Doris Jackson dies at 58
By JULIE FIELDS
Staff Writer Bergen Record
Doris (Coley) Jackson, a member of the legendary Passaic County rock-and-roll "girl group" the Shirelles, which produced a
string of top hits including "Dedicated to the One I Love" in the early 1960s, has died of cancer, according to several family
members. She was 58.
Jackson died Friday at a hospital in Sacramento, Calif., relatives said.
The Shirelles, who inspired a wave of other "girl groups," including The Supremes, were formed by Jackson and three
classmates at Passaic High School in 1957.
At their first performance, a school talent show, they sang "I Met Him on a Sunday" and received a standing ovation. They
went on to record several Top 40 hits, including "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" (1961) and "Soldier Boy" (1962).
Jackson, who lived in Sacramento in recent years, returned to Passaic at least once a year, her niece, Lauren Nance of
Passaic, said Friday night.
"When they would hear Doris was in town, it was always such a grand thing," Nance said. "Our phone would ring off the
In 1996, Jackson returned to Passaic for a reunion performance with two other members of the Shirelles, Beverly Lee of
Passaic and Shirley Alston Reeves (born Shirley Owens) of Hillside. The fourth Shirelle, Addie "Mickie" Harris, died in 1982.
"God, it feels good to be here," Jackson said during that performance, which ended in a shower of flowers, proclamations,
honorary diplomas, and a standing ovation. None of the four students graduated with their class of 1958, but they earned
The following night, the Shirelles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Manhattan.
"They were trendsetters because they were around before the Supremes were around," Nance said. "They laid the foundation
for the other girl groups of today to be here."
The Shirelles recorded "I Met Him on a Sunday," their first song, for independent record producer Florence Greenberg, the
mother of one of their classmates, Mary Jane [Greenberg]. After Decca released the record and dismissed the Shirelles as one-hit
wonders, Greenberg signed them to her new Scepter Records label.
The 1996 performance at Passaic High School marked the last time the three remaining Shirelles performed together.
Jackson, however, had continued to sing in recent years despite her battle with cancer. She most recently headlined an
engagement in the state of Washington over New Year's, and entertained passengers on a cruise ship in early January,
"She worked through her illness," Nance said. "She was very passionate about her career. . . . She gave so much to so many
people, and people gave back to her."
Soul singer and contemporary Maxine Brown, who also sang at Scepter, once paid Jackson a knowing compliment. "They
were pioneers. They had a unique sound," Brown said of the group as a whole, adding, "especially Shirley. Her voice had a
lonesome quality. Very haunting."
Jackson, who was born in Goldsboro, N.C., was married twice. She is survived by three sons, Antonio Kenner, Gary
Kenner, and Tracy Jackson, and one daughter, Staci Jackson.
She also is survived by two sisters, Ernestine Francies of Passaic and Agnes Coley of Bloomfield, and a brother, Jeremiah
Coley of Paterson. A second brother, Leodie Coley, is deceased.
No information on funeral arrangements was available.
Copyright © 2000 Bergen Record Corp.