When Wilson Phillips released its eponymous first album in 1990, the success was instantaneous and phenomenal.
“Hold On” was Billboard’s top single of the year, and within a short time, the album became the best selling ever by a female group, surpassing the monumental Supremes. The record’s second and fourth singles – “Release Me” and “You’re in Love” – hit No. 1, and two others (“Impulsive” and “The Dream Is Still Alive”) made the Top 20.
“We knew it was going to be big,” says Wendy Wilson, “but not that it would be so big. It was a whirlwind and we were immediately living the pop-star life.”
Wilson, daughter of Beach Boy Brian Wilson, was a third of the trio, the other two being her sister Carnie and Chynna Phillips, daughter of the Mamas and the Papas’ John and McKenzie Phillips.
Wilson Phillips have their debut tonight at the Atlantis in Reno, kicking off the summer season with their first Northern Nevada appearance. They play dates infrequently now, and Wendy Wilson spends most of her time with her four children (ages 6 to 10).
The band’s recording career is on hiatus and was never that long to begin with: a darker sophomore album titled “Shadows and Light” and “Dedicated,” a cover album with tributes to their parents’ groups.
As for a new album, “I will never say never,” says Wendy Wilson. “When we disbanded, we thought we’d never get back together, but we did more albums. The business has changed so much. It’s a whole different medium. We are never going to sell that many records again. Let’s face it. People download. Unless I want a cover, I wouldn’t go out and buy a record.”
Wendy and sister Carnie are set to sing in a benefit for Los Angeles’ Cedars Sinai and breast cancer research May 31. They’re planning on a rendition of “Makin’ Whoopee,” “because of my current love of jazz and swing,” Wendy Wilson says. “ Mostly I listen to Internet radio while folding laundry, a long way from the old life.”
But what about the group’s surprise appearance at the end of “Bridesmaids”?
“That was, just let me say, a blessing,” she says. (8 p.m. tonight; $45; atlantisresort.com)
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