Like Geraldine, I was around on Dustymail in those days before and after Dusty died and when Fred came onto the list, I appreciated his input. Sue Cameron on the other hand called us "those people" and that didn't go down well
I had correspondence with Fred for a couple of years and he was open about their fall out in the 70's. For those who haven't read it, there is a piece on the Women of Repute site written by Fred, which I'll copy in here.
Hi there . . . my name is Fred Perry, and for over 25 years, I was Dusty's lighting designer and stage director. We actually met many years before our first tour (to launch "I Only Want To Be With You") when working for a long-since forgotten musical act at American airbases around London; the Lana Sisters were the opening act on many shows. When I later worked for Frank Ifield, on several occasions The Springfields were the act that closed the first half, with Ifield topping the bill. It seemed inevitable that the Dusty Springfield/Fred Perry combo would come together at some point, particularly when we both found we each had the same insane sense of the ridiculous, liking The Goons, (later of course Monty Python) etc etc.
As we all know, the '60s were very very busy for Dusty - endless tours, cabaret shows, concerts etc. I was involved on every stage appearance she made. I used to go to the television studios, but not to work, just to hang out and help with anything I could . . . I am one of the best cuppa tea finders in the world!!!! Getting to the various venues would involve driving with Dusty in her car, sometimes travelling on the train, and in the case of the tours, she often came on the tour bus with everyone else. I always had a strict rule, we wait for 5 minutes past the appointed departure time behind Baker Street tube station outside the London Transport cafeteria (which wasn't actually open to the public, but they used to let us in, because we were show biz and a bit outside the norm for the people driving trains and other forms of public transportation). On several occasions she would pull up as we started to leave, and on one occasion, we turned the corner as she came into view and she had the cab chase us halfway across London till they pulled alongside at a traffic light and we swapped passengers! On one very memorable occasion, she knew she was REALLY late, and actually got into a cab and said "Manchester, please!!" . . . . and he actually took her there!!.
When the chance to play The Talk of the Town came up we were playing The Fiesta Club, in Stockton. I had learned a lot of my craft at The London Palladium, studying under the master producer, the late Robert Nesbitt. The Talk was entirely his creation, and Dusty had had experience of him on a couple of Royal Variety Shows and, frankly, was a little intimidated by his (her words) "pompous manner." I tried and tried to reassure her that his bark was a lot worse than his bite, and the pre-production period was actually quite calm and sane.
Not quite the same could be said 2 years later when she returned. Technology had come a long way since the first show, and synthesizers had made their appearance. Dusty thought it would be a cost-saving factor to use one of those, in place of the usual 6 violinists . . . but . . . thanks to the Musicians Union, literally at the 11th hour, they stepped in and gave a resounding NO, NO, NO. I have nightmares thirty years later of tables being pushed together along one side of the auditorium with copyists transposing notes for the hastily assembled violin players, as we were onstage trying to put together a very complicated production number I had devised involving Dusty being transformed into Shirley Temple. This number involved back-projected film, plus 4 male dancers, a quick change from Dusty, offstage, plus all of the lighting changes. At one point, a baffled and confused Robert Nesbitt actually said he had to go and make a phone call to New York, and left me in charge to sort it out with all of the technical people involved! Either an R.I.P gesture from him, or a vote of confidence in my ability to solve the problems . . . hopefully I thought it was the latter!!! This was the show we took to Australia, but the venue wasn't as lavishly equipped as The Talk, so it seemed to go a lot smoother.
Hopefully this will give you a flavour of what it was like to work with Madam, as I affectionately called her . . . . she used to bristle slightly when I first started using it, but I told her it was simply a term of endearment, and she came to accept it very quickly. In fact, the very first picture I have, of the two of us, taken backstage at the New Musical Express Awards show at Wembley Stadium has us in a hug, and she signed it "Love, Madam" . . . the other term I coined for her was Auntie . . . she truly seemed to like that, and for years, whenever she sent me a telegram, or a Christmas card, it was invariably signed "Auntie."
I have every card, note and/or letter she ever sent me over the years, and have been approached several times to write a book about her, but I have always refused. I am researching the possibility of putting together a book about the 60s, and of course she would comprise several chapters . . . The Dusty Years????? At the moment her recent passing is too close to think about it, but I have so many stories about the 60s and all of the star acts I worked with that I think it might be of interest. I even have a working title . . . "Throwing Some Light On The Sixties" . . . we'll see. By the way, Susan Cameron gave me about 200 pages of tributes and copies of articles that had been posted on the Internet, hence this little contribution by moi!
One final story: To my horror and regret, I was also the one who, inadvertently, caused the Princess Margaret/Royal Albert Hall trouble in the 70s!! We were sitting in Dusty's house in Los Angeles, going over the upcoming show, and she was trying to come up with a funny line along the line that John Lennon had used at the Royal Show when the Beatles played in the 60s . . . (If you remember "sing along if you know the words, hum along if you know the tune, and those in the cheap seats, just rattle your jewelry!" I was at the rehearsals for that show, and I never thought they would be allowed to get away with it, but even if they were told not to, as we know, they said it anyway). So, knowing of Dusty's loyal gay following, I came up with the line, "It's nice to see that all the royalty is NOT confined to the Royal Box!!" She was appalled, and laughed her head off, and said "They'll never let me get away with that!" Having met Princess Margaret on two separate occasions, I knew that she had a sense of humor. (I had previously directed 2 Royal shows at the Palladium for her favorite charity -- anyone out there remember The Save-Raves??? - one in 1968, and one in 1969, which, by the way, starred Dusty, who flew back from the States just for the show . . . is it any wonder I loved that girl!)
Anyway, Dusty used the line, pissed off PM and the rest, as they say, is history. Various reports have said that PM turned her back on Dusty at the after show party. Well, I have the full-length unedited version of that tape and when going down the line, PM spoke to everyone on the line. When she got to Auntie, she shook her hand, murmured thanks, and moved on. It's a definite snub, but at the time, none of us knew why. She had actually requested a couple of songs from albums of Dusty's that she had never sung as part of her regular shows, so we knew PM was a fan. In fact, after my own Royal Show, Dusty, as the headliner, was talked to for a couple of minutes. I am still baffled all these years later when I recall that this was about the time that PM was under fire for spending far too much time with a failed pop singer named Roddy something or other, on the island of Mustique, which, as far as I am concerned, caused a lot more trouble for the Royal Family than one simple line said with affection at a fund raising concert.
Some final comments. I flew back to London for the funeral, the enormity of which, by the way, still hasn't really hit home yet. Susan Cameron was unable to get away, so I went for both of us. Dusty always liked bright, fierce, as she called them, "tarty" colors, so I found a florist in Henley High Street, and bought just two flowers, one from me, and one from Susan. Mine was a particularly nasty shade of orange, and Susan's was a rather taxing pink shade. I placed them on the ground in front of where the cortege carried her out. The music played "Goin' Back," but I like to think that Dusty was chuckling to herself knowing full well exactly why I had chosen that color scheme. I am happy to report that my instincts were perfect: they managed to clash with every other color in the church. I did my girl proud.