The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

17 February 2004

That's all it took

Various sources, none of them yet linkable, have reported the death of singer Doris Troy yesterday in Las Vegas.

Born in New York in 1937, Doris Higginsen — "Troy" was her grandmother's surname — started singing jazz in the late Fifties and writing songs on the side as "Doris Payne". In 1963 she cut a solo demo of "Just One Look," which she'd written with Gregory Carroll, with whom she'd sung in a group called the Halos; Carroll produced. When the Sue label balked at releasing it, she took it to Jerry Wexler at Atlantic, who promptly put it out and watched it rise to the Top Ten. Over in England, the Hollies were big fans; they cut both "Just One Look" and her later "Whatcha Gonna Do 'Bout It". The Stateside hits dried up rapidly, and she moved to the U.K. She signed to the Beatles' Apple label in 1969, where she cut an album. The background still beckoned, though, and Troy contributed vocals to lots of British discs, most notably Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. And the musical Mama, I Want to Sing!, written by Troy's sister Vy Higginsen, is based on Troy's own story.

By most people's reckoning, I suppose Doris Troy could be considered a "one-hit wonder." But oh, that one hit!

(Update, 18 February: Here's David Nathan's tribute from soulmusic.com.)

Posted at 9:36 PM to Tongue and Groove


My heart is very sad after hearing about the death of Doris Troy. She was a very sweet lady and friend.

There were four of us girls, having a night out on the town in Las Vegas in 1977, and decided to go hear her sing at a small night club just off the strip, that night even a few well known entertainers were in the audience.

We, four ladies became friends with Doris, but Doris and I were closer than the other three. Doris and I lived only a block away from each other thus, our friendship developed through our visiting each other almost daily. She was in love with my youngest son, and referred to him as "my boy"!

Doris and I were spiritually connected and would discuss the Bible and the goodness of God in our lives. When I was feeling low, her strength would lift me, and when she was having a testing of her patience, I was there to encourage her.

I, too was a lounge singer in Las Vegas. Doris and I would visit each during our show breaks (if we were close) and she would bring the house down singing the blues, when I would invite her to the stage. When I visited her she always acknowledged my presence by inviting me to her stage. As she was known to do with all entertainers who were in the audience.

I had the opportunity of being invited to the stage to sing with her and the cast of Mama I Won'ta Sing in Memphis during their closing number. This was the last time I would sing or see her in person. She was on the road, and I was on the road, but we stayed in contact with each although, not regularly. If she was performing in a state or city, she would always call one of my family members if they lived in that city or state and leave a message for me, and I would call her wherever she was performing.

There are only three of us ladies now,out of the five, and all of our hearts are very sad and feel another deep loss of a dear friend. We will miss you Dee (this is the pet-name I gave her, and everyone in our circle called her Dee or Ms. Dee. And her pet-names for everyone she liked was "baby-face" or "darling face".

She was a hard worker with people in need, a side most people don't even know about... always reaching out with me to help a needy person or family in the community, whether with words of exhortations and/or money, items, or whatever was needed at the time. I always knew I could call and depend on her.

ANOTHER SAINT HAS MARCHED IN TO HEAVEN TO LET HER LITTLE LIGHT SHINE. DEE,YOU WON'TA SING?... SING YOUR HEART OUT!... NOW YOU CAN SING PRAISES FOREVERMORE BEFORE THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!...WE WILL MISS YOU DEARLY GIRLFRIEND!

your Vegas friends,
ella,& the girls

Posted by: Ella at 7:59 PM on 20 February 2004