Celebrating A Music Legend
Mr. Norris “Norro” Denton Wilson was born in 1938 in Scottsville, Kentucky to George and Marietta Wilson. It was in his hometown he learned piano and sang in a barbershop quartet. After graduating from Scottsville High School in 1956, he attended Western Kentucky State Teachers College on a music scholarship. Norro’s music career really took off however when he joined the gospel act The Southlanders Quartet as the tenor singer. It was because of the group he migrated to Nashville in 1957.
Norro went on to sing with the group The Omegas before joining the songwriters at Acuff-Rose in Nashville in 1962. In 1967, he began working for Al Gallico music as a song plugger and later was one of the first songwriters ever to have crossover success with the hit "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World."
As a solo artist, Wilson scored a top 20 hit in 1970 with “Do It to Someone You Love.” After his success, he accepted an A&R-producer position with Warner Bros. Records in 1975. He then moved to RCA in 1982 and became CEO of Merit Music in 1987. Wilson then started Norro Productions in 1990 and formed Bud Ro Productions with Buddy Cannon in 1998.
In the 1970s and ’80s, Wilson wrote several No. 1 hits, including Charlie Rich’s “The Most Beautiful Girl” and “A Very Special Love Song”, Wynette’s “He Loves Me All the Way” and “Another Lonely Song”, George Jones’ “The Grand Tour” and Charley Pride’s “Night Games.” He also gained success come as a writer and producer for artists including John Anderson, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, George Jones, Sammy Kershaw, Reba McEntire, John Michael Montgomery, Steve Wariner, Tammy Wynette, and more. These successes earned him various awards including a 1974 Grammy for Best Country Song for “A Very Special Love Song,” more than 30 Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Awards, including country songwriter of the year in 1973-75. He also earned induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
In addition to his incredible career in music, Norro also had many hobbies outside of the industry. He was a boating enthusiast who friends and family say could never get enough of the water. He was also an avid reader. He could be found on most sunny days with his favorite book in hand, relaxing on the porch of his boat. Norro was also a devoted famiy man who loved spending time with the mother of his children and beloved cohort Patsy, their daughter Christy, and their son David.
After years of great success and acclaim, the celebrated singer, songwriter and producer passed away in Nashville on June 8, 2017 at the age of 79. To honor his legacy, Dr. Sally Ray and Dr. Roger Vincent established the Norris “Norro” Wilson Music Industry Legacy Scholarship Fund. Through this fund, Norro’s legacy lives on and students are helped in perpetuity.
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