Norris D. "Norro" Wilson 1938-2017

Norris D. "Norro" Wilson was born in Scottsville in 1938 and graduated Scottsville High School in 1956.  He attended Western Kentucky State Teachers College (later Western Kentucky University) on a vocal scholarship. Wilson was best known for penning songs such as “The Most Beautiful Girl”, “A Picture of Me (Without You)” and “The Grand Tour”. He was inducted into in the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2011 for his contributions to the music industry.

His first band was a barbershop quartet in high school.  He toured with the Southlanders Quartet until 1960 then formed a duo with Don Gant.  Through the 1960's and early 1970's he charted ten singles as solo artists.  "Do It To Someone You Love" was the biggest of his 3 Top 40 hits.  It reached #20 in 1970.

In 1962 he began working for Acuff-Rose and became a song plugger for Al Gallico Music in 1967 at which point he began co-writing with other songwriters.  In 1970 he wrote "Baby, Baby (I Know You’re a Lady)" with Alex Harvey. In 1973 Charlie Rich scored a crossover hit with “The Most Beautiful Girl” by Wilson, Billy Sherrill and Rory Bourke. The following year they took Best Country Song at the Grammy’s with “A Very Special Love Song”.

He became head of A&R at Warner Bros. Records in 1975, moving to RCA in 1982 and later CEO of Merit Music in 1987 followed by Norro Productions in 1990 and Bud Ro Productions (with Buddy Cannon) in 1998.

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2008. He garnered more than 30 BMI Awards including country songwriter of the year 1973-1975, In all, he wrote 11 #1 hits and over 20 Top 10 hits. In 2011 he appeared at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as part of the Poets and Prophets series.

He died in Hospice in Nashville from heart failure on June 8, 2017.

Band Affiliation:

  • Southlanders Quartet  Vernon Nesbeth (vocals), Frank Mannah (vocals, 1950-91), Alan Wilmot (vocals, 1950-74), Harry Wilmot (vocals, 1950-61)
  • The Omegas (1960) Earl Sinks, Norro Wilson, Bill Fernez
  • Don Gant

Recording Credits:

  • Dedicated To: Only You (1969) Performer. Charting singles: "Only You" (#68), "Love Comes but Once in a Lifetime" (#44), “Shame on Me" (#56)

  • Happiness (Margo Smith album) (1977) "So Close Again" (w/ Margo Smith) (#43)

  • Charting Singles:
  1. "Do It to Someone You Love" (1970) (#20)

  2. "Old Enough to Want To (Fool Enough to Try)" (1970) (#53) 

  3. "Everybody Needs Lovin'" (1972) (#28)

  4.  "Darlin' Raise the Shade" (1973) (#64)

  5. "Ain't It Good (To Feel This Way)" (1973) (#35)

  6. "Loneliness (Can Break a Good Man Down)" (1974) (#96)

  • As Producer:
  1. 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Reba McEntire

  2. All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan (Kenny Chesney)

  3. Brand New Me (John Michael Montgomery)

  4. Chad Brock (Chad Brock)

  5. Christmas Time's A-Comin' (Sammy Kershaw)

  6. Craig Morgan (Craig Morgan)

  7. Don't Go Near the Water (Sammy Kershaw)

  8. Everywhere We Go (Kenny Chesney)

  9. Feelin' Good Train (Sammy Kershaw)

  10. A Hard Act to Follow (Keith Whitley)

  11. Haunted Heart (Sammy Kershaw)

  12. High-Tech Redneck (George Jones)

  13. The Hits Chapter 1 (Sammy Kershaw)

  14. Honky Tonk Boots (Sammy Kershaw)

  15. I Finally Found Someone (Lorrie Morgan and Sammy Kershaw)

  16. I Lived to Tell It All (George Jones)

  17. I Will Stand (Kenny Chesney)

  18. III (Chad Brock)

  19. It Don't Get Any Better Than This (George Jones)

  20. John Anderson (John Anderson)

  21. John Anderson 2 (John Anderson)

  22. Just a Little Love (Reba McEntire)

  23. Keith Gattis (Keith Gattis)

  24. Midnight Fire (Steve Wariner)

  25. Next to You (Tammy Wynette)

  26. No Place That Far (Sara Evans)

  27. No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems (Kenny Chesney)

  28. One (George Jones and Tammy Wynette)

  29. Politics, Religion and Her (Sammy Kershaw)

  30. The Road and the Radio (Kenny Chesney)

  31. Room to Breathe (Reba McEntire)

  32. Shania Twain (Shania Twain)

  33. Single White Female (Chely Wright)

  34. Yes! (Chad Brock)

  • Songs Written By:
  1. Another Lonely Song (Tammy Wynette, Billy Sherrill, Norro Wilson 1974) Tammy Wynette, covered by Andy Williams

  2. A Picture of Me (Without You) (George Richey, Norro Wilson 1972) George Jones, covered by Hank Williams Jr., Connie Smith, Bob Luman, Lorrie Morgan, Eugene Chadbourne, Amy Francis


  3. Baby, Baby (I Know You're a Lady) (Alex Harvey, Norro Wilson 1969) David Houston


  4. The Battle (Norro Wilson, George Richey, and Linda Kimball 1976) George Jones

  5. Bring It on Home (To Your Woman)(Norro Wilson, Joe Stampley, Carmol Taylor 1973)Joe Stampley, covered by Conway Twitty


  6. The Door ( Billy Sherrill and Norro Wilson 1974) George Jones

  7. He Loves Me All the Way (Billy Sherrill, Norro Wilson, and Carmol Taylor 1970) Tammy Wynette

  8. Hey Mister (Norro Wilson, Rita Welty 1968 adapted to The Most Beautiful Girl (Rory Bourke, Billy Sherrill) Norro Wilson covered by Joe Stampley (1973), Charlie Rich (1973), Engelbert Humperdinck (1973), Andy Williams (1974), Bobby Vinton (1974), Society of Seven(1974), Gro Anita(1974), Edward Woodward (1974),  Slim Whitman (1974), Tony Christie (1974), Lettermen(1974), Lenny Dee (1974), The Ray Conniff Singers (1974), The Geoff Love Singers (1974), Perry Como(1974), Jerry Vale (1974), Billy Vaughn (1974), Hugo Strasser und sein Tanzorchester (1974), Piet Noordijk (1974), John Arpin (1975), Peter North(1975), Barry Crocker(1975), Tuxen (1975), The Brothers Four (1976), Dinah Shore(1976), Johnny Mathis(1977), The Shadows (1977), Ray Conniff and The Singers featuring Johnny Rodriguez(1982), The Isley Brothers(1985), Roger Whittaker (1986), Lee Towers(1999), George Salinas (2002), Jan Keizer (2004), Julio Iglesias(2006), Stein Ingebrigtsen(2012), Robby Longo (2013), Daniel O'Donnell(2013), Andy Lee Lang (2014)

  9. If You Touch Me You've Got to Love Me(Norro Wilson, Joe Stampley, Carmol Taylor 1972) Joe Stampley, covered by O.C. Smith, Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty, Justin Tubb

  10. I Love My Friend (Billy Sherrill, Norro Wilson 1974) Charlie Rich covered by Andy Williams, Paul Martin, Stein Ingebrigtsen

  11. Let's Build a World Together (Billy Sherrill, George Richey, Norro Wilson 1973) George Jones & Tammy Wynette
  12. Love's Explosion (Norro Wilson, Margo Smith 1977) Margo Smith

  13. Love's the Answer (Emily Mitchell and Norro Wilson 1972) Tanya Tucker

  14. My Man (Understands)  (Billy Sherrill, Norro Wilson, and Carmol Taylor 1972) Tammy Wynette

  15. Never Been So Loved (In All My Life) (Wayland Holyfield and Norro Wilson 1981) Charley Pride

  16. Night Games (song) (Blake Mevis and Norro Wilson 1983) Charley Pride

  17. On the Back Row(Jerry Chesnut, Norro Wilson 1968) Jerry Lee Lewis covered by Del Reeves, The Starline Rhythm Boys

  18. Pink Dally Rue(Norro Wilson, Don Gant 1964) The Newbeatscovered by The Hitmakers

  19. Soul Song(Billy Sherrill, George Richey, Norro Wilson 1972) Tanya Tucker, covered by Joe Stampley, Jody Miller, Roy Clark, Kings Road

  20. Surround Me with Love(Wayland Holyfield, Norro Wilson 1981) Charly McClaincovered by Cynthia Schloss
  21. Still a Woman (Norro Wilson, Margo Smith 1979) Margo Smith

  22. Take My Breath Away (Norro Wilson, Margo Smith 1979) Margo Smith

  23. Take Me Home to Somewhere (George Richey, Norro Wilson, Carmol Taylor 1974) Joe Stampley covered by Eddy Mitchell

  24. The Grand Tour (George Richey, Norro Wilson, Carmol Taylor 1974) George Jones covered by The Geraldine Fibbers, Zak Smith, Sammy Kershaw

  25. Then He Touched Me (Norro Wilson, George Richey 1969) Jean Shepard

  26. A Very Special Love Song (Norro Wilson, Billy Sherrill 1974) Charlie Rich

  27. We Go Together (Norro Wilson, Sammy Lyons, Danny Walls 1971) Tammy Wynette and George Jones covered by Kentucky

  28. When You Get to the Heart (Wayland Holyfield, Norro Wilson, Tony Brown 1986) Barbara Mandrell & The Oak Ridge Boys
  29. A Woman Lives for Love (George Richey, Glenn Sutton, Norro Wilson 1970) Wanda Jackson

  30. You've Got Something on Your Mind (Norro Wilson, Dave Gibson, Roger Murrah 1985) Mickey Gilley

Affiliations: Alex Harvey, Billy Sherrill, Rory Bourke, Reba McEntire, Tammy Wyneette, George Jones, Charley Pride, Charlie Rich, Kenny Chesney, Sammy Kershaw

Awards:

• 1975 Grammy Award (with Billy Sherrill, songwriters) for Best Country Song, "A Very Special Love Song"

• 1996 Inductee into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame[3]

• 2008 Inducted into Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

• 2011 Inducted into WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni

• 30 BMI Awards including country songwriter of the year 1973-1975

Trivia:

  • Baby, Baby (I Know You're a Lady) written by Norro Wilson and Alex Harvey was Wilson's first #1 hit and the last #1 hit recorded by David Houston. 

Locations

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