March 16, 2004 by

Doris Troy


Categories: Musicians

dtroy.jpg Doris Troy, a singer, songwriter and actress who left an indelible mark on the music industry, died on Feb. 16 from emphysema. She was 67.
Born Doris Higginsen, the New York native spent her childhood singing in gospel groups. At 16, she worked as an usherette at the Apollo Theatre, a job that exposed her to some of the best black artists of the 1950s. Determined to enter the business herself, Troy began writing her own music. She joined the jazz group, The Halos, and sang as one half of Jay and Dee. Her first major songwriting success came in 1960 when “How About That,” was recorded by Dee Clark. It reached No. 33 on the Billboard pop chart and remained there for five weeks.
One of the first soul divas, Troy was often labeled in the press as a one-hit wonder for her 1963 R&B/pop crossover, “Just One Look.” But her vibrant, distinctive vocals accompanied numerous artists over the years. She sang with the Rolling Stones on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Pink Floyd on “Dark Side of the Moon” and with Dusty Springfield on “In the Middle of Nowhere.” While touring Britain in 1965, she earned a devoted fan following; at the time her back-up band included a musician named Reginald Dwight (later known as Sir Elton John).
The Beatles signed Troy to their Apple label in 1969. Although her eponymous album featured the talents of Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Leon Russell and Ringo Starr, sales were disappointing. Her follow-up effort was a live gospel album recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London.
Troy’s life story served as the inspiration for the 1981 gospel musical, “Mama, I Want to Sing.” The play, which was written by her sister Vy Higgensen and producer Ken Wydro, became the highest grossing off-Broadway show ever. It toured for 14 years in America and abroad, with Troy playing the role of her own mother. She later appeared in the musical, “Gospel Is

4 Responses to Doris Troy

  1. Susilawati Bryant

    Today, 6 January, 2005, is the Anniversary of the Birth our dear late sister Doris Troy. God Bless her soul! Doris was a true friend, having been introduced to me in London, U.K. by another dear late sister, Vivianna (Torun) Bulow-Hube in the 1990’s. Doris’s show by Vi was playing in the West End. Vivianna & I and some friends went to see “Mama I Want To Sing”, afterwhich Vivianna introduced me to Doris in her dressing room. It was the beginning of a close friendship, albeit a new one, and as we both lived in London, U.K. in those days, she near the Edgeware Road, and I in Upper Brook Street, the proximity made visits a breeze. A great many stories are with me. Posting them here may not be appropriate, but my heart is full with good memories of Grace and fun shared with dear Doris. One highlight was going to hear Ira Coleman, with whom I had sung three concerts in Sydney, Australia in 1989 along with the late Ike Issaacs, as well as Dylan Vaughan and Bobby Lamb. Ira (son of the Late Vivianna Bulow-Hube) was playing at Ronnies Scott’s in London. Doris & I dressed up and went out to sit ringside, so to speak, and thrilled to hear Ira’s cool bass presentations! I had a little loveable Renault Cinq whilst living in London. Many a time it held Doris as a passenger.
    I have only just learned that she died. My “” Birthday Greeting came back to me ‘undeliverable’. The last time we actually spoke with one another was from my office in Vancouver, B.C. on a three way call with Ira in New York, and Doris in Las Vegas. the caring call was a communal prayer for Dear late Vivianna, who was still with us, but ill in Europe. I pray to Almighty God to protect Dear Doris, God Willing, and that she can live in Heaven and have good work to do. Amen.

  2. Loyola Trujillo

    Today Febuary 16 2005. It is with sadness that we have come to learn of Doris Troy passing. Its been only three days that my husband and i were sharing moments i had spent with this loving and gentle soul. I was a nurse in a las Vegas hospital tending to ms Troy in about 2003,
    we talked laughed and shared some quality time together. Whats so funny is that I didnt know of her astounding and wonderful career. she even asked if i had heard of the song “Just one look”
    I for the world couldnt connect but i asked if she could sing a few lines, and then i was awakened by her beautiful voice, I am glad that i had the opportunity to meet such a wonderful human being who was truely blessed and will be missed. so ironic that we found out on febuary 16th 2005

  3. Hermione Beard

    I am writing this tribute on October 17, 2006 and am just learning of the passing of Doris Troy. I had the priviledge of performing in Mama, I Want To Sing,” in Detroit, Michigan with Ms. Troy in 1987 and was in awe of her talent and performances each night of the Detroit run. Doris Troy and her song “Just One Look” are “Timeless Musical Treasures” that will never be forgotten.

  4. Nils & Andrea Olson

    It was several years ago that my wife and I saw an advertisement here in Japan announcing that “Mama, I Want To Sing” would be playing in downtown Fukuoka. We purchased tickets, went and were so blessed that tears of true gospel joy came to both of us.
    Being missionaries here in Japan for almost 30 years now, Doris’ ministry to us that evening was a crowning personal touch to both of us who had been under much, much stress at the time. She literally ministered to us after the show when she came over to the edge of the stage, smiled graciously, took our hands and blessed us. We shall never forget that night. God gave Doris His talent to sing and minister. She took the talent, put it to use and we who are alive and remain continue to reap the blessings.
    We left refreshed that night. The memory is still alive in our hearts. Yes, we were blessed by this servant. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
    Nils & Andrea Olson
    Fukuoka Prefecture, JAPAN

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