Toni Fisher

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Toni Fisher (born Marion Colleen Nolan,[1] December 4, 1924 – January 11, 1999) was an American pop singer. She was known for her recordings of "The Big Hurt", "West of the Wall", "Maybe (He'll Think Of Me)," and "Why Can't The Dark Leave Me Alone".[2][1] She was later known as Toni F. Monzello, following her marriage to Henry Monzello.


Fisher is best remembered for her 1959 song "The Big Hurt", written by manager Wayne Shanklin. The song went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US. The track also peaked at #30 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] "The Big Hurt" is notable because it featured a phasing effect when mixing engineer Larry Levine—who went on to help Phil Spector create his wall of sound—inadvertently mixed the mono and stereo versions of the song together but out of sync; a happy accident. It is claimed to be the first record to have phasing.[4][5] DJ Dick Biondi on WKBW would introduce the record as "Toni Fisher's weird one". The song was recorded in the Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles and engineered by Stan Ross and Dave Gold.

Disc jockey Wink Martindale commented that the record label billed the singer as "Miss Toni Fisher" because of her powerful voice, which is consistently audible over the phasing, the instruments, and the background noise, to confirm to the listener that the singer is indeed a woman.[6]

"The Big Hurt" was later covered by Wes Montgomery, Del Shannon, Scott Walker, Vikki Carr, Nick Cave, and others.

In 1962 she had another Top 40 hit single with "West of the Wall" (#37), a song about the sadness of lovers separated by the 1961 erection of the Berlin Wall. She had recorded the melody before; an earlier version, "Toot Toot Amore" on Signet Records had different lyrics.

Fisher died in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 11, 1999, of a heart attack.[2][1]


  1. ^ a b c "Toni Fisher (1924-1999)". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 201. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ interview in Behind the Glass Vol2
  5. ^ Liner notes of 2003 reissue of Nirvana's album All of Us
  6. ^ "Toni Fisher Discography". Discogs. Retrieved 2012-06-21.

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