The youngest and most photogenic member of the Paris Sisters, willowy Priscilla Paris was the featured vocalist on the trio's 1961 Phil Spector-produced girl group classic "I Love How You Love Me." She later mounted a little-noticed solo career, and also evolved into a songwriter of some distinction. Born in San Francisco in 1945, Paris was still in kindergarten when she joined older siblings Albeth and Sherrell in the Paris Sisters. Their mother Faye was the quintessential stage parent, a former opera singer who continued her career vicariously through her children, and in 1954 she engineered a backstage visit during an Andrews Sisters performance at the Warfield Theater that so impressed the popular World War II trio that they invited the Paris girls on-stage for encore performances of the canteen classics "Rum and Coca Cola" and "Beer Barrel Polka." An MCA Records executive in the audience signed the Paris Sisters to the label's Decca imprint immediately thereafter, and the single "Ooh La La" appeared by year's end. Despite the snowballing popularity of rock & roll, the Paris Sisters' Decca efforts adhered to the increasingly old-fashioned vocal harmony approach popularized by the Andrews Sisters and the McGuire Sisters -- after Decca cut its losses, the siblings briefly signed to Imperial in 1957, but spent the next four years without a record deal.
When the Paris Sisters finally resurfaced in 1961 on Lester Sill's fledgling Gregmark label, the impresario insisted on a top-to-bottom overhaul of their approach, tapping up-and-coming producer Spector to shepherd the transformation. Spector relegated Albeth and Sherrell to the background, and while he turned the spotlight on Priscilla, he insisted she dial back her powerful voice to a dusky whisper. While the Paris Sisters' Gregmark debut, "Be My Boy," earned little notice, the follow-up, "I Love How You Love Me," cracked the U.S. Top Five, galvanized by Priscilla's intimate lead turn and Spector's atypically restrained production. After the 1962 singles "He Knows I Love Him Too Much" and "What Am I to Do" also generated positive response at radio and retail, Spector began work on a Paris Sisters LP, but as production costs began to skyrocket, Sill attempted to exert control of the project. Their skirmish ended disastrously when, according to Sill, one of his assistants accidentally discarded the master tapes, although rumors persist of a far more nefarious outcome. Either way the Paris Sisters suffered the most damage, and they drifted from label to label until 1966, when Reprise Records paired them with erstwhile Spector arranger Jack Nitzsche and his production partner Jimmy Bowen.
Though a commercial failure, the Paris Sisters' 1967 Reprise LP Everything Under the Sun!!! remains an unsung classic of the waning girl group era, featuring several original compositions by Priscilla that stand tall alongside contributions from Burt Bacharach and Carole King. She released her debut solo single, "He Noticed Me," on the York label shortly after Everything Under the Sun!!! belly-flopped. The solo LP Priscilla Sings Herself soon followed, and she closed out 1967 with Priscilla Sings Billy, a tribute to jazz immortal Billie Holiday. After the Paris Sisters splintered in 1969, she eventually relocated to London before settling in Paris, France, where she lived for a quarter century. After a 1978 solo LP, Love Is..., she suffered an accident resulting in partial facial paralysis, effectively ending her music career for a number of years. By the 1990s Priscilla was again playing the occasional Parisian club date, and in the spring of 2002 she returned to the U.S. for a proposed Paris Sisters reunion concert. Sadly, the show was aborted after the 18-hour flight left her too exhausted to perform. Priscilla died on March 5, 2004, from injuries suffered in a fall at her home. She was 59. ~ Jason Ankeny~ Rovi