Vocalist Dick Merrick got his first break in front of the mic at age 16 when the band he played in needed a singer. In 1942, Merrick worked with Jerry Wald’s orchestra but left before year’s end to sing for the McFarland Twins. He rejoined Wald in May 1943 and stayed for three years, recording several songs with the group, including “Laura” in 1945, his most notable tune.
In early 1946, rumors romantically linked Merrick, once described in a review as “balding” and “muscular,” with fellow Wald vocalist Kay Allen. The pair married late that year. Both had left Wald by that time. Allen, who later changed her working name to “Cathy” Allen, had joined Randy Brooks, while Merrick had left Wald for Bobby Byrne in April 1946 and then joined George Paxton by year’s end. He remained with Paxton until 1949, when the leader scrapped his band.
Merrick and Allen settled in Philadelphia after their son was born in late 1948, where they appeared on local television programs. In early 1950, the couple recorded together on the Admiral label. In August of that year, Merrick signed with Capitol Records as a solo artist, and in 1954 he sang for the BBS label. He recorded more than 50 songs in his career but never quite managed a big hit, a fact he lamented in a 1981 interview. “I always wanted a hit record. I came close but never could get it,” he said. “Just that one.”
Merrick continued singing throughout the 1950s, ending up on the nightclub circuit. He quit show business in 1962 and moved to Florida, where his father lived, taking a position as Director of Activities at the Carillon Hotel in Miami Beach, which involved singing and hosting in the hotel’s Tambourine Room. In 1969, he became social director at the Versailles Hotel, remaining there into the 1980s.