Born Wilma Charlene Burgess, 11 June 1939, Orlando, Florida, USA. After high school, Burgess attended Stetson University, Orlando to study for a degree in physical education and had no thoughts of a career in music. She was initially only interested in pop music but a visit to an Eddy Arnold concert changed her mind. After graduation in 1960, she was persuaded by a friend to go to Nashville to sing some demos of his songs. Owen Bradley was impressed with her voice and promptly signed her to Decca. Records. Between 1965-1969, primarily specializing in big ballads, she had Top 10 US country chart hits with Baby, Don't Touch Me, Misty Blue and Tear Time, and Parting Is Such Great Sorrow. In 1973, she left Decca and joined Shannon Records (owned by Jim Reeves Enterprises), where she managed some minor hits, including a Top 20 duet with Bud Logan (one time leader of Reeves's band, the Blue Boys) on Wake Me Into Love, and another great single of her own titled "I'll Be Your Bridge".
Wilma's life was closely intermingled with Mary Reeves so much so that she had various intriguing stories to tell about the Jim Reeves posthumous career. Short of hearing them from Mary herself, Wilma was the next best source.
Some of Wilma's personal affects and memorabilia were stored in a warehouse owned by Mary Reeves. Even though there were assurances she would be able to retrieve them, they were lost in events connected to the legal fight concerning the Jim Reeves estate. It is said that Wilma was able to retain a car that was once owned by Patsy.
Her last chart hit was in 1975. She recorded for RCA until 1978 . I believe her last recording was a 1982 album "COULD I HAVE THIS DANCE". In 1965 at the 8th Grammy Awards, Wilma was nominated for a Grammy for Best New Country Music Artist. The Statler Brothers won.. other nominies were. Norma Jean, Del Reeves,and Jody Miller. Following Patsy Cline's death in 1963, Burgess bought the singer's home from Cline's husband, Charlie Dick.
Wilma passed away unexpectedly Monday, August 26th, 2003 at 4:05 a.m. at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, after suffering a massive heart attack. She was 64, and had been hospitalized for a week for tests, and had seemed to be on the road to recovery. Wilma Burgess, one of country music's most underrated female vocalists, the truth is she was one of the greatest ever. Wilma Burgess was a hit maker. Her songs will live in the hearts of hard core country music fans forever, and anyone who loves to listen to a beautiful voice singing country music. Thats very rare these days in the so called Country Music field, if there is such a thing. We will miss you Wilma...you were one of Country Music's BEST!
The photo here is one of Wilma during her college days at Stetson University. She will forever be a legend in Country Music.
Another link with the past
severed. What a shame.
Jon Philibert-Country Music Jouranalist
I was saddened to heard of the passing of Wilma Burgess. What a great voice we enjoyed and will miss.
Renfro Valley Bugle
Wilma had one of the greatest voices in Country Music history and her songs are all well loved by many, she will be missed so much. What a great Lady.
Country Music Artist
....In the new Joel Whitburn History of the Billboard Country charts, of all the artist who have ever charted, Wilma ranks #321 out of the 2,200 artists who have made the charts . Not bad for a gal who has been totally ignored by the CD reissues--there is not even ONE. Ain't it a shame!!!!! -- lee
I woke up this morning wanting to remember who sang a song that I think was called I See Her Love All Over You that I was crazy about in the early 70s...was that Wilma? Hope you can help, and may she rest in peace. Thanks
I was 17 and in High School in 1968 when my older sister bought Wilma's "Don't Touch Me" LP (Decca Records). I snagged it and still have it. But, it's so worn it can't be played. I've been hooked on Country Music ever since and Wilma will remain dear to my heart. Sure wish I had her music on CD or Cassette.
I was browsing the net, trying to find some information, and this seems like the place.
I am trying to put together an article about a band called "The Fun Lovin' Criminals". They did a song (you may be aware of this) called "There was a time", in their album "Loco".
The song is credited as having *elements from "I don't see me in your eyes anymore", performed by Wilma Burgess*.
I wonder if you could be so kind as to tell me something about this song. Where and when was it published, who wrote it? Any stories or anecdotes about it would be great too.
And if you have heard the FLC song, how much of the original song do you recognize in it, and what do you think of it?
I was very upset to learn about the death of Wilma Burgess.
She was one of the most underrated female singers of her time who has a very special touch with a ballad. She could also rock too and this side of her work was not as well publicised as it should have been.
When Wilma Burgess sang you could believe, and along with many other country music fans and professionals I shall miss her.
Craig Baguley-Editor Country Music People Magazine
I was shocked to hear of the sudden death of Wilma Burgess. She reeked with talent and a voice who mastered her famous redition of the song 'MISTY BLUE", and many others. Also she lent that part of her to tell the continuing story of what real country music is. You will be missed Wilma. What a voice. A fan of the music: Darlene Shadden
My husband and I fell in love with her music when she released the record "Misty Blue". We're sorry to hear of her death. Doris and Brad Jenkins
This is weird. I hadn't thought of Misty Blue in ages but went to bed the other night with it running over and over in my mind.
Got up the next morning and it still was resonating in the old head so got on the net and found out Wilma had passed away.
I am another one who will miss her beautiful voice. Someone said hers was the most beautiful voice in Country Music and I would concur 100%.
Bill Hyatt N. Little Rock, Ar.