Vocalist Kay Allen, later known as Cathy Allen, sang for Red Norvo’s orchestra in early 1942. By September of that year, she was with Lou Breese, remaining as part of his group when he pared down to ten pieces and settled in as the house band at the Chez Paree night club in Chicago. She stayed with Breese until at least late 1943. By 1944, though, she was singing for Carlos Molina’s Latin orchestra, leaving the group in February.
Allen joined Jerry Wald’s band in early 1944, remaining with the clarinet player through early 1946 and recording several songs with the group, including her signature tune from that period, “Candy.” While with the orchestra, she fell in love with fellow singer Dick Merrick, and the two married in late 1946. Allen by that time had left Wald, making a quick exit and entrance in Claude Thornhill’s new group in April 1946 before becoming singer for Randy Brooks.
Around the time of her marriage, Allen changed her professional name to Cathy. A Hollywood contract was supposedly secured just before she and Merrick tied the knot, but nothing ever came of it. She continued singing with Brooks until April 1947, when she joined Louis Prima, staying and recording with the bandleader until the birth of her first child in September 1949.
After leaving Prima, Allen settled in Philadelphia with her husband, where she began to sing in local nightclubs and appear on local television, having a regular spot on WPTZ’s The Girl Next Door. She and Merrick recorded together on the Admiral label in 1950.
In 1952, Allen became singer for Charlie Ventura at his Open House club in nearby Lindenwald, New Jersey. In April 1954, she was working as a DJ on WPEN, singing as well as spinning records on her own Sunday night program. In 1962, she and Merrick settled in Florida.