Doris Troy

Born Doris Higginsen on January 6, 1937 in the Bronx, the soul singer is commonly known by her stage name Doris Troy. She is best-known for her 1963 hit “Just One Look” and her short stint on The Beatles’ Apple Records label in 1970. When she was growing up, she took her grandmother’s name and became known as Doris Payne. Working as an usherette at the Apollo, she was discovered at the age of 16 by James Brown. She began her career as a songwriter, penning Dee Clark’s 1960 hit “How About That”. She worked as a backing vocalist at Atlantic Records alongside sisters Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick. She briefly joined the original lineup of The Sweet Inspirations with Cissy Houston (Whitney’s mother) and the Warwick sisters. She co-wrote (as Doris Payne), recorded and released – as Doris Troy – the single “Just One Look”, which rose to Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. Since the release of the original single, the song has been covered numerous times by artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Harry Nilsson, Klaus Nomi, Major Lance, and many others. The song was the title track of her 1963 debut album. Troy’s only other charting single was 1965’s “Whatcha Gonna Do About It”. In between her own sessions, she was a backing vocalist on recordings by the Rolling Stones (“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”), Pink Floyd (The Dark Side of the Moon), Carly Simon (“You’re So Vain”), and many others. She released a series of singles throughout the rest of the ‘60s but did not release another album until her self-titled 1970 release, which appeared on Apple Records. The album featured musical assistance from George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Stephen Stills, Klaus Voorman and more. The album wasn’t a chart success, but it has become a cult release thanks to its connection to the Beatles. Troy released The Rainbow Testament in 1972, a live collaboration with The Gospel Truth. In 1974, she released the Stretchin’ Out album. In the late ‘80s, her sister Vy Higginsen wrote Mama, I Want to Sing, a stage play based on her life. It was eventually turned into a movie in 2012. Doris Troy died of emphysema in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 16, 2004.

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