Clare H. Torry (born 29 November 1947) is a British singer, best known for performing the wordless vocals on the song "The Great Gig in the Sky" by the group Pink Floyd on their 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. She also covered the Dolly Parton single "Love Is Like a Butterfly" for the opening titles of the BBC TV series Butterflies, which ran for four series between 1978 and 1983.
Clare Torry was born in November 1947 in Marylebone to Geoffrey Napier Torry (1916-1979), who combined careers as Lieutenant-Commander in the Fleet Air Arm and as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF, and his wife Dorothy W. Singer (1916-2017), who was the secretary to six BBC Directors-General.
By the end of the 1960s, Torry managed to start a career as a performer, mainly based on covers of popular songs. Alan Parsons asked her to take part in Pink Floyd's recording of the album The Dark Side of the Moon, on the instrumental song penned by Richard Wright going under the name of "The Great Gig in the Sky". On 4 November 1973, Torry also sang "The Great Gig in the Sky" at the Rainbow Theatre in London.
Since then, Torry has also performed as a session singer (singing on a number of 1970s UK TV adverts) and as a live backing vocalist with Kevin Ayers, Olivia Newton-John, Shriekback, The Alan Parsons Project (for which she also sang lead vocal on one track on their 1979 Eve album), Procol Harum mainman Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher, Cerrone, Meat Loaf (a duet on the song "Nowhere Fast", and the hit single "Modern Girl") and Johnny Mercer. She reprised her Pink Floyd appearance during a few 1980s concerts with Roger Waters' band, and also contributed to Waters' 1986 soundtrack When the Wind Blows and to his 1987 album Radio K.A.O.S.. She sang with the David Gilmour-led Pink Floyd at a 1990 concert at Knebworth.
Torry also sang the Dolly Parton song "Love Is Like a Butterfly" as the theme music to the 1970s Wendy Craig/Geoffrey Palmer, Carla Laine sitcom Butterflies. The song was released as a single in 1981. Torry also released the song "Love for Living" in 1969, which was produced by Ronnie Scott and Robin Gibb.
Torry sang backing vocals on the track "The War Song" from Culture Club's Waking Up with the House on Fire album in 1984, as well as on the track "Yellowstone Park" on the Tangerine Dream album Le Parc the following year. Her voice can also be heard singing "Love to Love You Baby" (originally by Donna Summer) during the opening scene of the cult BBC Play for Today production of Abigail's Party in 1977.
Torry is also credited on the 1987 album En Dejlig Torsdag (A Lovely Thursday) by the Danish pop rock band TV-2, where she sings in a fashion similar to that on "The Great Gig in the Sky" at the end of the tracks "Stjernen I Mit Liv" ("The Star in my Life") and "I Baronessens Seng" ("In the Bed of the Baroness").
On 20 October 2010, Torry was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge Award in recognition of her unique contribution to music.
In 2004, she sued Pink Floyd and EMI for songwriting royalties on the basis that her contribution to "The Great Gig in the Sky" constituted co-authorship with keyboardist Richard Wright. Originally, she was paid the standard flat fee of £30 for Sunday studio work. In 2005, an out-of-court settlement was reached in Torry's favour, although the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. All releases after 2005 carry an additional credit for "Vocal composition by Clare Torry" for the "Great Gig in the Sky" segment of the booklet or liner notes.
In February 2006, Clare Torry released a CD Heaven in the Sky, a collection of her early pop tunes from the 1960s and 1970s.