Nancy Wilson Day

February 20, 1937 – December 13, 2018

A tribute to the influential song stylist

Singer Nancy Wilson was born on February 20, 1937 in Chillicothe, Ohio.

She sang in church choirs and at the age of four knew that she wanted to be a singer.

Wilson won a local talent contest in Columbus, Ohio when she was 15; the prize was appearing on a television show twice a week.

After attending college for one year, she sang with Rusty Bryant’s Carolyn Club Big Band during 1956-58, was discovered by Cannonball Adderley, moved to New York in 1959, and signed with the Capitol label.

Wilson made her finest recordings for Capitol during the next decade, a period that found her at her most jazz-oriented; a highpoint was her classic album with Cannonball Adderley.

Initially influenced by Dinah Washington, Wilson developed her own quietly expressive style; by the time she had her own television series The Nancy Wilson Show in 1967, she was moving away from jazz towards pop and r&b.

Nancy Wilson, who occasionally came back to jazz in special projects, remained a household name for the rest of her life.

She is featured singing “The Very Thought Of You” in 1964 on the Hollywood Palace television series.

-Scott Yanow


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