In the summer of 1964, the peak of the British Invasion, there was still a place on the American charts for non-white non-English non-boys, and into that place, as smoothly as could be, slid Nancy Wilson, who made it to #11 with “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am.” It was a jazzier piece than its florid arrangement might have let you think; “I wish I were an artist,” she sings, and you think, “Oh, honey, you don’t have to worry about that.”
She pulled off this not-quite-nerd-girl look quite effectively, leaving Capitol, her record label of the day, with the task of trying to glam her up without overdoing it. Sometimes they even succeeded:
At the end of the Seventies, she cut an album called Life, Love and Harmony, which yielded “Sunshine,” an excursion into funk that today is highly prized in the Northern Soul scene in, um, England.
Still, her roots are in jazzy pop and/or poppy jazz, as we hear as she runs through “How Glad I Am” at Newport in 1987:
Still an artist, of course. She retired from live performance in 2011; today she turns seventy-nine.