In a day filled with the bustle and excitement of CMA Music Festival and Nashville’s NHL hockey team, the Predators, deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs, the music industry was shattered by the news of the passing of another icon.
Legendary singer, songwriter and record producer, Norro Wilson (79), passed away on June 8. His cause of death is unknown at this time.
Possessing a modesty that belied his success, Norro was among the songwriting teams who penned such timeless hits as George Jones’ “The Grand Tour” and “A Picture of Me Without You,” Charlie Rich’s Grammy-winning “A Very Special Love Song” and “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” Charley Pride’s “Never Been So Loved,” Tammy Wynette’s “He Loves Me All the Way” and Charly McClain’s “Surround Me With Love.”
In addition to his prolific songwriting catalog, Norro helped steer the musical direction as co-producer for albums from artists like Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney. Norro began working with Kenny at a pivotal point in the young star’s career. Kenny had come close but had not scored a No. 1 hit, until his fourth album, “I Will Stand,” co-produced by Norro and Buddy Cannon. The collection’s debut single, “She’s Got It All,” became Kenny’s first No. 1 and started a lasting relationship between the pair.
He also helped Sara Evans earn her first chart-topper with “No Place That Far” from the 1998 album of the same title, and his work on John Anderson’s “Swingin’” helped establish the distinctive vocalist’s signature hit. Norro introduced the world to Shania Twain, producing her first album, and he was he first to work with Sammy Kershaw, too.
Longtime co-producer Buddy Cannon converted his Facebook page to a tribute to Norro, including photos and video of the jovial character who had at one time been a recording artist himself. One picture features Norro with George Jones and, in a separate post, Buddy recalled his friend securing a seat at “the good table” at an awards show for him and his wife. Buddy says that when they arrived, they found they were seated with George and Nancy Jones, Tammy Wynette and her husband, George Richie. That’s high cotton.
We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans. He will be greatly missed.
Tammy Ragusa, Rare Contributor