Norro Wilson sings “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”
Norris Denton Wilson, affectionately known as “Norro” to most, was a vastly underrated country music icon. He was born to a barber and a factory worker in the small town of Scottsville, Kentucky in 1938, and, despite his humble beginnings, Wilson went on to become an industry executive, performer, writer and producer active in the country music scene for decades.
As a child, Norro took piano lessons and joined a barbershop quartet in highschool, but never quite found his passion. After graduating in 1956, he attended Western Kentucky State Teachers College, now known as Western Kentucky University, on a music scholarship. It was during this time that he found his true calling, gospel music.
Wilson was quoted as saying, “I never got tired of singing gospel… That was just very special, especially as a group, and so harmonies always had a lot to do with my music world.”
The time he spent with The Southlanders Quartet as a tenor singer encouraged his migration to Nashville in 1957, where he joined another gospel group, The Omegas, and sang with them for a time before joining the songwriters at Acuff-Rose. Over the next several years, Norro immersed himself further into the unique Nashville music culture and explored several different facets of the industry, holding positions such as song plugger, solo performer, writer and co-writer and A&R executive.
Wilson’s greatest feat as a writer came in 1974 with a Grammy award for his song “A Very Special Love Song,” co-written with Billy Sherrill. It was the first of many prestigious awards he would receive throughout his extensive career. In addition to the Grammy, he was awarded more than 30 BMI awards, including Country Songwriter of the Year in ’73, ’74 and ’75, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1996, and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Wilson passed away in 2017. His family, friends and colleagues remember him not only as a revered figure in the music world, but also as a loving father, patient mentor and somebody who had the gift of touching others through music.