Gloria Lynne (born Gloria Wilson; November 23, 1929 – October 15, 2013), also known as Gloria Alleyne, was an American jazz vocalist with a recording career spanning from 1958 to 2007. She grew up in Harlem; her mother, Mary, was a gospel singer.
Lynne was born in Harlem in 1929 to John and Mary Wilson. As a young girl, Lynne sang with the local African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Choir. At the age of 15, she won first prize at the "Amateur Night" at the Apollo Theatre. She shared the stage with contemporary night club vocal ensembles as well as with Ella Fitzgerald, recording as part of such groups as the Enchanters and the Dell-Tones in the 1950s. She recorded as a soloist under her birth name, though most of her work was released under her stage name on the Everest and Fontana labels. She was signed to Everest in 1958.
Although showing much promise early on, especially after TV appearances, including the Harry Belafonte Spectacular, her development suffered through poor management: some unscrupulous recording 'executives' profited while she was left virtually penniless, saved by the fact that she was able to work steadily and earn her money from performances—a victim of unpaid royalties. Her roller coaster ride in the record industry is well-documented in her memoir “I Wish You Love,” co-authored with Karen Chilton (Douherty, Tom Associates, 2000).
In the 1960s she had several hits including "June Night", "Love I Found You", "I'm Glad There Is You", "I Wish You Love" (1964)—which became her signature song—and her answer to Gene McDaniels's "Tower of Strength", "(You don't have to be a) Tower Of Strength", a pop hit that proved how versatile she could be in the studio. After her time with Everest Records she moved to Fontana and recorded such albums as Soul Serenade, Love And A Woman, Where It's At, and Here, There And Everywhere, demonstrating her versatility in jazz, RnB, soul and melodic "pop". During her earlier years on-the-road Gloria Lynne shared bills with some of the well known names of RnB, jazz, pop and standards including Ray Charles, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Mathis and Ella Fitzgerald. TV specials include two with Harry Belafonte and duets with Billy Eckstine. As Lynne moved into jazz in her later career she performed with many jazz musicians, including Quincy Jones, Bobby Timmons, Philly Joe Jones, Harry "Sweets" Edison.
She wrote lyrics for “Watermelon Man” with Herbie Hancock, and “All Day Long” with Kenny Burrell. New York City proclaimed July 25, 1995 as Gloria Lynne Day. In 1996 Lynne received the International Women of Jazz Award and she was honoured with a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1997. Other awards and recognitions include the National Treasure Award from the Seasoned Citizens Theatre Company (2003); induction into the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame; Living Legend Award from the State of Pennsylvania (2007).
On May 6, 2008, Lynne was presented with a special award for Outstanding Achievement In Jazz at the New York MAC Awards. On October 22, 2010, she was honoured at New York's Schomburg Library by Great Women In Music founder Roz Nixon for her many contributions to the music industry and the world.
She and her husband, Harry Alleyne, had a son, Richard. Gloria and Richard Alleyne (AKA P.J.Allen) ran a production company, Family Bread Music Inc. Gloria and Harry Alleyne divorced in 1968.