Nancy Wilson's 1968 pop hit, Face It Girl, It's Over, so perfectly encapsulates my early ambivalence to the legendary songstress that to this day, hearing it fills me with a sense of near-melancholic nostalgia. I remember perfectly well when my sister first brought the record home and insisted on playing it over and over. I hated it! I'm ashamed to say it but I also hated Nancy Wilson. But that was then!
Our house was filled with music of all kinds, but the female members of the household insisted on playing anything by Miss Wilson, especially her definitive 1963 album, Yesterday's Love Songs Today's Blues. That certainly did not win Wilson any points with a little boy interested in Stax and Motown! Give me Aretha, Gladys and Diana but PLEASE - NOT THAT NANCY WILSON! I resisted because it felt like I was being forced to listen to her.
When I became a teenager, I could no longer resist. My friend, Wayne Washington, loved her and I always took my cues from him. He had a massive, decades-old record collection and I listened willingly to anything he played. When I brought home Life Love & Harmony, my own first Nancy Wilson album, my parents gave me the side-eye. Just like they did when I WILLINGLY started listening to and loving Ray Charles!
Nevertheless, the three photos used in this post were cropped, marked and taped by the old Baltimore Sun newspaper editing department in order to give Miss Wilson "good face" in their promotional advertisments for Wilson's label, Capital Records. They are not in the best shape but they are rare images of Wilson that are not often seen. When I think of my early memories of hearing Nancy Wilson sing Face It, Girl ... well, it just made sense to me to display them no matter what condition they're in.
I sorta-kinda met Nancy Wilson as a teenager (and later on as a young adult) and that first time she did seem a bit moody. But I guess I would've been perturbed by some kid knocking on my hotel door in the middle of the day when I was trying to rest up for a concert later that night, too! Some years later, she gave a free concert on the plaza of Cincinnati's Fountain Square and meeting her was as pleasurable as running into a favorite aunt at the mall.
Give me credit! I did get it right! I had to grow up to eventually face the facts that I loved Nancy Wilson and that it wasn't over - it was FOREVER! God keep & bless her, and may she continue to get all the love and props she so richly deserves!