On this day in music history: August 10, 1964 – “How Glad I Am”, the tenth album by Nancy Wilson is released. Produced by David Cavanaugh, it is recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA from March – May 1964. The eldest of six children born in Chillcothe, OH, grows up listening to artists like Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine and Ruth Brown. These musicians as well as singing in church influences Wilson, and fuels her ambition of becoming a singer herself. By the time Nancy reaches high school, she is performing in talent contests and on local television in Columbus, OH. Though finding early success in those areas, Wilson is still unsure of her chances at making it in the music business. She attends college at Central State College, to pursue a degree in teaching. However, the pull of music is too strong to resist, when she is hired by bandleader Rusty Bryant to join The Carolyn Club Band. Wilson makes her first recordings for Dot Records as a member of the band. In 1959, she meets jazz musician Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, whom she becomes friends with. Adderley encourages Nancy to move to New York City, to further her career. Within a month of arriving in New York, Wilson has a steady club gig four nights a week, while holding down a job as a secretary during the day. By late 1959, she is signed to Capitol Records, and beginning a string of successful albums. Hitting her stride by 1963 with “Broadway – My Way”, Nancy Wilson becomes one of the top jazz vocalists of the era. Revered for her understated elegance, and rich expressive vocal style, it earns her the nicknames “Fancy Miss Nancy” and “The Girl With the Honey-Coated Voice” among them. In early 1964, she records her tenth album with Capitol staff producer Dave Cavanaugh. A mixture of jazz, pop and broadway standards like “People”, “Don’t Rain On My Parade” and “Quiet Nights” (aka “Corcovado”), one other song in particular stands out. Written by songwriters Jimmy Williams and Larry Harrison, “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am”, is given a svelte and silky arrangement, that perfectly compliments Nancy’s vocals. Released as a single in the Summer of 1964, “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am” (#11 Pop, #2 Pop Standard Singles) becomes a pop crossover smash. It propels the album into the top five on the pop album album chart, peaking at #4 and becomes her biggest selling album. “How Glad I Am” also wins Nancy Wilson a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording in 1965. The singer edges out formidable competition from The Supremes, Sam Cooke, The Impressions, Dionne Warwick, and Joe Tex. In the wake of Nancy Wilson’s career defining rendition, “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am” is widely covered by other vocalists, including Aretha Franklin, Brenda Lee, Kiki Dee, Olivia Newton-John, Sandie Shaw, Bonnie Bramlett and Maria McKee. Out of print in any form for decades, “How Glad I Am” (stereo version) is remastered and reissued on vinyl by Capitol/UMe in 2017. It is reissued as part of the label’s 75th anniversary celebration. “How Glad I Am” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200.
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