Viola Wills

Viola Wills

Real Name:
Viola Mae Wilkerson
Profile:
American singer.

Born: 30 December 1939 in Watts, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Died: 6 May 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA (aged 69).

A pre-stardom Barry White began using singer Viola Wills as a session vocalist on sides that he produced for Bob Keane's Bronco Records/Mustang Records labels. In the mid-1960s, Keane —known for hits by Ritchie Valens, the Bobby Fuller Four, and Johnny Crawford of ABC-TV's hit western "The Rifleman"— wanted to expand into soul music. In 1965, A&R director White signed Wills to Bronco as a solo artist. She recorded several sides for the label, which all failed to chart.

In 1969, she recorded a single for the Bem Sole Record label that also failed to hit, titled "The First Time / You've Got My Blessings" (now a British 'Northern Soul' classic). In 1974, she replaced backup vocalist Claudia Linnear on Joe Cocker's European tour. While in the UK, Wills recorded for Goodear Records. Three years later, she signed with Arista Records. In 1979, while signed to the Hansa UK label, Wills enjoyed her biggest hit with a disco version of Patience & Prudence's 1957 hit "Gonna Get Along Without You". Recording in an uptempo dance Hi-NRG style, Wills scored dancefloor hits with "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Up On The Roof", all produced by Jerry McCabe and co-produced by Nick Straker. Wills had a Top 40 UK hit with the double-sided hit "Both Sides Now" and "Dare to Dream" on the Wide Angle label.

One of her Bronco singles played an integral part in a number one R&B smash. In the mid-1970s, while working on material for the next "Love Unlimited" album, group member Glodean James suggested to producer Barry White that he use the piano introduction from Wills' "Lost Without The Love Of My Guy" on a new song. At first resistant to the idea because he didn't want to repeat himself, White relented, reused the piano chord progression from "Lost Without The Love Of My Guy" on "I Belong To You". The majestic ballad went to number one R&B in late 1974. It was included on the album "In Heat" and on "Best Of Love Unlimited".

Though Wills hadn't had a mainstream US hit to date, her singles are popular in dance clubs and a number of her recordings are floating around, including "No News Is News", "House Is Not A Home", "If You Could Read My Mind", "Let's Love Now", "Take One Step Forward" (by Wills and Noel McCalla), and "Always Something There To Remind Me".

Viola passed away from leukemia on 6 May 2009 8:27am Pacific Time.
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Viola Wills Discography

Albums

Viola Wills Soft Centers (Album) Goodear Records UK 1974 Sell This Version
Viola Wills If You Could Read My Mind (Album) Ariola Records America, Hansa Records US 1980 Sell This Version
Viola Wills Ashmun* Space (Album) RVA Records US 1983 Sell This Version
Viola Wills Dare To Dream (Album) Wide Angle US 1986 Sell This Version
Viola Wills Gonna Get Along Without You (Album) Unidisc Canada 1994 Sell This Version
CDKOPY165 Viola Wills The Essential Viola Wills(CD, Album + CD, Enh, Mixed) Klone Records CDKOPY165 UK 2006 Sell This Version
none Viola Wills Stormy Weather(13xFile, AAC, Album, 256) Spite (3) none Europe 2013

Singles & EPs

Viola Wills I Got Love / Lost Without The Love Of My Guy Bronco Records (3) US 1966 Sell This Version
Viola Wills Don't Kiss Me Hello And Mean Goodbye / Together Forever Bronco Records (3) US 1967 Sell This Version
PT 154 Viola Wills You're Out Of My Mind(7") President Records PT 154 UK 1967 Sell This Version
Viola Wills I've Got News For You / Sweetback Supreme (13) US 1969 Sell This Version
Viola Wills Run To The Nearest Exit (Single) Goodear Records UK 1974 Sell This Version
EAR 609 Viola Wills Day In The Life Of A Woman / Some Other Day(7", Single) Goodear Records EAR 609 UK 1974 Sell This Version
Viola Wills I Believe In Miracles / Set Me Free (Single) Goodear Records, Bellaphon US 1975 Sell This Version
Viola Wills Let's Love Now (Single) Arista UK 1977 Sell This Version
Viola Wills Gonna Get Along Without You Now (Single, Maxi) Ariola Hansa UK 1979 Sell This Version
DBR 15016 Viola Wills / Alma Faye Viola Wills / Alma Faye - (Gonna Get Along) Without You Now / It's Over(12", Promo) Derby DBR 15016 Italy 1979 Sell This Version
YD 549 Viola Wills / Bob McGilpin Viola Wills / Bob McGilpin - (Gonna Get Along) Without You Now / Sexy Thing(7", Jukebox) Derby YD 549 Italy 1979 Sell This Version
Viola Wills Up On The Roof (Single) Hansa International, Hansa International UK 1980 Sell This Version
Viola Wills If You Could Read My Mind (Single, Maxi) Hansa International, Hansa International Jamaica 1980 Sell This Version
CYS 1062 Viola Wills Love Letters(7") Charly Records CYS 1062 UK 1980 Sell This Version
Viola Wills There's Always Something There To Remind Me / Don't Ever Stop Loving Me (Single) Hansa International Germany 1981 Sell This Version
Viola Wills I Can't Stay Away From You / If You Leave Me Now (Single, Maxi) Hansa International, Hansa International Netherlands 1981 Sell This Version
RÁN 001 Viola Wills, Galdrakarlar Viola Wills, Galdrakarlar - EP(7", EP) RÁN RÁN 001 Iceland 1981 Sell This Version
Viola Wills Stormy Weather (Single, Maxi) Sunergy US 1982 Sell This Version