his records. naturally, the veteran f.b.i. man wanted to know, where was that note? any seasoned investigator will tell you that, ideally, good shoe leather comes garnished with good luck. in 2018, vince and team located the son of one of the former investigators. there in the son's home, buried in some old files, otto's copy of the note. i just want to get this straight. you're talking to the son of an investigator. he says, "yeah, 50 years ago my dad looked into this and i might have some material."
>> pankoke: yeah. we were lucky. >> wertheim: you've held the metaphorical smoking gun in your hand before in the f.b.i. you're handling this anonymous note. does it feel like a smoking gun? >> pankoke: not a smoking gun, but it feels like a warm gun with the evidence of the bullet sitting nearby. >> wertheim: back at the archives, they showed it to us, otto's copy. the team used forensic techniques which they say authenticates it. that handwriting you see: the scribblings of the 1963 detective. the anonymous note informed otto that he'd been betrayed by arnold van den bergh, who'd handed the nazis an entire list of addresses where jews were hiding. >> pankoke: whoever it was that authored this anonymous note knew so much that-- knew that lists were turned in. >> wertheim: and this is information you were able to corroborate. >> pankoke: pieter was able to locate, in the national archive, records that indicated that, in fact, somebody from the jewish council, of which arnold van den bergh was a member, was turning over lists of addresses where jews were in hiding.
>> wertheim: so, what's your theory of the case here? how and why would arnold van den bergh have betrayed the frank family? >> pankoke: well, in his role as being a founding member of the jewish council, he would have had privy to addresses where jews were hiding. when van den bergh lost all his series of protections exempting him from having to go to the camps, he had to provide something valuable to the nazis that he's had contact with to let him and his wife at that time stay safe. >> wertheim: is there any evidence he knew who he was giving up? >> pankoke: there's no evidence to indicate that he knew who was hiding at any of these addresses. they were just addresses that were provided where jews were known to have been in hiding. >> wertheim: we contacted the foundation otto frank started in switzerland and the anne frank house in amsterdam-- neither of which formally participated in the investigation-- to try to
find out whether they could provide any other evidence that might implicate or clear arnold van den bergh. the anne frank house said they could not. the foundation is reserving comment until they've seen the entire results of the investigation. the cold case team began to confront the real possibility that otto frank might have known the identity of the betrayer. what reason, they wondered, would otto have had to keep this to himself? >> pankoke: he knew that arnold van den bergh was jewish, and in this period after the war, antisemitism was still around. so, perhaps he just felt that if i bring this up again, with arnold van den bergh being jewish, it'll only stoke the fires further. but we have to keep in mind that the fact that he was jewish just meant that he was placed into a untenable position by the nazis to do something to save his life. >> wertheim: the team wrestled with these ethical questions. thijs buyens, the filmmaker and documentarian who conceived of
the project, wondered whether the revelation would be fodder for bigots and anti-semites. the conclusion was that this culprit was a jewish man who by all accounts was doing what he did to protect his own family. >> bayens: yeah. >> wertheim: what was your emotion when you heard this? >> bayens: i found it very painful. maybe you could say i even hoped it wouldn't be something like this. >> wertheim: why? >> bayens: because i feel the pain of all these people being put in-- in-- in a situation which is very hard for us to understand. >> wertheim: i suspect when this is revealed, people around the world are going to be uncomfortable with the idea that a jew betrayed another jew. >> bayens: i hope so. >> wertheim: you hope they will be? >> bayens: yes. because it shows you how bizarre the nazi regime really operated, and how they brought people to do these terrible things. the-- the real question is, what would i have done? that's the real question. >> wertheim: throughout the project, buyens sought counsel from menachem sebbag, an orthodox rabbi in amsterdam who
also serves as chief jewish chaplain in the dutch army. is a greater good being served here? >> rabbi menachem sebbag: i hope so. i truly hope so. i hope that people will understand that one of the things that the nazi ideology did during the holocaust was to dehumanize jewish people. and going back into history and looking for the truth and attaining truth is actually giving the jewish people back their own humanity. even if that means that sometimes jewish people are seen as not acting morally correct. that gives them back their own humanity, because that's the way human beings are when they're faced with existential threats. >> wertheim: after his years of investigating this seven-decade- old cold case, we had a hypothetical for vince pankoke. you're back to being an f.b.i. agent. you've got this case you've built. you've got your evidence and you hand it over to the prosecutor,
the u.s. attorney. you think you're getting a conviction? >> pankoke: no. there could be some reasonable doubt. >> wertheim: to be clear, it's a circumstantial case. >> pankoke: it is a circumstantial case, as many cases are. in today's crime solving, they want positive d.n.a. evidence or video surveillance tape. we can't give you any of that. but in a historical case this old, with all the evidence that we obtained, i think it's pretty convincing. >> wertheim: now back in retirement, vince pankoke thinks he's glimpsed a new way to thaw cold cases. he marvels that an investigation that put no one behind bars, turned out to be the most significant case of his career. and one, he believes, that brought an answer to a painful historical question. ( ticking )
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call 833-317-4673 or live chat at calhope.org today. and one, he believes, that brought an answer to a painful historical question. ( ticking ) ( ticking ) >> alfonsi: his contemporaries will tell you he's among the best country music has these days. kentucky-bred chris stapleton is a triple threat: a powerfully gifted singer, prolific songwriter, and skilled guitar player. now 43-years-old, his talents have connected with music fans across generations and genres. he's collaborated with artists like adele, pink! and carlos santana, won five grammy awards, and is up for another three this year. but chris stapleton wasn't looking for accolades or stardom when he came to nashville.
he was a storyteller, and he invited us backstage to hear his. ♪ ♪ ♪ before every concert, chris stapleton, and his all-star band, that includes his wife, morgane, start their night with a pre-show jam. ♪ ♪ ♪ minutes later, the music takes flight. ♪ ♪ ♪ there's no flash or gimmicks, nothing pre-recorded. it's live music in its purest form. ♪ ♪ ♪ center stage, chris stapleton looks every bit the country music star, but listen carefully. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
his music weaves between soul... ♪ ♪ ♪ southern rock... ♪ ♪ ♪ and heart-aching blues. ♪ ♪ ♪ you've sung about whiskey, women, weed, love, and heartbreak. does it get any more country than that? >> chris stapleton: i don't think it does get any more country than that. when people don't want to label me something other than a country singer-- you know, i don't probably sing like a traditional country singer, you know, but, ultimately, i'm me. and i'm just trying to be the best version of that that i can be. and whether that's playing a song that leans into blues or a song that leans into r&b or a song that leans into really distinctly outlaw country, i love all that music.
and i don't feel limited to playing one type of song. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> alfonsi: on stage, he can silence an arena with a slow burning ballad. ♪ ♪ ♪ or manipulate his guitar to sound like trouble walking through the door. ♪ ♪ ♪ but off stage, we found chris stapleton to be soft-spoken, almost shy. >> chris stapleton: this guitar i got not that long ago. >> alfonsi: he showed us around his band cave in nashville, a rehearsal space filled with artifacts and awards. those are grammy's, and those are spray painted waffle irons. >> chris stapleton: they're based on airplay in the waffle house juke box, so as far i know we've won the most. >> alfonsi: the golden waffle? >> chris stapleton: yeah, well, it's called a tunie. i mean, grammy's are cool. this is fellow musicians voting for you.
this is the people voting for you. >> alfonsi: the walls of the warehouse are lined with the instruments and gear he collects obsessively. do you have a favorite guitar? this is only a fraction of it. he told us he takes about 20 of his guitars on tour. >> chris stapleton: this is number one. if i had to have one guitar, and, you know, it was an electric guitar, this would be the one i'd take with me. and the rest of them do other things and i love them very dearly, but this one this one is the one that i would take. >> alfonsi: did you ever take lessons? >> chris stapleton: i took one lesson and then the guy that i took a lesson from quit teachin' lessons. and so, that was kind of the end. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> alfonsi: musicians along the way taught him the rest. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> chris stapleton: any guitar player, like, real, you know, technically skilled, trained guitar player, will tell you that i'm not a great guitar player. >> alfonsi: that's not what they say. people say you're a great guitar player. >> chris stapleton: well, they do say that. other people say that. but i mean, i think i have a good sense of doing what i do. i'm probably more of a stylist
than i am-- somebody who can do anything. i'm good at being me on guitar. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> alfonsi: chris stapleton's sense of self was sharpened in the mountains of eastern kentucky. his father was an engineer who worked in the coal mines and kept country music cds in the car. chris was an athlete, trying out a "starter mustache" back in high school. he was also listening to rap artists like dr. dre and snoop dogg. it's hard to think about you, rollin' around listening to snoop dogg. >> chris stapleton: yeah, it was-- you know, it was some of the realist-- it was so real that it translated even to some kid in eastern kentucky who had no notion of the things that he was talking about, you know. >> alfonsi: that's interesting. you used the word "real." like, it felt authentic to you even though that was not your world--
>> chris stapleton: well, i think it was. it was dangerous, too, and real and dangerous are very appealing to, you know, 15-16-year-old kids. >> alfonsi: stapleton graduated valedictorian from his high school and landed at vanderbilt university, transferred to kentucky, and then dropped out. eventually, discovering his dream job: writing music. you were going to be an engineer? >> chris stapleton: i was at one point, yeah. i did go to engineering school for a minute. >> alfonsi: what did-- what'd you think you were gonna do? >> chris stapleton: i was-- my major was biomedical engineering. >> alfonsi: so, pretty much the same thing you're doing now. ( laughs ) >> chris stapleton: yeah, pretty much the same thing doing now. you know, i was like, well, my dad's an engineer. i'll go be an engineer, you know? and that was-- it wasn't for me. >> alfonsi: did you know you wanted to be a songwriter? >> chris stapleton: i didn't even know it was a thing. >> alfonsi: what do you mean? >> chris stapleton: i just assumed when people sang songs on records, that they made it up. you know, and then-- >> alfonsi: that it was coming from them. >> chris stapleton: yeah. and that-- and then, you know, i met somebody who was a songwriter. and then it was just like, that's a job? they're going to pay you to sit in a room and make things up on guitar?
that's m-- that's the-- i need that job. that's the job i want. >> alfonsi: in 2001, armed with the songs he'd been writing since high school, stapleton went back to nashville. four days after arriving in town, he got a job with a music publishing company writing for other artists. he'd go on to write for some of country's biggest stars like george strait, miranda lambert, luke bryan, and blake shelton. how many songs do you think you've written? >> chris stapleton: i don't know. probably in excess of 1,000. >> alfonsi: 1,000. how many do you think are good? >> chris stapleton: ten. >> alfonsi: stop. ♪ ♪ ♪ what's a win for-- writing a song? when do you know, okay, this is-- i did this well. >> chris stapleton: i don't think i ever know that. the win is finishing the song. and there are a lot of songwriters who will claim that they know. "yeah, i knew this-- when we wrote this one that it was a six-week number one. and-- and i was gonna get a big giant check in the mail."
i really just think those guys are full of ( bleep ). i don't think anybody knows that. like, you can't possibly know how everybody's going to feel about a song that you write. that's impossible to know. i don't trust computer research or phone surveys or anything like that. you have to take it to the people. i trust people. and i trust people who have taste. >> alfonsi: people like his wife, morgane. she was the one with the record deal when they met. her deal didn't last, but theirs did. ♪ ♪ ♪ she is the mother of their five children, his muse, and harmony singer. ♪ ♪ ♪ what was your first impression when you heard his voice, when you heard him sing, as a musician? >> morgane stapleton: it was very much a... a "whoa." he's so powerful. just the sheer volume of his voice is just-- it-- he doesn't need a microphone in a room
that's quiet. it's powerful. >> alfonsi: but morgane says chris never craved the spotlight. he was happy writing songs for othe endrsnjg oys hiinsid still, his powerful voice was gaining legend around nashville's music row. at age 33, already a ten-year veteran of the country music scene, universal music group offered him his own record deal. morgane had to convince him to say yes. you didn't jump on it right off the bat because of what? >> chris stapleton: oh, i'm suspicious of most things. it's just part of my personality. >> alfonsi: it is? >> chris stapleton: yeah. >> alfonsi: what were you suspicious of, they were gonna tell you t-- >> chris stapleton: i don't know-- >> alfonsi: like, shave your beard and get a spray tan? >> chris stapleton: yeah, maybe. i-- i don't know. just-- my answer back was, "okay. i-- i'll do this. but-- i'm going to need to, you know-- do what i want to do." ♪ ♪ ♪ >> alfonsi: he went on to release his first single in 2013, but it went nowhere. >> chris stapleton: the same
month that that single died my dad also passed away in that same month. it was-- it was a bad month, and i didn't, didn't feel great about it, and i was in a real bad spot. >> alfonsi: hoping to he morgane bought this vintage jeep chris had been eyeing online, even though it was 1,600 miles away in phoenix, arizona. ♪ ♪ ♪ they picked it up, and on the trip back to nashville, he wrote "traveller," the title track to his first solo album. the collection of 14 songs would be a turning point in his career. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> chris stapleton: we did that whole record in a week. >> alfonsi: you did "traveller" in one week? >> chris stapleton: yeah. >> alfonsi: you gotta be kidding me. >> chris stapleton: we were on a roll, and that's the only way i can describe it. >> alfonsi: and did you know in your heart, like, i know what this should sound like, i know what this should be? >> chris stapleton: well, i wanted to make a record that i thought my dad would've liked. >> alfonsi: music critics loved it, but early on the album was only a modest success.
that changed overnight when, at the 2015 c.m.a. awards, pop star justin timberlake, a new friend and fan, joined him to perform. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> chris stapleton: it was electric. kind of lightning in a bottle kind of moments, that was one of 'em, for sure. maybe-- the biggest one for us, you know? most people that were watching that show had never heard of me at that point. and then sales of that record went up, you know, a bazillion percent. and it was just nutty after that. >> chris stapelton, traveller! ( cheers and applause ) >> alfonsi: stapleton won four c.m.a. awards that night, and two grammy's a few months later. something he never dreamed of when he came to nashville to write music. >> chris stapleton: this is lower broadway. one time, a long time ago, just for almost a gag, me and a buddy came down and i said, "well, i'm just going to play on the-- the corner and see what i can do." >> alfonsi: you did?
>> chris stapleton: i did. so, i played on the corner. and-- and i made, like, i don't know, $40 bucks in an hour. and at that point, that was the most money i'd ever made in an hour, and i was like, "maybe i should just come here and play on the street." ♪ ♪ ♪ >> alfonsi: more than a decade later, just blocks from that corner, this was the crowd that came to hear him. chris stapleton has grown into one of the biggest stars in country music, but he remains one of the most reluctant. ♪ ♪ ♪ it must be hard for you to hide out right now. you're a very distinct looking fellow. >> chris stapleton: i am a very distinct looking fellow. i can hide out. i can walk around a lot of places, if i'm not wearing-- >> alfonsi: the hat. >> chris stapleton: the hat and, you know, all blacked out. but-- and also, i'm kind of scary looking. so, it also gives people just enough pause sometimes to go, "i-- i don't know if i should walk up to him right now."
♪ ♪ ♪ >> alfonsi: he may look like a hells angel, but his songs reveal chris stapleton's true character. under the hat, it's all heart. q1 ♪ ♪ ♪ ( ticking ) >> i'm james brown with the scores of the n.f.l. today. it still hurts in philly as brady and the champs begin their title defense by beating up on the eagles. they'll face the winner of the cardinals-rams game. and the season is over for dak and the cowboys and the niners are partying like it's 1995. for 24/7 news and highlights go to cbssportshq.com.
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>> wertheim: next sunday on "60 minutes," a look at the fading future of local newspapers. as hedge funds and financial firms swallow up dailies and weeklies, closing newsrooms and slashing staff, headlines and deadlines have given way to bottom lines. but some losses can't be seen on a spreadsheet. >> there's a certain element of community cohesion which comes from the local newspaper. it reminds us all about shared experiences. you know who died, you know who graduated from high school, you know whose kid had a great game. you know those are all important elements about holding people together. >> wertheim: you're describing the soul of a community. >> sure. >> wertheim: i'm jon wertheim. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes."
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