Soul And / Or Related Artists
dusty springfield

Dusty Springfield

b. Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, 16th April 1939, Hampstead, London, England.

d. 2nd March 1999, Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, England.

Dusty Springfield is amongst a small circle of white soul singers that have been totally accepted by Black audiences.


Dusty was an enormously talented singer, who reached into all corners of the music market across the decades.

After leaving school in the 1950's, she became a part of the singing group called the Lana Sisters, a vocal trio which issued a few singles on Fontana.

The Springfields

the springfields

By the early Sixties, she had changed groups and began a successful period with her brother Tom (a.k.a Dion O'Brien) and his friend Tim Field in the Springfields.

The group became highly popular releasing the songs 'Silver Threads and Golden Needles', 'Breakaway,' 'Bambino,' and 'Say I Won't Be There'.

Dusty Springfield

Dusty then took the decision to begin a solo recording career, releasing the song 'I Only Wanna Be With You' in 1963.

That song was the first tune to be played on the long running U.K. pop show Top Of The Pops.

dusty - 1964 / stay awhile - 1964 / a girl called dusty - 1964 / everythings coming up dusty - 1965

Her first album release was released in 1963 on the Fontana imprint simply entitled 'A Girl Called Dusty', which included the song 'My Colouring Book'.

She then recorded several pop hits and began to influence a younger generation, fashionwise, along the way.

Dusty Springfield

with martha reeves

Dusty always knew where the roots of much of the music that influenced her originated from.

She championed the cause of many a Black Artist out there, showing a maturity that many of her musical contemporaries were out of touch with at the time.

Dusty Springfield

Dusty toured South Africa in 1964 and was deported due to the fact she was performing in front of mixed audiences.

Dusty Springfield

with burt bacharach

Several hits followed as she began to work with some songwriting heavyweights, including Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Randy Newman and Carole King.

Amongst some of the end products were various songs including, 'Mockingbird', 'Anyone Who Had A Heart', 'Wishin' And Hopin', 'La Bamba', 'Losing You,' 'Your Hurtin' Kinda Love,' 'In the Middle of Nowhere', 'Some Of Your Lovin' and 'Who Can I Turn To'.

ooooooweeee!!! - 1965 / where am i going? - 1967 / dusty...definitely - 1968 / dusty in memphis - 1969

In 1965 Dusty hosted the television special entitled 'The Sound of Motown', a show widely credited with introducing the Sound of Young America to the their British counterparts.

Perhaps Dusty's most enduring recording from this period was the song 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me', a melody taken from an originally recorded Italian melody.

The song made the number one slot in several countries during 1966.

At the end of 1966, Dusty fell out with the jazz drummer Buddy Rich, with whom she was scheduled to play at the New York's Basin Street East club alongside.

The press reports stated that Buddy was annoyed at not receiving the top billing at the event and matters became worse as Dusty allegedly punched him in the face after he swore at her.

Dusty Springfield

By this time Dusty had a television series that did well during 1967, however, the music scene and her compartmentalisation into a less musical and more showbiz lifestyle began to take it's toll.

Dusty released 'Where Am I Going?', which was her way of breaking the musical mould that she felt she had been forced into.

This album included her version of Bobby Hebb's 'Sunny' and Jacques Brel's 'If You Go Away'.

Although the album was critically acclaimed, financially, it did not do that well.

Dusty Springfield

It was a similar story with the follow up set, 'Dusty ... Definitely', which included her version of 'Ain't No Sunshine' and Randy Newman's 'I Think It's Gonna Rain Today'.

Realising that the industry had her pigeon-holed, Dusty went to Memphis to record, perhaps her finest release, 'Dusty In Memphis'.

It was in America that Tom Dowd, Arif Mardin and Jerry Wexler finally gave Dusty the artistical recognition that she felt she deserved.

'Dusty In Memphis' contained the massive hit, 'Son Of A Preacher Man', a song that Dusty was later to say she preferred Aretha Franklin's version stating 'Why didn't I sing this song that way?'

a brand new me - 1973 / see all her faces - 1972 / cameo - 1973 / dusty springfield - 1978

The follow up album was entitled 'A Brand New Me', although entitled 'From Dusty With Love' in the U.K.

The album was produced by Thom Bell and Kenny Gamble, indicating a further intention in obtaining the musical credibility that she felt she deserved.

Now living almost all the time in the U.S., Dusty released 'Cameo' in 1973 for the ABC / Dunhill imprint, an album which contained her version of Van Morrison's 'Tuppelo Honey'.

Now residing in Los Angeles, Dusty revealed to the press that she was bisexual during 1975.

She spent time with the tennis player Billie Jean King and worked for various animal rights charities.

Dusty was a great cat lover.

The pressure of the media led to Dusty becoming depressed, with her taking pills, drinking and even an alleged reported suicide attempt.

Dusty overcame these difficulties and released the appropriately titled album, 'It Begins Again', released 5 years after her previous release.

The album contained the Carole Bayer Sager song, 'I'd Rather Leave While I'm In Love', and the Barry Manilow song, 'Sandra', an almost autobiographical song lyrically.

living without your love - 1978 / white heat - 1982 / reputation - 1990 / a very fine love - 1995

The album 'Living Without Your Love' followed.

This did not do well, however, it did contain her version of Smokey Robinson's 'You Really Got A Hold On Me'.

The song, 'Baby Blue', became a hit in 1979, however, the decline had set in again.

In 1980, 'Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees' was released, after which she relocated to Toronto.

Two years later Dusty released 'White Heat', a slightly dance orientated album featuring Caleb Quaye and Nathan East, which was only released in the States.

In 1984 she duetted with Spencer Davis on Judy Clay and William Bell's 'Private Number'.

The owner of the London Nightclub Stringfellows, Peter Stringfellow, booked her at his nightclub in 1985 and contracted her to his record label.

After one single, 'Just Like Butterflies', Dusty and Peter went their seperate ways.

In 1987 a collaboration with Richard Carpenter entitled 'Something in Your Eyes,' became a minor success in the U.S.

Dusty Springfield

By the end of the 80's Dusty received a new lease of life via Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys, who persuaded her to duet with them on their hit single 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?' in 1987.

The duo then wrote the theme for the film 'Scandal', recording Dusty on 'Nothing Has Been Proved', a movie based around the Sixities period.

She followed this with another of their compositions, 'In Private', followed by the album, 'Reputation', which became her most successful for over 20 years.

At the beginning of the Nineties, Dusty relocated back to the U.K, after a short stay in the Netherlands.

Nothing Has Been Proved

In 1994, Dusty was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent radiation therapy, which put on hold the release of a new album with the Columbia Records imprint.

In the spring of 1995 it was announced that the cancer was in remission.

When the set saw the light of day, it was entitled 'A Very Fine Love', recorded in Nashville, and included the single 'Wherever Would I Be', a duet with Daryl Hall.

Sadly, the breast cancer returned and Dusty died on the day she should have collected an O.B.E. from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

She passed away on the 2nd of March 1999 at her home in Henley-on-Thames.

Dusty Springfield

Dusty had been awarded an O.B.E. in that years New Year Honours list and her investiture had been due to be held, along with a second major accolade at the time.

Her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York was scheduled for two weeks later.

Despite the reclusive life she led at her Henley mansion, she had been eager to meet the Queen, and also to join the traditional jam session at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with fellow inductees including Bruce Springsteen and Sir Paul McCartney.

Dusty Springfield

Real Player


A Girl Called Dusty (Philips Records 1963)

Everything's Coming Up Dusty (Philips Records 1965)

Where Am I Going (Philips Records 1967)

Dusty ... Definitely (Philips Records 1968)

Dusty In Memphis (Philips Records 1969)

A Brand New Me (From Dusty With Love) (Philips Records 1970)

See All Her Faces (Philips Records 1972)

Cameo (Philips Records 1973)

Dusty Sings Burt Bacharach And Carole King (Philips Records 1975)

It Begins Again (Mercury Records 1978)

Living Without Your Love (Mercury Records 1979)

White Heat (Casablanca Records 1982)

Reputation (Parlophone Records 1990)

A Very Fine Love (Columbia Records 1995)

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