Nancy Wilson (Feb. 20, 1937 — Dec. 13, 2018) was an American soul and jazz singer from Chillicothe, Ohio., who released numerous albums on Capitol Records between 1960 and 1980, followed by titles on Columbia and other labels in the decades that followed.
She was born Nancy Sue Wilson on February 20, 1937, in Chillicothe, Ohio, the eldest of six children borne to iron welder Olden Wilson and housemaid Lillian Ryan. Olden, a record collector, exposed young Nancy to the voices of Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine, Dinah Washington, Ruth Brown, LaVerne Baker, Little Esther, and Jimmy Scott. As a child, she sang in church choirs and performed at her grandmother’s house during visits. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a singer.
At age 15, Wilson won a talent contest sponsored by ABC affiliate WTVN, earning a spot on the twice weekly entertainment show Skyline Melodies. During the next two years, while attending high school by day, she sang at east- and north-side Columbus nightclubs. In 1956, she embarked on a two-year stint with Rusty Bryant’s Carolyn Club Big Band, touring Canada and the Midwest.
In 1959, Wilson moved to New York City at the encouragement of saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley. Within a month of her arrival, she was called to fill in for singer Irene Reid at The Blue Morocco, which gave Wilson a four-nights-weekly residency. Jazz bassist John Levy sent four of her demos to Capitol, which signed Wilson in 1960.
- Like in Love (1960)
- Something Wonderful (1960)
- The Swingin’s Mutual (1961 • The George Shearing Quintet With Nancy Wilson)
- Nancy Wilson / Cannonball Adderley (1962 • Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley)
- Hello, Young Lovers (1962)
- Broadway – My Way (1963)
- Hollywood – My Way (1963)
- Yesterday’s Love Songs · Today’s Blues (1963)
- Today, Tomorrow, Forever (1964)
- How Glad I Am (1964)
- Today My Way (1965)
- Gentle Is My Love (1965)
- A Touch of Today (1966)
- Tender Loving Care (1966)
- Nancy – Naturally (1966)
- Just for Now (1967)
- Lush Life (1967)
- Welcome to My Love (1968)
- Easy (1968)
- Son of a Preacher Man (1969)
- But Beautiful (1970)
- Now I’m a Woman (1970)
- Kaleidoscope (1971)
- I Know I Love Him (1973)
- All in Love Is Fair (1974)
- Come Get to This (1975)
- This Mother’s Daughter (1976)
- I’ve Never Been to Me (1977)
- Life, Love and Harmony (1979)
- I’ll Be a Song (1983)
- The Two of Us (1984 • Ramsey Lewis & Nancy Wilson)
- Keep You Satisfied (1985)
- Forbidden Lover (1987)
- Nancy Now! (1988)
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