Nancy Wilson Feb 20 1937 – Dec 13 2018
There are things that happen that remind us of other things, events, and people from long ago. They are the type of things that remind us of our own mortality, those we love who have transitioned, and how important it is for each generation to teach and inform the next. I owe it to my mom and a man named Charles for introducing me to Nancy Wilson.
I was around 10 years old when my mom bought my sister and I a record player. My mom didn’t know much about recent music. Her background was singing gospel music. My sister wanted to sing and me? I just wanted to enjoy music. It turned out that I became the known singer in the family and the only one to play musical instruments. Go figure.
There we were in the dining room, where my mom put the red and white record player on a table in the corner of the room. Only, we didn’t have any records. There was a local grocery store where a man named Charles worked. We walked to the store and my mom asked Charles if he could recommend any records for her girls. He didn’t recommend any but rather, told us to come back the next day.
Charles gave us a stack of 45’s and some good advice — go by the record shop and buy converts – those little red plastic disks to put in the center of 45’s and also make sure that the speed on the record player was on 45 and not 33.
I could barely wait to get home and start listening to the music. The names – Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone, Jimmy Reed, Nancy Wilson.
My mom warned me that if I played the Nancy Wilson record one more time, that I would have played the groves off the record. Nancy Wilson’s voice was like an instrument. When CD’s came out, Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley was one of the first CD’s that I purchased. I could listen to Nancy again without the scratchy sound of the old 45 that I first listened to 3 decades earlier.
Nancy preferred being referred to as a “song stylist”. She recorded more than seventy albums before retiring in 2011. She won three Grammy Awards, in 1965, 2005 and 2007.
The first two videos below are the songs from the first Nancy Wilson record I had. The third is a holiday classic. Nancy also appeared in television programs. The fourth video is her appearance on Hawaii Five O.
Rest in peace, Nancy, a woman of talent and grace. I promise to keep your memory alive and pass it on to other generations.