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|Also known as||Meri Wilson Edgmon|
June 15, 1949|
|Died||December 28, 2002
Americus, Georgia, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, model|
She was born in Nagoya, Japan, at a United States military base, but raised in Marietta, Georgia. Wilson attended the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, later gaining a Masters Degree in Musical Education and Theory at Georgia State University.
After a car accident in 1975, she was forced to wear a body cast for months, so she spent her time writing songs, realizing she not only had a talent for singing but a real talent for song writing. After her recovery, she began performing at the Underground Atlanta Club. She was discovered by the owner of the Dallas, Texas, restaurant chain Daddy's Money Restaurants who heard her singing and asked her to relocate to his home town. She did and began appearing at clubs like Arthur's and the Pavilion, also trying to make ends meet by becoming a model and singing for commercial jingles on the side as well.
"Telephone Man" and success
While singing some jingles in the studio in early 1977, she caught the attention of former Bloodrock vocalist Jim Rutledge who introduced her to music producer Owen 'Boomer' Castleman. Wilson began recording for his BNA Records label and recorded a song, "Telephone Man", the story of a woman and her amorous adventures with her telephone technician, filled with suggestive lyrics and her breathy squealing voice. The song became a surprise hit single, climbing the UK Singles Chart to #6, spending ten weeks in the listings, as well as making it to #18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. It sold over one million copies in the U.S. alone. The song became a favorite on the "Dr. Demento Radio Show". "Telephone Man" and "Telephone Line" were back-to-back on Hot 100's top 40 for two nonconsecutive weeks in the summer of 1977.
On the strength of the song's hit, she rapidly put together an album of songs after quickly being signed with the GRT Records label and released her first and only album, First Take. Unfortunately, the album yielded no further hits, and after the novelty's appeal waned, she went back to singing jingles, modelling and song writing. She also continued to write more novelty songs, including "Peter The Meter Reader," "Dick The DJ", "Santa's Coming," and "My Valentine's Funny," but none of the songs matched the success of her first release.
After singing locally in Atlanta, Georgia for more than two decades and occasionally touring on novelty song circuits, in 1999 Meri Wilson released an updated version of "Telephone Man", called "Internet Man". It became a drive-time radio airplay song, which resulted in her getting a deal with Time-Warner Records.
Meri Wilson died in 2002, at the age of 53, after she lost control of her car on Georgia State Route 377 in Americus, Georgia, during an ice storm. Ansley Records released a self-titled album in 2002, which included all of her known recorded novelty songs.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 606. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Liner notes in Rhino Records' collection of 1970s hit singles, Have A Nice Day)
- Miller, Dave (December 30, 2002). "Pop star dies in wreck". WALB.com. p. E2. Retrieved December 18, 2012.