by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)
Hey, it’s Lori, GBN’s Editor-in-Chief, stepping in with this week’s Music Monday share. As yesterday was what would have been song stylist Nancy Wilson’s 85th birthday, I have crafted an 85-song tribute playlist that spans her six decades-long recording career.
A prolific singer who recorded and released 52 albums, three-time Grammy Award winner Wilson was one of the greats who often is not given her just due in popular music history. For a time in the 1960s, Wilson was the second biggest recording artist at Capitol Records – the biggest being the Beatles.
Born on February 20, 1937 in Chillicothe, Ohio, Nancy Sue Wilson knew by the time she was four years old she would be a singer. By her teen years she won a talent contest and began performing on a local television program called Skyline Melodies, then became its host.
She soon met jazz saxophonist and bandleader Julius “Cannonball” Adderley, who was impressed with her talent and suggested she move to New York City. The move lead to Wilson landing a recording contract with Capitol and releasing her first single and album in 1960.
The first five songs that kick off this compilation are some of Wilson’s best known recordings, some of which charted on Billboard Magazine’s pop and/or R&B charts: “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am” – Pop #11; “Save Your Love For Me” – R&B #11; “Tell Me The Truth” – R&B #22 – others which are considered Nancy Wilson standards.
From Wilson’s rendition of “Fly Me To The Moon” off her first album, Like in Love, until the playlist’s conclusion, I’ve ordered the songs to play mostly in chronological order, to offer a sense of how Wilson’s music and voice developed from the 1960s on.
Highlights include her recordings with George Shearing and Cannonball Adderley (The Swingin’s Mutual and Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley are two classic Nancy Wilson albums that deserve to be purchased and heard in their entirety), and the live tracks from The Nancy Wilson Show recorded live at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, and the tracks from one of my personal favorite Nancy Wilson albums, 1971’s But Beautiful, where she is backed brilliantly by the Hank Jones Quartet.
I’d also like to point out Wilson’s superlative cover of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” from her 1970 album Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and the utterly surprising and borderline funky “Tell The Truth” from her 1974 All in Love is Fair LP written by Wilson along with Tennyson Stephens. And YES, the first line is “Bitches taking money and they livin’ well.” Seriously, enjoy.
There are more treasures than I can count in this playlist, especially her later recordings towards the end of her career before she stopped recording such as “When October Goes,” “Peel Me A Grape” and “The Golden Years.”
Wilson passed in 2018 but her music deserves and needs to continued to be appreciated and shared for generations to come. To quote GBN music contributor Jeff Meier from his Facebook tribute to Wilson when she passed:
“While she was probably not a jazz purists favorite jazz performer, a pop fan’s favorite pop singer, nor a soul fan’s top soul artist, she was something in the middle, an accurately self-proclaimed ‘song stylist’ who was a true pioneer in African-American ‘supper club’ entertainment, blending the best from the American songbook – pop, jazz, blues, show tunes into one stylish mix.
In the vein of Johnny Mathis and Lena Horne, she was beautiful, elegant, classy – and therefore also the perfect archetype of ‘guest’ to help integrate television in the early ’60s, when she was regularly featured on variety shows like Andy Williams, Hollywood Palace, Danny Kaye, Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett and many more.
She is undoubtedly what Columbia Records was trying to turn Aretha Franklin into before Aretha broke free for Atlantic to become her true self. Good thing, because just as there was only one Aretha, there was also only one Nancy Wilson.”
I hope you enjoy this playlist, and please know we are still working behind the scenes on re-creating and offering our playlists via Apple Music for those who would like a non-Spotify option. As soon as they are ready, I’ll be sure to post and let you know.
Original article source: https://goodblacknews.org/2022/02/21/music-monday-the-song-is-you-a-tribute-playlist-to-legendary-song-stylist-nancy-wilson-listen/ | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council