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Norro Wilson, Nashville Songwriter and Producer, Dead at 79

Wilson wrote hits for George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich and produced LPs by Shania Twain and Kenny Chesney

Norro Wilson

Songwriter and producer Norris "Norro" Wilson died in Nashville hospice care Thursday, June 8th.

Frederick Breedon IV/Getty

Norro Wilson, a songwriter, producer and record executive who played a vital role in the careers of Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney and Reba McEntire and wrote songs for legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette, among others, died of heart failure in Nashville hospice care on Thursday, June 8th. He was 79.

Born Norris Wilson in Scottsville, Kentucky, he attended Western Kentucky State College (now WesternKentuckyUniversity) on a vocal scholarship and moved to Madison, Tennessee, outside Nashville after joining the Southlanders gospel quartet. He wrote for giant Acuff-Rose beginning in 1962 and then worked as a song-plugger for music publisher Al Gallico, pitching the company’s songs to record producers along Music Row while also writing and co-writing tunes. 

In 1969, he co-wrote (with “Delta Dawn” tunesmith Alex Harvey) the David Houston hit, “Baby, Baby (I Know You’re a Lady),” which logged four weeks atop the country chart. His greatest success as a songwriter followed when he co-penned (with producer Billy Sherrill) the 1974 Grammy-winning hit, “A Very Special Love Song,” for Charlie Rich. The pair, along with Rory Bourke, had also written Rich’s crossover smash, “The Most Beautiful Girl.” Among the many songs he wrote or co-wrote are “A Picture of Me (Without You),” cut by George Jones and remade by Lorrie Morgan, and “The Door” and “The Battle” for Jones, as well as “He Loves Me All the Way” and “Another Lonely Song” for Wynette. With Tony Brown, Wilson co-produced the 1995 LP, One, which reunited the formerly married Jones and Wynette on record.

Wilson also recorded as a solo artist for several Nashville labels from the late Sixties to early Seventies, placing 10 singles on the chart, with the highest-peaking of them, “Do It to Someone You Love,” reaching Number 20 in 1970. In 1975, he joined Warner Bros. Records, where he would eventually become the head of A&R. He would go on to produce or co-produce projects by Shania Twain (her 1993 debut), as well as Keith Whitley, John Anderson, Charley Pride, Chely Wright, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Sammy Kershaw and more. Wilson was celebrated in 2011 with inclusion in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s prestigious “Poets and Prophets” series. He is also an inductee into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

In This Article: R.I.P.

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