From my Dusty articles archive

Dusty News, General Dusty Chat,...all the Bits and Pieces that Don't Fit Elsewhere.

From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:38 am

Hi, y'all ~

I joined LTD back when it started & then (just like with my catholicism) I lapsed as an active member ;) Multiple thanks to Corinna (in what was my middle of the night, but not, I hope, hers!) for getting my membership back in sync.

Long story short: I've recently started to get my Dusty files in order, & I owe more than I can say to LTD for its access to Dusty photos. I mean, wow! As a resource, LTD has been beyond precious for photos spanning the range of Dusty's career ~ plus, in many cases, with identifying info. To a retired academic like me, that's icing :)

To pay LTD back, I'd like to upload the 100+ Dusty articles I have in digital form. Not all at once, of course! And to the extent I can, I wouldn't duplicate what is already online here.

I'm a born & bred Londoner, a teenager in the 60s. I saw Dusty in person just twice: at her visit to St Anne's, her old school in Ealing; & in performance at the 1965 NME concert.

So glad there is still this friendly place for Dusty fans,
Geraldine
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:40 am

#1 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Record Mirror * 6 April 1963
The White Negress
NORMAN JOPLING

"Well," said Dusty Springfield, "I'm extremely flattered." She was, of course talking about the remark passed upon her by Cliff and the Shadows. They call her "the white negress." "After all, you can't get a more pleasing compliment when you really go for the groups like the Shirelles and the Crystals, can you," she explained. The group, of course, doesn't only like the country and western type numbers that they are normally associated with. R & B or even good pop music makes them sit up and listen.
Their reply as to why they thought the disc 'Island of Dreams' was a hit was rather frank to say the least. "You can sing it when you're drunk," they said. "It's the ideal pub song and that's the reason why it sold well." Last week in fact the disc went UP a place after being in the charts for no less than fifteen consecutive weeks. And now their new disc 'Say I Won't Be There' looks like repeating the triumph. That, too, is already in the top fifty after only two weeks on release. "We all prefer our new disc to 'Island of Dreams'," they told me, "though whether or not it's more commercial we just don't know. But it's got the familiar underlying tune 'Au Claire de la Lune', and although people may not know the actual name of that little piece, they all certainly know the melody."
About their successes in the States, the Springfields were unsure and apprehensive. They declared that they had no say whatsoever in which singles are issued in the States. They even declared that they didn't know their LP had been issued in America until someone told them they had seen it in Cashbox. But nevertheless it was in the States that the Springfields met with their first major success in the shape of 'Silver Threads and Golden Needles'. And it was there that they so recently cut their latest LP Folk Songs From the Hills, just released over here.
But the group have a strangely frank attitude towards the kind of music that they sing. They know it's not anywhere near the authentic stuff and they intend to keep it that way. Even Johnny Tillotson, the one-time rocker who found C & W far more profitable, they consider to be too countryish for England. Incidentally they will be touring with Johnny on their next series of one-nighters when the top name will be Del Shannon. The group have no fears, though, about lack of songs in their repertoire. The many minor hits they clicked up will see them in good stead, apart from the three major ones that they have made recently.
Their first disc was, of course, 'Dear John', which crept into the charts, and they made many other hits of about the same stature later, 'Breakaway', 'Bambino', and 'Goodnight Irene' being the main ones. Their first relative flop over here was 'Silver Threads and Golden Needles', the only disc so far that didn't just make the bottom of the charts. But it did make the U.S. top twenty some months later and it paved the way for their enormous hit 'Island of Dreams', which is still in the charts here. It's issued in the States and the group hope it will repeat the triumph of 'Silver Threads'.
Their last Stateside disc, 'Dear Hearts and Gentle People', only just made the top hundred in the States. But the Springfields have the consolation of knowing that theirs was the first big hit for the newly re-formed U.S. Philips label, which has recently had its first number one in the shape of 'Hey Paula'. After their U.S. success Tom Field, of course, left the team and Mike Pickworth joined. Only two albums of the Springfields are obtainable, Kinda Folksy with such titles as 'Silver Dollar', 'Allentown Jail', 'Black Hills of Dakota', etc.
And, of course, their new effort waxed in Nashville under the observant eye of Philips and U.S. Columbia recording chiefs. "We've only just heard the finished product," said Dusty. "Some of it's good, some of it's . . . well, you know." She's not the only one who is modest. Tom states he doesn't like any of the team's discs to date. He prefers 'Silver Threads' and their latest, he says, to 'Island of Dreams', which all three members agree is a lot of old corn. That's the Springfields, then. The candid yet modest group who have taken coals to Newcastle . . . or should we say C & W to Nashville.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:01 am

#2 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Publication unknown) * November 1963
Dusty Does It — Solo!
DEREK JOHNSON

The testing time for Dusty Springfield has arrived! For today the solo career which she has chosen, in preference to being the key member of one of Britain's outstanding vocal groups, really gets under way. A challenging, tension-packed time for Dusty . . . an exciting, and perhaps memorable time for the public, who may be about to witness the birth of a brilliant new star.
Dusty has been labelled as the "white hope" among girl singers, and it will be a far from easy task for her to live up to most of the critics' expectations. Expecially at a time when the majority of girl soloists are being forced into the background. Can she, in fact, achieve stardom in her own right? I think she can — more than that, I'm sure she will. For not only has she one of the most distinctive and versatile voices in the business, but also — despite her musicianly approach and all-too-rare artistry — she has a commercial outlook, which is so essential in these competitive days.
Furthermore, although so many girl singers are hampered by their inability to exploit their singing ability, Dusty is loaded with charm and personality. And it's a personality which appeals to members of her own sex just as effectively as to the boys — which is so important in an age when the bulk of record buyers are girls. I chatted with Dusty over lunch the other day and, although she was by no means confident that she would succeed, she was obviously eager to accept the challenge. She also has a clear-cut mental blueprint of the manner in which she would like her career to develop. "I'd like to be another Petula Clark," she told me. "I don't mean that I intend to model myself on Pet, but simply that I would like to achieve her degree of international success — and her personal happiness, too."
Dusty said that when the Springfields took the decision to split, she didn't realise the major significance of what they were doing until after the group's farewell performance. "The full impact of the break-up, or the way in which it would so drastically alter my career, just didn't hit me," she chuckled. "Then quite suddenly, when the curtain fell on that final Palladium show and I realised the Springfields were no more, I burst into tears. But I have no regrets. Now is the time to look forward, not back. Even if we were asked to get together again for some very special engagement, I doubt if we would. Our decision is quite irrevocable."
And so today, Dusty arrives at the crossroads of her career. For her first solo record has come bursting into the charts. And the whole of show business is wondering . . . is this an initial gimmick impact, or will she be able to maintain the promise and potential she has shown? Her disc debut is an interesting one because "I Only Want To Be With You" was written, arranged and directed by Ivor Raymonde — who accompanied the Springfields on all their major hits, including "Island of Dreams" and "Say I Won't Be There." The lyricist was Mike Hawker, who supplied the words for all Helen Shapiro's early hits. The coupling [B-side] is one of Dusty's own compositions, "Once Upon A Time." This is not her first venture into song writing — she has written several numbers, including the already recorded "Something Special."
To help launch her as a soloist, Dusty has been lined up for a string of TV and radio dates. Tomorrow Dusty makes her solo debut in Saturday Club, and this is followed by Light Programme's Beat Show (28th), Parade of the Pops (December 4) and Easy Beat (18th) — and she is guesting on Thank Your Lucky Stars on November 30. All this exploitation points to the record climbing much higher in the charts in subsequent weeks. A pretty impressive line-up, which will keep her very busy — especially as she is also in the process of cutting her first LP.
Yes, Dusty Springfield is certainly launching an all-out attack in her new role as a soloist. And take it from me, if determination opens the doorway to fame, she is already on her way to the top. For, as Dusty climbed into her new and very expensive Continental car, she called over her shoulder: "You know, I've just got to be a success to own a car like this!" Don't worry, Dusty — I'm sure you won't have to trade it in for a mini.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby allherfaces » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:36 am

Welcome back, Geraldine! Glad you are enjoying the photos. <3 looking forward ton reading the articles youn post.

Will you share your memories of seeing Dusty?! Especially interested in st anne's after seeing the phiotobof La Dust with the nuns!
x
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby daydreamer » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:36 am

Thanks Geraldine, I think Nancy is typing without her specs on again [;)] [:D] I don't have the Springfields article in my collection, so thanks for that. They really were irreverent about their musical output!

I do have the second Derek Johnson article and as I notice you don't have a source, but as an academic probably like one, it was from the NME dated 22nd November. I'll look forward to reading others you have and hope for one's missing from my collection [:)]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby trek007 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:58 am

Nice to see you posting Geraldine...your name makes me think of Peter Kay!! [;)]

I look forward to reading your articles.
Trekx. Often called Carole.

Ev'rything's coming up Dusty.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby karen » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:09 am

Thanks for these Geraldine.. [:D]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Carole R. » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:32 am

Yes, good to hear from you, Geraldine. :yes:
Thankyou for sharing your 'goodies ' with us... :bravo:

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby allherfaces » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:25 pm

daydreamer wrote:Thanks Geraldine, I think Nancy is typing without her specs on again [;)] [:D] I don't have the Springfields article in my collection, so thanks for that. They really were irreverent about their musical output!

I do have the second Derek Johnson article and as I notice you don't have a source, but as an academic probably like one, it was from the NME dated 22nd November. I'll look forward to reading others you have and hope for one's missing from my collection [:)]



I'm not very good typing on an iPad. It was nothing to do with the wine! :oops: :crazy:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby trek007 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:20 pm

Perhaps the music was flooding your mind Nancy!!
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:30 pm

Thanks for the encouragement :) And special thanks to Daydreamer-Carole for the citation: I very much doubt I have anything you *don't* have, but I guess we will find out. One of the things I loved most about DSB was seeing clippings I could remember putting in a scrapbook back in the day ~ the scrapbook is long gone (alas).

So, I shall upload stuff sporadically ~ don't want to overwhelm the List ~ or me, for that matter ;)
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:32 pm

#3 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~
Record Mirror * December 26, 1964
DUSTY — "THERE WERE THREATS"

Dusty Springfield flew home on Friday morning to a heroine's welcome. Half of Fleet Street waited at London Airport to greet her on her return — and probe her with questions over the "international incident" that developed in South Africa. Tired, but ready to explain, Dusty told us: "I may sue the South African Government. My manager, Vic Billings, is seeing my lawyers today. "If they want to sling mud around they've picked the wrong person because I have a far more deadly aim."
Dusty had to leave South Africa after playing at only five of her seven scheduled performances in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Officials of the South African Government's Ministry of the Interior had presented her with an ultimatum — "sign this pledge not to play before non-segregated audiences or get out." And the Government told South African newspapers: "She was on two occasions warned through her manager to observe our South African way of life in regard to entertainment and was informed that if she failed to do so she would have to leave the country. She chose to defy the Government and was accordingly allowed to remain in the country for a limited time only."
At the airport, Dusty confirmed that a party of three men had threatened her manager. "Halfway through my act the men from the Ministry said they would be waiting for me at my hotel." And Vic Billings told reporters: "They pestered me for about one and a half days trying to make me sign their document." Why is Dusty so adamant about her feelings over the apartheid question? "Because I just think that anybody, if they want to buy a ticket, should be allowed to. I was determined not to play to segregated audiences," she said.
Will she ever go back to South Africa? "I'd sure love to because the audiences were fantastic and the kids were marvelous. But I won't be going back until they sort this thing out which I don't think will be in my life-time." Technically, Dusty was not deported, just "asked to leave." "They say I wasn't deported but it's a very fine line between being deported and being given 24 hours to leave," said Dusty, explaining, "I think the difference is that if you are deported they pay your fare."
Dusty captured the headlines of newspapers throughout the world with her story but she denies that it was just one great big publicity stunt: "I resent the suggestion," she said. "I don't need this kind of publicity." And the last word from Dusty's press agent, Keith Goodwin: "I am annoyed about it, and anyone who honestly believes this is a publicity stunt is out of their mind. To me, the implications are far too great. It would be silly for someone to say that apartheid is a publicity stunt to draw attention to South Africa."

PLUS FOLLOW-UP FROM 1996
The Times * January 1, 1996
Foreign Office Blocked Apartheid Protest Over Singer's Expulsion

The Prime Minister wanted Britain to protest to South Africa over the expulsion of Dusty Springfield for singing to multiracial audiences, but was overruled by the Foreign Office. Shortly afterwards the singer Adam Faith also left South Africa in controversy after refusing to perform before segregated audiences, Whitehall once again washed its hands. Both singers had only themselves to blame, the Foreign Office told Downing Street in a confidential memorandum. Dusty Springfield, who topped the charts in the mid-Sixties with songs such as I Only Want To Be With You and You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, was deported with her band The Echoes after performing before a multiracial audience in Cape Town in December 1964.
Her manager had said they were presented with an "ultimatum" soon after arriving in South Africa, warning that they must not perform in front of multiracial audiences. This was contrary to her contract, which made clear that she would not appear in segregated venues, he said. The manager maintained it was only because of this proviso that he had taken the group to South Africa, in defiance of a Musicians Union ban on artists appearing there. [Prime Minister] Wilson saw the telegram from British officials in Pretoria and wrote across it: "Are we protesting?" Downing Street officials then wrote to the Foreign Office seeking action.
The hasty scribble in pencil was typical of Wilson's determination to get involved in every aspect of public life, particularly in the early years after Labour's election victory in 1964. But the Foreign Office replied: "Miss Springfield was not arrested and on a strictly legal view the South Africans appear to have acted within their rights". A Labour Prime Minister's abhorrence of apartheid counted for little in the face of diplomatic adherence to the strict letter of international law. A month later in January 1965, Adam Faith was sued for breach of contract by a Cape Town theatre manager when he refused to appear before a whites-only audience.
Faith's manager had apparently signed a contract saying the singer would not perform to multiracial audiences. The singer was allowed to leave the country only after a bond was offered to cover the suit against him. The Foreign Office concluded that trouble was bound to ensue "if artists embark on foreign tours without first ensuring that the arrangements comply both to the requirements of local law and custom". Such an oversight did "not provide grounds for government intervention on their behalf". One official blamed the media and wrote to the Downing Street office: "These two got into trouble as a result of statements published in the press which made an issue of apartheid."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:34 pm

#4 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~
KRLA Beat * 27 November 1965
Life + Laughs = Dusty Springfield
LOUISE CRISCIONE

Dusty Springfield's voice came over the house phone: "Why don't you come on up to my manager's room? I'll be up in a few minutes. You see, I sent my clothes out to be cleaned and they're only coming back in dribbles and drabbles! So, as soon as I get a proper outfit I'll be up." I had no sooner settled down to a cup of coffee when footsteps were heard running down the hall and Dusty burst into the room apologizing for being late. She was wearing a bright green print dress, a most proper outfit, and one which looked great with her blonde hair.
"I've been having so much trouble with my clothes. You see, in England we don't have color television so all my clothes are light colors which doesn't look well on color TV. It comes out looking all white and it drives the television people mad," Dusty bubbled. It was then that our BEAT photographer suggested that we all go poolside to take some pictures. Dusty wrinkled her nose, gave the photographer a funny look and then said: "Okay, I'll be back in a second." And with that she raced out of the room and down the hall again. She was back in a second, this time dressed in white capris and a black and white striped top – looking very, very American.
Once poolside we began the interview. Of course, Dusty has had several huge hits here in America but lately she has encountered her share of trouble in getting onto the charts. "I don't know why. It's just one of those things," Dusty said. "It's completely the opposite in England but here I don't know what went wrong." She thought on it for a while and then added: "It might be that I'm not here enough."
Whenever people write about Dusty's music they invariably use the word "soul" to define her sound. But what is it – this illusive quality they call soul? "Soul is something that can't be defined – you just know it when you hear it. It's such an overworked word that I feel ill-equipped to try to define it," Dusty answered. "It's nice of people to say I'm a soul singer. I am influenced by R&B but I'm certainly not an R&B singer," Dusty grinned.
Dusty Springfield is not her real name. In fact, her real name is Mary O'Brien but "Dusty" was tagged onto her during her childhood years when she was somewhat of a tomboy. "I don't know where I got it but I've been trying to get rid of it ever since," laughed Dusty. A lot has been written about Dusty's habit of throwing tea cups. "Well, I haven't thrown any here yet! And I only do it under extreme stress and only in my own place and I always clean up the mess," Dusty assured me. Which rather relieved me as I didn't particularly fancy the idea of having a tea cup thrown at me – even if it was thrown by Dusty Springfield.
Dusty and her group of London-based friends have quite a time playing practical jokes on each other. There was the time Dusty had cans and cans of "petrol" sent to a friend's house and the time she opened her purse to find it filled with soap powder just wet enough to make a huge mess and total ruin! And whenever I put on weight," said the slim-figured Dusty, "they send me dresses which are about this big," continued Dusty indicating about a size 24 dress. No one is immune from Dusty's jokes and the Shangri-las found that out when they went to put on their boots one morning only to find them filled with anchovies!
Enough jokes – now back to Dusty the performer. As you probably know, Dusty once sang with her brother's group, the Springfields. At the time they broke up they were the top group in England. "People said we were crazy. And at first it was awfully hard. I was used to having two boys with me and suddenly there was so much space I didn't know what to do with my hands!" Dusty exclaimed. Most performers suffer from nerves before a show and Dusty is no exception. "If I'm doing a week somewhere I'm nervous the first night. But when it's some big occasion, then I'm nervous the whole time."
The biggest occasion for a British entertainer is coming up soon. It's the Royal Variety Show and Dusty has been invited to appear on the show in front of the Queen. "I'm very excited about it. I've been on one before with the Springfields and I met the Queen then," Dusty enthused. "I'm flying back next week to work out the arrangements. I'm not nervous yet but I will be," predicted Dusty.
Dusty is completely enthusiastic about most things and especially so about her career. "I enjoy it. I love singing. I like doing tours but I also like clubs because they give you the chance to progress. There is more opportunity to progress here than in England. Because in each big city there is at least one big club in a hotel or something but it's not like that in England," Dusty explained.
Besides her singing, Dusty is probably best known for the amazing amount of eye make-up which she wears. "It's a trade mark," Dusty said. "I take a lot of it off for television. I look anemic without it." I don't know. I can't see Dusty Springfield ever looking anemic – she's too full of life and fun for that.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby daydreamer » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:35 pm

Thank you for those Geraldine, especially the third one as it corresponds with a photo that Cas found recently, so what a coincidence! Here is Dusty by the pool in her striped top being interview by Louise Criscione [:D]

Beat mag.jpg
Beat mag.jpg (53.42 KiB) Viewed 23594 times


The 1996 article was interesting too, I hadn't seen that before.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby mnmcv1 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:29 pm

Skimmed through but oh, I'm gonna need to print these and read them. This is great! Thanks Geraldine!
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:40 pm

#5 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~
NME * 2 July 1965
MARY WAS A TOM-BOY
Mrs. Cathleen O'Brien (aided by Mr. O'Brien) tells about "My daughter Dusty"
TONY BROMLEY

Mrs. Cathleen O'Brien walked along New York's Broadway at 4 o'clock in the morning. There was a contented all's-well-with-the-world smile on her face. Her husband, Gerard, looked well pleased with life, too. They stopped outside a record store and listened. It was the early hours of the morning, but music was still booming out. They listened to "Wishin' and hopin' and prayin'" and more words of the song. The smile bubbled into a laugh. Mrs O'Brien giggled. "Listen! That's my daughter! That's Mary!"
Still don't know who she was talking about? No less than Dusty Springfield. Her mother always calls her Mary, her real name. Dusty's mum — dusty blonde haired, youthful, and looking just a little embarrassed when talking of her daughter — sat opposite me in a coffee house. She was recalling her happiest recollection of her trip to America with Dusty. She had come up from her home in Brighton for the interview with me. Her husband, glasses, perpetual pipe and jolly looking, who works in town — added occasional comments.
"What can I say? Dusty is a great girl. But I'm biased," she stated — continuing, "Dusty as a young girl? Well, she was a tomboy." Dad said very decidedly: "Oh, yes. She was a tomboy." For a male parent, he knew an awful lot about pop music. "Tamla-Motown, that's what Dusty likes isn't it?" Mr. O'Brien said, adding: "Isn't the Seekers record pleasant?"
Mrs. O'Brien took over: "Mary always wanted to be famous," she says quietly. "She says it all boils down to an inferiority complex. She insists she's not beautiful, but talent will out, and that's the important thing. Right from when they where young she and Tom always made music. Mary didn't have any music lessons, but she sang in the school choir. There were always musical instruments lying around. I remember I would push open doors of the rooms and instruments of all sorts would fall over." "The sitting room was a rehearsal room later on," chipped in Mr. O'Brien. "And Mary," came back Mrs. O'Brien, "or in fact both of them, collected hundreds of film magazines. She's still got them, you know. She won't let me throw them away. She keeps them in old tin trucks."
"What about her early singing?" I asked them both. "She first began to sing at a Belgravia club," Mr. O'Brien answered. "She used to accompany herself on a Spanish guitar." "I often think," said her mother wistfully, "that she sounded better in those days. When she played her Spanish pieces." "The first records she bought were all Latin American," added her father. Tom was as crazy as she was about them."
"At the club everybody seemed to like her singing," said Mrs. O'Brien. "How shall I say it? — she went down a bomb. Is that right? Then she joined the Lana Sisters after answering an advert. She was with them for two years. That was the last time she lived at home. Then came the Springfields. Tom and Tim Field had been doing very nicely themselves. Then Mary joined them and you know how successful they became. Then she went solo."
"Has Dusty changed?" I asked her. She looked very thoughtful. "Yes," she said slowly, "Mary seems more sophisticated now. It might be an affectation, though. And she's got more responsibility. When she was with the Springfields she could lean on the two boys. She comes home when she can, you know, and unwinds. She's a home-lover — fireside and buttered toast type. But there isn't much time. She phones me from just about everywhere when she's away. She rang up one night and said: 'Daddy and you must come to America with me.' And we did. It was marvelous. I get anxious about her sometimes but she says: 'Mum don't worry about me — it only makes me worried too,' so I try not to." "I hope," said Mrs. O'Brien, "that I've said the right things. It still takes some getting used to having a famous daughter and son," she said, "but I love it."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:46 pm

#6 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~
NME * August 1966
DUSTY ALWAYS KNEW WHAT SHE WANTED
says Johnny Franz her recording manager
ALAN SMITH

Dusty Springfield has been called difficult, delightful and intense; goony, moody and marvellous. All of which is true. I have seen her sitting by candlelight in a Thames-side restaurant, silent with nostalgia as some heart-throbbing Latin heaped-it-on-heavy with the Italian version of "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me." I have seen her elegant and serious at rehearsal sessions, and covering her shyness at a TV show with goon humour and funny faces. But I speak only as a bystander. One of those who really knows Dusty is Johnny Franz, the amiable, quiet-spoken ex-pianist who has been her recording manager from the day she walked into his office with the Springfields.
"The three of them sat right here," he recalls, "right in front of my desk, and sang 'Dear John.' It was a new sound, a fresh sound. I signed them up on the spot." He remembers that although he was sorry, he didn't think it was the end for Dusty when the hit-making Springfields later decided to split and go their own ways.
"I knew she had terrific potential," he told me, "and I decided right away to make a lot of titles with her and release an LP. One of the first solo songs we did was "'Wishin' and Hopin',' which was a terrific hit for her in the States. Even then she knew the kind of numbers she wanted to record. She had always been an avid disc collector. She really knew what was going on. In fact, Dusty is such a record lover, you could give her one great new American disc and it would probably mean more to her than if you gave her a Rolls Royce.
"Throughout my career I have been lucky to be associated in one way or another with some great artists . . . Anne Shelton, Vera Lynn, Frankie Vaughan, Ronnie Carroll, Shirley Bassey, and a lot of others, too. They all have that special something. And Dusty is no exception. I will say this. If Dusty had just made an absolutely sensational record, and she felt that by trying again she could get it just one percent better . . . then try again she would. She is such a perfectionist that sometimes she has been misunderstood by people who don't know her well.
"I have heard it said that she can be difficult, but what can you expect when she loves her music so much? So many artists get upset if they feel that the people around them are not getting things right. One of Dusty's greatest loves is the rhythm section — and she will often go over and make suggestions which, in the early days, some musicians resented. They knew it, and they weren't going to be told by a newcomer! Now? Now they don't take exception. They know that when she makes a suggestion, it's always a good one. She has an instinctive feel for her music."
When we spoke at Johnny's office (early in the day) he had been at a Dusty recording session which had gone on till ten to five in the morning. "We're both nightbirds," he smiled. "Dusty prefers to record at night and we take it from there. We just go on till we're happy with the result." He swivelled round to the record-player and let the tingling sound of "Goin' Back" soak through the room once again. "We also spend a lot of time putting the backing voices on, with Dusty and Madeline Bell and Lesley Duncun. They get a tremendous sound. Dusty sessions are quite hard work. She is pretty serious in the studio, and it's a good thing.
"Incidently, we're always pretty much in agreement about the material she records . . . whether I've found the song myself, or it's something she brought in. To tell the truth, I've a sneaking preference for Dusty singing a ballad, something like 'Who Can I Turn To.' On these she is magnificent — and there is no doubt that she is definitely emotionally affected when she sings a song like 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me.' At the same time, she has a fantastic love of rhythm and blues; and even if I sound biased, I think that in her field she does it better than anyone else in this country."
But things don't always go smoothly and professionally at the sessions, Johnny told me. There was the time a red-faced member of the studio staff dropped a whole armful of dishes just as Dusty was reaching a top note; and the time they were putting the finishing touches to "Goin' Back." Dusty and everyone else concerned went into the studios at 7 p.m., but at 1 a.m. they'd achieved nothing and they all went home. Thunder and lightning had been rumbling and flashing across the night shy . . . and with every bolt, the sound equipment crackled through the recording equipment. Now — who says Dusty Springfield's records aren't electrifying and magnetic?!
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:48 pm

#7 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~
Disc & Music Echo * September 24, 1966
Dusty changes her name to Gladys Thong!
PENNY VALENTINE

Who is Gladys Thong? This is the burning question of the moment. A bareback rider at the Chinese circus, or an illustrious Oriental spy of fiendish cunning? No indeed. Gladys Thong is Dusty Springfield. Or rather Dusty Springfield is Gladys Thong. Who What Where When? One may well ask. And one would be forgiven. The reason is simply that Dusty is given to suddenly popping up on other people's records in the most diverting manner. And because she is apt to do this on record labels other than her own, she signs her little piece of paper at the recording office: "Gladys Thong" — and all is well.
What a way to carry on, many people have said, eyebrows raised. This does not upset Dusty. She guests on records by "rivals," she says, because she wants to. "I'm very strong willed and I do backing voices just for a laugh and because I enjoy it, so why shouldn't I? It all started when I made some demo records for Doris Troy when she was here and then I started to sing on Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan and Kiki Dee's records. I don't see why I shouldn't. They sing on mine and we're all friends."
Other famed records that Dusty has appeared on, vocally incognito, are one by Chris Curtis and the latest Wee Willie Harris opus: "Someone's In The Kitchen With Diana." "The last one came up when I was sitting at home one evening doing my knitting. Madeline was on the session, and someone had to drop out because they were ill. 'Come along and have a laugh,' they said. So I did. No, it doesn't really make me cross when people ask me what I'm up to. I know what I'm up to. I'm doing what I love doing more than anything else — singing.
"The only thing that would upset me is if my manager Vic [Billings] or my recording manager Johnny [Franz] got cross and wrote little notes saying 'not again.' "People have said I'm looning around and I shouldn't be, but believe me, if I thought these jolly sessions would interfere with my own recordings or weaken my voice I wouldn't do them. But it takes a lot less effort doing 'yeah yeahs' than a proper session for yourself."
While unravelling this little saga, Dusty was waiting to do her spot on the Tom Jones TV show, calming her nerves at the prospect of doing cabaret in America, and bewailing the fact that she would have little time to cut a new LP before Christmas. "I've got such smashing ideas, I can't wait to get into the studio. Neither can Johnny, but there just isn't a moment to do anything. Philips are putting out an LP of my singles which I shall buy because I haven't GOT any of my singles! But I'm hoping nobody is going to make a big thing about it and treat it as a follow up LP to Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty.
"On my new one I'd like to do songs written by friends of mine and use that as the link-up. Lesley Duncan and Tom [Springfield] have written some beautiful stuff which I want to do, and of course some by Goffin and King and Burt Bacharach. No, nothing by yours truly. Well, I don't really see myself as a songwriter. I don't really like writing, even though Madeline and I have written the 'B' side to my latest single. I just don't get any good ideas and the ones I do get are pinched from other records. The only reason I write is for the money — oh mercenary creature!"
And with that Gladys Thong, singer extraordinary, went and had a cup of tea.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:51 pm

#8 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~
Melody Maker * 23 April 1966
Dusty Springfield: I Just Look For A Song That Suits Me
CHRIS WELCH

"YOU put a smell on me!" sang Dusty Springfield and Madeline Bell to an audience consisting of a monkey in a box. Dusty and Madeline were monkeying around at ITV's Ready Steady Go! studio at Wembley last Friday when a mysterious ape was delivered, without any accompanying note, by taxi. The driver refused to say who gave it to him, except that it was a present for Dusty. Said Dusty: "When they told me a monkey had arrived by taxi I imagined it sitting in the back seat reading a paper! But what are you supposed to feed baby monkeys? It's ever so nice but what can you do with it?"
It was altogether a hectic and exciting weekend for Dusty, culminating with her number one victory in the chart with 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' – her first number one. It was also Dusty's birthday on Saturday and the mystery monkey was just the first of a stream of presents and greetings. And on Monday when Dusty heard the news of her number one she said: "Whoopee, fabulous," and went back to sleep.
Dusty's hit song was an Italian entry in last year's San Remo song festival called 'Io Che Non Vivo Senza Te', and English lyrics were added by RSG! programme editor Vicki Wickham and Yardbirds' manager Simon Napier-Bell. Did Dusty think girl singers were veering away from machine-tooled pop songs to more specific material – songs written for something other than a pop single? Personally, I never think that way about songs. I just look for a song that suits me, and it doesn't matter what it was written for.
I look for something that stirs me, and if it's a raver or a ballad I've got to be crazy about the beat or the ballad. I chose 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' because it's commercial, and I've been crazy about it since I heard it first. It's good old schmaltz."
As one of the early soul stirrers – what happened to soul? "I'm still the biggest fan around of soul music. But now I think the fans are 80 per cent indiscriminate in their choice of so-called soul music. In the States, soul music is a thing apart from the rest of the scene, and they have special R&B charts etc. But here most of the records are bought by a few hippies."
Which American singers have influenced Dusty's style? "All sorts of people have influenced me, and I like so many, but I don't necessarily like all they do. I like a school of singers more than any one person, except possibly Baby Washington. But the indiscriminate choice of singers here is going to spoil the music. The so-called 'In Thing' is killing soul. Watch the kids cheering at a concert, and a lot of them don't know the good from the bad. I think the best and most authentic singer we have is Stevie Winwood," said Dusty. But she didn't elaborate on who she thought was the worst. "The same sort of thing is happening in America, too," said Dusty. "Listen to Mitch Ryder and you'll hear a lot of things going on in his voice. The Righteous Brothers, of course, were the first white singers who could get a coloured sound. Perhaps they were influenced by what was happening in Britain, but they'll do it better and probably take over."
It was time for Dusty to sing her hit on RSG! and she cast aside monkeys and reporters to go to work. As soon as Dusty entered the studio her star presence caused a buzz of excitement. Said an American bystander: "She seems to be the star here – like Frank Sinatra."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:52 pm

#9 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~
TEEN TRENDS Magazine * January 1966
The Busy Life of Dusty Springfield

Her real name's O'Brien it is — Irish-Scottish descent, and there's an overworked but apt Celtic word for the witchery which perfectly describes her . . . glamour. She's 5'3", has green eyes, is 23, and weighs — "Help, I'm overweight, it's terrible" — 112 lbs. She decided while still in school that there's always Room at the Top and set right out to move up. And move up she has — to become one of England's top 3 singing stars. Not only her vibrant voice but her personality qualifies her as the female version of the current image of "hip". Part of this image is due to an elusive quality of unpredictability, of pleasant surprise and psychological double-take on the part of her audience. Just when you think you've got her pegged . . .
For instance, she comes on stage dressed in simple and almost severe chic like a cool, sophisticated chanteuse. Then she opens her lovely mouth and proceeds to belt out a number stadium style. When you meet her in person she is strangely foreign-looking. Then, suddenly, she speaks to you sweetly in a voice surprisingly clipped, refined and distinctly British. "I hate work," she says, which is a bit of a shocker coming from such an obviously hard-working, career-dedicated young beauty. Then she adds, "But I love singing. I want to sing the songs I like and absolutely make other people like them too." She doesn't intend to stay where she is, enviable as her position may be. She wants to keep developing as a singer, try all sorts of new material, pioneer into different types of vocal challenge.
Work-hater or not she seems to devote practically every waking moment to her career. Playing down her own contribution to the success of Dusty Springfield she says she has had "all the breaks," having been lucky enough to find just the right people to help her. Of these she places first and foremost Vic Billings her manager and closest personal friend. Romance? No one knows. "I suppose some people manage to have a successful career and marriage too . . . I'm sure I couldn't." Then just when you're gulping that down she adds, ". . . But I'll probably try." This chick is full of surprises.
She rather puts a damper on inquiries into her after-hours life, parties and like that. "I am not fun-loving," she announces. While you're trying to rephrase the question tactfully, laughs abruptly and relents. "Of course I like parties," she says, "the right kind, that is — small, congenial, informal — with music. I need music at a party. Must have it." Actually, her professional day-and-night schedule leaves her very little time for parties at this point — ". . . or men," she adds with a brief sigh. As for men, intelligence, humor and companionship attract her more than the "desperately masculine" type, out to prove something which shouldn't need proof, at least in public.
Like so many attractive females she has doubts about her appearance. "My nose is too long," she says. Well, it's rumored Cleoplatra's was, too, but she did all right. She finds all sorts of fault with her face and figure but doesn't have much luck finding people to agree with her. However, she's not vehement about it. Just matter-of-fact. She doesn't put herself down in a neurotic way, though. She takes great pride in her vocal style and skill as a performer. She knows what she has and is determined to use it to the utmost. She likes startling contrasts in clothes, such as black with shocking pink.
There is a peculiar quality of individuality about her. Though very much a product of the 60's she carries with her an aura of the decade before she was born — the fabulous 30's. This was the era that created glamorous individual women who set a distinctive note and copied no one. One thinks of Harlow, Lombard, Shearer, Dietrich and Garbo. There's no conscious imitation of course! Dusty's completely involved in her own time and place. But the impression remains.
She was born in London and had a convent education. Her father works for the income tax bureau her brother is a writer, her aunt does social work. She lives on dull, respectable Baker Street. "My face and middle-class background were my greatest handicaps in starting out. The upper and lower classes are uninhibited; the middle class is too restricted." She began singing with her brother's group, the Springfields, and when that broke up, she decided to solo. Since then she has had an enormous amount of success which shows no sign of letting up.
"If you had to do it all over again, would you do it any differently?" she was queried. She smiled. "That's a question for Marlene Dietrich. Come back in fifty years." Thanks, Dusty. We will.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby paula » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:39 pm

wow..welcome back, geraldine and THANKS for all the words!
I started reading but will return to catch up when I have more time. [:)]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:47 pm

#10 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
2 on the Buddy Rich 'episode'

NME * November 11, 1966
Disappointed Dusty
ALAN SMITH

It was the date that meant so very, very much to Dusty Springfield. She spent weeks rehearsing and choosing the right arrangements, determined to make her opening night at America's famed Basin Street East last Thursday one of the biggest moments of her career. But if Dusty's blood is boiling now, it has every bubbling right to be. Through no fault of her own (American columnists report), Britain's top girl singer was thrown right into a complete fiasco that was an insult to her both as a lady and as an entertainer.
New York critic Frank Farrell reported: "What happened to Dusty shouldn't have happened to the British ambassador. When her spot was about to begin, much of the impact was taken away by a long, long list of introductions of stars in the audience . . . Tony Bennett, The Lovin' Spoonful, and so on.
"When Dusty's introduction came, it was a dismaying throwaway that must have been the worst ever accorded to a star from another country. The facts seem to indicate that some sort of cold war was going on backstage. Britain's acclaimed songbird is supposed to be the star of the extravaganza with top billing, but bandman Buddy Rich and his crew somehow were under the impression that they should have the top spot.
"There was also a Mexican quintet called Los Vegas which went on first and overstayed their welcome by holding the stage for an hour. Then came Buddy Rich and his crew for another hour. And the parade of between-acts celebrities chewed up another 45 minutes. Miss Springfield must have been biting her nails waiting for her turn. What Basin Street East needs is a platoon of commandos — to tell the acts when to get on, and especially when to get off."

NME * November 18, 1966
Dusty Has Four-Letter Word For Buddy!
ALAN SMITH

"A four-letter word is what I would use to describe Mr. Buddy Rich", a sad-sounding Dusty Springfield told me in a call from America to the NME this week. Dusty was ringing to give me her own version of the chaotic events which have marred her debut at Basin Street East. Appearing at the venue meant so much to Dusty that she went over to the States two weeks early just to prepare. "But for some reason best known to himself," she told me, "Buddy Rich refused to let his band rehearse with me until the afternoon before the show! I had two hours to work out 14 new arrangements. I could have cried. I can't understand the man. We haven't had a row: he just doesn't want to talk to me. I even heard him tell his band not to put too much effort into playing for me, in case they tired themselves out. I think they've been ignoring him, though, because since the opening night things are a lot better. And the band itself is fantastic. But I still think of that four-letter word . . ."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:52 pm

#11 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Melody Maker * 1968
DUSTY: The Music Maker Interview

Her irresistible name had a lot to do with it. But her voice certainly wasn't a handicap. The rise to international success of Dusty Springfield, world poll winner, is a model fairy-tale story. Here, at last, is Britain's powerful answer to the "coloured sound". And happily, her personality matches her professional artistry. Dusty is that rare bird — a singer who knows music well, a singer who has to believe in a song before recording it. A singer with soul. Her dedication to work is amazing. Her reputation in music circles can be summarised in three important words: Anything WON'T do!" Exactly how she thinks of herself as a singer and as a person; why she expects a lot from people involved in making music with her; what she thinks of the state of the pop world — these, and many more subjects, are covered in the first Music Maker Interview.

Q: Are you a part-throwing, fun-loving "goon" as some of your publicity would have us believe?
I don't goon around a lot, and I don't think my private life comes into my public image a great deal. If a rolled drunkenly around the West End it would be a different matter, and I'd expect people to get annoyed and brand me. The press is generally more inaccurate in its stories about me than accurate: one small bread roll becomes a meat pie or a cheese pie. I don't exactly go round all the time hurling cream cakes at people, you know!

Q: But do you enjoy your reputation for goonish humour?
If people think of me as a light-hearted goon, I'm quite happy — they'd be right to think there is a slightly nutty streak inside me. But let's forget it: self-analyis on this kind of thing sounds so pompous.

Q: Are you nervous when you're working?
If I'm on tour I worry a lot about being heard. There are so many bad amplification systems. No, not very nervous as such. More nervous when I'm without my own backing group — when the Echoes aren't with me it's an "Oh, dear — let's get out of this place" nervousness!

Q: Are you superstitious?
Not really, but I always walk under ladders. I have this thing about trying to be different from everyone else. I do definitely believe in the "little people" — odd Irish whims keep coming back to me now and then.

Q: How important is what you wear to your performances?
Probably fifty percent — yes, as much as that. Preparation of dresses, and choosing, takes a long, long time before shows.

Q: Do you choose everything personally?
I select a lot of my clothes, and for really important things, like a TV series, the choosing is done by a pooling of ideas. Actually, I bought all my dresses for my BBC-TV series off-the-peg, and they were all made by Darnell of London (plug!). I'm very bad with dresses — I don't switch around enough. I wear and wear them until they're worn out.

Q: Would marriage affect your popularity?
Probably. I'd never thought about it that way.

Q: Would you appear before racially segregated audiences?
I would never agree to, but if I was faced with a situation where the circumstances were different from what the contract said — in other words, that I'd asked for non-segregation and faced a segregated audience that night — then I'd be really torn apart, wondering which way to go. Refusing to go on would be bad, but appearing would also be bad. It would be wrong both ways. This has happened. It's agony.

Q: What do you think of the statement that you are Britain's answer to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan?
It's a very nice thing to hear, but it is misguided. I cannot do anything like either of them, because I have no application for it. I'm not a born improviser unless there's a lot of atmosphere going — then I'll rave with the best of them.

Q: Who is your biggest influence as a singer now?
I like to listen to Aretha Franklin, but I could never be influenced by her because her range is so staggering. I'm not a great record player, you know. I still get most kicks out of good gospel, Motown or good Latin-American.

Q: When you consider a new single, or songs for a new LP, what is uppermost in your thoughts — the words, the tune or the songwriter?
Basically the tune is most important. I'm most interested in melodic content, then the lyric — although it's hard to draw the line when you consider that with "Goin' Back" it was mainly lyric. When I hear a great tune, I think first of the chords running behind it — that's what makes it for me. If everything sounds lovely and right, I get a real churning, exciting feeling inside. I know this sounds funny, but it's definitely a personal thing. I also get great excitement out of a good, solid beat, or schmaltz. Oh, let's face it, I'm an old ham!

Q: What sort of performance takes most out of you — TV, concert, recording session?
Recording sessions are the most exacting. I worry most in the studio because I think that nine out of ten times I could have done better and I know I've got to like for ever with what has been recorded. Making records is a very big responsibility for everyone.

Q: When you left the Springfields to go solo, did you deliberately set out to achieve the coloured sound?
I started out copying every coloured voice I heard, but I've settled down a lot now. I'm still influenced by some, especially when I hear new records. Today, I am no longer consciously striving to get a coloured sound. If that's what it is, it comes naturally. The other night Ike Turner was listening to some of my early tracks and I had terrible trouble persuading him that I don't sing like that any more. I felt so awful listening to some of my excruciating early stuff that I wished the floor would open so I could drop through it!

Q: Which recording of yours are you most satisfied with, and why?
It's a split between three. "Some Of Your Lovin'", because I like the words and I've always considered it such a pretty song. "Goin Back", because I love the lyrics and the orchestra was something beautiful. And "I Had A Talk With My Man", from my LP. This could easily be my favourite because it has a nice atmosphere and I was pleased with the sound.

Q: And your pet hates?
Ho ho! "Stay Awhile" and "In The Middle Of Nowhere". I suppose they were right at the time for hit sounds, but looking back, they were probably the worst. They have made no lasting contribution to my career, and I have a real hate relationship with them. I also have a pretty strong loathing for "Your Hurtin' Kind Of Love". It was done in such a rush, but that's no excuse. Records are terrifying things, in a way. If you do a rotten performance, you can try to forget and hope some others will forget. But make a bad record and it's there forever. There's something terribly final about them.

Q: It's said that at your recording sessions, you are very difficult to please — moody with musicians, insisting on take after take. Why are you so fastidious? Do you regard session musicians as inferior when employed in pop?
If it isn't right first time, it just has to be done again. I don't see what's fastidious about that. And I usually find that whatever they say about me afterwards, the musicians admit I have a point. They'll probably grumble like hell in the corner, but the relationship is pretty good generally. I know the boys by their first names, and they know mine. We get along pretty well.

Q: But what is so special about your requirements that makes it so long a session sometimes? Do you find session men in Britain don't have the "feel" for the sounds you're after?
They can become involved, but sometimes it isn't their kind of music. Some of them are backing me because they are out to make a living. There's nothing wrong in this, but sometimes it makes it harder to get what I want. And if they don't want to sit in a band playing pop, they shouldn't be there doing it — unless they're prepared to give what's wanted of them.

Q: Where would you say some of the session men fail, as far as your recordings are concerned?
I would say there's a singular lack of "feel" for what I can only describe as "funk". We can produce the most marvellous big, fat sounds, but we seem incapable of producing the sort of loose, uninhibited sort of funk that, say, Motown gets. But I don't expect we can ever achieve it, because it comes naturally to them. My trouble is that I want Detroit moving to London.

Q: Why is Tamla-Motown having such mammoth revival of success now?
People are wising up to the fact that it is professional, rehearsed and musical. It may be a repetitive sound sometimes, but it is a lovely mixture of primitive beat and real sophistication. I can only assume that Motown's recent successes have followed from the growing interest in soul music generally. It can get a little complicated, and when this happens it's sometimes uncommercial. But to me, there's no better sound in pop.

Q: Can Tamla's sounds change — and should they?
They're beginning to move now — flutes and piccolos on the Four Tops' "Reach Out I'll Be There". It used to be only brass. Motown will change — they're too clever and too talented to stand still. And the fans will stay with them, I hope.

Talking of fans — what sort of responsibility do you think a star owes to his or her fans? Aside from entertainment, do you think a star should try to exert opinions on the public?
An artist's responsibility to fans takes two sides, I think. To entertain. And to keep up a respectable appearance. I think fans try to see you as they imagine you.

Q: What are your thoughts when you are on stage?
I find the best technique is to be immersed in the song. Of course, it can vary — if I'm on a tour, for instance, then doing the same songs night after night I find myself wondering where I should put my hands, or am I standing on the right foot! When you are tired on tour, you have to be on guard against staleness.

Q: Would you like to make a film?
Yes. But not a second-rate musical. I'd like to do a nutty film — something like a "B" film, and something that would make me appear as I really am. If I got a good script, I'd love to have a go. "The Knack" sort of thing — that would be nice.

Q: What is your favourite instrument?
I'll answer that by saying what's the most important instrument to me as a singer. Bass guitar. It's so important these days. Get a good bass guitar and it's the background to a good sound. We can't get anywhere near the sounds you hear on records by people like James Brown, or Ike and Tina, but I'm happy with the bass guitar in my own group, the Echoes.

Q: How do you rate the present state of the pop world — the charts, the scene generally?
It's a very healthy sign that so many good American records are returning to the charts. On the other hand, I hope it doesn't get to the stage where we accept anything just because it's from the States. That's how it was a few years ago. It would be gorgeous to have a lovely mixture. Right now, the best kind of American pop is coming in. You always get bad stuff with it, but the good stuff is so good.

What's your future?
In Britain, one can only go so far. I'll probably do more cabaret. The ideal thing seems to be to model myself internationally in the same way that Petula Clark has done — walking a very clever tightrope between various countries. I'd like to work both here and in the States regularly, with occasional appearances on the Continent. I'm very happy because the age group of my fans runs from five-year-olds to seventy-year-olds.

Q: How do you know that — do you read all your fan mail?
No, but I read an awful lot of it. I read every press cutting, though — and I'm just wondering what ghastly headline you're going to put on this lot!
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:54 pm

#12 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
NME * 6 July 1968
Dusty Says 'I Want To Hit Back'
KEITH ALTHAM

Dusty Springfield would, I was informed, like to "hit back!" Now this did not sound like the fun-loving lass I knew of old. A skilfully placed over-head lob with a cream doughnut or a half-volley with a teapot yes! But Dusty of an acid verbal variety was something to be seen and heard. And so I sallied forth to the Lime Grove studios where Miss Springfield espied me in the canteen and quoth: "I wanna talk to you." So to the privacy of the dressing room from which the name plate had been removed to repel boarders and the table littered with cosmetics from Dusty's portable make-up department.
The subject at hand was Dusty's current ATV series, Must Be Dusty of which there has been much adverse criticism. "And quite right too," said Dusty with lowered lips. "I didn't produce it and all I can say is that I tried my best and channelled as much energy into it as the previous series. But there are certain systems that I can't fight and I can't fight that particular one. There was a total lack of imagination about the whole series and although I don't like to bring politics into it – the other two series were with another company (BBC) – and I hope to be doing the next series back with the old firm. I'll never work for the other one again I'll tell you that!"
And that as they say is that. On to far more pleasant things which include the emergence of a fine new single from Dusty, 'I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten'. "Clive Westlake wrote the song for me – he wrote 'All I See You Is You' and 'Losing You', with my brother Tom. It was around for some time and I was dashing about and never actually heard it until he finally got it to me personally. It affected me immediately as a possible single – it had a lot to do with the demonstration record he made. He always makes beautiful demos and plays the piano on them!" I put it tactfully that as her last single did not do as much as she hoped ("It was a flop, folks," emphasised Dusty brightly) was the success of this record even more important? "Yes, it's very good for me ego. I certainly have not got to the stage where I can do without hit records. I can exist without them but I would rather not!"
Dusty is about to become managerless when her contract finishes a few weeks from now with Vic Billings. What kind of organisation is she to have to guide her career from then? "At the moment everything is being handled by Harold Davison and very well, too. I feel very safe in that environment. In the States I have a business manager who is a lawyer, who looks at contracts and sees that I don't get 'conned' – too much. I don't feel a desperate need for a personal manager at the moment."
How difficult has it been for Dusty to find the right material and has the long time between singles been because of this difficulty? "It really is enormously difficult," said Dusty, "And I have waited a long time for this song – I was so lucky to get it. Jim Webb is said to be writing some things for me. I met him and got to know him a little. It would be marvellous if he did write something."
The nice thing about Dusty and there is more than one is that she retains that nervous, quietly spoken and sensitive manner when you meet her. Nice, because for someone who is so professional and played to so many huge audiences she might be forgiven for becoming blase. She is particularly concerned that the fans should not misunderstand her American activities. "I've done quite a lot of TV in America and I really enjoy trying to get through to the college kids," said Dusty, "but because I leap off to work there occasionally does not mean I'm going to stay there. Some of the kids who write to me get very upset about it and it's very flattering, but really I'm staying and to prove it I've just bought a house here which is something I've been wanting for ages."
At the moment the preparations for her Talk of the Town season are "tearing" her up and in spite of the best laid plans – "all has been left to the last minute and I'm in my usual panic." Is she planning new things to do? "Yes, to which the critics will probably say why doesn't she stick to singing. It's no great departure but having flung myself around the stage for fifty minutes last time and had the critics say 'She's too static' I shall probably nail both my feet to the floor this time." Intrigued by Dusty doing things other than singing I persisted into enquiring of her new act. Dusty smiled, "Well I do a little juggling and then there's the trampoline – leaping gnome, folks." That's more like the original article.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:56 pm

#12 1/2 ;) from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Disc And Music Echo * November 2, 1968
The Penalty Of Being A Star . . . She Cries Once A Day
PENNY VALENTINE

On November 5, 1968, Dusty Springfield celebrates five years as a solo star. In that time she has traveled over 360,000 miles, worn over 50 special dresses at 250 pounds each; made 16 singles and four LPs; appeared before the most super-critical audiences in the world — and come to terms with life. Although she denies it, she's worked harder in a concentrated period of time than any other British singer. And in the five years she gained a reputation for being witty, charming, difficult, fussy and stubborn. She has made a lot of money and she has had a lot of strain and worry. She is very emotional and, on her own admission, now cries about once a day out of sheer exhaustion.
Dusty left the Springfields in 1963. "I was frightened with I split. Not because of any extra responsibility — I didn't lean on the boys as much as people thought, in fact most of the time I had to get THEM organized — but because it's quite a thing to suddenly split away from a successful team. Being on your own isn't so bad. You can say "I'll be at this place at such and such a time,' and you know you will be. You don't turn up wondering if everyone else will make it in time to go on stage." Since then Dusty has done cabaret in Australia, New York, Las Vegas, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Canada; two appearances at Talk of the Town in London' Royal Variety Performances; London Palladium; countless TV's and endless slogs round the Northern cabaret circuits. But this year has been the effort to beat all others — including the now famous recording sessions with Atlantic Records in Memphis.
"I'm sure I've worked as hard as I have this year but it wasn't so pressurized. The past few months have been very hard. To say I cry once a day sounds sloppy but it can be more — it's just the strain. You have to have a release. Half of it is self-inflicted. I get in a ridiculous panic over things that always get done eventually. It's just when I look at what must be done I think 'Oh there's no TIME', and flap like mad. And I still have this fear of losing my voice. I can go on and one and win through so long as that doesn't happen. If my voice does go it's the end — I get very demoralized and I'm finished. The reason it goes is because I use it the wrong way on stage. I have no technique and I breathe very badly. People like Aretha Franklin can sing for ever because they've had church or operatic training. I can be in the middle of my act and realize I'm not breathing properly, but I'm so intent in getting over to the audience I forget about it."
In five years Dusty considers she has learned by her mistakes. The outcome is that she is way of what she says and that she had a very large suspicion of what she calls "pop politics". "I don't think the public realizes how much pressure is put on artists by certain parts of the management. Eventually you have to comply with this business of being "a good girl". I've probably complied a lot less than many other poor singers in the business. The whole set up is terrible and in America it's even worse. For instance, I did a pantomime in Liverpool which I really didn't want to do because they said "If you do the pantomime you can do this,' and 'this' happened to be my first 'Talk of the Town" season which I knew I really NEEDED for my career. I have dug my heels in an awful lot. I think people have this impression of me as being soft and malleable, which I'm not. I can be very difficult if I really want to.
"I don't see why 20 weeks in the summer at Blackpool should be dangled in front of your nose like a carrot as a great reward. It isn't. I really resent this treatment — it's very bad for one's pride. But after five years you are increasingly able to turn a blind eye to it. Sometimes I get disgusted with myself for doing this. It used to make me fume — but you give up after a while. And I'm lucky to have a good agent like Dick Katz who will really sit down and discuss with me the things I want to do."
Earlier this year Dusty made the surprise decision of splitting with her manager Vic Billings. She now has sole responsibility for her career. "Now I'm worried by petty things I wasn't before. Like bills and stupidity — five people ringing me from the BBC one after the other asking exactly the same thing. I like only have to answer to myself for what I do but I find the financial side a strain. Of course I want to make money — but I don't like those piece of paper they keep throwing at me!" In the pop business a girl out on her own always has to have what the business calls an "image". Cilla and Lulu have a jolly "girl next door" one. Sandie works on her sex angle, Dusty, more sophisticated, has one that has fallen, for some reason almost despite herself, into the "Hollywood Star" category.
"It bothers me that this panda-eyed, immovable bee-hive image has stuck with me from the beginning — even though it's not true anymore. And because of what people have written about me I've become, against my will, much less open and frank with most people. It upsets me because I've become suspicious. I often wonder if in five years time Julie Driscoll who has been saying some very frank and open things lately, will suffer by having something she's said now in a joke taken from the files and used seriously and out of all proportion. I don't want to be tight fisted — it's stupid. I want to be honest very much. The image of being a sad neurotic lady worries me. Of course I had sadness in me, everyone does. But I'm not as neurotic as people imagine. You know I can remember, when nearly every interview, I used to plead: 'Please don't make me sound sad and moody.' Because really — I'm not."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:26 am

Next up, just a handful of articles from the 70s, then quite a few from the 80s & a lot from the 90s. Beyond that, I also plan to upload a bunch of media from the Oughts, but these are mainly articles that celebrate Dusty (a.k.a. NO Lee Everett!).

I'd respond to the request for personal memories about St Anne's & the NME concert, but perhaps this particular Subject Line is not quite the place.

One more thing: As once-upon-a-time DustyMailers know, I also have a flurry of articles written in the wake of dear Dusty's death. But here, too, my inclination is to post the tributes, not the tabloids.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:29 am

#14 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Evening Standard * September 1970
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD
RAY CONNOLLY

Dusty Springfield looks as though she’s playing at doctor-during-consulting-hours sitting in a white walled room at Philips Records, meeting the all and sundry members of the musical press. I’ve never met her before, and the first thing she says is: ‘You’re sinister. Would you mind if I go to the loo before we start?’ And then with her tassles tinkling like summer 1967, she goes off down the corridor in a Mini-Ha-Ha embroidered suit, and wearing a great chunk of fancy iron and brass work around her neck which looks like something she might have pinched off a Russian Orthodox altar.
She’s thirty and hasn’t really had a big hit record for some quite considerable time. It’s a cliché but it’s true. Pop does have an awful lot of obsolescence hanging over it. She’s still singing as well as ever, dreamy and romantic, and I like her very much, but the public aren’t buying her records in the volume they used to. Her new one is called ‘How Can I Be Sure?’ and was originally a hit in America for the Rascals. She’ll be surprised if it’s a hit for her in Britain.
‘That,’ she says, ‘comes from a backlog of doubts in myself because the last few records have gone wrong. And I’m always a bit surprised to sell records anyway. It would be a souring experience if I were not to have any more hits, but I would survive. It would be a test of character for me. I very seldom think about it, but if it did happen I’d probably get out unless I could find some other direction to go in. I don’t particularly want to be a cabaret type of entertainer. Whether or not I could be defeated into accepting that type of existence I don’t know.’
She’s plumper than I’d expected (‘I’m nine stone and I should be eight-two or eight-four. But I’m too lazy to bother about slimming’), and amazingly she still apparently buys her eyelashes by the yard, and mascara by the hundredweight. Her eyes aren’t as black as they were, she insists, looking short-sightedly through a pinkish coloured Perspex ruler at me. ‘This,’ she squints, ‘is the best colour in the world. It’s really erotic. I supposed I’ve got very erotic tastes. I like purple and magenta and all the tarty colours. I don’t wear them any more. I should go back to them because I’ve become very sedate. I’m all talk and no action. I’ve been very un-newsworthy recently. Haven’t been throwing any custard pies at anyone or anything.’
She was brought up a Catholic but never goes to Mass now. ‘It’s about six years since I made my Easter Duties. My mother’s going to love this. I still think that because I don’t go to confession I’m going to go to hell but I haven’t really done anything evil. I’m just lazy and self-indulgent.’ She’s a strange lady of contradictions. She wants me to send her a copy of an old Maureen Cleave article but she won’t give me her address. She never gives it, she insists, and then in the next breath tells me. She has a pretty, lumpy little face which looks best when she smiles. I notice she has a big shiny grey filling in her pre-molar bottom left. Her hair is the colour of dried leaves. I think she’s a bit sad, but she says no, not at all. The last thing she wants is to be pitied. Only occasionally, when she needs someone to lean on is she lonely. Much of the time she shares her house with songwriter/painter Norma Tanega.
She is concerned that whatever I may ask her will make her sound conceited. So I suggest that she tells me her little vices, and with an enthusiasm which is almost self-destructive, she sets about it, giggling from time to time at her own ability to rattle me. ‘Well, I don’t pick my nose, but I burp like everyone else. I don’t cut my toe nails, but I pull at them and tear them off. And I’m promiscuous. Not often, but when I am, I really am. I’m not a nymphomaniac. In fact, I could do with a lot more action really. I think my laziness even spreads so far. It’s an effort to be promiscuous. I don’t mean that I leap into bed with someone special every night, but my affections are easily swayed and I can be very unfaithful. It’s fun while it’s happening, but it’s not fun afterwards because I’m filled with self-recriminations. The truth is I’m just very easily flattered by people’s attentions, and after a couple of vodkas I’m even more flattered.’ She’s giggling a lot now. ‘I suppose to say I’m promiscuous is a bit of bravado on my part. I think it’s more in thought than in action. I’ve been that way ever since I discovered the meaning of the word. I used to go to confession and tell all my impure thoughts.’
Suddenly she becomes serious again, and begins to space her words out carefully and thoughtfully. ‘There’s one thing that’s always annoyed me – and I’m going to get into something nasty here. But I’ve got to say it, because so many other people say I’m bent, and I’ve heard it so many times that I’ve almost learned to accept it. I don’t go leaping around to all the gay clubs but I can be very flattered. Girls run after me a lot and it doesn’t upset me. It upsets me when people insinuate things that aren’t true. I couldn’t stand to be thought of as a big butch lady. But I know that I’m as perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy. More and more people feel that way and I don’t see why I shouldn’t.
‘There was someone on television the other night who admitted that he swings either way. I suppose he could afford to say it, but I, being a pop singer, shouldn’t even admit that I might think that way. But if the occasion arose I don’t see why I shouldn’t. And yet, I get such a charge out of walking down a street and having a guy who’s digging the road give me a whistle. This business makes me feel very unwomanly sometimes and I love to be admired just for being a woman. I don’t feel masculine. If I did I’d have more drive. But being a woman is very precious to me, and that’s probably why I could never get mixed up in a gay scene because it would be bound to undermine my sense of being a woman. I’ve had this reputation for years, but I don’t know how I got it. I’m always hearing that I’ve been to this gay club and that gay club. But I haven’t. I sometimes wonder if it would be nice to live up to my reputation. I got raided the other day by the police. But they didn’t find any drugs. I’ve hardly ever smoked as a matter of fact. As it happens I think I know who tipped them off, and it relates to what I’ve been saying. There was a rather hysterical lady who was upset because I didn’t fancy her. I think it was her.’
She is not involved with anyone at the moment, and I wonder if she fears that she may never have a family. ‘I don’t know whether I want children or not,’ she says. ‘The urge to reproduce is always there, of course, but then I think “what for?” I probably wouldn’t be a terribly good mother. It would be great spasmodic moods of affection which don’t last and that wouldn’t be very stable. I would like children psychologically and physically, although there’s something which stops me from just reproducing. But there has to be something more than what I do. There just has to be something more for me.’
I offer to take her home and out we go through the doors past the Philips records executives who smile and wave goodbye to their lady star in great hearty fashion. ‘D’you realise,’ she laughs, ‘what I’ve just said could put the final seal to my doom. I don’t know, though. I might attract a whole new audience.’

POSTSCRIPT Dusty Springfield was then, and remains, one of my favourite singers. She was one of the true witty originals of the Sixties with a beautiful voice and I hope she never regretted saying some of the things printed in this piece.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:39 am

#15 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
This article was conducted by Fong-Torres for Rolling Stone in 1973, but not published ~ I love this article.

allmusic.com * September 1999
Dusty Springfield: 'That Noise is the Joy . . . '
BEN FONG-TORRES

IT WAS just one of those things. I interviewed Dusty Springfield for two hours in Beverly Hills one afternoon in May, 1973, for Rolling Stone. She was feeling down in the dumps, unhappy with her latest album and uncertain about her musical direction, but we had a good time, talking in her apartment, in a car, and at a Mexican restaurant. I never wrote the story. I'm not sure why. It may have been the press of other articles, or it may have been her album, Cameo. It was doing a quick fade by the time we got together, and, although critics were kind to her, Dusty declared herself "embarrassed" by the album. She would have her day in Rolling Stone; just under a different byline.
Dusty, born in London in 1939, died on March 2nd after a long battle against breast cancer. She died on the eve of her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As I searched for my tapes of our interview, her music came readily to mind. And what a range she covered, from the rip-roaring 'I Only Want to Be With You' in 1964 (Dusty was the first British female to hit the charts during the British Invasion) to dramatic ballads ('You Don't Have to Say You Love Me') and pop tunes by turns silly and sultry ('Wishin' and Hopin'', 'The Look of Love'). She infused soul into all her work, and her 1968 album, Dusty in Memphis, which contained the hit, 'Son of a Preacher Man', is still considered her masterpiece.
She was successful, influential, and beloved. The Pet Shop Boys called on her to costar in their 1987 recording of 'What Have I Done to Deserve This?', she received the Order of the British Empire award in January, and Elton John did the honors at her posthumous Hall of Fame induction in mid-March. But, despite the praise, she was deeply insecure, and self-critical to the extreme.
On the day we met, she was charming, joking about her "mishmash" of an outfit, from a floppy hat from London through clattering Moroccan necklaces to what she called "apologetic platforms." Born Mary Catherine Isabel Bernadette O'Brien, she said she was known as "Pudge" as a kid. She spoke with intensity about her battles to make music on her own terms. But she also broke up, laughing, when she got to recalling food fights in the good old days. Here are excerpts from our day together.

DUSTY ON DUSTY IN MEMPHIS:
I hated it for a long time, and then I liked it. I don't like all of it.
Q: Why did you hate it?
I just didn't like the mix. The songs, I liked. I had lots to do with choosing them. I don't know what went wrong. They just couldn't find more material for me; they didn't know what to do with me. I didn't like 'Son of a Preacher Man'. I knew it was a hit song, but I didn't like the record; I liked the other side ('Just a Little Lovin'').
Q: What was the overall experience of recording in Memphis?
That really threw me. I wasn't used to working with just a rhythm section – with sweetening afterwards, and I was very unhappy. I'm the kind of singer that wants to bounce off the whole . . . setup.
Q: You mean, you want the string section, the whole orchestra there?
Yeah, I want to hear them coming thru those [headphones]. I just want one date, you go in there, and you hear all these gorgeous sounds in your ears. One day someone's going to invent a system where a singer can just stand in the middle of the studio and have that noise. That noise is the joy, and the joy gets rid of the inhibition, and makes me sing the best way I can sing.
Q: After Memphis, you did A Brand New Me in Philadelphia with two great producers, Gamble and Huff – Kenny and Leon. What did you think of the album?
I was disappointed. While I was making it, I was entranced, because I loved the musicians and the way they played. But the end result wasn't really exciting. I was trying things that really weren't in me. For example, there's a song called 'Let's Get Together' or something. It needed a much more loose singer. When Kenny sang it, teaching it to me, he sounded terrific, natural. I had to think about it a lot, and it sounded like it. I loved them very much, but the kind of music they like takes a lot of improvisation, and I'm not that kind of singer. Basically I'm a melodic singer; it's hard for me to adlib.

ON SONGWRITERS
Q: Do you have any favorite composers?
I like to listen to Randy Newman. Valerie Simpson writes great. Holland-Dozier-Holland. I think 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' is a great song. There must be other people that I like. Name me some people.
Q: Carole King...
I love Carole King! I used to collect Carole King demos, from the beginning. [GM: The Carole King Demos CD is a blast. But it.] I think she's fantastic, just fantastic. 'Might as Well Rain (Until September)'. Loved that song. There was a song, 'Goin' Back', that she wanted me to do, that she didn't want anyone else to do. I did 'Goin' Back' in England, and it's got fantastic orchestration, and I was proud of it. Another one of hers is 'Some of Your Lovin''. I was so happy with that, with Doris Troy and Madeline Bell in the background, and it was a hit. She was happy with it too. She really loved it.

ON HER FIRST MUSIC
As a child, I heard classical and some New Orleans, Jelly Roll Morton. I picked up what my brother played. Tom's a songwriter. He wrote 'Georgy Girl'.
Q: When did you start to sing?
When I was very small. I was very interested in film musicals – especially 20th Century Fox. My brother and I would set up a broadcast system, neighbors would come in and sit in one room, we'd sing and play piano in the other room.
Q: You sang with another group, even did a little television work, before Tom formed the Springfields in 1961.
The Springfields happened at the right time. We were an extraordinary mixture of pseudo-country, folk . . . indescribable, I would put it. There were two guitars and me in the middle trying to find room to move my arms. I felt like I was directing traffic.
Q: The Springfields hit with 'Silver Threads and Golden Needles', and then you went solo and got a reputation for sounding black.
When I first started, I copied every black singer. One week I was Baby Washington, next week I was the lead singer of the Shirelles. You know, I had no style at all. I never pretended to be black, and I didn't really sound black. People put that label on me. It was only an influence. There were just certain things in it; an empathy, whatever you like. I listened to Motown – early Motown. The Contours, Mary Wells. In London, I was a host of a show called The Motown Revue, an hour special. I was the only white artist on it, with the Miracles, the Temptations, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, the Vandellas. Also, I played the Brooklyn Fox for a Murray the K show with literally a Motown revue.
Q: Your first Top Ten hit in the United States was 'Wishin' and Hopin'', which, in retrospect, was pretty sexist.
Yeah, but I don't see that at all. Nothing. I have a blank spot. That people can see that [sexism] is absolutely amazing. Because I don't think in those terms.
Q: That was the followup to 'I Only Want to Be With You'.
I just knew it was a hit, and did it. I didn't think about the lyrics at all. But my god, I did think about the lyrics of 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me'. I heard that song a year beforehand, in Italian, in San Remo, and cried. When that happens to me, I know it's going to work.
Q: 'The Look of Love' certainly worked both in the movie, Casino Royale, and on the radio.
Musicians tell me they liked 'The Look of Love', but I hit so many flat notes on it! I did it at 10 o'clock in the morning.

ON BEING DEMANDING
During the Springfields era, I found that to speak my mind was the best thing. When I did my first sessions for Philips Records, I had a kind of recording manager who allowed me to take over. All the hit records I had in England were found, produced, almost promoted by me. I never took any credit. It wasn't fashionable for women to have credit. Now it's very fashionable. But I did the whole bloody lot myself! If you knew how hard it was to work for Philips . . . Every damn thing was against you. Changing promotion men, each one was worse than the other.
Q: How'd you rise above it?
My strength can transcend that kind of shit. I really can do that.
Q: What's your favorite part about performing?
Well, I'm not good at stage patter. I'm very aloof. I want to make them smile. Nothing makes me happier than seeing somebody that, maybe it's a big night out for them, and just to see a smile of enjoyment. And yet, it's funny, I communicate mostly with audiences with sad songs. People seem to find they can relate to . . . there is a sadness there in my voice, I don't know why, it didn't grow on me. I was born with it. Sort of melancholy. Comes with being Irish-Scottish. Automatically melancholy and mad at the same time.

ON HER REPUTATION
Q: Speaking of "mad," how do you feel about the tabloids in England and all the talk about your personal life?
I've given up on this business about "gay reputation." I had a reputation before I did anything. I was once accused of raping a 13 year-old black boy in the corridors of Ready Steady Go, so I really don't know where I'm at! On this whole gay thing, I've been misquoted so on it, that I really – my god . . . I really think, settling back on an old cliché, that it's no one's business, and it really has no bearing on anything.
Q: It does have a bearing if decisions are made based on reasons people might have for liking or disliking you. And one of those reasons could be a prejudice towards gay people.
That is, IF I am...or if they think I am . . . yes. One of the reasons I'm very insecure is that I have many reputations, and many things that are totally unfounded. Being unreliable. Not turning up for a show. Never finishing an engagement. Doing the craziest things. In the early days I was pretty wild. I came in on the wave of Beatlemania, and they somehow associated me with the Beatles. [At the Brooklyn Fox] I only had to stick my head out in the street – and [Screams, high-pitched:] AGGGGH!!!
It was amazing, when I first started singing on my own. There were crazy scenes, because it was sort of asexual. They didn't mind that you were a boy or a girl. They would come up sort of on stage. The minute I appeared on stage, girls would scream. Purely because they were so hyped up on the whole atmosphere of a rock and roll show.
The whole troupe thought I was crazy. My brother and I had a habit of throwing things, particularly dishes. It saved washing them. I got a reputation in England because I'd start throwing food at people. My brother was the instigator. I threw two parties that completely disintegrated. People you'd least expect. Martha and the Vandellas – all their hatred, all those suppressed feelings came out with long French loaves that they were belting each other over the heads. Kim Weston was cowering behind a lounge chair in her mink coat. Gene Pitney was sliding around. Everyone was coated in flour. Nobody hit anybody; people just laughed and laughed. I remember aiming a sardine across the room at one of the Shangri-Las, straight down the front of her dress! It started with a slice of salami. There was an agent's wife with a low-back dress, so we snuck the salami down her back, and gradually the whole thing took off.
Q: And to think that, as teenager, you were a clerk in a department store . . .
You've been reading old Philips bios.
Q: Let's see: "'My favorite actor is Daffy Duck," bubbles Dusty Springfield . . .'
Well, I still like Daffy Duck. Can't think of anyone I like better. Actually, that's who I'm having an affair with. Difficult, but rewarding!
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:43 am

#16 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
After Dark * June 1978
Dusty Springs Back
BRANT MEWBORN

"Whatever happened to Dusty Springfield — the Dark Years!" Sounding like the announcer in an ad for a B-movie melodrama, the husky, mock ominous, monotonic voice is that of Dusty Springfield herself. At a booth in the Russian Tea Room, she looks confident and sleek in a cream-colored pantsuit and bears little resemblance to the girl with the teased white hair, the pink glossy lips, and heavily black-lined Mary Quant eyes that peered out from record jackets in the sixties.
But the sexy, soul-kissed voice that caressed the grooves of her heyday hits ("You Don't Have To Say You Love Me," "Wishing and Hoping," "Son of a Preacher Man," "A Brand New Me," etc.) still sifts a seductive mystique through the variety of songs on her new album, It Begins Again. Dusty Springfield has dusted off her career, taken it from the shelf, and put it back into working operation. And a lot of people are happy about that. "In some ways, I'm a very insecure person," Dusty states in a cheerful, straightforward manner that seems to deny what she has just said. "So, it's been a joy to discover that there are people — and there seems to be a hard-core group of supporters in New York — who are genuinely interested in the fact that I have made a new album."
As for the "dark years," they were actually spent in sunny Los Angeles, California, where she settled in the early 1970s after a very successful career in England, that boasted fourteen consecutive top-twenty hits on the record charts and her own popular television variety show. The hope of conquering new horizons in the New World, however, turned to disillusion when working relations with her new American management and her new American record company proved untenable.
After disentangling her professional ties, she decided to retreat and recoup. "There I was after all those years of being Dusty Springfield the star, and I was suddenly right back where I was when I started out at seventeen. I went through the painful ordeal of figuring out who my real friends were. I didn't know quite what to do, so I didn't do anything. Not knowing how to swim, I just sat around my pool, eating Quaalude sandwiches. And I tell you, if you eat Quaalude sandwiches, it's gonna be a lifetime before you learn how to swim."
One of the stormy problems that swept Dusty into premature retirement and painful introspection was her new management's determination to lock her into the role of super-slick supper-club chanteuse on the nightclub circuit where Las Vegas is the ultimate gig. This must have revived not-so-fond memories of her first jobs in show business. Upon leaving convent school at age sixteen, Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, alias Dusty, born in London "sometime during the war — let's put it that way," followed her older brother Tom onto the British cabaret circuit. "They were small drinking clubs for uppercrust debutantes and their young officer escorts. Quite hideous! I spent the early part of my career singing to their backs," she grimaces. "I was also holding down other jobs during the day. My first job was in a record shop, but I never got to sell any records. I just dusted the windows."
That wasn't how Mary O'Brien became Dusty, however. Dusty had always been her nickname, and she acquired the last name from the group she formed with her brother Tom and their friend Tim Field — the Springfields, of "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" fame. When they split in the early sixties, Dusty kept the name and within three weeks secured her own identity and popularity with a smash hit song, "I Only Want To Be with You."
Though Dusty made her mark singing what she once described as "big ballady things," she was not a demurely anaemic pop songstress like Marianne Faithfull or CilIa Black. She could sing in a soft, seductive vibrato, but she could also wail at a feverish pitch. "When I was growing up I had a gigantic crush on Peggy Lee's voice," she recalls. "I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever heard. Very sultry and laid back. I wanted to sound that way but never quite could. My voice is hot and ballsy. I can belt — and do." There is also a smoky, uniquely soulful edge to Dusty's voice, and it is no accident that she recorded her classic Dusty in Memphis album on the same label (Atlantic) that records Aretha Franklin. "I was one of the few white artists to play the Brooklyn Fox, and I hosted a show with the Motown revue in England. The Supremes, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye. I still have a picture of me standing with a long line of Motown stars. I even named my dog Motown. I really was in love with that sound — and very influenced by it.
Suddenly Dusty is laughing, thinking of that time in the sixties when she and her brother "threw" a wild party. "I remember lobbing a sardine across the room where it sailed straight down the cleavage of one of the Shangri-Las. But she didn't miss a beat. She just picked it out and carried on talking. Martha Reeves of the Vandellas was also there. She was wearing a wig, and lots of coleslaw and God-knows-what-all was flying through the air, so she was cowering behind a sofa. But she soon came out clutching a long loaf of French bread and took up a softball stance. Oh, it was a marvellous party.
As Dusty racked up hit after hit record, she became an established star in England where her own television variety show aired for four years. "The British format for female singers is — well — very jolly and very down-to-earth, not super glamorous. On one show I had Woody Allen doing a stand-up comedy routine, but I also had guests like Shari Lewis with Lamb Chop. A very weird mixture of people."
Eventually, Dusty's comfortable niche in the British entertainment scene became too comfortable, too restricting. "I sensed there wasn't any further to go, and I didn't want to end up playing summer variety shows at seaside resorts or doing pantomime, that particularly British institution in which everyone's in drag. In Cinderella, for instance, guys play the three ugly sisters, and some sweet young thing — a female — is Cinderella, while another girl plays Prince Charming in a butch get-up, slapping her thigh a lot and saying things like 'What, ho, me harties!' Frankly, I didn't care to be typecast in either role."
So Dusty flew west to the sunny States and crashed in the midst of the Hollywood Gothic scenario that cast her insecure and inert by the omnipresent pool until her old friend and fellow British expatriate Vicki Wickham coaxed her back into the professional swim of things. Wickham, who had co-written the lyrics to Dusty's monster hit, "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me," introduced her to another British transplant Barry Krost, who then became her manager, negotiated her recording contract with United Artists, and paired her up in the sound studio with producer Roy Thomas Baker, another Englishman. The connecting chemistry worked, and the comeback lady plans to keep it working.
"I'Il soon get going on a second album, and I'll probably do a series of concerts," Dusty says. "For the first time ever, I'm really looking forward to doing live work. Not that I prefer working in the recording studio. I hate that, too. No. No. Let me put you right. I hate the preparation in anything, I find it very tiring and tiresome. But I love the actual doing of it. When curtain goes up — Help! you know — you might as well have fun. And," Dusty exclaims with a determined laugh, "that's exactly what I intend to do this time around — have a whole lot of fun."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:46 am

#17 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
1979: The London concerts

Melody Maker * 28 April 1979
Dusty Springfield: Theatre Royal, London
IAN BIRCH

IT WAS a significant week for Mary O'Brien. Not only did she turn 40 but, after endless cancellations of provincial dates due to sparse ticket sales, she finally mounted a UK stage last Thursday for the first time in six years. To say she was caught between apprehension and pure excitement when she first appeared – in a kind of haute-couture pink tent – is something of an understatement. However, she had little need to worry.
From the outset, the capacity audience was ecstatic, often to the point of stomach curdling embarrassment, for Dusty inspires utter devotion in her followers. They weren't there to hear 90 minutes of music but to celebrate the return of a prodigal daughter. So they were on their feet as soon as the dinner-jacketed ten-piece band launched into a horribly glutinous, Las Vegas-styled warm-up. They went bananas when she forgot the words on the second number and dissolved into a fit of the giggles. They yelped in response when she commanded: "I want to hear a nice, butch roar and a nice, girlish, shriek. I want to know who's out there."
They applauded wildly when she sat down for a stodgy feedback-flecked version of Kate Bush's 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' – hardly one of her Greatest Hits. And when she broke down on 'I'm Coming Home Again', the implications were just too much and the response must have caused a minor commotion at the Pearly Gates. They even loved a gruelling piece of tawdry vaudeville called 'Rollerina', when she clumsily roller-skated across the stage and was then pushed along in a wheel-chair. Maybe she's been chatting to Bette Midler recently. And so it went on . . .
The audience reflected Dusty's curious status at the moment. They related either to her personality mystique, or to any of the many phases of her lengthy career. There were middle-aged parents who might have been re-living the guileless days of the Springfields, or who had just discovered the lady via her last two albums of late-night upholstered soul. There were the middle-20s who grew up on that glorious string of hits between '63 and '67 when she made all competition look like stumbling amateurs. There was a hefty gay contingent, ranging from radical feminists to the more foppish caricature. Dusty may refuse to talk about her private life in interviews – it's her choice, I suppose – but on stage she makes the kind of references that crackle with as much humour as commitment.
And then, of course, there were those who simply relate to that VOICE. It was only towards the end of the concert that she actually began to put it on display and take risks. When on form, she embodies all the best qualities of a white soul singer. There's an innate understanding which brings out a song's emotional complexities: husky laughter sits alongside heart-broken regret; self-parody mingles with complete commitment. That cuts across all "sociological groups." Not surprisingly, Pete Shelley admires the gift. I know because he told me so! And Elvis Costello must agree, because he was ensconced in the back stalls.
One of her strongest points has always been pop melodrama, and the highlight of the show was a song called 'Sandra' which she prefaced with a rap about the kind of land-locked dilemmas that face many "housewives." Bolstered by some economic but eloquent hand gestures (she is still highly skilled in the art), the number evoked a simultaneously horrifying but sympathetic picture of a semidetached Sylvia Plath imprisoned by the costly Hygena kitchen units.
Otherwise, much of the show sidled in and out of a standard cocktail fare. A medley, for instance, of Sister Sledge's 'We Are Family' and Chaka Khan's 'I'm Every Woman' had all the substance and vigour of Ryvita. Equally unsatisfying was an inevitable romp through the golden oldies just before the close. Still, as a cathartic release for most of the audience, she won hands down.

~~~~~~~
Source?? * December 1979
Jeremy Myerson

TV cameras, royalty and Russell Harty, whose pompous introductions were roundly booed, were all there at the Royal Albert Hall. But this charity double bill presented by Mel Bush in aid of the Invalid Childrens Aid Association soon turned in a wild celebration of Dusty Springfield's rejuvenation, and compere, presenter and Princess Margaret were quickly forgotten in an atmosphere heavily charged with emotional hysteria.
Dusty's fans were not content to give her a standing ovation at the end of each song; they often applauded in the middle, too, as the Springfield revival continued from where it had left off at Drury Lane in the spring. Since that show, Dusty has tightened up her act, wisely dropping the tearful 'I'm Coming Home' and the roller disco sequence to concentrate on a programme beautifully balanced between nostalgia (You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, I Only Want To Be With You, Wishin & Hopin, etc) and contemporary, especially disco funk such as 'We Are Family' which she handled superbly.
There's a charismatic confidence about Dusty Springfield these days. The glamour and blockbusting voice of the sixties remains but there's an added dimension of California cool gained from her American exile, especially evident on ballads such as Hollywood Movie Girls and Quiet Please, There's A Lady On Stage. Backed by a quality orchestra and three dynamic singers, her effect on an adoring audience was quite extraordinary to watch. She possesses neither the power of Bassey nor the outrageousness of Bette Midler. Yet she has that indefinable star quality and sheer force of personality to rival them both.

~~~~~~~
Observer * December 1979
Mother's Best
DAVE GELLY on Dusty Springfield

When Dusty Springfield walked on to the Albert Hall stage last Monday the vehemence, even hysteria, of the welcome she received was quite alarming. The crowd rose to its feet and yelled fit to bust, flowers rained down upon her and what should have been a decorous charity gala turned into a pop show of authentic sixties dimensions. A less seasoned performer might have been taken aback by it all, wallowing in the adulation and making tearful little speeches. Dusty, however, launched into a brisk routine, refreshingly light on nostalgia and seasoned with humour. 'Dustee, Dustee!' chanted a contingent up in the gods. 'It's a big hall to cover, dear' she replied, 'but mother will do her best'. And she did.
As she strode purposefully about the stage, the cloud of adoration grew thicker and fans who could no longer contain themselves stood up with outstretched arms or rushed to the front of the stage. At the end there was an awkward moment when the stage rushers had her in their grasp and it looked as though she would vanish from sight. How does one explain these scenes? Certainly not by examining her material, a curious mixture of black soul music and sentimental songs of Italian origin. The answer must lie in Dusty Springfield's stage persona. Glamourous she undoubtedly is, but it is not the high camp glamour of Shirley Bassey. Her appeal is rather like that of a pantomine principal boy — good natured, energetic and full of fun. She is the original un-soppy girl, a kind of rock 'n' roll Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.
Because she retired temporarily early in the decade, Dusty is, for most people, still the archetypal sixties star. Her absence, however, has saved her from becoming an all-round entertainer like Lulu or Cilla Black. There are no Christmas specials to live down, no television series with their mandatory boring guests. She is still in charge of her own personality and free to employ it to devastating effect on stage.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:50 am

#18 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
1980: Opening for Peter Allen at The Greek

Los Angeles Herald Examiner * 25 August 1980
Dusty dusts off at The Greek
BILL REED

Long overdue for a stateside performance, the reigning queen of blue-eyed soul, took to the stage Friday night at the Greek Theater as the opening act for dithyrambic singer /composer Peter Allen. She has not performed in the United States in eight years, and never in L.A.; after the encores and flurry she generated, her decidedly low profile is more of a mystery than ever. For Springfield, almost as seminal a '60s rock force as Aretha Franklin, was in fine form as she ripped 'n roared through an enthusiastically received 15-song set.
It wasn't until Springfield plunged into her grab bag of hits ("Son of a Preacher Man," "The Look of Love," etc.) that much of the audience comprehended the magnitude and pervasiveness of the singer's contribution to pop music over the last decade-and-a-half; but if to dispel charges of antiquarianism, she chose to open her set with a recent hit (not hers) of "At Midnight." Though there were many Springfield afficianados at the Greek, clearly a great many others were won over by her Ben Webster-rish scoop de doop vibrato. Utilizing a 14-piece pack-up crew, she sveltly strutted and karate-chopped her way through this one in a manner totally unlike the way she might've during the good old days when she was the number one female British pop/rocker.
Dusty's consciousness-raising hit medley, also included among others, "Wishin' and Hopin'" and "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." Also offered up were a few items from the widely acclaimed 1969 album, Dusty in Memphis — her last effort before an inexplicable mid-career sales slump began to plague her in a manner akin to soul man Al Green's fall from public favor. But Dusty is definitely of the moment, and so the real crowd pleaser was her last (but one) encore, a heavily de-saccharinized re-tooling of the top-billed Allen's "Quiet Please, There's a Lady on the Stage." If you were there to see Peter Allen, he woulda knocked your socks off; but his real contribution was the welcome-back-Dusty party he threw Friday night.

~~~~~~
And Bill Reed's email to Grant on DustyMail, 1998

About 15 years ago, I happened to be assigned by the old L.A. Herald-Examiner to review Dusty Springfield's big L.A. (sort of) "comeback" concert at the Greek theater. Actually, she was opening for the dreaded Peter Allen, who should have been the focus of my review; but from the beginning I had not any intention of mentioning his name in my review. I went with the notion of reviewing Springfield and Springfield alone. And I attended with my mind made up that what I was about to see would warrant a "rave." But I was simply not prepared for what I saw! It was some sort of meta Vegas act that Springfield had cocktailed up, replete with backup dancers, special material, "charts" for days, the works! And it was like dying and going to show biz heaven. The "thing" revved up to sixty for starters and then went on from there.
Right out of the starting gate she had them in the palm of her hand and by the time the "act" was over some 45 minutes or so later, people were practically fainting in the aisles. Naturally, I gave Dusty a verrrry good notice, which in turn elicited from her something I had never received before or since in my somewhat long and checkered career as a rock/pop reviewer . . . a phone call to the paper from her expressing thanks over what I had written. To this day, I still haven't exactly made up my mind as to whether this was a "good" or "bad" thing. But, it was unprecedented.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:51 am

#19 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Guardian * 17 August 1985
Ready steady and going again
WALDEMAR JANUSZCZAK

Dusty Springfield is back. All is well again in the world of pop. Her new single, Sometimes Like A Butterfly, still sounds as if it was recorded in a lonely bedsit at 3 am with Dusty peering sadly into a gas-fired: 'Well I told you not to fall in love. I ain't the kind you can tear down . . .' She has always seemed significantly sadder, older and more sensible than the pop stars around her. Even in those early days with the Springfields when it first became de rigeur to look teen, age and spotty, Dusty looked about 30, everybody's elder sister, out for a Saturday night with her hair up in a French roll and her eyes caked in far too much mascara. 'Someone said the other day that my make-up these days is bullet proof. I've always enjoyed playing with colours. Originally it was a giant mistake. The black eyes were a poor imitation of the French fashions they were showing in Vogue. You couldn't take it off for weeks. You just put it on and then washed around the edges. When you finally took it off you needed an icepick.'
The Springfields were the British answer to Peter, Paul and Mary. 'I wasn't that enamoured of what we were doing. None of us were. Singing all that pseudo folk-country. All of us knew that it was a means to an end. I was using it as a means to show off and get noticed. I've always been seduced by applause.' When the Springfield boys got fed up of standing around on windy platforms and hurried off to the buffet it was Dusty who stayed to look after their guitars. She invented a microphone with three heads so that they could stand close enough together. It was Dusty who humped the gear around. 'I got very muscular.'
Like the rest of us she has enjoyed watching those days flash past in the repeats of Ready Steady Go. Almost every girl in the audience is a Dusty Springfield look-alike. Year after year she was voted Best, Female Singer and had 14 top twenty hits in the 60s. When the hits dried up she went to America where they tried to turn her into a night-club act. 'I hate night-clubs.' So she retired from the music business and became a director of the Wildlife Way Station, an exclusive animal refuge perched up in the California hills which looks after abandoned exotic animals, 'from otters to Siberian tigers.' It seems that Hollywood starlets like to buy tiger cubs without realising that tiger cubs grow up. 'I have an adopted son up there. A small leopard cub. Hates my guts. Somebody hit it with a metal hammer when it was a cub. So all it does is hiss at me.'
Now she's back, not exactly a changed woman but certainly less of a worrier. Sometimes Like A Butterfly was in fact recorded one afternoon in a single take. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me took 47.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:53 am

#20 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Sunday Mail * 25 August 1985
The Truth About Dusty
JEAN ROOK

At first startling glance, she looks like a terrorist with a built-in hood. Or an Ancient Greek death mask. Her mouth is a blood red gash. Her make-up looks bulletproof. She has two terrible black eyes. Or else she's wearing dark glasses with no sides or bridge to keep them on her thin, ivory nose. For a living legend, Dusty Springfield — the 60s singer who fired 17 hits in a row — has a deathly impact. I was going to leave it to the end of the interview to ask her if she was gay. "You're going to ask me if I'm gay," said the woman who was rumored to be before Navratilova even learned to play. "I'm not going to tell you."
"Then tell me you're not," I said, my nerves as pale and wiry as her shocked-looking hair. "God, you've got me into a corner, haven't you, coming straight out with it like that instead of "Why aren't you married'? Let's say I have a strong gay following." Never mind the troops, I said. What about their leader in her high-heeled black patent boots? "God, it's hard to do this," she said. "Look, let's say I've experimented with most things in life. And in sex. I suppose you can sum it up that I remain right down the middle. But so many untrue assumptions have been printed about me, and the Lesbian legend has snowballed, and I can't stop it, and, yes, it hurts.
"You want to know why I'm not married? I suppose because my parents didn't get on," she said. "My father was an income tax consultant who really wanted to be a concert pianist — a bitter man, with a foul temper. By the time I was at school my mother thought he was repulsive, she criticised him all the time. I can't remember a thing about my room at home except the raised voices coming from the next-door room — the intense bitterness. I'd feel embarrassed to go out with my parents because the arguments still continued. I never invited friends home because I cringed about the rows.
"I thought, if I married I'd repeat their performance. I wasn't going to marry and get myself into the same miserable situation just to shut up the gossip about me. Because I was so unhappy as a kid, I used to go into a corner and cling to the hot water pipes in my bedroom until they were cold, to prove I really existed. I decided I'd have impact on people," said the woman who can "nuke" you with her eyes. "So I made little Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien into Dusty Springfield."
In the '60s, the eyelids were jet black — "I never took the stuff off for a week at a time because it took about six days to get a good build-up by using talcum powder and more eyeblack. Actually my eyes are greenish khaki, sort of army surplus color, but nobody's ever seen them. In the '60s I saw so little of them I used to wake up and think there'd be nothing underneath the eye make-up. So, these days, I use dark purple. I did try to ditch the thick make-up for a scrubbed, tanned look, but to hell with that — I reminded myself of those suntanned women in Miami who look like old handbags."
After 10 years in California, and four in the wilderness, does she know where she wants to be? At 45, Springfield looks anything but dusty. But isn't it late in her brilliant career — which Britain's top female singer for more years than she cares to remember deliberately switched off — to try to switch on young audiences who don't even remember her? She was asked to re-blossom by impresario Peter Stringfellow, for whom she is going to make three singles. And a reputed $200,000. "I really came home because I felt a great need to be visible again," she said. "The risks in coming back here are tremendous, I used to be called the singer even blacks thought was black. Now everyone in the charts sounds blacker than I do. People keep asking me how I'm going to compete with people like Madonna. I'm not. I couldn't."
So why did Springfield self-destruct, like a burnt-out comet? "Boredom, or, if that's too strong a word, I ran out of challenge," she said. "On stage, in concert, I'd be thinking, "Oh God, I've got to go out and do all this again. And I've got to pretend I'm enjoying it.' "I was making money in America but it suddenly hit me: They're making me do something I don't want to do, in a place I don't want to be, so what the hell am I doing here, anyway?" But now she says she's missing the audiences. "When I wonder why I'm doing this, I remember the old days in the northern clubs. I'm near-sighted, and what with the false eyelashes, I couldn't usually see my way on to the stage. But in those clubs you could really see the audiences. I remember one young mum, with her scampi and chips and I could tell she was enjoying my songs so much. Overworked as she was, and swollen ankles and all, I was her big night out. That's why I used to go out and do it. That's why I want to try again."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:54 am

#21 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Sunday Times * 11 August 1985
Dusty answers
MICK BROWN

I am concerned for the welfare of Dusty Springfield. Having departed these shores for America in the late 1960s, the platinum-bouffant singer was to be seen recently, re-emerging from the bowels of a London discotheque amid a cloud of dry ice and flashing lights, wrapped in something left over from a NASA space probe, to field questions about her sex life from the serried ranks of Fleet Street reporters. The glittering eruption was the brilliant idea of Peter Stringfellow, the nightclub entrepreneur and latterday patron of lost singers (you may recall he recently revived the Beverley Sisters at one of the Hippodrome's Monday gay nights). He has brought Springfield back to England to relaunch her career. Like many other performers of her generation, Springfield appears to have made something of a career of comebacks, but as the biggest-selling female singer Britain has produced, she surely deserves a more dignified re-entry.
The past few years have not, one senses, been easy for Dusty Springfield. Born in Ealing, baptised in showbusiness at Butlins, she left England when the stream of hits that had flowed through the Sixties dried up. 'I may be as near-sighted as a bat, but I can always see the writing on the wall,' she says. California promised rejuvenation, but delivered management disputes a career mislaid as different record companies took each other over, and — no wonder — a loss of interest in singing.
Perhaps her greatest problem has been the lassitude that inevitably grows from the continuing flow of royalty cheques and the California life. In the longueurs between recording her last solo single (released in 1979) and her new one (released tomorrow) she has, she says, 'devoted myself to animals'. She sits on the board of directors of a sanctuary that cares for ocelots, tiger cubs and other exotica, discarded by Hollywood producers, Pennsylvanian dentists and the like who bought them as playthings. But that has hardly been a fulltime occupation, affording too much time to ponder on the dilemma of 'having always wanted to be somebody, but once I'd become somebody, forgetting who I really was'. Therapy helped, although she has never had much time for 'cosmic awareness, and all that Californian crap'. Indeed, she remains as down-to-earth as one would expect a tax consultant's daughter to be, if mindful of the need to keep up appearances. She appeared for this interview and photograph as if about to board the Aga Khan's yacht.
It used to be said that Dusty Springfield was 'difficult'. That, she says, is because she has always been a perfectionist, although she comes from a family that would hurl chocolate swiss rolls at each other 'to break the tension', and she is still occasionally given to the practice. One might have wished for similar ammunition at her unveiling as Stringfellow, bowing under a coiffure almost as extravagant as his star's, slithered through the smoke to press a bouquet of flowers upon her — 'They're recoupable,' she says. 'Everything to do with Peter is recoupable' — and murmur 'Sing, beautiful lady'. 'Frankly,' she says, 'there are times when I'd like to punch him right in the nose. But I'm sure he feels the same way about me.' If nothing else, the comeback should be lively.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby daydreamer » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:49 am

Thank you again Geraldine. Like others, I haven't read through them all yet and even though I know I have a lot already, this page should stay "live" and not go to archives as it tells fans so much about Dusty "as it happened" so to speak and is worth a thousand Dancing with Demons!
There's a part of you, that's a part of me...

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Cas19 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:38 am

You certainly have a great collection there Geraldine, some I haven't seen, and most I have but it will be good to read through them again. Thank you.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby karen » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:40 am

Nice of you to post these Geraldine , a lot of fans will enjoy reading these.. thank you.. [:D]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby villagegirl » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:24 am

Thanks for posting these articles Geraldine, its great to pick up new information. [:)]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby boztiggs » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:53 am

fabulous! theres a whole lot of reading to do there!!

neil :thumbsup:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Corinna » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:32 am

How generous of you to share your Dusty articles with us, Geraldine! I'm happy you re-joyned us. I'll print out the articles, it's my holiday reading sorted! [:D]

Sorry to appear ignorant, but what was your academic research about?
Cor xx

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:43 pm

Daydreamer: It would be nice if this was like an orchard, with people able to pick the fruit when they feel like it :)

Corinna: I haven't mentioned my academic research, so "ignorance" isn't a factor ;) Briefly, American lit.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:45 pm

#22 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Gay Times * September 1985
GOING BACK
KRIS KIRK interviews Dusty Springfield, Britain's "best female pop singer"

Arriving at Dusty's door, I'm in a state somewhere between excitement and knee-knocking nervousness. The excitement is natural: I'm about to meet for the first time the woman who's generally regarded as the best female pop singer Britain ever produced. But the nerves? I'm not bothered by Ms Springfield's reputation for being 'difficult', having learned to take media hype with a pinch of salt. Why I'm edgy is that though Dusty is renowned for being one of pop's strongest personalities, I've always felt in my gut that she's a vulnerable creature. I presume the last decade or so hasn't been a happy one for her, yet I'd like to know what happened during those lost years.
After all, though her vast legion of devoted (and primarily gay) superfans have continued to chronicle her every move, Dusty has been out of the public eye for a very long time. She may still be a household name and command a genuine widespread affection from the Great British Public, but she hasn't had a Top 40 hit since 1970. Career-wise that was the beginning of a bad news decade, an amazing contrast to her Do-No-Wrong Sixties. Then, fresh from a handful of hits with her brother Tom in the folksy Springfields — at the time the country's top vocal group — Dusty plunged into a solo career which netted her seventeen hits with an extraordinary variety of material, ranging from boppy white soul through Bacharach and David tearjerkers to the histrionic Italianate ballads for which she's probably best known. But the Seventies soon became the wilderness years, with her voluntary exile to America, a run of bad luck with various record companies, the drift into middle of the road soft soul, brain-numbing night club work and eventual silence from 1973-1977.
In 1978 the appositely titled It Begins Again, a curate's egg of an album, not only failed to stretch Dusty vocally but indicated, in the blandness of some of the material (including Manilow), that she no longer had unerring musical taste. Since then, Dusty's records have been sporadic and her last album, White Heat, an experimental affair which ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, wasn't even issued in this country. But the spirit is willing — the voice is still very much there, and the long slog towards becoming more than just a household name again has culminated in a return visit to England and, of all things, a contract with Hippodrome whizzkid Peter Stringfellow and his new record label.
From the recent airbrushed images we've had sent to us this side of the pond, I half expected Dusty to look like someone out of Dynasty. But the forty-six year old ex-convent schoolgirl Mary O'Brien is looking naturally vivacious, with tousled white-blonde hair and a toned down version of her notorious panda eye make-up, today in purple and mauve. For the sartorially inclined, Dusty isn't wearing the silver outfit John Peel described as making her look like a mini cab driver in Bacofoil, but black tight-fitting pants, a polka dot cotton jacket and chic rainbow-pattern stilettoes. She's holding an evil-looking, steaming, cayenne drink in one hand (she's dieting) and a cigarette — a new habit — in the other. A couple of kittens play around her feet: "They're on loan from a couple of friends who knew I was pining for my two back home," she grins. "I used to have nine." The husky voice has a slight American burr.
So, has England changed much? "It seems there are a lot of angry people here, but I don't find it depressing because on a selfish level I'm so glad to be away from Los Angeles. It's a sick place, under the cover of everyone being so healthy and sun bleached. Really vapid and so industry orientated; the whole way of life is about TV and records and status and success." It seems like worlds away from her origins — a Hampstead schoolgirl singing in the evenings with brother Tom "in the land of debutantes in their drinking clubs"; in the late Fifties with the sugar sweet Lana Sisters, and those chirpy, cheerful Springfields.
It was on a 1962 visit to New York with the Springfields that Dusty first heard the black music that was such an influence on her and which she did so much to promote in the UK: "I was passing a record shop and The Exciters' "Tell Him" was blasting out. The attack in it! It was the most exciting thing I'd ever heard. The only black music I'd heard in England was big band jazz and Latin music, which I loved. But this was a revelation." Back in England, and now solo, she spread the word, promoting the then unheard Motown sound in particular by, for example, hosting the Ready, Steady, Go! Motown Special. "I copied a lot of black music, though I'd say The Exciters and The Shirelles influenced me more than Motown. But I'd copy them all; one day I woke up wanting to be Dionne Warwick, the next day The Ronettes. It took me some time to find my own style — which came with the ballads — but to this day when someone says a new act is copying me, I just don't see it." She's too modest, won't even admit she's the best UK female singer ever. "Maybe when I began I had the gutsiest voice, along with Lulu. But all that has changed; now there's Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet. Particularly Alison. Christ, what a voice. I'd love to duet with her!"
At a time when pop singers didn't make stands, Dusty caused a hullabaloo in 1964 by refusing to play to segregated audiences in South Africa. "I got into so much trouble over having it written into my contract that I would only play non-segregated audiences. There was a loophole in the law that if you played cinemas you could work to non-segregated audiences, so I agreed to go under those circumstances. Melody Maker picked up on it and by the time I got there it had been fed to the SA press. The government tried to make me sign a paper saying I'd sing to segregated audiences, but my conscience wouldn't let me so they took away my permit and put me under a form of house arrest. When I got home I was slagged. People like Max Bygraves and Derek Nimmo publicly criticised me as a trouble maker, for making it difficult to go there to work."
By the late Sixties, her reputation began to dog her. "What John Peel wrote about my recent Hippo appearance was hysterical and I'm going to wrap his car in Bacofoil for him! But I don't know how I got my reputation for not showing up; I always show up, except once in Bournemouth. I've got a larger-than-life reputation and there were times I wanted to live up to it, but most of it's manufactured. If a threw a vol-au-vent at someone, by the time the story reached Australia it was a whole tray. I don't mind; the only bit that hurts is my reputation for being difficult, because I'm not. I can be tough in the studio because it's my duty to put in my best input and if other people aren't 100 percent involved I'm inclined to lose my patience. But I've been very patient with the Hippodrome, under some very trying circumstances." Hmm, more of that later.
Faced with the UK showbiz trail of TV series a la Cilla or endless summer seasons ("I've got nothing against Blackpool, but night after night for twelve weeks?"), Dusty took to the US in the Seventies. So what of the purdah years? "People seem to think that it was a terrible time for me. Some of it was, but most of it wasn't at all. It was the first time I ever stopped and stood still and it scared me at first 'cos all I'd ever done was sing. I stopped singing because I just couldn't hack it; I lost a lot of confidence because each time I made a record for a company it was bought out by a giant conglomerate and I'd get lost in the corporate shuffle. It happened three times and despondency crept in. I felt a general disenchantment with myself caused by having a lot of time on my hands. Until then I'd been so very busy, and I went through maybe what a mother goes through when the kids are grown. With me, my kid was my career. Though my heart intermittently got in the way, my career basically always took first place. It was an identity thing: it was all I was. I went straight into singing from school, obviously to get the attention. There's something to be said for the fact that I don't remember much about my childhood; I must have had a sense of not being worth much and the tendency is to invent something to be. And you get caught up in it; the next thing has to be better, better. You start believing your press and become a non-person, the thing you manufactured. I was never a teenager, certainly I stopped growing emotionally in my teens. And suddenly I found myself sitting in L.A., a floundering teenager underneath."
She's easy going about it; there's no hysteria. "L.A. is a strange place, you can feel very alone there. And I'd been backing off from nightclubs, the Vegas thing. I don't like being close to people. I like concerts, where you have to work, to reach out. I mean, there was no fun in it. So I worked less and less. If there's no news people will invent it, and since I have a reputation for drama they're going to say either she's locked up in a mental hospital or she's drinking herself into the grave." But didn't she get into pills? "If you live in California you're exposed to everything in the music industry and there was a period when, out of sheer boredom, I experimented with all sorts of things. But that wasn't my problem. My problems were about growing up. I was always very uncomfortable being the person I am. I'm still not happy with who I am, but I'm happier than I was."
Though in many ways Dusty is extraordinary candid, she has always refused to publicly discuss her sex life. This means, however, that she is invariably asked about it in interviews. "People ask all the time. I had a woman the other day who just wouldn't pack it in. It was endless — 'Why aren't you married? Why aren't you married? Why aren't you married?' It's yellow journalism, something you learn to live with. The UK and Australian press are the hardest to deal with, they get much more personal than the Americans, unless there's a big to-do like the Rock Hudson thing. But in England there's a 'We made you, we can break you' attitude; the press were nice to me for a long time and then they got bored and got a jag on trying to cut at me. That was one reason why I didn't want to stay here, there was no privacy. I had everything coming at me. Usually I handle it by telling them my private life is none of their business, even though they're going to make it their business anyway, and I've learned to live with that. I don't take stances on anything, which probably irritates the hell out of you ! [Kris Kirk was an outspoken gay rights activist and socialist.] I'm only militant about animals; I've spent a lot of my time over the last few years working for an organization which rescues abandoned tiger clubs and otters and kodiak bears . . . Maybe I'm so wrapped up in animals I don't know what's happening to people, I don't know."
Though she's quiet about it, Dusty does a lot of charity work: "Pete Townsend's wife runs a refuge centre for battered women and Pete is organizing a charity show which I'm doing because I've been beaten up — so I know how it feels and I know how it feels to be afraid to talk about it. I was beaten up more than once by the same person and the second time I experienced what battered wives often come up against, where they're not only afraid to talk because they'll get beaten up again, but the relationship was so disapproved of anyway that people turn round and say, 'We told you so, you should never have married him in the first place.' I've been through it and if I can do anything to help there I will."
So Dusty's back and Stringfellow's got her. "Sometimes Like Butterflies" is a subtle, tear-you-to-pieces ballad, stunningly interpreted by Dusty. But didn't she come over here to work with Jolley and Swain, the Midas-touch producers of Alison Moyet? "Yes, I did, and they wrote me a really catchy number, very commercial. They weren't ready when I arrived because they were working on Bananarama's album, which was fair enough, but I waited and waited and then I got the feeling Peter [Stringfellow] didn't want that. We had long and fierce battles because I wanted to come back with a funky, hit-you-between-the-eyes number, but Peter had fallen in love with "Butterflies" and from then on there was nothing I could do. It was his personal crusade — there was no listening to anything else.
"It's so ironic that I came back to England for the freedom it has always offered me recording-wise and this is the first time I've ever come across an absolutely adamant attitude from a record company. It wasn't out of bloodymindedness; Peter was convinced it was the right thing. But it was like running into a brick wall — everything's a debate. We had some good old fights, but I admired his enthusiasm. There was a lot of internal politics I don't want to go into, but basically I lost the battle and Jolley and Swain went down with the ship. I absolutely love "Butterflies" and I put all my energies into it, but it's a risky record because it's such a slow developer. It needs a lot of airplay to stick in the mind." Strangely, I never thought I'd accuse the Hippo Kid of excellent taste but, even if the record isn't a hit, Stringfellow has squeezed out of Dusty a classic record which performance-wise surpasses anything she's done in her career.
Finally, Dusty regularly used to go to drag shows; how does she feel about drag queens taking her off? "Wonderful! In fact I want to take some friends to see some British drag, but I'm not sure where to take them because The Black Cap is so busy on Sunday lunchtimes, isn't it? I learned most of my tricks from drag queens . . . what kind of mascara lasts longest, how to apply eye shadow — very serious decisions. In fact, if the truth were known, I think I'm basically a drag queen myself!"
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:46 pm

#23 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
NME * 25 February 1989
Scandal In The Wind
As the sex-in-high-places Profumo Scandal returns to this nations screens, Dusty Springfield (with the Pet Shop Boys) brings us the single soundtrack. LEN BROWN met the '60's-icon-turned-catwoman who's stepped back into the limelight:

"It's amazing when you consider how many people have croaked. Looking back at some of those old 'Ready Steady Go!' shows, 'Jesus, she's croaked, where's he now!? I'm quite sure a lot of people say about me, 'Whatever happened to her?' but I never really go far. I just sort of hover around and wait for the good things." Having descended the spiral staircase in her West London hotel room, the original British blonde — the Lady Penelope of Pop — perches on an armchair and contemplates the latest good thing. Written and produced by the Pet Shop Boys, 'Nothing Has Been Proved', is the theme to Scandal, the film of the book of that great 60's sex shocker, the Profumo Affair. "I have no real clarity about the scandal because I was very obsessed with what I was doing," Dusty recalls. "But I had my first solo success in November '63, over 25 years ago. Yikes! Amazing! And I'm still sitting upright! It didn't really register with me at the time, I didn't understand call-girls and naughties because I was brought up in a very sheltered way. But I remember seeing all these tabloids and I could tell people were going 'Naughty! Naughty!'"
It was a criminally memorable year, 1963, Dusty ditched the Springfields and stormed the charts with 'I Only Want To Be With You' (Sam Fox hadn't been born and the world was a better place), and other edited highlights include the braining of JFK, the Train Robbers mugging of the Royal Mail, and, above all, the fall of Profumo. The revelations — involving writhing beds of call-girls, cabinet ministers and Russian spies — bought down the Government and left the nation shocked and titillated. Tory War Minister John Profumo was forced to resign over his liaison with model Christine Keeler, who'd also had a fling with Rusky 'agent' Eugene Ivanov. More tragically, 19-year-old Keeler's mentor, osteopath Stephen Ward, committed suicide and Keeler herself was convicted and imprisoned for prostitution. ("I went to prison and yet I was innocent," Keeler said recently. "I never was a prostitute. Apart from three weeks really.")
"People would go, 'Christine Keeler, phhworrrhhh!', says Dusty. "They'd remember her name and Profumo's and Mandy Rice Davies' but they wouldn't remember the details. The film certainly gives clarity to the situation and approaches it from an angle people wouldn't expect. It deals with Christine Keeler's actual feelings for Stephen Ward, whereas most people didn't think she had any feelings. They thought she and Mandy were just good-time girls — well, I think Mandy Rice Davies was, and probably still is — but Christine wasn't, if the film has shown the true side of it. She never got over it; to this day she could never come to terms with his death and the way she got treated by the tabloids."
If Dusty's first outing with the Pet Shop Boys — last year’s hit 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?' — was blatantly a PSB track elevated by her distinctly classy, breathy vocals, 'Nothing Has Been Proved' is definitely the Springfield sound. While the spoken Tennant chorus of "It's a scandal, such a scandal" cleverly seems to echo 'It's A Sin', the overall feel is truly 60's. Like the film, the single attempts to tell the Keeler story sensitively and, at the same time, attack her trial-by-tabloid. And, brilliantly, given that the whole spanking scandal was about sex in high places and gentlemen in search of satisfaction, 'Nothing Has Been Proved' constantly reminds that the Beatles 'Please Please Me' was Number One.
Guaranteed belches of outrage from Tory MP's (who haven't been caught yet), both the film and Christine Keeler's book will obviously be commercially successful. More important, the pop quality of 'Nothing Has Been Proved' should put Dusty back where she belongs. Since the late 60's, after her blue-eyed soul classic Dusty In Memphis, Springfield's kept an unintentionally low profile; collapsing record deals, her fear of studio technology and the growing reluctance to perform live, have restricted her output to a handful of unmemorable albums and too-rare singles. "Sometimes the rests are forced upon me; sometimes I choose them," says Dusty "I think if I hadn't had that time away I wouldn't be alive. Cliff Richard must be about the only person who's sustained his career; I really admire the way he's done it, genuinely updating himself. But I've no desire to prove to people how hip and modern I am."
Obviously, in Top 40 terms, we're being bombarded by 60's revivalists; Pitney, Orbison and the Wilburys, Cliff, The Four Tops, The Supremes, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young! More intriguing is this trend of EMI acts covering, and collaborating with, 60's icons. Apart from Marc and Gene in tandem, detergent-quaffing Morrissey has already recorded a Cilla Black song and helped resurrect Sandie Shaw, while the Pet Shop Boys again salute la Springfield — most soulful member of the that 60's Brit-girl triumvirate. "I think you've got to be very careful it's not a one-off situation," says Dusty. "They can use you and throw you away, it happens. Obviously I'm very fortunate with the Pet Shop Boys; it's a very bizzare coupling but it works."
She's well aware how ephemeral success can be. Even when I congratulate her on 'Nothing Has Been Proved' she remains unconvinced, as if she's constantly preparing herself for the next flop. "It's not what I call an impact record, but I hope to be extremely pleasantly surprised! When I make records I can't judge them or have an opinion about anything I hear in the studio. I've never believed studio playback sound: it seldom has anything to do with reality. I like the truth, however ugly. I've got to take it away and play it on 6 different kinds of shelf unit, stuff that people got at Curry's."
If the Pet Shop Boys have been, er, instrumental in Dusty's return to the British charts, in America her career's been rekindled by 'Something In Your Eyes', a 'duet' with Richard Carpenter. "That was a very enjoyable experience," grimaces Dusty. "It was not, however, enjoyable afterwards when he didn't use my name on the record. Really dumb! It's obvious I'm on the video — unless it's Richard in drag, and we don't really look the same. A&M, will you please give me a reason why you did that?" Has this upturn in your career resulted in a new record deal? "It's just on the point of happening, but I'm being very superstitious. I'm not being evasive, but if it doesn't happen I'm going to look a right pratt!"
As the tabloids and the Establishment gird up their loins once more, against Keeler's revelations — "How Christine Keeler Is Bidding To Cash In On The Scandal That Rocked A Government!" (Daily Express 31.1.89) — it's clear again that the women in these affairs always suffer more than the men. The gentlemen concerned (Profumo, Lord Lambton, Cecil Parkinson, Geoffrey Archer, Sir Ralph 'five-times-a-night' Halpern
. . . ) often emerge with their reputations enhanced, as victims of circumstance; the women involved are generally projected as scheming bitches and, later ageing tarts. With Keeler now being projected as 'the original bimbo' — "the years have taken their toll on 60's model Christine Keeler . . . only the legs and breasts need no boosting from stylists" — it occurs to me that Dusty's about the same age as Keeler and that she too is somewhat burdened with her 60's image.
"We're not supposed to change, we're not supposed to get older, wider, thinner, fatter, taller or smaller, we're just supposed to stay the way we were" laughs Dusty. "I was watching someone the other night, someone I used to tour with who had changed a great deal. This person was a lot older and a lot wider yet there wasn't a word about the changes. Certainly I was very overweight at last year's BPI awards but I got crrr-ucified! Sometimes I'd just like to punch them right on the nose and ask them to look in their own mirrors in the morning."
Fortunately Dusty Springfield doesn't have to live with a reputation as tarnished as Keeler's yet the emotional empathy with which she delivers 'Nothing Has Been Proved' reminds that her private life has also been of more than passing interest to the scandal sheets. Perhaps it's because she's shunned marriage, never played the vamp in public; perhaps because she seems to prefer cats to men, perhaps because of her infamous Gay News interview in which she joked about having a 'three-way with Princess Anne and one of her horses'; perhaps because she deserted swinging Britain for California (and now Amsterdam); perhaps because she isn't hosting 'Blind Date' . . .
So it seems pretty brave of Dusty to risk controversy again with the Scandal theme. Isn't she ever tempted to just disappear and avoid the flak? "But I love singing . . . either that or I'm completely crazy." What about moving into films? You once said that was your first ambition? "Yes, I'd love to but no-one's asked me yet. I'm going to give this a shot for a couple of years, at the moment I need to do this. But I see film as a progressive move . . . and if it doesn't work I'll go and live on a hilltop with 89 cats and think 'Well, f**k 'em!"
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:48 pm

#24 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Bitz magazine * 1989 [?]
Dusty Springfield Interview

Her name of course is Dusty Springfield and not content with warbling her way through one Pet Shop Boys tune What Have I Done To Deserve This? she has now roped Neil and Chris in to write her new single. It’s called Nothing Has Been Proved and it’s for the soundtrack of some new film called Scandal. "I love working with them" she tells Bitz.

Q; So how did it all come about then Dusty?
A: I did the single with Neil and Chris, but it’s basically them. Neil’s on it for a couple of lines, he and Chris wrote and produced it and they’re in the video. I was sort of a guest in the last one, and on this one I’ve got a bit more responsibility, which is a bit nerve-racking! You start to realise that you’re singing the whole song! Neil has a particular way of approaching a song, which is very personal, his own style. It’s funny, because in the back of my mind I can always hear Neil singing it, so it takes me a few hours to get it right. But they wait patiently, and they don’t say very much and it’s sort of like, ‘Let’s let Dusty flail around until she gets it right.’

Q: Has Neil ever taken you to Southend for a bag of chips?
A: Hahahahahaaa! Not Yet! I shall tell him that and insist that he takes me there! Once though, when one of the machines in the studio broke down, he and Chris and I went out to check the quality of the sign over the HMV record store for their Introspective LP. It was pouring with rain, so we got out of the car into the rain and we decided that it was
. . . okay, just.

Q: What’s your favourite Chris Lowe clothing "creation"?
A: I particularly liked the thing he wore at the BPI awards. It had a vaguely fisherman quality to it. Some of it was see-through, but he was wearing it over clothes. I rather hoped he wouldn’t!

Q: What actually happens in the Scandal film?
A: Well basically it’s about the Profumo affair which happened in Britain in about 1963. It centred on a man called Steven Ward who was an osteopath [doctor who manipulates people’s bones and muscles] who was ‘in’ with the upper society. Basically, the allegation was that he provided call-girls for MPs, and John Profumo was one of those MPs who got together with a girl called Christine Keeler. The papers found out about it and it was going to be an enormous embarrassment to the Tory government at the time so they started to pin things on Stephen Ward, including connection with a Russian agent, to discredit him. At the end of it all Profumo resigned and Stephen Ward committed suicide. It was very sad.

Q: Why did they choose you to do the song?
A: Well having worked with the Pet Shop Boys before, I think there were probably discussions about who was going to sing it and Neil came up with me. Neil actually wrote this song long before the film was even brought to light. I don’t know whether it was altered when the project came up, but certainly he had written a song about Christine Keeler and he sort of had it on the back burner. Actually, until last week I though he’d written it specially for the film.

Q: Have you ever actually been in a film?
A: Aw, that’s a major ambition.

Q: What role?
A: Mmmm . . . I think I’d like to be a tart.

Q: Oh! Urm ha ha (cough). . . . Um, ah, well. . . . Where, ahem, do you live?
A: I don’t really have a home at the moment. I had a home in Los Angeles, actually I had lots of houses there -- not all at the same time, you understand. But I decided to base myself in Europe somewhere and I got rid of most of my worldly goods except for my two cats. One’s called Nicholas Alexis, named after the last Russian tsar’s son because he’s constantly ill and he’s very Russian looking. My other cat’s called Malaysia, and I don’t know why because she looks like a Fresian cow.

Q: Bitz hears you have a large collection of wigs.
A: Eh? Wigs? No, I haven’t got one, I wish I did! It would make life so much easier. I could send my head out to be done, get it dry cleaned. I used to have quite a collection in the '60s, who didn’t? But I don’t have any now. I could borrow one of Tina Turner’s maybe. . .

Q: What’s it like being a living legend?
A: A living legend? I suspect I am to some people but, um, frankly it’s nothing special.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:48 pm

#25 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
New York Post * 27 May 1989
The Dusty Trail
IRA ROBBINS

As the closing credits roll on Scandal, the new film about Britain's infamous 1963 Profumo affair, a familiar woman's voice – airy and sensuous – begins singing an impressionistic plot rehash to the accompaniment of synthesized dance-pop. Dusty Springfield is back. ‘Nothing Has Been Proved’, an incongruous but effective collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys (available on the Scandal Sound Track album), marks the British singer's overdue return to public ear. Springfield made a splash of her own in 1963, releasing ‘I Only Want To Be With You’, the first hit in a solo career filled with such timeless classics as ‘You Don't Have To Say You Love Me’ and ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’.
At 50, Springfield is leaving the past where it belongs and getting on with her future: a major new album of collaborations with the likes of Phil Collins and Fine Young Cannibals, for release this fall. Springfield has declined the easy route of oldies tours. "I need challenges. The only challenge for me in that would be to survive it. There are people who can do that successfully and be happy doing that: it's a job. I don't think about music that way. I'm not going to turn my back on my past, because it's valid, but the past is not everything to me.'
Springfield's past began in London around 1960, when she and her brother Tom formed a folk group. "The Springfield's were pseudo-Kingston Trio, terribly cheerful, playing loud and no one would hear how flat we were," she says. Nonetheless, the trio had UK hits until the Beatles ushered in a new pop era. Then the former Mary O'Brien kept the surname and went solo. "I had three weeks off before the release of my first record," so for diversion she became a guest host in Ready Steady Go! Britain's leading rock 'n' roll TV show of the '60s. "My first interview job was with the Beatles," she recalls, a broadcast event viewers can share on the second Ready Steady Go! compilation video. When the Motown roster went to England in early 1965 to shoot a TV special (available on a videotape called The Sounds of Motown), Springfield was on hand as host with Martha Reeves, cementing her status as England's pre-eminent white female soul singer.
"I had been to the United States with the Springfields and I was heavily influenced by black music," she explains. "I wasn't the only one using those influences, but my version was what became popular in England. There was a real space for it, which was fortunate for me." An impressive string of hits followed. She had her own TV show for four years. In 1969, the critically lauded Dusty in Memphis album proved her creative vitality. Springfield relocated to California ("to be quiet and grow up") and released a handful of sophisticated soul albums that failed to attract a significant audience. Her confidence and popularity waned.
In 1987 Richard Carpenter asked her to join him in a duet. Although Springfield enjoyed recording ‘Something in Your Eyes’, she was less pleased when the record was released without her name on it. "After I stopped being angry and hurt, I was given a sound talking to by an old friend who made me see that it was a good experience that gave me confidence. I realized I could sing again and it didn't have to be painful. It was fun." Around the same time, a longtime fan in the Pet Shop Boys prevailed on Springfield to guest (with credit) on a song of theirs. ‘What Have I Done to Deserve This?’ became a big single in Britain. Then came Scandal. This unlikely collaboration will also appear on Springfield's upcoming album.
Reflecting on her lengthy singing career, she says: "I like what I do better now. I used to struggle because they didn't have a way to record my voice. If the voice doesn't sound the way I want, I can't sing! Now I can walk in the studio knowing they can get a good vocal sound without major angst." Despite her obvious talent, the charmingly forthright Springfield is no pillar of self-confidence. "I've no real appreciation of myself. I need other singers around, I need musicians. When I record, I want to be the last thing to go on [tape]."
Springfield counters old rumors that she's hard to work with by detailing the problems of an assertive, musically articulate woman facing a studio full of unionized clock-watchers with little feel for her stylistic orientation. "Try and ask a bass player to play a Motown lick when they've never heard Motown. Do you think musicians liked a woman coming out of the control booth and asking them to do something? They thought I was crazy." Springfield has an alternate explanation to her image problems. "My whole family has this face which, in repose, leads people to come up and say, 'Cheer up.' I may be thinking about something quite nice, but it's that kind of a face."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:49 pm

#26 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Q * April 1989
Dusty Springfield: Blondes Have Less Fun
TOM HIBBERT

"I CAN'T STAND that word!" says Dusty Springfield sitting with tea in the plush suite of the plush West End hotel. Here, throughout the day, she has been entertaining the gentlefolk of the press with discussions of her new single ('Nothing Has Been Proved', written by the Pet Shop Boys, featured in the forthcoming Profumo/Keeler/Stephen Ward flick Scandal). And the offending word, uttered by the Q correspondent, is "comeback". It's a word that makes the woman, nostrils wildly flaring, fume. "The word 'comeback' implies desperation," she crossly says. "It suggests that you're desperate to get back what you had. But I don't want to get back what I had, thank you."
The Dusty Springfield of today is alert and warm and composed – a very different person, she confesses, to the woman she once was: "I was a wreck. So why should I want that back? Working at the pace I used to, eaten up by it all, nothing but sleepless nights, getting completely screwed up by it all . . . I don't ever want to be that person again. So this is not a comeback." So what is it then? It's been 20 years since Dusty – so often described as the great white "soul" singer – made her last great recording, Dusty In Memphis. LPs of the late '70s and early '80s – It Begins Again, Living Without Your Love, White Heat – were commercial and artistic disasters; Peter Stringfellow's attempt in 1985 to relaunch Dusty as some dubious attraction for gay club persons (the release, on Stringfellow's Hippodrome label, of an awful single called 'Sometimes Like A Butterfly') was washed up in an instant.
But in 1987, the Pet Shop Boys used that imperishable voice on their single 'What Have I Done To Deserve This': a camp caprice, perhaps (it seems a fashionable whim amongst modern pop folk to lure old-timers from obscurity a la Morrissey/Sandie Shaw, Marc Almond/Gene Pitney), but the song was a hit and Dusty Springfield stepped out from her California seclusion at last to brave the music industry once again. She appeared on the stage of the Albert Hall at the BPI Awards ceremony – and what was this if not a "comeback"? According to Dusty, her return was somehow inevitable: "I don't necessarily want to sing," she says, "but I need to sing. It is part of my body. It is part of my mind. It is what I was meant to do – but it's taken me 25 years to discover that. And it's taken me 25 years to discover that I'm sometimes quite good at it."
Her career began in the early 1960s with The Springfields, a jolly two-boys-one-girl triumvirate who "wowed" the British public with jaunt-along Kingston Trio-styled numbers like 'Bambino' and 'Island Of Dreams' and 'Say I Won't Be There'. Dusty wore Giant Panda-styled black eyeliner and bouffant dresses. The wigs were a problem: "If you weren't careful they'd get misshapen and I'd have to go on stage with this dented head." She was the Golden Girl of pop: "But we weren't at all comfortable with that happy, breezy music – and I was just doing it to get famous. I was a fairly calculating bastard."
Her calculations worked out fine. When The Springfields broke up in 1963, Dusty immediately became a solo singing "sensation", Britain's top female vocalist, with wonky miming on Ready Steady Go! and a string of hits – 'I Only Want To Be With You', 'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself', 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' etc etc. Success eventually led her to the United States where she was to spend the tail end of the 1960s performing in cabaret situations. And: "After two or three years on the American circuit, I was a complete nutcase. I didn't like that world at all. I couldn't deal with it. I had agents who would book me into clubs that were completely wrong for me and I'd get so frustrated I'd find myself in hotel rooms flinging crockery at the walls. That was all I could do to ease the tension – smash some plates against a wall. It made a very funny sound. And I always swept it up myself . . . It was not a happy time. Cursing it every time I found myself in yet another bloody club."
Perhaps the most "bloody unsuitable club" was Basin Street East, a posh jazz emporium in New York where, in 1968, Ms Springfield was booked for a fortnight's stint alongside (and backed by) the Buddy Rich Orchestra. Dusty's memories of Rich – deceased and profoundly egocentric drums-person – are less than fond: "What a bastard!" she says, laughing as she spits her venom. "He was the arsehole of the world. I went to ask him if I could have his band for an hour's rehearsal – because I was headlining and I was expected to sing my hits like 'Wishing And Hoping' that his band had never even heard – he had his legs up on the desk and he said, You fucking broad! Who do you think you fucking are, bitch? So I punched him in the face . . . And after that, his saxophone player presented me with a pair of bright red boxing gloves. Because Buddy's band weren't very fond of him either."
In the early 1970s, worn down by America's Clubland, Dusty went into retirement, settling in California to live a hermit-like existence with only an extensive collection of cats for company. "I was directionless and I was tired," she says, "and record companies treated me as a tax write-off – and when record companies do that, there's nothing you can do. You can dance up and down and hang from a chandelier and set fire to yourself and they'll say Hey, that's beautiful, but they still won't promote you. So rather than crying about it, I just stopped."
And that might have been that, had a fashionable contemporary pop duo not, through trendy quirk, set Dusty Springfield back upon – whisper it – the "comeback" trail and helped to make her a contender once more. She is delighted to be "back". Positively glowing. "I must say, I'm not fond of the music business in general," she says, "and I never have been. But for the first time in my spotty, shaky career, I'm feeling strong enough to take it on."
Ms Springfield was one of the first pop singers ever to suffer the harsh prod of the popular press finger: "I'm not saying I'm Goody Two Shoes but I wasn't quite the chaotic person they made me out to be." In 1964 Dusty was driving along in her car when by mistake she bumped into an elderly Mayfair shop-owner called Ida Judith Metzger crossing the road carrying a shopping bag full of baked bean tins. Although unscathed, Metzger took out a civil action, and when the case came to court, the press was intrigued by the fact that Dusty had been driving at night wearing dark glasses. "It seemed an extraordinary thing to do," said the judge. "It was a perfect story for the papers, wasn't it?" says Dusty. "A pop singer should not hit an old lady. Particularly if the old lady used to be an ambulance driver in the war. And so suddenly I was this unstable person, this irresponsible, dirty pop singer. Nobody seemed interested in the damage the old lady's baked beans had done to the bonnet of my car."
The incident prompted the press to portray Dusty as some wayward madcap; and ever since, in tabloid reports over two decades, there would always be those inferences between the lines – Was she a loony? Was she a lesbian? Or what? She has learned to ignore such things: "They can call me loopy. They can call me a mad old crone. They can say I'm fat and fucking useless if they really want to. It's taken me a bloody long time but I realise now that none of that matters. Because I was meant to sing. So the only way they can ever hurt me is by saying my singing is no good. And even then I wouldn't believe them."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:50 pm

#27 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Sunday Mail * 9 April 1989
A Brand New Dusty
JON SAVAGE

If every interview is a performance, then Dusty Springfield's entrance is a bravura curtain-raiser. The theatre is a duplex hotel suite with a spiral staircase linking the two floors. Springfield is upstairs, a disembodied voice offering greetings. When all is ready, she comes down the stairs with a flourish, all shoulders and hair, in a rush of words. Her initial impact is confident and glamorous; you're instantly won over. "I always take the scenic route toward anything," she says a little later. By then you have noticed the dark brown eyes beneath her fringe, humor alternating with doubt cloaked by her dark eye-shadow. There is the sense that the wrong word — "tabloid", for example — will send her out of the room. Despite the fact that it is part of her persona, Dusty Springfield's volatility is not a ploy but something with which she visibly grapples, her emotions appearing to switch with the rapidity of a shorting circuit. "I've only just caught up with myself in terms of accepting a compliment," she says. "It's taken me 25 years to get to that point. Before, I never thought I deserved it. I never believed anyone who said they liked what I did because I knew different."
After 30 years in the music industry — her first record, Chimes of Arcady, was with the Lana Sisters in 1958 — Springfield at 48 years old remains an iconic performer, recognised as one of the finest, if not the finest, female singer that Britain has produced. Like all pop icons, her life appears to be reflected in and shaped by the material she sings. "Being good isn't always so easy — no matter how hard I try," she sings on Son Of A Preacher Man. Springfield was melodramatic and contradictory; vulnerable yet strong, dignified yet wild, charming yet prone to tantrums. Sixties titles like I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, In The Middle Of Nowhere, and Losing You were given an emotional authenticity by her bruised voice; she had international success as the tragic torch singer but the picture that these songs give of a confused, often self-destructive soul isn't without foundation in her own life. This self-referential process continues with her new single, Nothing Has Been Proved, written by and recorded with the Pet Shop Boys.
As far as the press is concerned, the jury has been out on various aspects of Springfield's life — her appearance, her sexuality, her professionalism, even her sanity — for more than 20 years. This process reached a new low with a particularly unpleasant News Of The World spread last year but it would be wrong to present Springfield as an innocent victim. She has enjoyed a flirtatious relationship with the press; often issuing outrageous quotes and seeming unable to establish the limits of self-revelation. "It's a scandal," whispers Neil Tennant on Nothing Has Been Proved. The song is the theme for the forthcoming film, Scandal, about the infamous events of summer 1963, when the sexual revelations linking Stephen Ward, Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies, Russian spy Eugene Ivanov and John Profumo (then Minister for War) became a national soap opera. In the video for the single, the Pet Shop Boys play a journalist/photographer pair doorstepping Springfield while she lip-synchs through a whirlwind of newsreels from the time; there's Christine, there's Profumo, there's dashing Stephen Ward. You almost expect to see Springfield herself, complete with beehive and Kohl, singing I Only Want To Be With You.
For if Nothing Has Been Proved could be seen to refer to her own difficulties with her public persona and her private life, then it also loops back to the year of her first solo success. Dusty Springfield was well placed to benefit from the pop boom in the autumn of 1963; a boon to Fleet Street news desks anxious for a new story after months of scandal. She was born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in April 1939, to Irish parents. The family was comfortably off but troubled — her father was a tax consultant with frustrated artistic ambitions — and domestic dramas were commonplace. She has described her family in terms of "intense bitterness". "I was brought up in Bucks and then we moved to Ealing which is a step up," she says. She hated her convent school there. In 1958 she joined the Lana Sisters, an early attempt at a female rock 'n' roll group. "I was the only one who had walked on a stage. I did my training at American air bases and Clacton Pier."
In 1960 she formed the Springfields with Mike Field (later replaced by Mike Hurst) and her brother Tom: "We started out and got booked sight unseen at Butlin's; we did 16 weeks running round the country in this very old Volkswagen bus. We got TV exposure very quickly and we discovered that if you sang loud and fast everybody got terribly impressed. We were terribly cheerful. It was extremely important to be cheerful." The Springfields bridged folk and pop with hits like Island Of Dreams, a wistful, melodic song with a strong sense of possibility. They now sound anodyne but then the songs, with a rare hint of emotions in the blend of voices, were something new in British pop. This was enough to take the Springfields to America, where Silver Threads And Golden Needles was a top 20 hit in 1962.
Flying to record in Nashville, Springfield found the country and the music of her dreams. "It was love at first sight," she says. This was the start of a love affair with soul which brought her closer than any other British singer to the music aristocracy of the time; in 1968 she received the supreme accolade when she recorded Dusty In Memphis with the cream of Stax session-men. "I remember this quite clearly, because you always remember the First Time. I was sitting in the Capitol Motel in Nashville when I heard Don't Make Me Over by Dionne Warwick. I actually had to sit down very hard because it was different to anything I had heard before. The other record was Tell Him by the Exciters, which I heard in New York. The pure power of it! Tell Him was more important because I could approximate the voices. I wanted that crispness, the ballsiness in the voice, which we hadn't had in England."
Soon after that first US trip the Springfields broke up — "we were all smart enough to see what was coming. That was The Beatles. We'd seen them play at the Cavern" — and Springfield had a chance to put her ideas into practice. "I was going for the Phil Spector sound," she says of her first solo record. The result was I Only Want To Be With You, a song so endurable that it was again successful when revived in the late '70s by the Tourists; it remains one of Britain's best records. Suddenly, Springfield was a huge star and, by her own admission, that's when the problems started. "I was very sheltered and suddenly we were taken out to these little clubs. I didn't know what the people I was with were talking about and I didn't know about the food they were serving. I was raised on meat and potatoes. So I developed this front so they wouldn't know. Because if they knew the real me, they wouldn't like me."
The stories of her wild and unpredictable behavior — collapsing through worry, or driving her Italian sports car wearing sunglasses after dark — began. So Mary O'Brien became fixed as "Dusty Springfield". Vital to this transformation was her appearance, which was artificial in the extreme; huge piled-up beehives and whole bottles of black eye make-up. "I overdid a lot of things," she says. Was it not a mask? "It was a good thing to hide behind. Without the face I was a quivering wreck. I was terribly shy. So the more eyes I put on, the less shy I had to feel. And once you put that eye make-up on, it was such a hell getting it off that you would just leave it on. And put more on top after it for three weeks at a time. By that time it was really solid."
She was also a perfectionist about her records, which didn't endear her to a music industry unused to assertive female performers. "There was a lot of angst involved because it was not easy to get those sounds on to four-track. I was breaking a lot of new ground and asking musicians to play things they had never heard before because I had been in the States and they hadn't. So I scowled a lot; I got a reputation as a great scowler." The result was a sequence of 17 hits that spanned the rest of the decade. Because they fit the perceived melodrama of her life, she is best known for big ballads like I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten or You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. But she also recorded underrated stompers like Little By Little as well as establishing herself as a fine interpreter of songs by composers like Jacques Brel, Randy Newman, Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Her own favorites remain Goffin and King's Going Back and Some Of Your Lovin', the song that ""sold her to Atlantic Records" and took her to Memphis. These records established her as one of the most charismatic of a new generation of stars who embodied a new femininity; Cilla Black and Lulu with their rough voices and the cool Sandie Shaw.
Springfield's appeal was the broadest with a sophistication that appealed to men and women alike. The rapid passing of the '60s, however, hit these stars hard; until the singer/songwriter, the only option available to female pop singers was the classic cabaret route. Dusty found being at the cutting edge exhausting; she fled to California. "I had to leave for my own sanity," she says. "I knew that my career was disintegrating. If it was going to happen, I didn't want it to be here. I didn't want to land up playing northern clubs all the time." Her '70s are best glossed over: she had learned ""how to party" in the late '60s and in Los Angeles went at it with a vengeance. "I did the whole lazy self-destructive California bit," she says, "and thoroughly enjoyed most of it." Her image in the press took a downturn; the storyline became melodramatic failure, a soap opera of pills and tantrums.
If in 1968 Dusty had sung Don't Forget About Me, by 1978 one of her many attempted relaunches was headlined It Begins Again. A hardcore, mainly gay audience stuck by her. She went through several managers and record companies: one bizarre partnership linked her with Peter Stringfellow. But, in 1987, the storyline had a new twist; her collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys on What Have I Done To Deserve This? resulted in an international hit and changed her life. Her new career comes within a music industry both rediscovering and cannibalising its past. Nostalgia sweetens and trivialises, but her reappearance reminds us of her achievements and that the energy of the '60s remains as an elusive touchstone. Like Morrisey with Sandie Shaw and Marc Almond with Gene Pitney, the Pet Shop Boys have reframed her in a way that uses melodrama to get to the reality of a misunderstood decade. As she says: "Those songs were dark, I always tried to find a place somewhere on a record that was dark because that's an important side to me."
So 1989 brings another "brand new me". In 1967 Dusty Springfield hoped that in 20 years she would "have a settled mind". If nothing else, she now says she has come to terms with her "job" as a singer and the requirements that it makes of her life. She plans to move from Amsterdam — where she lives with several cats — back to Britain to work. She remains highly private but intensely aware of her own myth. She has already turned her renewed confidence into a simile. "I'm like a seagull over the marine bed, the way they swoop when you throw down food. Except I'm a very selective seagull. I just don't sweep down for crumbs: it's got to be a whole loaf of bread in the water."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Corinna » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:25 pm

I've just printed out this thread - it's 50+ pages so far! [:o] :yes:

So Geraldine, your interest in Dusty isn't academic then? I thought you were a Dusty researcher, you sure have the archives to be one!
Cor xx

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:00 pm

I have the interest of a lifelong fan & the training of an academic, though I sometimes think the latter was preordained by keeping scrapbooks as a kid! My digital collection, alas, is pretty random, being catch-as-catch-can ~ though I have done quite some internet sleuthing. What is yet to come, from the 90s, are interviews that show Dusty to be a formidably self-aware woman.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby PeelMeAGrape » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:26 pm

Oh wow, this is so great! I'd read some of these before, but surrounded by all the new-to-me interviews they took on new life. Thanks a million for all your work! :star:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Hampson » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:21 pm

Wonderful articles - many thanks Geraldine.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby SweMaria » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:59 pm

Thanks for posting all these articles Geraldine! [:)]

I've just learned , from articles from the sixties, that Dusty's favourite instrument(or the instrument she thought was most important ) was the bass. :note: and that she really liked the voice of Stevie Winwood too. :note: [ear] .

There's a lot of interesting information here and I have to read more later, thank again! :thumbsup:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:30 pm

#28 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Blues & Soul * 1990
Dusty from the soul
SHARON DAVIS reminisces with black music fan Dusty Springfield — tagged Britain's "white negress"

What's this lady doing in Blues & Soul, you may ask yourself. Well, read on because this petite, much loved and respected singer was one of the forerunners in spreading the word — the Motown word, the soul word — although she's always claimed her promotion of the music was a modest contribution to its growth and popularity in Europe.
So, here we were, sipping diet coke, lounging in The Churchill Hotel late one Tuesday night, when Dusty Springfield — dressed in soft spring colours, with her large expressive, mascara-ed eyes and long pink fingernails flashing to emphasise a point — was an absolute treasure as we sauntered down a musical memory lane. The two hour journey wasn't without interruption ("Can't you see I'm trying to do an interview here!!") but nonetheless she persevered and perhaps spent a little longer talking than originally intended.
Black music lovers will recall Ms Springfield's two critically acclaimed 1969/1970 albums Dusty in Memphis and A Brand New Me (UK — From Dusty . . . With Love), her regular involvement with the racey, innovative Friday night music TV programme Ready Steady Go, hosting "The Sound of Motown" and her participation in an American Motown Revue. And naturally some of these came into the conversation.
However, before getting into these "rather heady days," Dusty spoke of her current soul favourite, Luther Vandross. "He's a master at making the most of a song" she gushed. "Sometimes he decorates too much, but that's Luther. If I wanted to do very soulful things now, I don't think I would. I have influences but I don't think I'd try to do that here. We have our own ways. I think bands like Soul II Soul are soulful but in a different way; it's that wonderful mixture of sounds which I couldn't do. The closest I come to this on my new album [Reputation released this month] where I sound free and happy is on "Send It To Me". It has a slight wit to it and kinda lopes along; it's also very sparse. What you have is a Womack & Womack quality. It's simplicity and was a reaction to a lot of complicated stuff. I just wanted a song that was straight ahead."
It was over two decades ago when Dusty first flew her Motown crusading flag; she promoted the music in interviews, performed cover-versions on TV and recorded the company's tracks on albums. Why Motown? "It was so obviously better than a lot of things that were happening. They were really good songs done extremely rhythmically. It was the first time there had been that type of song structure. Some of them were sloppy but it was this sloppiness that made them attractive. I noticed a lot of it was to do with the bass player, the drummer's licks, Holland, Dozier and Holland, and musicians like James Jamerson if you were lucky! That was the 'motor' of Motorcity. You could put anything on top of it and it would still sound like Motown. The artists were probably secondary, and certainly there were a lot of people who sang but who didn't last. Whether it was because they got worn out by the situation, I don't know. They were talented and certainly you could put all sorts of vocal people over an absolutely splendid bass line and have a hit."
Her love of this music inevitably got her into trouble, particularly with British musicians in the studios. "I was swiping things left, right and centre to record, wasn't I! It was pretty phenomenal to get that sound because the guys I had to work with — they were all sweethearts [she smiled] — but they were all playing standard basses. I was actually the first person to ask them to play a Fender bass. I really was a stickler for just getting there, just as close as I could, and that's where my reputation came from because I kept saying 'no, that's not it' and so on."
Despite Dusty's close involvement with the artists, nobody asked her to join Motown, a move, she said, that wouldn't have been right at the time. "The climate wasn't right. I would have been intimidated because I was in awe of them and I don't sing well when I'm in awe. I usually sing better in England. A few white singers did try it and they didn't last . . . Chris Clark, Kiki Dee . . . I think Motown was right not to ask me. In retrospect, I'm glad they didn't because I might have accepted, and I wanted to stumble along on my own, make my own blunders."
Mid way through the Sixties, the lady flew to America to join a touring Motown Revue comprising some of the company's finest like Martha and the Vandellas, The Supremes, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye, under the auspices of deejay Murray the K. "I remember it was the era of Beatlemania and Murry the K liked to consider himself as the fifth Beatle. He thought I was from Liverpool and decided he'd got to have me! There were a couple of other white acts on the show, I think Jay and the Americans were there . . . Murry hedged his bets with a few white acts. I mostly hung out with The Ronettes who, as you know weren't Motown, and shared a dressing room with them, which was an extraordinary experience! Y'know, it was like 104 degrees in this very, very small dressing room, and all our beehives were in there — three black beehives and one white one! It was collisions constantly!
"Next door were Martha and the Vandellas, and the other side The Supremes. I remember Mary Wilson was always reading Latin books and Diana Ross' mum helped me turn my hems up because I was always buying things that were too long! I had a lot of good times, very heady times being involved in that period. After all, what could be more stimulating than listening to the brass arrangements of The Temptations from the side of the stage. That was heaven to me. Mind you, I didn't like performing there or anything else but I wanted to stand at the side of the stage and soak it all up so that I could use it. But I could never get anyone to do it! And this is where I got this priceless reputation of being difficult in the studios over here because I was always asking the musicians to do things they couldn't understand."
Apart from performing on this tour, Dusty became one of Martha's Vandellas. The blonde singer laughed — "We started the show at ten in the morning and it went on until one/two the following morning. We only sang two or three songs each but it meant being in the theatre all the time, and there was always a Vandella missing! Since they were singing back-up for Marvin Gaye from the wings, I used to do it. I never actually got to go on stage with them but I knew exactly how to sound like a Vandella . . . and a Shirelle if it came to that. I know how to do that stuff to this day. I can still go off into my Shirley Alston impression. Whoever it was I wanted to be, I'd slavishly copy them because we hadn't caught on to them in this country so I could get away with it."
Her involvement with and influences from black music showed so dramatically in Dusty's recordings (check her first album A Girl Called Dusty) that she was nicknamed "The White Negress" by her contempories, a name that surely should have flattered her. "I certainly wasn't offended" she smiled, trying to get her lighter to ignite, before adding "In fact I don't think it had any impact on me at all." However, the title did cause a lot of resentment and she cited one instance. "It's not much fun having a glass of whisky thrown in your face by Nina Simone who called me a honky and resented me being alive! She was having a few problems which I thought I could solve by being nice. Huh, I was still as naive as ever! I was on a crusade of being helpful to people who had problems and I was warned not to approach her but . . . I knew better, didn't I?"
Ms Springfield might have resisted joining Motown but she did sign with Atlantic Records to release the two previously mentioned superb albums. Ahmet Ertegun heard "Some Of Your Lovin'" and begged her to record for Atlantic once she was contractually free. Dusty said the albums were largely recorded from fear as she remembered her first visits to the studios. "I got destroyed when someone said 'stand there, that's where Aretha stood' or 'stand there, that's where Percy Sledge sang "When A Man Loves a Woman."' I became paralysed by the ghosts of the studio! I knew that I could sing the songs well enough, but it brought pangs of insecurity . . . that I didn't deserve to be there. I just knew that Aretha's drummer was going to say 'ain't she a piece of shit.' It's the most deflating thing you can say to me that somebody I adore and worship actually stood there and probably delivered an effortless performance while I'm slogging away trying to get it right. They meant well but they didn't realise what they were doing."
Yet, after playing the albums again, the fear brought out some of the finest tracks Dusty has recorded, and probably is likely to. She agreed. "It's funny because I hated those sessions. But the albums do say everything about the patience those guys had. They worked with me until they got it out of me. Probably the irony of those whole sessions was that I was so crippled with laryngitis they could only record me two or three words at a time. Yet, there are notes on the albums that I've never sung again, they're stratospheric. They're so high. I'd be revving up and I'd just go for it. When I didn't make it I'd do it again until I did. It was rough!" Rough or not, I bet she loved every damned minute.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:33 pm

#29 from gm
Terrible headline!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Guardian * June 7, 1990
Lusty Dusty
ADAM SWEETING speaks to the sixties icon who has risen from pop's graveyard to breath new life into the charts.

Among the various achievements of the Pet Shop Boys, the reinvention of Dusty Springfield is among the most fascinating. Adored in the sixties, mired in drugs in the seventies, cast adrift on American TV game-shows and the supper-club circuit in the eighties, Dusty seemed permanently beached. Luckily for her, Dusty in Memphis is Neil Tennant's favourite album of all time. Dusty herself is almost dismissive of the album, which has steadily accrued legendary status since its release in 1969. "It's become rather an over-rated classic," she thinks. "It's not as if it's some magnificent work of art. It's a good record." Good enough for the Pets anyway, and in 1987, the Boys invited Dusty to sing on "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" Then came a Top 5 hit with "Nothing Has Been Proved" from the movie Scandal, an inspired deployment both of Dusty's voice and her enduring aura as sixties icon.
Now there's her new album Reputation, half-written and half-produced by the Boys, the other half the product of a motley assortment of writers, producers and engineers. It's bound to generate more discs to hang on the wall. And if the Pet Shop Boys hadn't come along? "God knows," exhales Dusty, along with a jet of cigarette smoke. She is looking unmistakably diva-like, a vision in peroxide and pink. "I just would have taken a different route. It probably would have been more scenic. I was plotting a bit over in California, wondering how I was going to approach all this again, and then all the decisions were taken out of my hands, which I was very relieved about. It's always with hindsight that I realise things blindingly clearly, but "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" was a great rehearsal for the next one, "Nothing Has Been Proved". It's as if I'm being weaned in some way and allowed to rehearse things little by little. I want to work with them again, but I'm sure neither side wants to always work together. With the album being a mixture, I'm being given things to do that gradually build up the confidence and allow me a little more freedom."
The album is a slick and well-planned showcase for Springfield's voice, which has retained its familiar timbre and twang remarkably well, considering how it's been abused in its time. "Reputation" and "I Was Born This Way" allow her to lay back and roar. "Nothing Has Been Proved" and the beautifully floaty "Daydreaming" draw on Dusty's ability to suggest and confide. "The record is fairly eclectic in tempos," she reflects, huskily. "I would be somewhat distraught to have to go and make a dance record with somebody more frivolous than the Boys because it really wouldn't work. With them, there's always something slightly off-centre that I like. I'm a bit off-centre as well. We get along fine."
Dusty's off-centreness might account for the turbulence she has encountered in her life, although, like Sandie Shaw and Marianne Faithfull, she has turned out to be tougher than she looks. It was the troublesome intrusions of the press that first drove her to live in America, but there's a part of her personality which can't help getting itself in the news. Perhaps it's because newspapers run in her family, her grandfather having been parliamentary correspondent for the Irish Independent. "I always did blunder into things," she admits, one of them being apartheid, which the pioneering chanteuse clashed with in 1964. Having had a clause written into her contract saying she could and would play to mixed audiences in South Africa, she walked into a political storm which ended in her being confined to her hotel under a kind of house arrest.
"I wasn't making any major statement, I just felt better about it that way, being the naive person I was," she remembers ruefully. "I thought it was morally the right thing to do. But they were waiting for some idiot to write a very small clause into their contract, they were so goddamn smart. There was a real backlash because I was accused of making things worse, and so unwittingly I had. But what meant something to me was the airline workers, the black guys, lifted their hats when I got on the plane. I thought oh, you did notice, even though I fucked it up." It was open season on Dusty when she arrived back in Britain. Well-loved stars of stage and screen, like Max Bygraves and Derek Nimmo, criticised her for making it harder for them to work in South Africa. "What a prat!" snaps Dusty, of Nimmo. "Is he still alive? Well, he's still a prat. I would say it to his face. That was such a prat-like thing to say."
Also somewhat regrettable was her abortive effort at a comeback two decades later under the auspices of clubland entrepreneur Peter Stringfellow. "Boy, was that a blunder," Dusty winces. "I didn't know Peter had a fetish for butterflies--he has them everywhere. I present him with a song called "Sometimes Like Butterflies", and he goes yes! We'll put it out in an eight-minute version and it will be Number 1! I said I don't think so. Peter is the most marvellous club person, and I really respect what he's done, but he wasn't a record person. It didn't work. He still sends me flowers every now and again, but he's just such a mixture of being abusive publicly to me and being a gentleman."
Assorted cock-ups behind her, the trick now will be to maintain her new winning streak. Having moved back to Buckinghamshire, she has already been reminded that some things don't change. A local reporter came banging on her door, and when Dusty (hair in curlers and about to catch a plane) declined to do an interview on the spot, the hack gave her address to The Sun. "All of a sudden they're out there with telephoto lenses," she wails. "I thought they must be really hard up for news. Why do they want to take a picture of me taking my rubbish out? I have absolutely nothing to hide. I live there with my cat. That's it. That's my life." Though, of course, it might be even worse not being in the papers. "It backfires if you talk to them, and it backfires if you don't," Dusty reasons. "I chose this job, nobody forced it down my throat. So either you stand it or you get out."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:39 pm

#30 from gm
Posted after 1999
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rip It Up (New Zealand) * 1990
Dusty in private
CHRIS BOURKE

Dusty Springfield was always cool in our extended family, but in the 1960s I didn’t realise how cool. My older girl cousins didn’t quite emulate her wigs but certainly mascara and false eyelashes were in heavy use. I have vague memories of watching her television series, mainly for the variety it offered, as did the Johnny Cash show at that time. By the mid-1970s Dusty in Memphis was spoken about with reverence by rock critics, but you couldn’t find a copy in New Zealand. In 1980 I asked my sister to send one out from London, and therein started a love affair. It is the perfect mix of performer, songs, musicians and producer.
When I requested it, I wasn’t to know that so many of the key people who have been central to my musical journey were present: Randy Newman as songwriter, Jerry Wexler as producer, Chips Moman’s American studios in Memphis, and his band of great players that combined soul, country and pop into one irresistible stew* (recaptured a few weeks later by Elvis for his ‘In the Ghetto’ and ‘Suspicious Mind’ sessions). Dusty in Memphis deservedly became a perennial entry in “great album” lists; even the liner notes (by Stanley Booth) were excellent.
In 1987 Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys plucked Dusty from her exile in the US to duet on ‘What Have I Done To Deserve This’, one of the great singles of the 1980s: it updated her sound while staying true to her early Philips singles of the 1960s. I jumped at the chance when Rip It Up editor Murray Cammick offered me the opportunity to interview her in October 1990. The album she was promoting was Reputation, produced by PSB's Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe and others. It was a disappointment after the single, and its excellent follow-ups, ‘Nothing Has Been Proved’ and ‘In Private’.
Dusty in conversation sounded just like her records. The husky voice still had an English accent, though the occasional Californian inflection revealed the 20 years she had spent in Los Angeles. But she exuded the same character as her songs: warmth and vulnerability, wit and sensitivity. And girlish high spirits. Less than 10 years later she was dead, aged 59.
Here is the complete transcript of my interview with Dusty.

Q: Did you know that you got your first No 1 hit in New Zealand, with the Springfields’ ‘Silver Threads’?
No I didn’t! That was the one record we made I truly liked. That’s amazing! That’s great! I still like that record.

Q:Do you remember coming out to New Zealand in the 60s?
Yeah! It was part of an Australian and New Zealand tour with, oh, Gene Pitney and the Searchers, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes and all that gang. I remember in Christchurch how pretty the trees were – would they be laburnums? They were lilac coloured, gorgeous. We played Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin, which is indeed a very Scottish town.

Q: Are you happy with Reputation?
[She pauses, hearing a double entendre] The album? [pause] Most of it. Yeah, I think it’s good. Sometimes I bemoan the fact that I’d like a bit more musical freedom, but certainly I think it’s a good album. I’m pleased with it. There are things obviously . . . I’m never completely satisfied, there are things I’d like to go back and do again, but that will always be the case, it’s the case of everyone I know.

Q: Have you ever wanted to produce yourself completely?
I sort of did [in the mid-1960s], but I never put my name on it. All of them in the 60s, apart from the American ones. But I have no great . . . I like to work with somebody else, producing is really hard work. But I certainly . . . There are two types of producer. There is the technician and then there are the emotional ones who need the technicians to work with. I think that’s fairly much the case with the Pet Shop Boys and Julian Mendelsohn. With Neil and Chris they do the writing and know the sounds they want but Julian is the one who gets the sounds. It would be intriguing to work under those circumstances, to have the fellow there, but then I always produced that way, I always needed a technician to get the things that were in my head.

Q: Why didn't you ever credit yourself on those 60s records?
It wasn’t done. It just wasn’t done. It would have made me look too competent. It was very important at that time – the sort of dolly bird image was not . . . it shouldn’t have looked too slick. The British have an innate suspicion of things that are too slick. I don’t know whether it's that way in New Zealand, but it certainly – perhaps a little less so now – but still to this day the things that are the most successful with the average British public, you’ve got to keep that slightly amateurish quality, that sort of enthusiastic, having-a-go attitude, it shouldn’t be too slick, or if it is slick, you mustn’t let them know that. Getting too many credits on one label, in the middle of a record, was not a good idea. It was frustrating, but I was allowed my head, I was allowed . . . what mattered to me wasn’t the credit, what mattered was getting the job done, and being allowed to do that was quite something, because I was pretty new at it, and I had an A&R man who was quite nice about that. He was having a nervous breakdown in the control room, but the fact is, he let me do it.

Q: It must be frustrating though, now that female performers like Madonna control their own careers and don’t hold back.
No, it’s nice to see it though. I can be pretty dispassionate about that and say, good on you. [Laughs] I really can say, finally, it started in the 70s with the singer/songwriters started to get a hold. But it's nice to see that people are having a major say in their own careers.

Q: Did you have trouble getting Reputation finished? When you spoke to Rip It Up last year, talked about the Fine Young Cannibals and Miami Sound Machine, people like that being involved.
The Miami Sound Machine was my own dream. Certainly the record company wanted to keep it as much in this country as possible. They finally relented on Dan Hartman, but basically they wanted it to be as British as possible. The Fine Young Cannibals . . . it’s hard to explain this. When you want to work with specific people, you are open to other people’s schedules. You have to reach compromises and if it’s not possible, it’s not possible. So that didn’t work out and neither did the thing with Phil Collins, because up until the last minute he was going to produce two. And he was struggling to finish his own album on time, and of course everything runs over; with the best will in the world things run over time, so that didn’t work. But we have a commitment that he’ll do two on the next album, but maybe that won’t work either. That’s the down side of wanting to work with people who have very active careers outside of production. So sometimes you just have to let some things go.

Q: Of course, there’s the problem with consistency when working with so many people – getting a flow through the record.
Well that depends on the sequencing. I wasn’t that keen on the sequencing, but I didn’t have much say in it. But I don’t believe that it’s necessary to work with one producer. A lot of performers have six producers. The early albums I did were all over the place in styles: musical eclecticism. I don’t subscribe to the thinking that it has to be all one sound, because I go nuts with that. I need the freedom to explore other situations. Whether it works or not, I need that freedom. In fact I’d like more freedom, because when I look back at some old archive material, which I’ve been doing recently, I was far more eclectic then. I strain under the restrictions sometimes.

Q: Looking back over your career makes me think of that quote by Ahmet Ertegun about black music: that it’s always running away from the status quo, always changing the style, moving on. You seem that way too.
Yeah well it’s stupid to stand still. This struggle I’m having at the moment . . . it’s nice having a past, but sometimes it’s a real cross to bear. Because if you mention that you’d like to do a really good ballad, the tendency is to ignore the fact that contemporary ballads are often very, very successful, that even heavy metal bands, it’s their ballads that stay in the charts for week after week worldwide. The tendency if I say I want to do a ballad is they immediately click back into the 60s, and go, Oh she wants to do a 60s ballad. And I say, No I don’t. Their mindset tells them that, so they get afraid of it.
And you know, I’m not a dance artist. If people want to dance to something I’ve done that’s fine, but I cannot . . . it’s a mistake to channel me in that direction. It’s just not right. It’s a sort of unspoken battle to try and establish credibility with your own musical ideas. It takes a while to break down people’s image of you. If they have one. To say, no I don’t want to do a 60s ballad, it’s not going to sound that way . . . And you have to point it out to them, over and over again, the success of contemporary ballads. Enormous things: Maria McKee, Mariah Carey – all sorts of huge ballads, that they seem to ignore, but the public don’t. When I say they, I mean A&R people in record companies.

Q: Do you get the feeling that there aren’t many composers today who write the kind of songs that meet real singers’ needs?
It’s very hard to find a good ballad, I must say. That’s my dream really, because I think it’s what I do best. I’d just like to find a strong, slightly R&B influenced ballad for the next album. That’s where I sit most comfortably I think. It’s not easy though to find.

Q: I interviewed Randy Newman last year, and he mentioned two songs you’ve done as being among his favourite covers of his songs: ‘I’ve Been Wrong Before’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Hear It’.
Really? I didn’t know he’d ever heard them. I find that enormously flattering, because I worship his musical style, I really do.

Q: I thought one of his recent songs ‘Falling in Love’ would be right for you.
Really. He’s an amazing writer.

Q: On Reputation you picked a Goffin and King number: you went back to Goffin and King who you covered on the Memphis record.
I didn’t actually. It’s a bone of contention in a light way, between the record company, the Pet Shop Boys and myself. I didn’t want to do that. But I trust Neil so much that I did it. I really did it for Neil. It’s really the only song on the album I don’t like! I love Goffin and King, I just don’t think it belongs where they put it. It doesn’t work for me there. But excuse me, I’ve been wrong before! [Laughs] But it genuinely doesn’t sit well with me. For me to be able to accept that somebody is right, and do it anyway, is an amazing step forward for me. Because a long time ago I would have fought and fought and fought and not done it. But I have an innate trust of Neil and Chris, so I did it. I still tell them to their faces that I don’t like it.

Q: They did a wonderful job on ‘What Have I Done to Deserve This’. Why did the album take so long?
Oh yes . . .

Q: That must have been enormously frustrating for you.
Oh well. I was being tested. Nobody ever said it, but you were quite aware that the record industry was kind of putting its toe in the water, and debating whether they wanted to get involved on a contractual level for any length of time. And the trust built up through that, and then through ‘Nothing Has Been Proved’ – these were still on a single basis, there was no long-term contract. And then the success of ‘In Private’ was what sealed it I think. They wanted to see whether it would develop. Things are not that great in the record industry. A&R departments have to have a real feeling that it’s going to work, before they commit money for budget. And the turning point I think was ‘In Private’, in that it was so successful all over Europe. It went beyond just being a hit in England, and they thought, Hey, she can really sell records. And their eyebrows went up and they said, Okay! Let’s take that risk and go for it. But that takes such a long time.

Q: In the 80s the business has been taken over by accountants rather than musical people.
Oh without a doubt. To use a current expression, “at the end of the day, it’s the balance sheet that counts”, not the music. I understand them, and the word industry is well used – that’s what it is. I feel that people who run companies are industrialists, and have to show a profit margin. I mean, this is the time of year when even well known people get dropped off labels, because the bottom line figures are not right for the accountants. So it’s hairy to be in the recording industry, it really is. I have never been that fond of the whole premise of it, but it’s something I do, and it’s something for the most part I enjoy. But I don’t enjoy any of the politics of it. I think they stink.

Q: One legend I’ve heard is that you advised Jerry Wexler to sign Led Zeppelin. Is that true?
Nooooo. But a wonderful idea! I’m not sure I could have done it or not! No, I didn’t hear that. [This may be modesty: the story keeps getting more reliable, and the timing is right: when Led Zeppelin was forming, John Paul Jones arranged her album Definitely Dusty. She then recorded the Memphis album for Atlantic.]

Q: But you did an enormous amount for Motown in Britain, fronting a TV special on Ready Steady Go .
Yeah, I did an idealistic sort of PR thing, yeah.

Q: Was that your first introduction to black music?
No, no. Do you want to go all the way back? My first introduction to black music was as a kid listening to Jelly Roll Morton singles, old New Orleans stuff. But on a level of contemporary popular black music, no it was before that. I was getting imports while I was still with the Springfields. I was aware of early R&B before Motown was Motown, and early Stax – those labels that came out of the Memphis. Those were my earliest real influences. Around ’61, ’62.

Q: It’s ironic that Motown always emphasised longevity in artists’ careers, and pushed them towards cabaret. Whereas you’ve always had to run away from being in that trap.
I didn’t avoid it altogether. That happened to me when I got to the States, when I moved to the States. I fell into that trap. Because that most definitely is where managers who wanted good bread-and-butter artists steered their acts. Because it was at that time a very going concern, the nightclubs and that whole gray area which I hated so much. There was still a massive audience for the nightclub circuit and the hotel chains, which had in each major hotel a room that constituted a nightclub. And they had very major acts there, and you could earn very good money there. It was just an area that I truly hated performing in.

Q: You seem to have had quite a different career in the States. In Britain, it was pop. In America, it was the soul of Memphis and Philadelphia.
Yeah, though Memphis actually happened while I was still living in England. But certainly that was the start of my thinking about going to the States. In hindsight, the Americans have never really understood what I do, they have a great need to categorise things. It makes radio stations very nervous if they can’t pigeonhole somebody because of their formats. And in England I was identified, I could almost do anything and get away with it. But in the States you can’t do that. So I had several very big hits in the States, but because I insisted on being more eclectic than the record companies would like me to be . . . Some of the English album material was all over the place, and it worked in England but it didn’t work for the States. So success there was more intermittent. And the ones that were truly successful essentially categorised me, on what I think is a superficial musical level. I just never had a chance to establish a more substantial musical image in the States.

Q: With the Memphis album, it is intriguing that so many of the great soul players are from a country background.
Yep. And it’s ironic to know now that most of those people who were studio musicians in Memphis have all moved to Nashville. I don’t know that Memphis is a major recording centre anymore.

Q: No. Only Al Green stays there.
[Laughs] Yeah, right.

Q: And yet you were in Nashville 30 years ago with the Springfields.
Right. We made a really horrible album there. But I’m still grateful to that time because that allowed me . . . the first time I ever heard Dionne Warwick’s ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ was in Nashville. I had to sit down very quickly on the bed in, I remember, the Cpitol Motel, with its red carpets. It was really glamorous; I’d never seen a really flashy American motel before. With all the right buttons to push, room service, the works. A really upmarket motel . . . but I associate that with hearing Dionne Warwick for the first time, doing that particular record, and thinking, My God this is different. And on the way back stopping off in New York, and hearing the sounds that needed to hear in order to kick my behind into being a solo singer.

Q: Nashville must have still been quite segregated place then, before the civil rights era.
It probably was, I certainly wasn’t aware of that, because when you are recording you lead such a sheltered sort of existence, a tunnel vision thing. All I could think of at that time was trying to sing in tune. It never occurred to me to . . . I really went through that experience in blinkers, just going to the studio, going back to the motel, going to the studio, going back to the motel. It had no experience for me further than listening to the radio, and realising what [with incredulous expression] music there was there! To listen to, nationally, being played. And how excited I was by that.

Q: Do you regard the Memphis record as the great thing that so many critics do?
No. I do realise, and again it’s only in hindsight, like so many other conclusions I reach, that it has a real flow, a real sound, even though I think it lacks certain things in the background, in the musical side of it. It does have a sound. And it does have some quality that some of the other albums lacked. A cohesion. It’s such a credit to Jerry Wexler and [engineer] Tom Dowd – their patience with me. Because I was very intimidated doing it, and very fearful. And people have said, well how could you be.
I mean there’s nothing more deflating to one’s confidence than to have somebody say, “Stand there, that’s where Aretha stood.” And the only person I know who understands that – and I was really surprised and we had a long talk about it – was George Michael. Because he went through the same thing. Only his was like, “That’s where Percy Sledge stood,” or “That’s where Otis Redding stood.” Or something. And we laughed about it, when I was working with the Pet Shop Boys on the album, we happened to be working in the same studio, and we had a cup of coffee together and talked about it. And I thought, My God. Somebody understands. That I’m not being down on myself. That it was a very real feeling, and that it was something that I had to fight the entire time I was doing the Memphis thing, and it was something I had to conquer. And that it was a true restrictive feeling.
And Jerry and Tom did not understand that. I was so nervous that I lost my voice! With sheer nerves, over thinking, Oh God, I’m not good enough to be here. And they’re going to see right through me – I’m just a white girl trying to sound black. And they actually do see through me . . . But that wasn’t the way it was for them, that wasn’t their experience, but it was mine. And the patience they showed in getting it out of me was extraordinary. And that album is such a credit to their ability to work with an artist and look past all the insecurities, and to have the patience to know that it’ll come eventually.

Q: It’s ironic that Aretha was offered ‘Son of a Preacher’ first but turned it down. She only recorded it after hearing your version.
Yeah. [laughs] And she did a great job. Whenever I did it after that, I always used her intonation.

With that, the tape clicked off, but the conversation continued. What next after Reputation, I asked. (I’d found it rather disappointing: too many producers were involved.) So I suggested Luther Vandross as a producer. This is when Dusty the music fan came out. I jotted down her responses immediately afterwards. “Oh, that would be a dream!” she swooned. “Whether he’d be available, I don’t know, but he’s one of my absolute idols.” Or Elvis Costello? “Oh, I did one of his songs a few years ago” – [‘Losing You’ on the bizarre White Heat, 1982] – “He gave it to me before he did it himself. I couldn’t believe I meant something to someone of such a different era.” Have you any plans to sing live again? “No. Maybe in the future. Friends in Los Angeles used to come into the studio and watch me record, overdubbing line after line. Then when I was going to do some live work, they said, ‘But can you sing a whole song at once?’” One last question: you were on Dame Edna’s TV show recently. What do you think of her dress sense? “Oh, fabulous!” said the diva famous for her sequinned gowns, large wigs and mascaraed eyes. “I had so much fun doing that show. I made a special effort to congratulate his designer for making those fabulous gowns.”
Dusty in Memphis may be timeless, but in 1990 Dusty herself wasn’t looking back. “I never listen to my old records, they sound corny. They make better records now, they sound better. You can do things now I always wanted to do then.” My conclusion to the original story was, “Dusty Springfield is back, and hopefully in charge of her own destiny.” Sadly, that never happened.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:40 pm

#31 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Toronto Star * November 20, 1994
Singer still wishin' and hopin'
MITCHELL SMYTH

It sounds a bit archaic, maybe even racist, in the politically correct '90s — when even words are being laundered — but in the '60s we all understood exactly when was meant when pop music critics dubbed Dusty Springfield "the white negress." As Rolling Stone magazine observed: "Springfield was among the first and most talented white female vocalists in the mid-'60s to sing credible rhythm 'n' blues. In her early hits ("Wishin' And Hopin' " "I Only Want To Be With You") she sang in a cool, sexily proud voice, with a bevy of snarling curls and just a tinge of gospel-derived mannerisms."
Then, sometime in the early '70s, her career began to falter. She tried to kick-start it by moving from her homeland, Britain, to America, but it didn't work. As did so many artists before, and after, she took refuge in the bottle while, as she said later, "being very idle and doing it very badly." She lived an almost reclusive life in Los Angeles, where she got the reputation as a bit of an ill-tempered eccentric. The only reference she got in the papers in those days was when she admitted, in an interview, that she was bisexual. She forsook the recording studio, preferring instead to spend her time with tennis players (Billie Jean King was a close friend) and to campaign for animal rights. She caused a bit of a flurry in the charts in 1987 when she recorded "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" with the Pet Shop Boys, but somehow wasn't able to follow it up.
Now, seven years later, you can hear her in, of all places, the movie theatre. Her "Son Of A Preacher Man," a hit from 1969, is featured in John Travolta's comeback movie, Pulp Fiction. And she has been in the studios in Nashville recording what she hopes will be her comeback album. However, the sessions were interrupted when she discovered a lump in her breast. She flew back to Britain, where doctors operated. Now, she is undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Her spokesperson, Jo Donnelly, told reporters: "Doctors are extremely pleased with her and the prognosis is very good indeed. She fully expects to finish her record after Christmas. Dusty is a very private person and we are leaving her alone to get completely better." Springfield, 55 last April, is living in the southern English village of Taplow, in Berkshire. British papers quote a neighbor as saying: "We've seen her recently and she looks fine, although she always wears a hat pulled over her hair, which has now turned completely gray. She is always polite and friendly, but nobody in the village really knows her."
Springfield began her singing career as a member of the schmaltzy Lana Sisters trio in the early '60s, then, with her brother Tom, formed The Springfields. In 1963 she went solo. Her debut single, "I Only Want To Be With You," was an instant hit.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:29 pm

#32 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~
Herald Sun (Australia) * June 10, 1995
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me

"IF I had been anything else", Dusty Springfield says, "I'd have been a cosmetic surgeon or a photographic re-toucher." Imagine, she says, the potential for spreading happiness; to render people perfect in their own eyes. A certain anxiety about her own appearance has always shadowed Springfield. School photographs of the hockey team show Mary O'Brien as a plumpish girl in spectacles; a wallflower in the making. By the mid-'60s she had perfected her disguise. The eyeliner, applied in layers for four or five consecutive days, was powdered at night to prevent the unseemly smearing of hotel pillowcases; the hair was a giddy mound of bleached candy-floss. The make-up was a mistake. "I based it on models with black eyelids in French Vogue," she says. "I thought, 'that's what I want to do'. But I never did it right. I still don't." The prevailing look was skinny, wide-eyed, coltish and available — Shrimpton and Twiggy. "They were too beautiful. My body and face were wrong," she says. "Honest to God, the bigger the hair, the blacker the eyes, the more you can hide. I know that was most of it. It all worked, but for the most insecure reasons." So the very being of Dusty Springfield has been an act? "Oh, yes."
But it has been a good one. From 1963-70, Springfield had 16 top-40 hits including the classic You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and five best-selling albums. Her fame is still enough to inspire revivals of her hits — the latest being Wendy Stapleton's at Melbourne's Comedy Club Cabaret. The problem is that Springfield has never believed she is as good as she is. Jerry Wexler, the American record producer who brought out her classic album Dusty In Memphis in 1968, described her as the most insecure singer in the world. "I remember going into the studio and Jerry would say, 'That's where Aretha Franklin stood, right there'," she says. "Consequently I stayed frozen the entire time I was in Memphis, getting laryngitis with the sheer stress of it, because I couldn't be Aretha."
The candy-floss hair has gone, replaced by a neat, grey upswept feather cut, and she wears the merest coating of make-up. After years living in America, Springfield is back in Britain. She has recorded a new album, A Very Fine Love, her first for four years. Recorded in Nashville, its melodies and arrangements have been tailored for what the music industry calls the "Adult Oriented Rock" market — a touch of country, a touch of soul, a lot of gloss. The album was recorded a year ago, but its release was delayed after Springfield was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she thinks she has beaten. She will not, however, be performing live." I get very tired," she says. "I was worried about that, but the hospital said I would feel like that." At 54, Springfield was unsure whether she wanted to go through it all again. "I just don't like the record business very much," she says. "It's a fierce manipulation of people's dreams, a cynical manipulation. It matters to me, but it's not going to destroy me. I've been destroyed by it once."
Mary O'Brien was born in Hampstead, the daughter of an income tax inspector, and educated in a convent. She always wanted to sing and on leaving school joined a trio called The Lana Sisters. It lasted only a year, then Mary joined brother Tom in a folk group called the Springfields, changing her name to Dusty in the process. In 1963 she had her first solo success with I Only Wanna Be With You. Springfield, with her panda eyes and candy-floss hair, is one of the defining faces of the '60s. But she was always nervous of parties, slightly insular, slightly aloof, with her own tight little group of friends. People called her temperamental, which meant that, for all her nervousness and insecurity, she took no bull from nobody.
But by 1968 her career in Britain was clearly running out of steam, so she moved to America in the early '70s. She arrived in California as a star, but also very much an innocent at large. "It was Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air for Christ's sake. It's where the stars live. And they knew my name — or pretended to." She became disenchanted and fell in with the wrong crowd. Before long, she was finding it harder to get out of bed in the mornings. Her teenage years had been notable for their sobriety. She never enjoyed the joints circulated at parties or along the back rows of the tour bus. "It just made me hungry or sleepy," she says. "I used to roll them for other people. And I didn't inhale. Whatever I did was amateurish in that respect." Drink was another matter. Her first recollection of alcohol is of being sick on sweet sherry. Her second is of being backstage at the Brooklyn Fox theatre in New York in the mid-'60s, when one of the Temptations handed her a plastic cup full of vodka. "I had laryngitis. He said, 'Try this', and it was 88 per cent proof, because that's what those boys liked. It never occurred to me to sip it. I drank it down, gagged a few times and five minutes later I said, 'Yes — this is the answer to life'. I was no longer shy, no longer afraid"
In California, with her career in a tail-spin, the drinking became debilitating, with the Mandrax and cocaine. From 1973-78 — between the disenchantment and the bad crowd — she made no recordings. She drank and partied and occasionally retreated to clinics. "I'm not a tragic person. I don't want to be seen that way," she says. "I have no intention of getting into the drama of it. It was a shitty time and it's gone." Springfield has not touched alcohol — or mood-altering chemicals — for 12 years. Still, she approaches the press warily. For years, she fielded questions about marriage or the absence of it — which were really questions about her sexual preference — with demurrals about the lack of a suitable partner. When, in 1970, she acknowledged to a reporter that "I'm perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy", the remark went almost unnoticed. Almost, but not quite. When Springfield re-emerged into the public eye, it was the gay audience that greeted her most enthusiastically.
"All my life I've fought categories. I don't want to be owned by anyone, by any movement," she says. "I'm not being defensive. But people have run with trying to categorise me. I live quietly. I live alone. My best friend is my cat. I'm happy with that. When I was younger, like so many people I played a lot of games. I was promiscuous. I did a lot of things I don't do now. 'Please, if you looked at me nicely, take me home. You like me. You fancy me. Wow. You know, can I kiss your boots?' I was so innocent and so insecure and so overawed, coming from having no confidence in myself on any level. That somebody could fancy me. They could be the rottenest person in the world and some of them were. I made some dreadful mistakes and I've never been allowed to forget them." Her parents were unhappy. Her mother married at 31, not because she wanted to, but because she thought she should. Her father was a lazy sod. "He was verbally abusive," she says. "I've been punched many times and I can get up off the floor, but I'm crippled — sorry, disabled — by verbal abuse." If there is anything in Springfield's existence that she finds unsettling, it is the normality of it. "I don't want normality. I want options, whatever they are," she says. "There is always a need to be somewhere else. And wherever I go, it is always somewhere else."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:30 pm

#33 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
PEOPLE Online * June 26, 1995
Talking With . . . Dusty Springfield
JEREMY HELLIGAR

Dusty Springfield sounds as powerful as ever on "A Very Fine Love," but she didn't feel that way while recording the album in Nashville late last summer. "I was awfully exhausted," says the singer, 56, who thought she had a minor chest infection. "We'd go at it for 10 minutes then break for coffee for half an hour." After wrapping the record, she went home to London, where tests showed breast cancer. Luckily, after several grueling months of chemotherapy, Springfield, who has never been married, is now in remission (her prognosis is very good) and looking at life differently. "If the whole thing blew up in my face, and no one likes my record," she says, "I won't slit my throat, which was my attitude before."

Q: How did you react to having breast cancer?
It was a bit of a shock. It's something that always happens to someone else, not you. And it happened so fast. I had just come back home, fallen in a heap, thinking, 'I recorded an album. Whoopee! Great!' And then I found out I was sick and felt like, 'Gee. Somebody hit me in the face. Wait a minute. Is this my reward? Poor me.' But the experience has made me grow up, I think. I haven't lost any enthusiasm for what I'm doing, though my illness got in the way of my music for a while [the album's release was postponed because she was too sick to help promote it]. I didn't finish treatment until about three months ago. I lost some of my hair -- and I do find myself tired. It was a bit dodgy for a time, but I came through it, and I don't think this thing is going to get me. I'm not going to dwell on the fact that I had cancer. Life is about doing what's in front of me. I could have died, but I didn't and I won't, dammit.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:32 pm

#34 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Scotland on Sunday * June 18, 1995
Dusty settles down:
A pop icon of the sixties who can still hack it with the nineties newcomers, Dusty Springfield Is the ultimate survivor
ALAN JACKSON

ON the set of last weekend's Later With Jools Holland, the presence of a grey-haired woman in her mid-fifties caused more excitement than almost any other guest those involved could remember. Though as stage-shy as her peer Scott Walker, she did not insist — as he had done earlier in the series — that her segment be filmed separately and then spliced into the programme before broadcast. The legendary record producer Jerry Wexler may have called her the most insecure artist he has ever worked with, but Dusty Springfield is nothing if not a trouper. When the time came to sing her number, she breathed deeply, stepped forward and sang it. That Alison Moyet and Sinead O'Connor volunteered to provide backing vocals said much about the esteem in which she is held. That they so obviously enjoyed the task proved all the old magic is still there.
Once upon a time, it seemed the singer christened Mary O'Brien might replicate the career patterns of other formerly peroxide-blonde bombshells of the British variety tradition. Does anyone remember Dorothy Squires or, a little later in showbusiness history, Kathy Kirby? Both enjoyed a brief summer of genuine success and then slipped inelegantly back down the ladder, grimly hanging on to what was left of their glamour, the newspaper cuttings files filling up with stories of lawsuits, scandals and messy, short-lived comeback attempts.
During the 1970s, Springfield too seemed like a star falling out of the firmament. The heady days of chart domination alongside other girls like Cilla, Sandie, Pet and Lulu had passed. And despite critical acclaim, projects such as Wexler's glorious Dusty In Memphis set had been poor sellers. Where would she go? She went west. Unlike her female contemporaries, she was not invited to act or perform in musicals or embrace the role of light entertainment hostess. So she went to America, California in particular, and, after finding that even there her reputation was waning, turned increasingly for comfort to alcohol and, briefly, to drugs. "Things happen so fast in Britain," she says now. "You're in and out of the charts in three weeks, and there's always someone new coming up behind you. In Los Angeles things last a little longer; you really can be flavour of the month. When the word goes out that it's cool to have you at the feast, all the party invitations come your way. Fine, if you understand you're only there as a table decoration. But I didn't get it, and oh, how thin-skinned I used to be."
When I first met Springfield a decade ago, it was during an attempted re-launch of her British career, presided over by clubland's Peter Stringfellow. A forgettable single was being released on his record label; Magenta De Vine, wearing black glasses indoors even then, was handling the press campaign. At the appointed time I turned up at a Regent's Park mews house for my interview and waited first half an hour, then an hour, finally an hour and a half. It wasn't that she wasn't there — she was upstairs, her back-and-forth pacing audible through the ceiling. It was just that she didn't feel ready to come down, somehow lacked the courage. When finally she found it, she appeared tentatively at the door, a backcombed and painted vision in Dynasty-style mauve silk, holding two kittens in her hands. She held them out like an offering, as if she herself weren't good enough.
Today's Dusty Springfield is made of far sterner stuff. She is jolly and friendly and wears a big warm sweater. She laughs a lot, despite, or perhaps because of, being in remission from breast cancer. And she is promoting a new album, the first since the one five years ago that linked her with the Pet Shop Boys and so spectacularly revived her career. The warmth of the response to her work with them — first she was guest vocalist on their hit 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?', then she recorded the film theme 'Nothing Has Been Proved' and the 1990 LP Reputation — coaxed her back to Europe; Amsterdam initially, now Berkshire, where she and her cat struggle with such concepts as communal gardens and residents' associations. But within days of returning from Nashville, where she had recorded the distinctly non-country collection A Very Fine Love, her illness was diagnosed. Miss Springfield insisted there was no time to be ill, she admits; Miss O'Brien then told her to stop being so bloody silly and get a grip.
"If I had gone on doing drink and drugs, I would've died; albeit probably indirectly, as the result of a car crash or some other accident," she reasons in her soft, cracked tones. "The messes you get into, the life threatening situations you expose yourself to . . . too many people have been lost that way. Yet all that was of my own doing. Before it got to the point where it took over my life, I made a choice to go along that path. But I didn't choose cancer, and boy, does it make you face up to your own mortality. While all the other stuff is working, you don't get the bigger picture. So with this there was a certain anger involved. I have quite a controlling personality and yet here was something I could not have total control over. I was limited to a determination to fight it and fight it and fight it."
A programme of radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton not only helped Springfield back to health but also re-ordered her priorities. "The caring and dedication of these people who get piss-all money for helping individuals like me day in, day out is utterly humbling," she says. “I thought I was hard done by, being in this situation and having to drive round the M25 for treatment. But one of the nurses treating me travelled in every day from Bedford, worked consistently hard throughout an incredibly long day and then went back to look after her husband and two children. Suddenly realisation dawns: 'I've got the easy part. I just turn up at the right time and then go off again. But you . . .' And they're with you even after you're back home, slightly dented — quite literally. I know they're there at the end of a phone any time, even though I'd never call unless I were about to slit my throat."
Now that she is officially in remission, her record label Sony is pressing all the right buttons to launch what is a highly enjoyable album. The songs are grown-up pop of the kind personified by Mary Chapin Carpenter (a guest on the record), Bonnie Raitt and the like — and deliberately so. "It would have been so easy to go the diva route, but there's no substance to it and it bores me. I have no real nostalgia for the Sixties; for a lot of us who worked so hard throughout that decade, there isn't the same appeal. And music now is much better, I think. The technology, the playing proficiency, the imagination behind it all . . . A pop career today looks like so much more fun, except for the fact that you can no longer just go into C&A in your lunchbreak, buy a frock, and wear it on 'Top Of The Pops' in the evening. I don't envy today's stars for the way they're judged on the whole visual package."
Which is why A Very Fine Love appeals directly to middle America. Audiences there are more accepting of once-young talent growing older before their eyes, Springfield feels; it is a market she hopes to tap once again. "So if this record didn't sell a copy in Britain — though I hope it does — it wouldn't be the end of the world." Radio response to a first single, a duet with Daryl Hall called 'Wherever Would I Be?', suggests it will, but today's Dusty — the one who can hack it in front of chart names half her age on Later With knows she will cope, whatever happens. "It used to be said of me, 'Oh, she needs to be a star'. Well, once I did. But although I still need to exercise my creativity, it's no longer a case of needing to be loved, hoping to be adored, being desperate to hear that applause. If I never heard it again, I think I'd still be fine." At this point, the Dusty of 10 years ago would have adjusted her shoulder pads, checked her lip gloss and struggled unsuccessfully to look convincing. This time though, I believe her.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:34 pm

#35 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Age (Melbourne) * June 17, 1995
Play Dusty for me
That hair. Those Eyes. That voice. Dusty Springfield is regarded as the best female pop vocalist of our times. But it's never been easy. She spoke to LOUETTE HARDING.

Dusty Springfield was completing an album last year when she was told she had breast cancer. This was an important album for her, which would confirm her new popularity after her rediscovery in the late '80s. Naturally, she was crushed. The album had to be postponed and she underwent six months of unpleasant treatment: chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, an operation to remove it, then radiotherapy as insurance. She had recorded the album in Nashville where she had "eaten like a hog. I wasn't concentrating on my body, I was concentrating on getting through it all. I kept getting terrible infections. I had the best doctors, cameras down my throat, but I couldn't get well. I stumbled through the record. I'd work 10 minutes, we'd take a half-hour break."
Back in Buckinghamshire, where she lives, she embarked on one of her diets. "The first place you lose is, unfortunately, the top of the boobs. But I saw this vast indentation and thought, `Hell! What's that?' Strangely enough, it is what I needed. I get stronger with everything that I survive. Suddenly my life is valuable to me and it wasn't before not in the sense of taking good care of myself, because I don't. But I realised life was precious and I hadn't come through as much as I have not to value it. I have to be taken by the throat and my head banged against the wall to learn what is valuable and what is not. I am valuable, my cat is valuable, friendships are valuable. The rest is gravy. If all this goes down the tube, if no one likes the record, I'll wince, I might even shed a tear; and then I'll do whatever it is I'm going to do."
Dusty Springfield, born Mary O'Brien, is a funny, rueful woman of 56. She still wears too much eye make-up. Her hair, now silver grey and feathered, is still fully fluffed for height. Her voice is a bruised bass, punctuated with rumbling explosions of laughter. She can seem vulnerable. She is of an age when she sees her mother in herself. "A note can die between larynx and mouth because I have criticised it to death. That's my mother: `Sit up, Mary; sing up, Mary'." Her mother's daft caprices are echoed in Dusty, too. "She would make a trifle and then get bored with the whole idea so she'd hit it with an enormous spoon." In her '60s heyday, Dusty used to toss food around quiet restaurants.
Her mother, "a free spirit who had been trapped", married Dusty's father, a tax consultant, to escape spinsterhood. Both staunch Catholics, they bitterly regretted marrying, though they had a son, Tom, before Mary/Dusty. "I remember having tantrums. I was very jealous of my brother. He was older. The blue-eyed boy. I have no recollection of warmness or affection, though my brother says he can remember Mummy bouncing me up and down. Somehow I took whatever criticism there was very much to heart. I have an ambivalent relationship with my brother. Our house was full of ambivalence. Raging ambivalence! We none of us wanted to be there." She never discussed this with them, not even as an adult. "I once talked to my father about the way he used to hit me. He didn't drink, he wasn't a consistently violent person but, like me, he had a real snap Irish temper. I kept it light. I said `I learnt to duck.' But he denied it had ever happened. He was getting old. He had a heart condition. So why press the point? He died alone in Rottingdean and the only reason they knew was because the milk bottles were piling up outside. And that has haunted me."
Her mother had died previously, in a Hove nursing home, of lung cancer. Dusty was by then living in America but returned to visit her. "She looked like one of those horror masks, all sunken. Her eyes were glassy from the drugs, but suddenly they focused and she just reached up this claw and tweaked my nose. I don't remember her ever doing that to me before. And then she passed out again. The next day I had to return to the States, but I called and said, `How is Mrs O'Brien?' and they said, `Oh, she passed way.' "It was such a shock because they were so matter-of-fact. So the tweak was very important. And it was horrific, too. I did come unglued then. I handled it very badly. Partly guilt. I wasn't there; I hadn't been there for some time. I don't feel guilty now. I talk to them a lot. Chat away to them as I do to my dead cats."
If you were even knee-high in the '60s you will remember how popular Dusty was, first with Tom, in a trio called the Springfields, then as a solo singer. She was by far the most talented of the female singers of the era. Dusty produced her own albums but never got credit, because women were not supposed to steer. Dusty connived with this, calculating that it would sell no records to betray her air-hair image. Despite her shrewd professionalism, in other ways she remained the convent-school frump, a virgin who did not even know the commonplace terms for sexual behavior. She devised an image from magazines, "this overdone look, partly because of short-sightedness. And, without realising it, I wanted to have this pan-sexual appeal."
She was presumed, as pop dollies were, and perhaps are to this day, to be sexually active. Small wonder that eventually the life came to match the look. "I went through a period of extreme promiscuity. I was so dazzled by the mere thought of someone fancying me that I lost any judgment. And all of that started, almost to the day, that I had my first drink or drug. They removed all inhibitions. In some ways I'm very grateful I went through a period like that. Otherwise I'd have turned into one of those ladies who have never done anything." In 1970, she stated openly that her "affections were as easily swayed by a woman as a man" which was, back then, a highly scandalous hint at her bisexuality.
She lived in America for 16 years while her career withered gently and her life deteriorated with bacchanalian abandon. Dusty was never temperate in anything. "Moderation is boring" is her battle-cry. She ended up in an abusive relationship. "I was hanging on for the crumbs that got thrown to me. This happens to a lot of women. My self-worth was so low those crumbs were vitally important. I could overlook abuse. But you get out when you're ready. One day I just stood up and left." She also went to a self-help group and got sober. "Drinking covered my shyness. I had never grown up. I put on this veneer and became this thing, and I never caught up with her. Underneath was a 13-year-old. Drink worked for me for a while. Mandrax worked for me for a while. It's only in the past few years since I've been sober that I began to catch up."
"I can summon up the determination to stay stopped in trying circumstances. The time I might have trouble is in celebration. I don't go clubbing, or to parties. I did cocaine for six months and it nearly finished me off, scrambled my brain. I only took it for a short time. If someone did a line of coke now, I would get a little nervous, but you could drink all you like and wouldn't bother me. [So] I won't have drugs around me." She turned to comfort eating, and her weight since has been a "roller coaster", as became obvious when, in the late '80s, she returned to Britain and found a new audience thanks to her duet with the Pet Shop Boys What Have I Done To Deserve This?
She also announced that she was now celibate. "I'm not conscious of saying, 'I'm going to avoid all relationships for the rest of my life because I've been so damaged,' " she says in a mocking voice. "Nah. It's too careful and trite. I'm not aware of being attractive . . . that's a good Freudian slip . . . attracted to people. There are very few times when I'm lonely. There is a line in a song on the album: 'Sometimes your friends ain't always available'. Ooh! There have been times when I don't want to wake someone up by phoning them, I don't want to be a nuisance. One night after I'd been told I'd got cancer I got very lonely. Very lonely."
She is keenly aware of how lucky she is in the quality of the treatment she received, given the patchy nature of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment nationally. "The shock was enormous but I was blessed that it all happened so fast. In the space of three days I knew what we had to deal with. I was enraged that this was happening to Miss Springfield and it was highly inconvenient because she had this record, for God's sake. I was angry but it was happening to her. It was only when I was home, late one night, and saw my cat lying there asleep, that I thought, 'Who's going to look after you?' It was like somebody had run a train through me. I wept and wept and wept. Because then I realised: it is you. It's you. Yes, it might kill you. Every woman who discovers cancer is going to have black thoughts. It was very hard to me to say to the record company, 'I'm sorry, I can't work right now'. Some people do work through treatment. But I knew for me it was enough. I spent a whole night curled up on the floor, not able to find the courage to say no, because what would they do? Would they fire me? But nobody yelled. They were very supportive."
The six months of treatment ceased just before Christmas. Dusty looks well but is still weak. "These past couple of months I've been extremely tired and apparently that's quite usual. But the demands of the career are a bit of a struggle. I'm not quite there yet. If it chooses to come back, and I rather doubt it will, they've got lots of tricks. And I'm fine again. I do believe there's a mind-set in dealing with it that helps. The Irish fighter will do better than the person who feels victimised. Why me? Why not" Of her record, A Very Fine Love, she says in the press blurb, "I am a woman of a certain age. I'm very comfortable with that and want to reflect it in my music." When I repeated this to her, there was a wry chuckle. "Most of the time I'm comfortable with it. I wasn't comfortable the other day when I was looking at blow-ups from the photo session. At least on a video you're in motion and the eye of the beholder isn't focused in the same way you can't hit a moving target. I never expected to live this long, so all of this is uncharted territory. Someone hurt me recently and I realised my reaction was that of a very small child. But at least I'm grown-up enough to realise it. I'm on my way. While the outside falls apart, the inside is definitely not. The inside is getting stronger and stronger."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:36 pm

#36 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~
The Times * June 7, 1995
Dusty's road back on track
ALAN JACKSON

In his provocative novel Alma Cogan, the writer Gordon Burn asked us to believe that the 1950s singing star of the title, an extravagantly begowned family favourite, did not actually die in 1966 but merely shrank back into obscurity, a woman of a certain age in flight from her own iconography. Then, while fans raked over the detritus of her showbusiness career, preserving it as if in amber, she herself reclaimed an anonymous life in a small, semi-rural community. Whenever confronted by her past image, the fictional Cogan felt that she was looking at another person, a virtual stranger.
Dusty Springfield is part of that unique wave of British women singers Cilla and Pet and Sandie and Marianne and Lulu that swept the likes of Alma off the charts and into the realms of social history. Springfield is familiar with Burns's book, however, and even found within it a parallel to her own situation as an emigrant from California, now settled back in the leafy Home Counties. ''One rainy evening I came into the house by torchlight, having been out looking for my cat, and the TV was on. It was the Olivier Awards and there was an extract from the musical Only the Lonely. Someone was on screen as me, singing “I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten.” It took me a moment to work out who it was meant to be, why the whole thing seemed so familiar.''
That old, eccentric image — the blonde beehive, the panda eyes, the portfolio of theatrical gestures — is so ingrained within our national consciousness that it is hard for us to think of her as anything but the arch-diva of Sixties pop. Now 56 and in remission from breast cancer, Springfield downplays the importance of the past and prefers to live in the present. While pleased by the enduring appeal of her earlier work — the inclusion of 1969's “Son of a Preacher Man” on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction brought her a first-ever platinum disc recently — the perspective offered by a recording career spanning some 30 years makes her only too aware that talent alone does not sustain success.
''It can be crippling not to realise how dispensable you are,'' she says. ''There will always be another you along in a week or two, someone whose sound or look is more in tune with what's happening. If you're bright enough, you understand that from the off, but few of us are. In America the experience is still more extreme. Suddenly, word goes out that you're a mover and a shaker and that it's smart to have you around: you're an acceptable table decoration. Fine if you know that's why you've been invited along. But I didn't get it, and oh, how quickly things can change. When you're as thin-skinned as me, it hurts to suddenly grasp the plot.''
For all that, the company of good friends and a disinclination to live within an atmosphere of protracted speculation from the British press about her personal life kept Springfield in North America for most of the 1970s and 1980s. While her peers diversified into TV presentation or acting, or exploited their own pasts for profit via autobiographies, she sought a lower profile, campaigning for animal charities and only occasionally making records, all of them critically well-received but commercially under-achieving. ''I would have liked to act, but no one asked me,'' she says. ''As for a book, well, I've had offers and have been tempted. If I could write like Margaret Atwood, I'd do one tomorrow. But just something along the lines of 'there was this time I was smashed but still had to go on and do Thank Your Lucky Stars’ . . . No.''
She has always been reluctant to believe that her singing is anything like as good as others know it to be: the legendary record producer Jerry Wexler, while praising her gifts, called her the most insecure performer he had ever worked with. By the late 1980s, this essential shyness had made it seem inevitable that she would abandon music altogether. But Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys engineered Springfield's unexpected chart renaissance, first by inviting her to guest on their 1987 track “What Have I Done to Deserve This,” then, two years later, by producing both “Nothing Has Been Proved” the hit theme tune to the film Scandal and the bulk of an album, Reputation.
Despite being tempted back to Britain by the success of all three projects, she was unwilling to further exploit her potential camp appeal by collaborations with other pop names of today. Only last year, when Columbia suggested making an album of what radio programmers term ''adult-contemporary'' material, did she agree to venture back into a recording studio. The resulting album, A Very Fine Love, may be a Nashville production but makes no attempt to be authentically country. Rather, it covers a musical territory similar to that favoured by Bonnie Raitt or on the milestone Dusty in Memphis project of the late 1960s by Springfield herself. Best of all, it finds her unique voice still gloriously intact.
''It was just a question of finding songs I was comfortable with, songs appropriate to who I am at this point in my life,'' she says. ''I could have done that whole rent-a-diva thing again, but what would be the point? There's no substance to it, and if I'm going to go out there before the public and promote a record, it might as well be one that's honest and sincere.'' Radio reaction to a duet with Daryl Hall, “Wherever Would I Be,” available as a single, suggests that she remains a potent commercial force. But whatever the album's fate in Britain, the corporate hope is that it will reposition her in the US, a market that is more forgiving of its former pop stars growing up and growing older.
It was immediately after completing recording that cancer was diagnosed, and the launch of the project was put on hold for almost a year to allow her to recover from chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital. ''I remember crying, thinking: 'But I haven't got time to be ill'. That was Miss Springfield talking though. Then the me who was christened Mary O'Brien stepped in and said: 'Now, just hang on a minute . . .' So although this illness wasn't what I would have chosen for myself, it has turned out to be a learning curve. It's a long time since being a star was the most important thing to me, but it's even less so now. I don't need to be adored, to hear that applause. If I never heard it again, I would still be fine.''
The Springfield who sits in a London hotel suite saying this to me seems a far cry from the woman I first met ten years ago, the one then anxiously hitting the comeback trail. From backcombed head to satin-shoed toe, that Dynasty-era Dusty exuded neurosis, seemed frightened even of her own shadow. Today's woman wears a comfortable sweater and enjoys a joke. ''I get very cross with the laughter lines, and there are days I'd like to retouch my entire life,'' she says. ''But I'm not obsessive in the way I used to be. All of this is important to me, but it's no longer that important.''
gmoyle
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:38 pm

#37 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Interview * August, 1995
Letter from the editor
INGRID SISCHY

When I was twelve I had a few days of celebrityhood in my school in Scotland because fate had been kind to me. I'd been on a plane and was seated in the same row as Dusty Springfield. I'd gotten to watch her eat peanuts, read, snooze, and she'd smiled at me when she caught me staring. Maybe it was the excitement, maybe it was a bumpy cloud, all I know is that the butterflies got the best of me, and for a moment or two there I thought I was going to need the "air discomfort" bag that my mother had lunged for when she saw me turn green. Another smile from Dusty and all thoughts of tossed cookies were gone.
What happened on this flight was a big deal to me, and also to my friends. We'd spent a lot of Saturday afternoons in my bedroom, singing along to her big hit back then — "I Only Want to Be with You." In the usually gray, usually cold town of Edinburgh, where excitement for teens was at a premium, we had a routine that to us felt like heaven. We'd pick up bars of Cadbury milk chocolate — it had to be milk — go up to my room, close the door, switch on the heater, and put Dusty on. While she melted our hearts we'd hold the chocolate bars in their foil close to the red-hot electric fire and, when they felt soft and warm according to our specifications, we'd devour them. The goopy chocolate was our caviar and champagne. The singer was our Maria Callas, the one who got us in our stomachs as well as inspired our first imaginings of real romance. Those afternoons were the paradise that we would lose when life got less innocent feeling.
Memories of those times were triggered when we were arranging for the piece you'll find on Dusty in this issue of Interview ("Dusty, the Celt of the Earth"). As I recalled those earlier times and the day I returned from my trip (eager for once to get to school because I had a Dusty story), other things occurred to me, too. I realized that I had no memory of talking to my friends about what I'd seen and heard and felt before I got on that plane. I'd been to visit my grandmother in South Africa, where I had lived until we immigrated to Scotland a few years before. What had been so shocking to us when we'd lived there was now even more shockingly abhorrent.
The rule of apartheid and all that came with it made South Africa feel like another planet, a terrifying, ignorant, paranoid planet where whiteness meant people were free and color meant they were not. Beyond a general discussion of how awful such a system was, I doubt that I went into the physical and emotional horror of a place where the color of one's skin was used as a right to power or the equivalent of a branding iron. My Scottish friends, who were all white and who had spent their entire lives in that tiny, sheltered, peaceful country, had no experience with these things. I probably kept them to myself. Dusty was our common ground.
Back then, I didn't analyze why I loved her voice so much. But the other day, during an editorial meeting here at Interview, we got to talking about her career as a musician and somebody said that when she first began, many people couldn't tell if she was black or white or a woman or a man. The voice crossed over so much that she couldn't be defined. That's it, I thought. It was the voice that went beyond the usual polarities of man or woman, black or white. Little did I know that there was a kind of symbolism in her being on the plane, since she embodied the opposite of the divisions that were the rule in South Africa. And little did I know, when this magazine asked RuPaul to interview her, how perfect the pairing would be. I'd just thought RuPaul was a big fan. I hadn't remembered that Dusty had this history.
Needless to say, RuPaul would not have been a VIP in South Africa in the '60s. It's doubtful whether America would have had cosmetics contracts for RuPaul back then either. Drag may have been a major part of the underground, but it sure didn't make it to mainstream pop status. Today, RuPaul is an American pop icon and would not be censored in South Africa, as would automatically have happened a short while ago. So, from some angles, we have definitely come somewhere — and there is reason to celebrate. That sense of celebration is there in the conversation between Springfield and RuPaul. You'll also find many other stories in our August issue that give reason to feel good, to laugh, or to be inspired by individuals' creativity and the way it can move things forward. There are people in these pages whose sense of freedom soars.
But you'll also come across stories that point to opposite currents in our society, forces that would take the culture backward if they could. Our cover story in particular brings up the fact that the politicians are back at it, doing their "decency" rap. The feature is an interview with Chloe Sevigny ("Destiny Calls Chloe"), who has a lead role in Larry Clark's Kids, a film that seems ripe for a Senator Bob Dole or a Senator Jesse Helms to pounce on. The movie covers many subjects from real life, such as sex, drugs, AIDS, alienation, as well as courage and friendship, subjects that always seem to bring on these people's backward thinking. What makes Kids so memorable are exactly those realities that these politicians are campaigning against as "indecent." To me, their impulse to block out, to brand, to control, to censor is what's indecent. And while it's just a few guys making hay — over the content of today's art and movies and music and literature — in order to make sure that they're in the political limelight, their ignorance and paranoia can set the whole barnyard of nervous politicians jumpin' on the backwards bandwagon. Who knows what led some of President Clinton's Secret Service officers to put on rubber gloves when they greeted a group of gay elected officials at the White House in June?
What is clear is that the ignorance this act implied — about sexuality and about AIDS — is also indecent. When I read about this event in Washington I again remembered a time in South Africa. I was about seven years old and visiting a schoolmate whose mother was having a tea party; sitting around were a bunch of "ladies" in white gloves, served by a black woman whom they were laughing at because her stockings were failing down. I experienced the same speechlessness then as when I heard about the White House scene. And I remembered what my mother told me when I came home from that disgusting tea party with the gloves. She said, "One day that will be over — when enough people make it clear that such attitudes are unacceptable." Remembering those words made me feel even more certain that this is a time when we have to be very clear about what is unacceptable. Perhaps what is ultimately so significant about Kids is how it reveals a morality of what is acceptable and what is not. To censor this very real, very moving work would be immoral.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:39 pm

#38 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Interview * August, 1995
Dusty: the Celt of the earth
RuPaul

At a time when so many people seem to be looking back to the glorious days of pop muslc's past. Dusty Springfield is a perfect subject. Not only incredibly influential, she's also one of the few who's springing ahead. Refusing to rest on her impressive laurels, the '60s pop queen who had a comeback with "son of a preacher man" in Pulp Fiction went to Nashville to record her most accomplished album in years. Here, she talks about what matters with '90s pop queen RuPaul
As one of the distinctive voices of the '60s, Dusty Springfield seduced legions with her rich, smoky stylings. She gave elegant pop arrangements like the lavish "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Wishin' and Hopin'" a depth few other singers could even hint at. Born Mary O'Brien in 1939, the British singer's defining moment came in 1969 with Dusty in Memphis. Recorded with top American soul and blues session musicians, the album showcased her R&B and soul-flavored interpretations of pop material and made for some of her most riveting moments, including "Son of a Preacher Man." This classic, resurrected last year in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, ushered in a Springfield revival, one of the many she's had throughout the past two decades. (In 1987, the Pet Shop Boys had brought her back into the pop spotlight with a duet on their single "What Have I Done to Deserve This," and they later produced a full album for her.) Having triumphed in her battle with breast cancer earlier this year, she's just released A Very Fine Love (Columbia Records), recorded in Nashville with guests like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Daryl Hall. We asked her self-described biggest fan, RuPaul, whose autobiography, Lettin It All Hang Out (Hyperion), has just been published, to spring some questions on Springfield.

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: Hello, Ru!
RuPAUL: Hi, darlin'!
DS: Hold on. I'm half-dressed here. I was trying some clothes on in the bathroom.
R: Were you trying to get dressed up for me?
DS: Yes, of course. If you could see me now, dear God, you'd never speak to me again. [both laugh]
R: Oh my goodness! I am so happy to be talking with you. About five years ago, someone gave me a tape of your stuff, without your name on it, and I was like, "Wait a minute, I know this voice," but I couldn't place it. And then when they told me, I was like, "Of course!"
DS: That happens to me a lot. People either know the name but they can't think of what I sang, or they know the record, but they go, "Now who was it who sang that?" It's been my cross to bear in life.
R: Ever since I got that tape I have been your biggest fan. And when I try to describe you to people, I say, "Well, her name really describes the way she sounds." How did you get that name?
DS: Oh, the first part I have no idea — it grew up with me, and I can't pin it on anyone. The Springfield came from the group I was in. We had one huge hit in the States, "Silver Threads and Golden Needles." Nashville people thought we were a country act! And we didn't know how to sing country. We just happened to be bellowing away on that record. We landed up in Nashville with them under the impression that we could do an album. But my heart wasn't there at the time, so I didn't stay. I'd probably own a whole town by now
R: Southern accent. And drive a big Cadillac
DS: Yeah, and own a theme park and everything!
R: Was it easy to become another name?
DS: It was kind of strange. The Springfields used to play very posh places and sing folk songs while I was still in school. I was destined to become a librarian at that point — I had awful glasses, unstyled hair, and thick ankles, which I still have. And one day I went to Harrods and came back with this black dress on, and my hair had been done in French rolls, with endless pins in it. I just suddenly decided, in one afternoon, to be this other person who was going to make it.
R: Wow. Isn't it interesting how one can beckon the call of the universe? Now, what other singers do you listen to?
DS: I'm terrible about listening to music. I feel like this old fart who isn't clued in. But I often listen to jazz or classical; that's what I was raised on. And then I have a mad fit and dig out all my Motown records, or I dig back into the '70s funk bands like the Ohio Players, Rick James, and Bootsy's Rubber Band. But currently, the people who I think are really good are Dionne Farris and Roachford. I love Annie Lennox, Bonnie Raitt, and Terence Trent D'Arby. But my heart will always be with records like Boyz II Men, that wonderful, slushy, Chi-Lites sound. I absolutely melt.
R: How long did it take to do this new album?
DS: Far too long. Last year I had such a run of bad luck and bad health, and I got this infection when I got to Nashville to record the album. It was the coldest winter they'd had in I don't know how long. I got a cold, and I couldn't shake it. It was only afterward that I found out I had cancer, and now I realize why I couldn't get well when I was in Nashville. Obviously my body was busy elsewhere. But the cancer is all cleared up now; we're over that.
R: Are you spiritual at all?
DS: Yes. The spirit is an amazing thing. When I found out about the cancer, my spirit just protected me until I could deal with it. Then one day I looked at my beloved cat, and it hit me: I thought, Who's going to look after you if this kills me? And the only time I wept was for him, and I wept copious amounts of tears and rummaged around in the kitchen, not being able to cope. But it was just a little crisis, and I thought, No way is this going to get me. I'm a Celt! You don't do that to Celts. [RP laughs.]
R: Tell me about your years in L.A.
DS: I lived there from '73 to '87. I've always had this romantic idea of America. I was raised on a diet of Twentieth Century Fox musicals, and it all eventually led me to L.A.
R: You know, English people traditionally love Los Angeles.
DS: I miss it very much. I miss the good friends I made there who were totally without any crap, which you have to wait a while to find. I didn't realize that there was so much betrayal. I got in with the wrong crowd, and I'm glad I did it all, because I learned so much. I firmly believe it was a really bad rehearsal for where I am in life. [both laugh]
R: Well, I tell you, the world won't change, but what can change is how you deal with situations.
DS: All you can do is change you, and I didn't know how to do that. And change comes with time. I backed off and let myself change. I avoided people who would drag me down and found people that were of true value in my life. It was stunning to me that there were people who actually cared about Mary O'Brien, and they used to hug me, and I'd think, Did they mean it? I've learned to hug people and give them some love and not expect anything back. And how the shit did we get into this? [laughs]
R: Somehow I always gravitate toward this. This is the part of life that no one likes to talk about, and this is what it's all about.
DS: Well, it is, because without it there's nothing, there's no career, and there's no substance. I had become a front, with nothing underneath except a very shy, afraid person. There was just this vacuum. And all of this stuff I went through, all of this I've learned, has now filled up that vacuum.
R: But it's interesting how your voice always reflected that there was something really deep there. Everyone else around you heard it, but you had to find it yourself.
DS: Yes. You're so right, I couldn't find it. I couldn't get back to the person I was. Life, as I knew it, was chaos. I didn't know how to deal with it. I was this frightened person, and I only drank and used drugs to get over it. I was a total, unadulterated, obnoxious idiot, and I had fun with it while it worked. But it turns on you. It didn't work for me anymore.
R: Speaking as a big Dusty fan, I think A Very Fine Love is a very fine album.
DS: Thank you. There are some things on it I'm truly proud of. The one thing the record's got is a kind of sound. And apart from the stuff I did with the Pet Shop Boys, which is a very different thing altogether that I'm glad I did, I really haven't found a continuity of sound or style since the Memphis one.
R: Why did you record this album in Nashville?
DS: When I wasn't doing anything for a couple of years, people were offering things like, "Come to Munich and we'll make you this diva." And I could pull it off once, but I've got to go out there and promote it, and that's crap. I'm not a dancer it's just not me. And I thought, Where can I feel most comfortable in my own skin, musically? And I started thinking how country music has changed a lot. There are all sorts of songwriters in Nashville now, and I wanted some place where I didn't have to be this diva. I didn't want to be singing songs where I'd sound like I was going to explode on the next chord. [laughs]
R: I love it. Now, which songs on the album are you very fond of?
DS: I like "Go Easy on Me." It's so sad.
R: That's vintage Dusty.
DS: That was the hardest song to sing on the album, because it requires that breathy stuff. That is a voice tearer-upper of the first magnitude. And I love "Where Is a Woman to Go." There's a line in there [sings] "Sometimes your friends ain't always available/To pick you up when you're feeling down." And I went, "Ooooh! That's so true." There are times when you think, Let's be alone and get through it. That was almost the last thing I recorded. After that, I came back and found out about the cancer. This song, even though it's got nothing to do with that, it has that. It's very much a grown-up woman's song, and it means a lot to me. And "Roll Away" does, too, because of the line "Roll away, it's only time and the river."
R: Yes. I also love that one, because it says: After everything that's gone on in your life, here you are still standing. Everything else is just water under the bridge.
DS: Yes. And for the last year I'd been obsessed with going to the Shenandoah River. And I did it this year, in the snow. I don't know whether it was a previous life or whatever, but I had to be there. I stood there and wept. And I have no idea why. I felt so still, so happy. The tears were not sad at all. They were, I've done it. I'm here. This last year has been pure shit, but . . . I've done the record. The cancer is over. I've done it! That was a genuine spiritual experience, watching the water flow in utter silence.
R: Wow. Well, listen, I have enjoyed this so much. The thrill of this for me is that you sang to me over the phone.
DS: Oh God. Oh shoot. The stuff of blackmail. [both laugh]
R: I'm on cloud nine right now.
DS: You should see me — I'm grinning from ear to ear. And I have no top on. [both laugh] I didn't expect this phone call when it came through. Luckily I've got the blinds down in the office.
R: I love it!
DS: I read something recently. It sounds like you've been through a lot in your life, too, and this one phrase leapt out at me from the book Damage by Josephine Hart. It says, "Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive."
R: Ahhh! I love that!
DS: And that kind of sums me up. [laughs[
R: I'm gonna write that down. That's fabulous. I cannot wait to meet you, and I'm sending you love energy right now over the phone.
DS: Thank you. I shall take it and wrap it around me.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:45 pm

#39 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Mojo * July 1995
The Dusty Springfield Interview
PAUL DU NOYER

An interview with Dusty Springfield for Mojo, July 1995. The meetings with one’s childhood idols are always the most satisfying, and she was the first pop star I’d ever seen. By 1995, although she was funny, warm and sharp, she was dealing with illness. Sad to say, she died less than four years later.

I.
Lately these have been the best of times and the worst of times to be Dusty Springfield. Her reputation has probably never been higher. The CD compilation Goin’ Back reminds everyone what a fantastic catalogue of hits she has had, and it sells like crazy. A while ago a courier turned up on her doorstep and to her surprise presented her with a platinum record for Son Of A Preacher Man, as used on Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction soundtrack. “I was so thrilled,” she smiles. “I’d put it up if it matched my colour scheme.” And she has made a new album, the first of her new deal with Columbia Records. When the company got a new MD, she says proudly, his first phone call was to her manager, asking if Dusty would sign.
On the other hand, she has been terribly ill, with cancer. “I’m all right now,” she says. “Definitely in remission.” Recording the album, she found herself getting tired quickly, and did not know why. Later last year she was diagnosed. Doing this interview she looked extremely well, and talked energetically for two hours. She only stopped when hauled away for a ‘phoner’ with America. But it’s unclear whether she’ll perform again. Perhaps she will. That would be great.
Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, London Irish, had her first hits with her brother’s trio The Springfields. He’d changed his name, Dion O’Brien, to Tom Springfield and she became Dusty. Island Of Dreams, which Tom wrote, remains a pearl of early British pop. She went solo in 1963 and commenced a brilliant succession of singles – In The Middle Of Nowhere, Some Of Your Lovin’, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me are just a few – characterised by grand arrangements and a vocal range that ran from husky softness to full-on drama queen spectacular. Her choice of songwriters, including Goffin/King, Bacharach/David and the young Randy Newman, was perfect.
Plus, beneath the hair and mascara, the famed Lady Penelope look, she was very hip. Son Of A Preacher Man came out of her soulful Dusty In Memphis sessions with Jerry Wexler. With her friend (and now manager) Vicki Wickham, who worked on Ready Steady Go!, she’d helped bring Motown to the UK audience. It was on her recommendation that Wexler signed Led Zeppelin to Atlantic. There’s a wonderful black-and-white fragment of her singing Mockingbird on TV with Jimi Hendrix. Such a pedigree inspired the Pet Shop Boys to re-launch her fortunes with the 1987 smash What Have I Done To Deserve This?
But she had a parallel reputation for being Our Lady Of The Perpetual Tantrum. “Difficult’ was the verdict of many who worked with her. Her studio perfectionism is legendary, likewise the sharpness of her tongue. Her sexual ambiguity made her something of a gay icon – she has “the high class hard girl looks of Lily Savage” runs a recent write-up in Gay News – and her wayward life in LA in the 1970s and early ’80s pushed her even further away from MOR respectability.
Her new album, A Very Fine Love, may yet see her back in the mainstream. Made in Nashville, its style is ‘adult contemporary’ rather than country, and the first single Wherever I Would Be is a Diane Warren song performed with Darryl Hall. Nashville took her full circle, since she’d made a record there with The Springfields more than 30 years earlier. “But my instinct was not to stay,” she remembers. “I’d either be enormously rich or I’d have blown my brains out by now. I understood I would not be comfortable there because they don’t like women who fought their own case too hard. I was a very combative person and I couldn’t have won in there.”
Two moments of that trip were to permanently alter her course. One occurred in her Nashville hotel room when the radio played Dionne Warwick singing Don’t Make Me Over: “I had to sit down on the bed, fast, because I thought, Pop music’s never going to be the same again. I want to do that! And I knew I couldn’t do it in Nashville.” The other had happened in New York, en route to Nashville: “It was Tell Him, by The Exciters. I was standing outside the Colony Record Store on Broadway about 2 in the morning, hearing that voice, ‘I know – something – about love’ and going Wow! How do I do this? I knew it could work if I could adapt them in some way.
“And it worked because there was a space for me, and for all the early people. All of a sudden it opened up. I don’t know if the planets were lined up right or what. There was this musical void that we all fell into, without any calculation.” She and Tom dissolved The Springfields, and he helped launch The Seekers, producing them and writing hits such as I’ll Never Find Another You, Georgy Girl and A World Of Our Own. “My brother and I knew that if we were to have other careers then now was the time. He did very well. He’s far brighter than his songs would suggest. He had the wit to realise that he was writing very commercial songs. He’s capable of being cynical enough to do it and not believe in it, whereas I needed the emotional sense of believing in it. He doesn’t do a lot now and he’s as happy as I am, we’re both very restless souls, and there’s another motel down the road. That’s a family attitude. There’s no need in him to prove himself and, wonderfully, that’s been removed from me too,”
At 55, there’s a magnificence about Dusty, the brave, faded diva. She will not surrender yet. Except for her humour and shrewd self-awareness, she is comparable to Norma Desmond, the tragic heroine of Sunset Boulevard. She’s still big: it’s records that got smaller.

II.
Tell me about touring in the ’60s. You were the first pop star I ever saw. You were in a children’s pantomime at the Liverpool Empire.
Ah, the good old Empire. Georgie Best asked me out at the Liverpool Empire! I would never do pantomime unless I could be a guest and not be involved, and I got away with it. I just did my act, curtain up and curtain down and good night. It was a slog to do it for 10 nights or whatever. That’s why I never did summer seasons. I have the attention span of a gnat. We had to do one-nighters everywhere. I have no super major nostalgia for it. We’re all nostalgic about what we listened to, but if you were actually doing it, being the singer, travelling, getting on the bus outside Madame Tussaud’s at 8 in the morning with your beehive done perfectly . . . And there weren’t any motorways, nothing was open after the show. It wasn’t that much fun to tell you the truth! Ha ha! I don’t mean to debunk it, but . . .

When you look at the old TV clips, can you identify with the woman you see?
A lot of my life has no real clarity. But I look at those clips and I remember the circumstances very clearly. Was I happy or not happy? If I don’t identify with the person, it’s because I invented her in the first place. She was an invention, but my own invention. I was my own Svengali.

Is it true you produced your own records?
Yes, in reality. The magic of my situation with Johnny Franz [her recording manager at Philips] was that he allowed me the freedom to follow my enthusiasm. He’d sit in the control room while I’d go out and scowl at the musicians. It was very difficult for them because they’d never heard this stuff before. I’m asking somebody with a stand-up bass to play Motown bass-lines, and it was a shock. The ones who thought I was a cow I didn’t work with again. The ones who wanted to learn with me, they had the greatest time. Johnny had played piano for Anne Shelton, and had perfect pitch. Bless his heart, he’d sit there and read Popular Mechanics. But he had good ears, he’d suddenly look up from Popular Mechanics and go, E flat! I never took the producer’s credit for two reasons. For one, he deserved it and I was grateful. And then there was the calculating part of me that that thought it looked too slick for me to produce and sing. Because women didn’t do that. And there remains in the British audience, though less so, that attitude of ‘Don’t get too slick on us. Don’t be too smart or we won’t love you.’ And I wanted to be loved.
Men have been good to me. But I shouldn’t feel they’ve been good to me. They should have just bloody well listened. But in those days it was quite something to listen to a woman who had a musical mind. You sang the song. You sang it fast and cheaply. And they might take you out for a meal. I worked with some bastards, and some nice guys who saw that I knew what I was doing. A few of them went away and said what a cow I was, having made a great deal of money off me. And those are the people I don’t want in my life. I don’t want to sit at their dinner tables. That’s true to this day. I’m having my kitchen done and there’s a real idiot who fitted it, and it was two or three millimetres off. I don’t know how to put cupboards in, but I knew this was off. And the whole time there was this humouring of the little lady: There, there, what does she know? I had to call a male friend and have him come down and say it was two or three millimetres off. Then it was: Oh! Course it is, guv!
I’ve had very few fights with artists. I’ve had a few with club managers over, say, an out-of-tune piano. That ignorance, and lack of concern for the patrons of the club and the act would make me angry. I’ve had a few right old punch-ups. But the run-ins I’ve had with artists were always with groups, the pack instinct. They didn’t like the fact that I’d had a bit more applause, and they would be disparaging. Together they had that courage but if one of them passed me in the corridor he’d look down, embarrassed.

Which groups?
I actually don’t remember. There were so many, of various sizes, shapes and attractiveness. They all blur in my mind.

Were you a hell raiser off the stage?
Not in the early days. I would just sing the songs, try to find something to eat and go back to the hotel, though in those days they were probably boarding houses, or digs. I was a quiet person and still am, and a very private one. I never hung out – except there was a time in the Swinging ’60s when I was a real party animal. I don’t think that was the real me, it was just something that I thought I ought to do.

What’s the story of your bust-up in South Africa, when you refused to play to segregated audiences?
It was complex for me because I was also an idiot. I had convictions but I was also politically naïve. I found some people to agree with me including a promoter in South Africa, who found this loophole, which was that I could play live shows in a cinema. I didn’t know it was a loophole. At first it seemed too easy, all of a sudden I had a contract, and there was a clause that I could play to integrated audiences. It was academic anyway, black people didn’t have a clue who I was, a lot of people didn’t. By the time I got there, the South African government were waiting under the wing of the plane, thinking, A-ha, here comes a right one.
I’d embarrassed them, and you didn’t embarrass the apartheid regime. Bit I didn’t know this, so I go floundering in, feeling quite righteous. And they tried to make me sign papers right there right under the plane wing. No! I’m not going to sign your bloody papers. There were some liberal papers and they sprang to my defence, and all this mayhem let loose. I played one concert in Johannesburg and I think there were three Asians there. What made me furious was they went around counting them. They put myself and the band under some form of hotel arrest. It was very nice, they kept sending up tomato sandwiches.
I didn’t understand any of it, and I realised afterwards that I had made everything worse. Because that loophole had been useful. Now they closed it and I was their means to do it. So I was not a happy woman when I got back here. I’d put my foot in it. And then to have certain persons, who wanted to work in South Africa under any conditions, say Oh, she did it for the publicity… I was very hurt. Gordon, of Peter & Gordon, he came up with that line. That really brought it home to me how people get things wrong about me. Their understanding is so much the opposite of what happened that it never ceases to amaze me.

You’ve always been credited with good taste in picking songs and songwriters. But you say you’re not interested in lyrics?
If it’s not a ballad then it’s got to have enormous power, or an odd pattern. If it’s a ballad, it has to take me by the scruff of the neck. Which is how I found You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, when I heard it in Italian. My Italian is not good, but I’m deeply impressed when an audience stands up to applaud the instrumental, which they did in San Remo. That’s how I recognise songs. It’s not exactly difficult. It’s as if someone’s run a train through your stomach! It’s quite blatantly clear when something works. As a singer I work on my emotions anyway, which makes me very uneven, they dip and fall, dip and fall, dip and fall, which produces this nightmare. But because there is no consistency it also gives me the emotions to recognise something that’s going to work.”

In ’68 you made the Dusty In Memphis album with Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin. But Jerry Wexler describes it as a very tense experience, with your vocals eventually being added in New York. How do you remember that album?
I hated it at first. I hated it because I couldn’t be Aretha Franklin. If only people like Jerry Wexler could realise what a deflating thing it is to say, Otis Redding stood there. Or, That’s where Aretha sang. Whatever you do, it’s not going to be good enough. Added to the natural critic in me, it was a paralysing experience. I was someone who had come from thundering drums and Phil Spector, and I didn’t understand sparseness. I wanted to fill every space. I didn’t understand that the sparseness gave it an atmosphere. When I got free of that I finally liked it, but it took me a long time. I wouldn’t play it for a year.
Son Of A Preacher Man was just not good enough. Aretha had been offered it but didn’t record it until after I had, and to this day I listen to her phrasing and go, Goddamit! That’s the way I should have done it: ‘The only one, WHO could ever reach me’ instead of ‘the only one who could EV-er reach me’. Now, if I do it onstage I’ll cop her phrasing! It was a matter of ego, too: if I can’t be as good as Aretha then I’m not gonna do it at all. I wasn’t used to singing to a sparse rhythm track. To this day I prefer to sing last, after the strings have been written, because I get moved by a string line or an oboe solo and it will bring things out of me. I was the opposite of the normal thing which is to say, The singer’s the important thing, let’s surround her.”

By the 1970s you sort of fell away from the mainstream. There was heavy rock on the one side, or teeny pop and MOR on the other, and you were neither.
I just plodded on making rather unsuccessful pop records in the States. Then I didn’t do it any more because I hated it. Every time I made a record the company got bought by another company, and there was a new budget that I wasn’t part of. I thought, If you’re going to buy this place out, giving my entire promotional budget to Yoko Ono, then I’m sorry, I don’t see the point. I’ll go and prune the roses. I’m not going to care so much that I destroy myself. I went with management that saw me as a ‘shan-toozie’ as Variety would have it and I did the nightclub circuit. I pulled it off sometimes but I was uncomfortable with it because it was . . . Vikki Carr. I didn’t have the stamina to do one night in Long Island, then the next you’re in Des Moines. Hats off to Engelbert if he wants to do it, fine, and he will always be well off. But I am a maverick and will probably never be terribly well off. I get bored too fast.

Is England your home again now?
I would say so. Only Britain could produce Absolutely Fabulous. I haven’t forgotten how I missed England. For now, this is where I am, but my restlessness will take me somewhere else. I don’t know where. My life seems to take me where I’m meant to be, sometimes for disastrous episodes, but all of it is necessary. If it took me to Ireland I would be very happy.”

Because your family was Irish?
Yes. Irishness is a state of mind rather than a geographic thing. I’m not English. My name is O’Brien and I’m glad it is. I’ve got nothing against the English and I’m glad I was born here. But I’m glad my mother came from Kerry and I’m glad my name is Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien and I can weep at Riverdance on TV, and it makes me laugh. As Ireland comes to life, there is such a vibrancy to the music, there is so much to draw on in their culture. I somehow think it’s Ireland’s time. But as my brother says, They’ll be late.

III.
Dusty in Dublin? That might make a good album one day. There is another old black-and-white clip of Dusty, singing My Lagan Love and it’s beautiful. But for now she’ll see how the Nashville record goes. Its style is, like herself, rather mellower than before.
“All the things that have happened in my life are meant to happen. Having done the Rent-a-Diva bit, and having had some success with the Pet Shop Boys thing, there was no more mileage in it. I’m not a dance act. I felt if I was to do music again I’d have to be where I felt comfortable and I was allowed to be less of a diva. Where it wasn’t necessary for me to sound as if I was about to explode if I changed key one more time.
“If all this went terribly wrong, then bugger off, it’s no big deal. I dislike the music business because it’s about manipulation of people’s needs and hopes. Luckily I see past all that. They just don’t know that about me. I am the age I am and I’ve learned a lot. I wouldn’t make a bloody record unless I were enthusiastic, because it’s a lot of hard work, especially if you’re not feeling very well
“I’m still testing my own stamina and enthusiasm. If I get over-tired I think, Bugger it. While I’m doing it I’m thoroughly engrossed and I enjoy it. It’s when I get home and there’s nothing in the fridge I go, Bloody hell, I haven’t even been to the supermarket! What am I doing? I used to get caught up in everything, and I think I’ve grown out of that. Now I’m determined to have a good time.”
Time up, she gives me a big hug. Lastly she confides her present philosophy, directed at the music industry in particular, and probably at the world in general. “Oh, you know, it’s just . . . Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.”
gmoyle
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:46 pm

#40 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Village Voice * August 29, 1995
Beginning With Dusty
STACEY D'ERASMO

Dusty Springfield. I stole her from my father. The honey-colored hair piled on top of her head, the long polished fingernails, the lacy white blouse, the gold bracelet she wore, the heavy eyeliner. She was a dream: Dusty in Memphis. I stole the record from my father when I went to college, where I played it over and over again. And I kept playing it when I went to graduate school, and after graduate school, and when I got a job, I would play it in the mornings before work, when I was alone.
I discovered years after I had stolen it that the album is legendary, a regular on critics' all-time top-10 lists. Recorded in the Alabama studio where Aretha Franklin recorded ''Natural Woman,'' its 11 songs have a morning-after-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks feel — the open wrapper, the unmade bed, stale coffee, regret. ''Don't Forget About Me,'' the title of one cut, could be the cri de coeur of the entire album: don't forget about me, although I know you will, and I'll fuck you anyway. A white soul hybrid written in creamy late-'60s pop, this is the place where jets are always taking off and skirts are very short and women wait forever for men to leave their wives. In ''Breakfast in Bed,'' the speaker welcomes her lover to bed straight from another woman's house; don't be shy, she says, you've been here before. The Dusty of Dusty in Memphis is a wayward girl, a white-trash Molly Bloom, and this record is her soliloquy — she says yes, even when she knows it isn't good for her. Or, as she says in ''Son of a Preacher Man,'' ''Being good isn't always easy, no matter how hard I try.'' She never really tries that hard.
The vulnerability of this Dusty, the dreaminess and sadness of this Memphis with its thin walls and boarding houses and steep emotional drops: it felt like home to me, although it was no place I had ever been. Over time, I came to realize that what I stole from my father was not a woman, but an idea of a woman, an imaginary woman; even more than that, the right to imagine a woman. I thought about her name a lot: Dusty Springfield. I thought that it surely wasn't a real name but a clever adjectival phrase: dusty spring field. And that seemed right, given the gold tones and air of dishabille of the album cover, the confusing glow of hair and nails and eyeliner. What I stole from my father was the will to fantasize and the courage to steal, skills without which, as a lesbian in this world, you might as well give up. But listening to that record was also the first time I remember being stumped by that quintessentially queer question: do you want to be her or have her? Vis-a-vis Dusty in Memphis, I'm still wondering.
I have only two sources for biographical information on Dusty Springfield. One is the biography Dusty, written by Lucy O'Brien and published in England in 1989. The other is a 1991 paper written by English professor Patricia Juliana Smith called ''You Don't Have To Say You Love Me: The Camp Masquerades of Dusty Springfield,'' which relies on the O'Brien book for many of its facts. Born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien to an Irish mother and a Scotch-Irish father in 1939, Dusty Springfield was educated in a convent, after which she joined first a trio called the Lana Sisters in 1958 and then her brother's folk-singing group, the Springfields, in 1960; she left that group in 1963 to go solo and immediately began producing a string of pop hits, beginning with ''I Only Want To Be With You'' in 1964. Queen of the Mods throughout the '60s, she hit personal and professional icebergs in the '70s and '80s, finding her greatest success as patron saint of the Pet Shop Boys in 1987 with her vocals on ''What Have I Done To Deserve This?'' Yet Dusty fandom, like mine, is deep and abiding, every album eagerly anticipated. She's long been a particular favorite of gay men; drag queens still do Dusty Springfield in England. When I called Rhino Records to request a copy of A Brand New Me, Jim Fouratt, then director of publicity, said, ''Oh! I'm listening to Dusty right now.''
Dusty's iconization by drag queens is in some ways simply a return of compliment. She has long said that she first learned how to put on makeup from drag queens, and in pictures from her youth she looks like it. In one snapshot in the O'Brien book, a newly famous Dusty stands with a group of her former teachers, the nuns; her hair is more encompassing than their wimples. The heaviness of jaw, the excessiveness of hair, do give her a drag queen look — indeed, so husky was her contralto on her early hits that some listeners assumed they were hearing a man. Further complicating her image, so soulful was her sound that Martha Reeves, among others, first thought she must be American and black. Thirty years later, such sexual and racial synesthesia would be pumped up hard by performers like Madonna, but it seems to have been given, like grace, to Dusty Springfield. And for Dusty, the core of this radical mix lies not in her visual style but in what her unique sound imagines: a black drag queen with the heart of Marilyn Monroe.
As her career proceeded, that sound became so intensely vulnerable and knowing that one would think only a drag queen could risk it. ''Please,'' she sings softly on A Brand New Me, ''let me get in your way.'' To be able to sing ''please'' like that is a kind of genius with a long lavender tradition. Dusty Springfield said ''please'' as beautifully as Judy Garland ever did, but with this innovation: when Dusty said it, the ''please'' was unmistakably about sex. But in earlier convent-school photos the adolescent Dusty is round-faced and red-headed and earnest, with her spectacles and her hockey stick, like a girl from Miss Brodie's class. Later, in a lame gown or mod little hat, she looks much thinner-faced but still quite solid, a woman who could swing a hockey stick when necessary. In pictures, her body is always as concealed as her face; she is never blowsy, never, as one might expect, in low-cut dresses or sky-high heels. She appears to dress, instead, in layers, even if they're layers of chiffon. The overall effect is actually quite demure, showing no more skin than a habit. The feeling of costume is dense, and costumes tend to have the opposite effect than their wearers intend: they inspire speculation, and rumor.
Trying to address the rumors, Dusty Springfield has generally made things more confusing. In 1970, she gave an interview to London's Evening Standard in which she said, ''A lot of people say I'm bent. . . . I couldn't stand to be thought of as a big butch lady. But I know that I'm as perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy. More and more people feel that way and I don't see why I shouldn't.'' She followed up this interview by moving to the United States and following the women's tennis tour around the world for a year, despite the fact that she didn't play tennis. In 1985, she began her interview with British journalist Jean Rook, ''You're going to ask me if I'm gay, aren't you?'' and then answered herself, ''Look, let's say I've experimented with most things in life. And in sex. I suppose you can sum it up that I remain right down the middle.'' In 1991, Professor Smith offered this interpretation: ''Dusty Springfield paradoxically expressed and disguised her own 'unspeakable' lesbianism through an elaborate camp masquerade that metaphorically and artistically transformed a nice white girl into a black woman and a femme gay man, often simultaneously.''
Maybe. What diva has not been rumored to be as multiple as the gazes directed at her? (Think of Mick Jagger.) Rumor is part of the grand tradition — you might be her after all; you might know someone who has had her. On those rumors we build our collective pop unconscious. This tradition is alive and well. When I go to interview Dusty Springfield upon the release of her most recent album, A Very Fine Love, I am instructed not to ask her any questions about her personal life.
When Dusty Springfield walks into the hotel room for our interview, I do not recognize her. Short, dressed in black from head to toe, wearing much silver and turquoise jewelry, little black boots, and a light but strong perfume, she looks like a very beautiful lady golfer. She is a presence. A star. Her ruff of hair is a fine silver color — not peroxide, not blond, not exactly any color that exists in nature, but lovely, and it shows off her complexion. Her nails are painted pink, the shape gently pointed. Her eyes, which are large and brown, appear to cross slightly, like Barbra Streisand's, when she looks directly at you.
Dusty Springfield is 56 years old. In the last year she has survived breast cancer; the release of the new album was delayed until she could promote it. She has been sober for the last 12 years. She lives, her publicist stresses, a quiet life in England with her cat. A Very Fine Love is a good album that rises to something more in two cuts: ''Go Easy On Me,'' a love song in which you're sure he won't, and ''Where Is a Woman To Go?,'' a collaboration with Mary-Chapin Carpenter and K.T. Oslin about a woman seeking solace in a bar. The mood of A Very Fine Love is resolved, rueful, tender, the emotional backdrop a flowing river, not a trashed bed.
Having read it in an interview, I ask her if it's true that she's an authority on the Civil War. She is not an authority, she says, but it has fascinated her since she was a child. ''It's the sadness of it,'' she says. ''When I watched the Ken Burns thing, it was the letters. I found it so incredibly moving that people could write like that. There was such poetry in the simplest of letters.'' She has a tendency to look down at the coffee table when she speaks, so that when she does look at you straight on it's startling. She has a no-nonsense, Mum-like quality, interlaced with a kinetic energy that makes it easy to imagine that being good wasn't always easy, although it may be easier now.
She has definitely moved into the adult contemporary category with the new record, she says, and she's happy to be through with the pop of her youth. ''I don't want to compete with 17-year-olds. It's obscene.'' At the same time, she reflects, ''I don't know where I should be yet. I'd just like to be the person I was born to be, which is sort of a mixture of things that I'm very seldom allowed to be. In England, back in the '60s when I had my own TV series, I could do whatever I wanted to. But in America, I've never been able to really show what I could do. There's always been a large part — a musical part of me — that's been very repressed.''
She goes on. ''In England I carried such heavy diva baggage and I don't like it. I recognize that it has served me well. But as I become more grown-up about myself, I wish some other people would be, too. I don't want to be a diva. I'm not. I never was.'' Oh no, I say, you were. ''Oh, all right,'' she says, laughing. ''People saw me as that, but I'm not a diva. I'm just not. I'm Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien who had a lot of eye makeup on and lots of beehives.''
But when you were that diva, I press on — ''A perceived diva,'' says Dusty. ''No,'' she says, looking directly at me with her slightly crossed eyes, ''really I was a frightened soul. Still am.'' I worry at the diva bone until she finally gives in and says, ''I do so little live work — I'm trying to think back. Yeah, there was a kind of hysterical quality to those evenings. I mean, I loved it. But it's this quality that they see in me that I don't see in myself at all.'' Here, I discover later, the tape begins to give out as the batteries fail. ''A true diva to me is the Callases of the world,'' she says, and then the tape goes entirely blank for a few minutes. When the sound comes back, we are talking about Carmen Miranda's shoes, which her brother, Tom, used to draw obsessively as a child. ''My family were big fans of Twentieth Century Fox musicals,'' she explains. Her earliest musical memory, she says, because I ask her, is of Carmen Miranda as well. ''My earliest memory would be of her band, which was called O Bando da Lua. It was rather sophisticated Rio Carnival music, actually.''
She talks quite a bit about her impatience with her own vocal imperfections, the long years of wanting to sound like someone else — Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Ronnie Gilbert. But now, she says, ''I think that I'm essentially a ballad singer. I used to find that rather upsetting and I don't anymore. People need to be sad sometimes.'' When she was living for a time in Amsterdam, she says, unsure about her future, ''I used to put on the saddest music I could find and put my head between the speakers just so that it would make me weep.'' What did she listen to? She looks at the coffee table. ''It was Enya, actually, or Tchaikovsky. Which'd really do it any day — overlooking the canals with the rain falling into them, my head between the speakers, just letting it out.'' She laughs at the memory. ''I don't suggest that people do that with my records, but it's certainly a good thing to do with Tchaikovsky.''
When the tape recorder goes off, she says she's thrilled to be in New York where there's somewhere to eat on every corner and Barnes & Noble and Love's Pharmacy, with all that fabulous makeup; a friend is going to take her to Little Rickie's. ''It picks you up and carries you,'' she says. It does. I have no complaints. When someone has said ''please'' that well, all you need to say is ''thank you.'' Or, apply the being/having question to Carmen Miranda. Sometimes all you can stand to do is draw her shoes, over and over. Sometimes you can stand a bit more. I believe it's in that gap on the tape that Dusty says that Brazilian music is her favorite music, Portuguese her favorite language to sing in.
''Have you ever been to Carnival?'' she asks me.
No, I say. Has she?
''In the late '60s,'' she says. ''It was wonderful. I danced for days.''
gmoyle
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:47 pm

#41 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Associated Press * September 8, 1995
Dusty Springfield Alive in Movie World
DAVID BAUDER

Anyone who has attended a movie this year had a pretty good chance of hearing Dusty Springfield's voice. The British singer's music appeared on the soundtracks to Pulp Fiction, While You Were Sleeping, Priest and Muriel's Wedding. This makes for some nice surprises, like the day her doorbell rang and a delivery man presented Springfield with her first platinum disc, for the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. With a guilty tone, she admits she hasn't seen the movie yet. "My songs get dropped into all sorts of films. I think my voice is something that works very well in the background of things," Springfield says with a husky laugh. Now 56, Springfield is back making music. In the decades following her 1960s heyday, Springfield battled personal demons, public indifference and, finally, breast cancer.
She was one of Britain's biggest and most consistent singing stars in the early days, with such hits as "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and "I Only Want to Be With You" also taking off in the United States. Her "Wherever Would I Be" is on the soundtrack to the romantic comedy While You Were Sleeping. Her career peak came in 1969, when this Irish woman from the London suburbs took her fascination with American soul music to its roots. She traveled to Memphis to record with producer Jerry Wexler and the session players that backed Aretha Franklin. The result was the hit "Son of a Preacher Man," which appears on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Springfield triumphed over laryngitis and fear in making her classic Dusty in Memphis album. "They have a way of saying, 'Stand there, that's where Aretha stood,' or, 'Stand there, that's where Otis [Redding] stood,'" she said. "It's real intimidating. You start comparing yourself and you can't win." She once ran into Franklin in an elevator. The soul queen knowingly touched Springfield on the arm and uttered one word: "Girl . . ." "I have no idea to this day what she meant," Springfield said. "But I think it was an acceptance. That was the high point of my life, my musical life."
Much of the '60s was a blur of work for Springfield, but she looks upon the era with some fondness. "I have sort of mixed feelings, if one can have a love-hate relationship with an entire decade," she said. "The people doing it didn't have as much fun as the people who were listening. I had some great times and I have some good associations with certain songs . . . But it wasn't all fun. It was a hell of a lot of hard work." Springfield spent much of the 1970s and 1980s living in the United States, fighting substance abuse problems and a career that fell off track. She was coaxed back into the music business, ever so gradually, when the Pet Shop Boys asked her to sing on "What Have I Done to Deserve This."
She admits to not having much consistency in her music career. "I used to get fed up with the whole thing and go up on a rooftop and hide and prune the roses," she said. "It never bothered me that this wasn't a continuing process. Then I'd say, 'I'm fed up with the rose bushes, maybe I'll go sing something.' I must have been a manager's nightmare." While that may explain the intermittent quality of her recording career, she said it may help her longevity, "because you don't wear everyone out. As you get older, it becomes more of a struggle to say, 'I'm going to do this all over again,' " she said. "I'm not a creature who can do the same thing over and over and over again. I don't have the stability for that."
Recently, she returned to the same state, if not the same city, of her finest moment. She recorded a new album, titled A Very Fine Love, in Nashville, Tenn. It's not country, although Mary Chapin Carpenter and K.T. Oslin are featured on the album's best moment, a cover of Oslin's "Where Is a Woman to Go." She described that recording session as joyous. "It was fast and funny and warm and nurturing and we went and had a great lunch," she said. "I don't work in the mornings well, so I knew I was having fun." The record is aimed squarely at contemporary radio stations. It has yet to catch on commercially and has taken a critical drubbing, largely because Springfield doesn't employ songwriters in the same league with Burt Bacharach and Carole King, whose songs she used in the 1960s.
The disc was shelved last year when Springfield was diagnosed with breast cancer the day before she was to finish her last vocals. She took time off for surgery, treatment and recovery. "I'm Irish, they're not going to get me," she said. "I'm still a bit tired and my stamina is down, but that they tell me will come back. I'm doing very well. I just had a health checkup and I'm clear."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:48 pm

#42 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The New York Times Magazine * October 29, 1995
DUSTY RIDES AGAIN
Sidestepping cancer, armed with a new album, Dusty Springfield suddenly finds her life and her career in remission.
ROB HOERBURGER

She darts around her Manhattan hotel suite waving a can of Lysol, which she carries in her purse for occasions like this. Dusty Springfield, the 56-year-old pop legend and former convent-school girl, has been caught sneaking a smoke. "It's so impolite of me," she says, still attacking the offending odor, gesticulating the way she used to when she sang "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me," the spasmodic ballad that was her biggest hit. Well, not impolite really, just a little . . . impossible. She's a singer, after all, the finest pop vocalist Britain has ever produced. What is she doing despoiling her voice with nicotine clouds, especially when she's just released her first album in the United States in 13 years, A Very Fine Love?
"Oh, I only started smoking eight years ago," she says, sweetly dismissive. "And I had vocal problems long before that." If she's unconcerned about her voice — the husky-breathy, scratchy-tickly honey glaze of AM radio classics like "The Look of Love" — then what about the ordeal she went through last year fighting breast cancer? Surely, with both her career and her life in remission, she must realize the premium on each puff.
"I know it's stupid, and it will go," she says. "But a bit at a time. I've already had to give up so much."
For most of her life, Dusty Springfield has blown smoke in the face of people's expectations. She grew up in postwar Protestant London as Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, a plain, bespectacled Irish Catholic redhead who glamorized herself into an exaggerated blonde and sounded like an American Southern black when she sang about sons of preacher-men. Even her earliest hits, such giddy contagion as "I Only Want To Be With You" and "Wishin' And Hopin'," were infused with a buoyancy and ripe eroticism that made them outlast the puppy love listeners felt for the week's Top 10.
Then just when she was at the top of her game, she vanished. In the last two and a half decades she has made a few records, but more often ducked down the side streets of alcoholism, drugs and bad career advice, eventually settling into a Garbo-like exile, in no particular hurry to sing. More than the booze and the drugs, however, it was her intractable insecurity that led to the long silences in her career — that, and the music industry's willingness to let her talent rust in an armor of self-loathing.
Now, willed back by her own legacy — "Son of a Preacher Man," a track from her epochal 1969 album, Dusty in Memphis, was featured in Pulp Fiction and made the MTV generation sit up and notice — she wastes no time debunking the myth. She will no longer be the diva who often rode the roar of kettle drums and crushing cymbals, the tempestuous terror who hurled food around some of London's best restaurants, who smashed mountains of cups and saucers to let off steam before a concert, who knocked the toupee off an impudent Buddy Rich. "People expect to get drama from me," she says. "I just get tired." After a long week in New York to promote A Very Fine Love, she has to summon a little something extra just to light up another cigarette. The tea service appears safe.
"I said I would only do this again if I could be allowed to act my age, to be comfortable in my own skin," she says. "I'd been listening to a lot of the stuff coming out of Nashville, the K.T. Oslins and Mary Chapin Carpenters, and thought maybe I could do that." So she went to Nashville herself, and came back with mostly relaxed, country-tinged pop just a shade grayer and wiser than the 90's Bonnie Raitt. The album's showpiece is "Where Is A Woman To Go," a barroom blues tune with a lived-in feeling that's been missing from the airwaves since her heyday. (Oslin and Carpenter are even on hand to sing back-up.) Let youngsters like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey sing with bravado. Dusty Springfield, with a mere vocal wink, can still go places that aren't in the repertory of their imaginations.
"I really like this album, and that's a first for me," she says. The question is whether she has started liking herself in time to make enough other people like her again. At her age, she isn't likely to get many more chances. "I used so much hair spray that I feel personally responsible for global warming," she says. The look — hair teased into a tornado, eyes seemingly paint-rolled with mascara — was part Italian cinema minx and part West End drag queen. The sound was strictly New World. "America was the place I'd always dreamed of as a girl, the vastness of it," she says. "It was where the music came from."
That music wasn't just rock-and-roll, it was the sizzle of girl groups like the Crystals and the Exciters. After a stint in an ersatz-folk trio called the Springfields, she went solo in 1963 and started browbeating British studio musicians to create an uninhibited, unabashedly American sound. She connected on the first try, "I Only Want To Be With You," 2 minutes and 32 seconds of boastful ebullience that mistakenly convinced Martha Reeves, the Motown belter, that Springfield must also be a Motown artist. It wasn't long before she and Reeves were going beehive-to-beehive on a BBC special with "Nowhere To Run," a soul anthem that most white singers can only admire from afar.
"I Only Want To Be With You" also helped establish her "difficult reputation" as a brash perfectionist: here was a 24-year-old woman telling a bunch of veteran British musicians that they weren't quite hip enough. "They'd never played anything electric before, never heard a Phil Spector record," she says. But sometimes she'd tell herself to remember her place: Mary O'Brien the convent-school girl would peek through Dusty's pancake — often at the most inopportune times, like before an appearance at the Brooklyn Fox in 1964, when she came down with laryngitis. "Paul of the Temptations gave me a full glass of vodka," she says. "I was naive. I'd never really had a drink up to then, so I gulped it all down. The laryngitis didn't go away, but I felt great, like, 'This is the way to live.'"
The drinking never got too out of control while her records were still selling, though even then she was convinced she'd never be quite as good as her idols. The stakes suddenly got higher in 1968, when the producer Jerry Wexler, impressed with the inherent soulfulness of Springfield's voice, signed her to Atlantic Records. Wexler had produced legendary sessions for Ray Charles and was flush from his first successes with Aretha Franklin. "I always wanted to be Aretha," Springfield says. Now Wexler was going to bring her as close to her musical dream as she would get, though the album they concocted ultimately made more promises than it would ever be able to keep.
"Tell me something," says Arif Mardin, a co-producer of Dusty In Memphis, "Does Dusty like this album? For years, we've heard that she didn't." He's speaking of an album that, 26 years after its release, remains a kind of holy grail of pop singing. Except, perhaps, to the singer. "Honestly, to this day I have no idea why this album is so well regarded," Springfield says. "I guess it's the quality of the songs. It's hard to get material that strong these days."
True enough, the songs came from a dream team of pop auteurs like Carole King and Randy Newman. But it took Springfield's voice to turn them into a moment of pop transfiguration. She rippled over and curled around the songs of carnality, of love's psychosis (the hypnotic "Windmills of Your Mind") and, mostly, of love's memory, love in exile, love as asymptote. It was some of the most emotionally literate music ever put to vinyl; while other pop singers were still wondering who wrote the book of love, Springfield was teaching a course in comparative literature.
Maybe Dusty In Memphis should have been sold in book shops, because record buyers ignored it. The rock press was begrudging, too, unwilling at first to admit that a woman in a bouffant could produce an album that critics now place on par with, say, Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced? By the time a rave review ran in Rolling Stone, 10 months had passed since the album's release, and it had died at an ignominious No. 99 on the charts. To this day, Dusty In Memphis is a classic that more people have heard of than have heard. "Jann Wenner once asked me if I could get a copy for Michael Douglas," Wexler recalls, "because they were going for $100 in collectors' shops. I wish I'd invested in a few hundred."
Wexler and Springfield never made another album together. "The bloody thing didn't sell, and I wasn't the easiest person to get along with," she says. Wexler remembers her flinging an ashtray at him and being so nervous standing in the same Memphis studio where soul legends like Wilson Pickett had stood that she ended up doing most of her vocals in New York. "It's not that she was contrary or obstreperous," Wexler says. "She just had a gigantic inferiority complex." The fault, in her ears only, was that even with Aretha's producers and record company, she still wasn't Aretha. Though Springfield enriched Atlantic's coffers into the millennium by tipping off Wexler to a struggling new band called Led Zeppelin, she was gone from the label by 1971. No less than Barbra Streisand and Linda Ronstadt raced up the charts in the 70's by using Memphis as a template — poaching Springfield's adult-rock style, and even, in Streisand's case, some of the songs — while Springfield herself was cast adrift. "As usual," she says, "I was saying things about five years ahead of everyone else."
There was a comment Springfield made in 1970, not long after the commercial disappointment of Dusty In Memphis, that was at least 20 years ahead of its time. "I'm as perfectly capable," she told The Evening Standard in London, "of being swayed by a girl as by a boy." At that time, Melissa Etheridge, the openly gay rock singer, was 9 years old and Martina Navratilova hadn't yet set foot on Wimbledon grass. When the subject comes up now, it's as if Springfield — who has never married or had children — suddenly finds herself driving through a dangerous neigborhood, and rushes to lock all the doors. She won't use the words "gay," "lesbian" or "bisexual." Eventually, though, she opens her window a crack. "My relationships have been pretty mixed," she says. "And I'm fine with that. Who's to say what you are? Right now I'm not in any relationship by choice, not because I'm afraid I'd be that or that. Yet I don't feel celibate, either. So what am I? It's other people who want you to be something or other — this or that. I'm none of the above. I've never used my relationships or illnesses to be fashionable, and I don't intend to start now."
She dropped the bomb to The Evening Standard just after what would be her last appearance in the British and American Top 40's for some 18 years. Yet it's hard to pin her decline on any sexuality scandal. She had had a high profile for more than five years; even the biggest pop phenomena, from singers to sitcoms, rarely go that long before the public calls in the loan on its affection and demands some renegotiation of style and substance. For Springfield that meant plunging into even more of an American sound by moving to America itself, conveniently putting distance between herself and the British tabloids.
But she was too good at getting lost. She signed up with a succession of managers who, she says, tried to turn her into a cabaret act, who sabotaged sure things like a production deal with Elton John, who got her contracts with middle-shelf labels. The few albums she did make in the 70's garnered copious praise for her voice, but the reviewers inevitably concluded, "It's no Dusty In Memphis." Then the albums would get swallowed in the corporate maw. "I would make a record, go down and meet all the promotion people, then the label would be bought and the next day they'd be gone," she says. "One label switched overnight and told me my entire promotion budget had been given over to Yoko Ono. So I said, 'Excuse me, fine, goodbye.'"
So she drank, partied, did cocaine for about six months, lived off her 60's earnings. Though there was no blinding light on the Road to Damascus, she says little messages started to get through to her "reptilian brain." "I was at the Hyatt Sunset after a night of partying, and I called down to get a bottle of Champagne, and the room-service waiter said, 'Haven't you had enough already, lady?' I was outraged, and said, 'How dare you.' And then I thought, How does he know? Does everyone know?" She had her last drink on August 23, 1983, shortly after the failure of her last American album, White Heat. "Luckily, I had people around me who were honest, who weren't afraid to tell me I had spinach in my teeth. I had no life. I had to get one. For a while, singing just wasn't a part of it."
Teatime on the Thames. We're in Marlow, a hamlet that's a short drive west of London. Dusty Springfield moved back to England seven years ago, following the success of her collaborations with those postmodern popsters the Pet Shop Boys. The chart renaissance was brief, but it made her believe she had a place in her home country again. She lives just up the road with her cat, and she's been house hunting, wanting to get even closer to the river. It has a calming influence on her, but one that's dangerous to her fans because it can put singing out of her mind for years at a time. "Ah, here comes the regatta," she says wistfully, espying a line of geese.
Gray wisps dangle from inside her straw hat; she let the air out of her hair long ago, and any vestigal puffs of her beehive were flattened by the chemotherapy she underwent for breast cancer. Though in her official public appearances her face still looks a bit mummified, she wears surprisingly little makeup today, and her eyes, liberated from their mascaral burden, have a yearning, we'll-always-have-Paris look. Despite her zaftig delusions, she looks trim and spry in her light denim, a rock-and-roll version of Auntie Mame. A country churchyard that lies a stone's throw across the river brings the poet Thomas Gray to Springfield's mind. But she's not ready for an elegy. "I know if I die, I'll sell a lot of records," she says. "I could be the female Roy Orbison. Of course, then I wouldn't get the royalties. I'd probably leave them to a cat charity."
Her breast cancer was discovered last year just as she was finishing A Very Fine Love. It seemed to fill in the details of a sad inevitability, now that so many of her contemporaries — four of the five original Temptations, a Shirelle and a Marvelette, at least one Shangri-La — had made their final big headlines. These stars died, for the most part, not from some spectacular tragedy but rather the way ordinary people do: heart attack, cancer, stroke, if not 40 years too early then perhaps 20. Many collapsed while on the nostalgia circuit, hustling to make the rent. Some like Orbison, enjoyed one final blaze of glory; more common was the case of Mary Wells, the first queen of Motown, who had no health insurance when she died of throat cancer in 1992, her greatest hits 30 years behind her.
"At first it was as if it wasn't happening to me, it was happening to that person over there," Springfield says. "I was numb, and I had a record to finish. Then I was sitting at home and my cat was sleeping and I thought, Who will look after you?" She completed the album and then submitted to chemotherapy. "There were medieval syringes with colored liquids to kill off the baddies," she says. "And kill a lot of other stuff, too. Apparently my body still likes poison. It was saying, 'Yes! Give me some poison.'" A lumpectomy and six months of radiation therapy followed. The prognosis is good. "I was determined not to become a statistic. I mean, you can't think cancer away, but the mind can help."
The success, so far, of the cancer treatment has helped Springfield keep the slow start of A Very Fine Love in perspective. This wasn't a surprise in America, where Linda Ronstadt's latest album has sold only 150,000 copies and Aretha Franklin was last heard singing commercials for Wheel of Fortune. But it's a puzzlement in Britain, where just last year a compilation of Springfield's hits zoomed into the Top Five. "I get the kind of respect reserved for the royal family," she says. "But that doesn't make them plop down money for the CD. Except they like the old ones." Kip Krones, the managing director of Columbia Records in Britain and Springfield's champion at the label, says: "It's hard to convince 30-year-old program directors who never heard of her to play it. Of course, she hasn't been too visible, played too many live dates for almost 20 years." Krones promises that Columbia will stay with the album for the long haul. But there's just so far the music business's altruism will go. If it doesn't take off after a few more months, it's hard to believe Columbia — or anyone — will give her another try. A Very Fine Love could very well be the last Dusty Springfield album. "Well, no matter," she says. "I shall still have my house on the river."
In June, three days after A Very Fine Love was released, there was a party for Springfield at the Sony Club, an oak-paneled hideaway at the top of the Manhattan skyline. Sprinkled among the junior executives, most of whom knew "the name, but not the face, or any of the songs," were some die-hard Springfield fans — journalists, disc jockeys and other assorted music-biz hangers-on — waiting for the cometlike appearance of their muse, toting their copies of Dusty In Memphis, which was finally reissued on CD in 1992, for her to sign. It was a fairly low-wattage crowd until Paul Shaffer, the elfin leader of the band on Late Show with David Letterman, arrived in his double-breasted best, having rushed over after that evening's taping.
Springfield had tried to get on Letterman, which would surely have registered some numbers for the album, but even the clout of Columbia couldn't secure a spot. Shaffer, a fan, appeared seemingly as a consolation prize, and after meeting Springfield he wandered over to the grand piano in the corner. As any Letterman watcher knows, he has an encyclopedia of 60's pop in his fingertips, and yet his selection was still astonishing: “Some Of Your Lovin',” an obscure Carole King-Gerry Goffin song that was a 1965 hit for Springfield in England and that just happens to be the only one of her recordings with which she can find no fault. As Shaffer plunked out the chords, Springfield was caught in the moment, and soon her lambent tones were encircling the crowd like a giant embrace. After about 40 seconds, when she realized that no one was talking anymore, she suddenly stopped, claiming she couldn't remember the rest of the song but really wilting, one more time, from the attention. The neophytes egged her on for more, but the true Dusty Springfield fans knew better. They looked content, relieved, enthralled simply to be, however fleetingly, still within the sound of her voice.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:49 pm

#43 from gm
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Out Magazine * January 1996
Dusty to Dusty: The 60's icon meets the 90's
RAY ROGERS

After 30-plus rocky years in and out of the music business, weathering battles with drugs, drink, and, last year, breast cancer, Dusty Springfield is finally making peace with herself. "Being ill really taught me a lot about priorities-like finding out the things that make me feel most comfortable and happy," explains Springfield between nibbles on a chocolate biscuit. "Sometimes it gets away from me and I go back to being the old neurotic" — she laughs — "but I live by the word halt: Never get too hungry, too angry, too lonely, or too tired."
Springfield headed to Nashville in the spring of 1994 to record A Very Fine Love (Columbia), the recently released spiritual successor to her landmark 1969 album, Dusty in Memphis. That LP included "Son of a Preacher Man," the cult classic that sparked a Springfield revival when it was included on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Nashville, she says, has "an innate respect for women who've sort of been through it a bit, and are survivors" — women such as country star K.T. Oslin, who, along with Mary Chapin Carpenter, added vocals to Love's stately "Where Is a Woman to Go?"
"I thought, Maybe Nashville will allow me to be me," Springfield says, explaining how, over the years, she has rejected both the person she was born — Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien — and the glamorous persona she invented, Dusty Springfield. "I used to think that I was two people. As I've grown older I've realized that I'm all the same person . . . I've just reached a level where it doesn't matter, where I'm just me, and if they don't like it, the hell with them."
The most commanding and demanding of today's divas have Springfield to thank for paving the way. "It was very rare that a woman artist in England had any real say in her career," she recalls. "I probably broke some ground there . . . I just couldn't be a bimbo." Her strict creative control, together with the over-the-top makeup, mile-high beehives, and a vocal delivery that balanced camp theatricality and a deep sincerity, turned Springfield into a '60s phenomenon in both England and America but kept her fans at a distance. "Maybe it was a defense," she now says of her carefully constructed image. "If I put that face on, I could hide behind it."
Springfield remains elusive about her personal life and has only flippantly addressed her sexuality in the press (and prohibited such questions in this interview). But that hasn't stopped countless drag queens from emulating her look and lovestruck lesbians and gay men from swooning over Springfield's romantic classics. Indeed, it was the Pet Shop Boys who revived her career in the late '80s with her guest spot in their "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" single and video. "I've often wondered [what attracts gay fans]," Springfield says. "Maybe a vulnerability? I seem to be able to touch some chord, but I don't think it's just a gay thing. I think it's anyone who's vulnerable in any way to anything. I'm extremely vulnerable: I try to cover it up, but I still get hurt very easily. There must be a connection there."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:53 pm

#44 from gm
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The Independent * 22 August 1998
Accidental Heroes of the 20th Century: Dusty Springfield

We first saw her in a gingham dress, like something out of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, full-bosomed, with a pinched-in waist, with her improbable hair backcombed and perched upon her head like a blond Walnut Whip. Who could have guessed that this Barbie doll, singing trouble-free country songs with her brother Tom in 1962 in a terminally cheerful combo called the Springfields, would become the great tragic heroine of pop music?
Forget Marianne Faithfull. Anyone can take drugs and sleep with Mick Jagger. Stifle a yawn as you rehearse the Janis Joplin story. Sex and drugs and rock'n'roll and an early death. But Dusty. Ah, Dusty. Now that would make a movie. We start in the present day with our heroine living semi-reclusively in England's Home Counties. Requests for interviews are mostly turned down. Occasionally a snapper with a telephoto lens tries to catch her going out to empty the rubbish. It's sort of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. It wasn't Dusty that got small, it was the records. Now flash back to the beginning and a mystery unfolds. How did a middle-class girl born in Hampstead become one of the greatest voices in the history of soul music?
Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, born in 1939 to an income-tax consultant and what Dusty describes as a "pure innocent Irish Catholic" mother, somehow transcended the sub-country music that could be considered a young, red-headed Irish girl's spiritual home, went solo, and, by the late Sixties, had Jerry Wexler, Aretha Franklin's producer, itching to work with her. Dusty in Memphis, the album Wexler and Dusty recorded, was described by the New York Times as "pop music's holy grail." It is one of the most famous pop albums of all time, more heard of than heard, although the hit single it yielded, "Son of a Preacher Man," revived most recently in Pulp Fiction, never pales. The single was final confirmation not only that the girl had gone from Hampstead but that all trace of Hampstead had gone from the girl.
Dusty was always more interesting than her records, though. In the mid-sixties, the music critic Simon Frith noted, "Dusty was the object of an oddly furtive adolescent interest. Her image, like her hair, was brittle . . . Her songs hinted at unspoken, desperate truths about sexuality that weren't there for discussion by little boys." The sex thing, of course. Dusty has said that she is as capable of "being swayed by a girl as a boy," and endless prurient speculation drove her from Britain in the early seventies. She settled in California, and for a decade and a half rattled about in a big house with a big swimming pool, drinking, taking uppers and downers, doing the American supper-club circuit, and releasing mostly unworthy records.
Until the story takes another glorious twist in 1987, when Neil Tennant, a long-time fan and smart fellow, brings Dusty home to record with the Pet Shop Boys. Miraculously, the voice intact, "husky and breathy" says Tennant, "with an intensity and desperation that's fantastically sensual." In the midst of Dusty's glorious late-flowering, though, breast cancer is diagnosed, a blight she is determined to defeat.
If anyone can, Dusty can. In 1964 — 1964, mind you, when blonde pop-stars were for amusement only — Dusty was placed under arrest in her hotel in South Africa after refusing to perform for segregated audiences. She always has had a reputation for being "difficult," arising from her unerring views on what makes a good pop record. Difficult? Sure, she's difficult. If you want simple, make a film about Kylie Minogue.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:16 am

#45 from gm
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The Observer * February 21, 1999
You started something . . .
Dusty Springfield, now battling with cancer, is finally being recognised as the first queen of Britpop after 40 years in the business
LUCY O'BRIEN

'It's marvellous to be popular, but foolish to think it will last,' Dusty Springfield said in 1963, shortly after her debut solo single, 'I Only Want To Be With You', shot into the Top 10. Since then, her career has fluctuated between wild success, tentative 'comebacks' and years in the doldrums. But it is only this year that Dusty is finally getting the recognition she deserves. In January, she was awarded an OBE; next month she will join Sir Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen in the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in New York; April sees her sixtieth birthday, along with her fortieth anniversary in the business.
Overshadowing these events, however, is the bitter fact that Dusty is now fighting what seems to be a losing battle against breast cancer. She was first diagnosed in 1994, shortly after recording her most recent album, A Very Fine Love. Promotion of the record was put off for a year while she underwent extensive chemotherapy, and in mid-1995 she was clear. 'I've had so much junk put in my body, wonderful junk, that it's beaten for now,' she said at the time. But the following year, the cancer returned. Since then, she has given up recording, moved to a secluded house on the Thames, and been struggling quietly with her illness. Doctors have now declared the cancer untreatable, but friends say her Irish spirit is still very much intact.
It was that earthy warmth that struck me when I first interviewed her for a biography in 1988. She responded carefully to my questions and gave me her singular personal slant on life, one that combines a flip, Goonish humour with a pragmatic appraisal of the pop world. Then she was in the process of moving back to England, and described LA (her base for more than 15 years) as 'part naff, part glamorous'. She went on to say that 'musically, Americans get frightened if you fling a lot of stuff at them. Playing different styles makes them nervous. Besides, I've been homesick for a long time. I've been waiting for the groundswell of movement in Britain, and now seems the right time to come back.'
Dusty left Britain in 1970, frustrated with a business that channelled its pop artists, once they turned 30, into the cabaret bracket. To her, panto seasons and the Talk of the Town were a living death. She was excited by newly-emerging funk and soul, and entranced by US labels such as Motown and Atlantic. 'I was struggling to establish something in England that hadn't been done before, to use those musical influences I could hear in my head,' she told me. 'If I could do the record business all over again, I would have mixed funky R&B with something Scottish, melodic, a real Britishness. In the Sixties, no one could quite get those sounds.'
When I first started work on my book more than 11 years ago, Dusty was a cult artist, a former Sixties idol appreciated by a few diehard fans, musicians in the business and the Pet Shop Boys, who coaxed her out of LA obscurity to come and sing on their 1987 hit 'What Have I Done To Deserve This'. Since then, her Nineties albums, plus a feast of Sixties reissues on CD, and her song 'Son of a Preacher Man', featured on the soundtrack to Tarantino's movie Pulp Fiction, have introduced her to a new generation, leading to her re-emergence as a pop cultural force.
Distinct from the other British beat girls, Dusty always had a raw soul quality and she offered a sense of living on an edge of emotion. 'She was the soul singer,' Sixties singer P.P. Arnold told me. 'Out of all the girls — Cilla, Lulu, etc — it was Dusty doin' it for me. She made me feel it.' From the moment Dusty went solo, leaving the Springfields, she fashioned a new style, forging a bridge between soul and the pop mainstream. An astute entertainer, she attracted a family audience as well as a cult following. And as mod culture surfaced in the Sixties with its stringent attention to fashion, Motown and television pop shows such as Ready, Steady Go!, Dusty, panda-eyed and urbane, became Queen Bee.
Though her ascent seemed effortless, Dusty had been an understudy for a long time. Born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in north London on 16 April 1939, Dusty was an inquisitive, sensitive child, troubled by her parents' unhappy marriage. Her mother Kay was a quick-witted Irishwoman who felt hemmed in by the social expectations of being a good Catholic mother, while her father Gerard (better known as OB), a tax consultant, nursed a desire to be a concert pianist. It was as though Dusty had decided early on to escape the cramping influence of English suburbia. At the age of 12, she was listening to Bessie Smith, reading Hollywood writer Budd Schulberg and annoying her convent-school teachers by announcing her intention to be a blues singer. Once, Dusty sang a gravelly-voiced version of 'St Louis Blues' at the school feast day. 'The headmistress and five other teachers walked out in disgust,' recalls a fellow classmate. 'They thought it too raunchy!'
But although she achieved huge chart success, with 17 hits in Britain throughout the Sixties, and a series of acclaimed albums such as Dusty . . . Definitely and Dusty In Memphis, she never quite got rid of her gawky alter ego, 'the librarian' Mary O'Brien. Inside, she says she felt like 'an awful, fat, ugly, middle-class kid' with National Health specs, an apparition she chased away with the invention Dusty Springfield, adopting a look modelled on drag queens. With her glitzy gowns, peroxide-blonde beehive and smudgy, made-up eyes, she became a larger-than-life parody of stereotyped femininity. 'My body was wrong, my face was wrong,' she once said, a discomfort detected by many who have met her.
Frankie Culling, a singer with Granada TV's house band, the Granadeers, remembers rehearsing with the Springfields one night in the early Sixties: 'Dusty came in with lots of Liberty bags, because she loved going shopping. She had wild, bouffant hair and thick, black, eye make-up, and she sang ‘Lizzie Borden, You Can't Cut Your Mother Up in Massachusetts’. She seemed nervous, very jerky, and a bit distant. Having said that, there was definitely an aura about her. Highly tuned. She gave the impression she was never going to stay long.'
Dusty has never slotted easily into the anodyne mores of light entertainment. Never a supplicant female, she was slung out of South Africa in 1964 for refusing to play segregated venues and in so doing provoked questions in Parliament and a crisis among Equity members. She went speeding in her sunglasses after dark, spent most of the Seventies in a haze of drugs and alcohol and was dogged by constant rumours about her sexuality. 'Without question, the lesbian issue was the icing on the cake of her "difficult reputation"', says her friend, American songwriter Allee Willis. 'It would have been fabulously scandalous if she'd been having hits, but it came at a time when she was tumbling down. She had a bum rap.'
By the mid-Eighties, Dusty had become a figure of fun in the tabloids, ridiculed for her age, weight and sexual choices. After the release of her aptly-named 1990 album Reputation, she lay low for a while. By the time she re-emerged in 1995 with A Very Fine Love, the climate had changed. People were ready for a woman who was older, who embraced alternatives, who had been living a full life. 'Now the music industry is 2,000 times better for female singers,' she told me — but that's partly because of her persistence in rewriting the rules.

• Lucy O'Brien's book Dusty will be published by Macmillan in April.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:18 am

#46 from gm
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Rolling Stone website * March 3, 1999
Don't Forget About Me
Dusty Springfield loses battle to breast cancer at 59

Eleven days shy of her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — and two months after being made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II — pop singer Dusty Springfield succumbed to breast cancer last night (March 2) at her home in Henley-on-Thames. She was fifty-nine.
Springfield, who is best known for her landmark 1969 album Dusty in Memphis, was diagnosed with the disease in 1994, shortly before the release of her last album, A Very Fine Love. "She handled it honestly with great spirit and humor," says Vicki Wickham, Springfield's manager since her mid-Eighties collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys and a friend since the Sixties. "I'm not just saying that — she really did. It was extraordinary. [She] only was bedridden in the last couple of days, and really was just amazing. I think anybody that can keep their sense of humor through all of this is just okay in my book." Wickham says Springfield had been "far too sick" to have traveled to New York for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony Monday, March 15, at the Waldorf Astoria, where Elton John is scheduled to do the induction honors (Springfield sang back-up on his 1971 Tumbleweed Connection).
Springfield, born Mary O'Brien on April 16, 1939, in London, had her first taste of international chart success in the early Sixties when she and her brother Tom formed a folk trio (with Tim Fields [sic]) called the Springfields. Solo hits came swiftly after the breakup of the trio, kicking off with 1963's "I Only Want to Be With You." Other hits throughout the decade — many showcasing her husky take on the Motown-sound — included "Wishin' and Hopin,'" "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself," and "You Don't Have, to Say You Love Me," a 1966 No. 1 hit in the U.K. (and No. 4 in the States). Dusty in Memphis spawned the international Top Ten smash "Son of a Preacher Man." (Quentin Tarantino's brought the singer back into fame's spotlight with his use of the song in 1994's Pulp Fiction).
Springfield spent most of the seventies out of the business, though she resurfaced in 1978 with a pair of ill-to-moderately received comeback albums. In 1987 however, Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys asked her to sing on "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" a No. 2 hit in both the U.S. and the U.K. "It was a dream come true for us when Dusty Springfield agreed to sing with us," said Tennant and Chris Lowe in a press statement released Wednesday (March 3) by Parlophone. "Quite honestly, we were in awe of her. Dusty was a tender, exhilarating and soulful singer, incredibly intelligent at phrasing a song, painstakingly building it up to a thrilling climax. She was also a warm and funny person." In 1990, Springfield had a Top Twenty album in the U.K. with Reputation. Her last studio album would be 1994's A Very Fine Love, though Polygram released a three-disc retrospective, Anthology, in late 1997 and Rhino issued the archival live [sic] set Dusty in London just last month.
Springfield, who never married and leaves behind no children, was included on Queen Elizabeth II's biannual honors list on Dec. 31, 1998, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in January. Sixties' blues-rock pioneer Al Kooper, who never worked with the singer but proclaims himself "the world's biggest Dusty Springfield fan," summarized her legacy by saying, "In many ways Dusty Springfield was equal to Billie Holiday or Frank Sinatra in the interpretation of a ballad. There is no one in sight to challenge her at this time."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:20 am

#47 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Guardian website * 4 March 1999
Dying Dusty Springfield Received OBE In Hospital
From the Press Association

Music legend Dusty Springfield did receive her OBE while she was in the final stages of her battle with breast cancer. The singer, who died Tuesday night, was given the honour in a private gathering at her bedside in the Royal Marsden Hospital in west London four weeks ago. Her manager Vicki Wickham said she was given special permission by Buckingham Palace to collect it on her behalf because Dusty was too ill. Ms Wickham, who has known the singer since they met at the pilot programme of TV's Ready Steady Go in 1963, said: "I called the Palace and they were magnificent. I went over to St James Palace and they gave me the OBE."
Ms Springfield, 59, died at her home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, after a long fight against cancer. The singer, whose breast cancer was diagnosed in 1994, was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours. Ms Wickham said: "We had a few people in to watch her get it — nurses, doctors and people she knew. She was in great spirits and thrilled to bits."
Ms Springfield is regarded as the finest female singer of her generation and had a string of hits in the 1960s. Born Mary O'Brien in north London in 1939, she began her musical career in The Springfields but left to chalk up huge chart success with her debut solo single I Only Want to Be With You. She had hits throughout the decade as well as a series of acclaimed albums.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:21 am

#48 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Guardian * 4 March 1999
Dusty Springfield: 60s idol to 90s icon
Subversive singer who broke the mould and launched a style revolution succumbs to cancer
LIBBY BROOKS

Dusty Springfield, the singer widely acknowledged as responsible for introducing rhythm and blues to British pop music, whose distinctive image made her a definitive figure of the Sixties, and whose personal struggles made her an icon to her legions of fans, died on Tuesday night after a long battle with breast cancer. The 59-year-old singer, who was diagnosed with the disease in 1994, died at her home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, just four weeks after receiving an OBE at a private gathering in the Royal Marsden Hospital. The Queen was said to be 'saddened' to hear of the singer's death so soon after receiving the award.
Once dubbed 'the white negress' by Cliff Richard, because of her soulful vocal style, Springfield was described yesterday by Sir Elton John as 'the best white British female singer' of her time. Her first success in 1963 with I Only Want to Be With You was followed by a string of hit singles, including Stay Awhile, I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself, and Little by Little. In 1966 she had her first number one, the ballad You Don't Have to Say You Love Me. Her image was a striking as her music. The heavily mascaraed 'panda eyes' which became her trademark, coupled with her blond beehive hairstyle, earned her the moniker Queen of the Mods. Her perfectionism earned her a reputation for being difficult in the studio, which was matched by her status as a wild party-goer with a penchant for throwing food.
She refused to play to segregated audiences in South Africa in 1964, incurring the ire of some on the British music scene, but her popluarity was unaffected, and in the same year she was voted Best Female Vocalist in the prestigious NME Awards, an accolade she was to win again in 1965, 1966 1967 and 1969. But commercial success eluded her, while constant rumours about her sexuality left her craving privacy. Alcohol and tranquilliser abuse followed, and the Seventies saw her depressed and losing focus on her music. True to her survivor's reputation, she stormed back into the British charts in 1987 with What Have I Done to Deserve This? a duet recorded with the Eighties pop duo The Pet Shop Boys. The song was a worldwide hit, and was followed by a second collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys, Nothing Has Been Proved, the theme to the film Scandal.
Matt Snow, editor of Mojo, said yesterday that, in bringing rhythm and blues into British pop music, Springfield had proved herself as significant as Lennon and McCartney: 'She was an unconscious stylistic revolutionary, but a revolutionary none the less. Her emergence symbolised the beginning of a new era, with white singers adopting the emotional range of black artists. Since the Pet Shop Boys rediscovered and re-presented her, she has been established in the pantheon of significant pop stylists and nothing can remove her from that. The unusual thing about her as big star was that she appeased her hunger for stardom quite quickly, and was not desperate to keep plugging away. She went into semi-retirement with barely a backward glance. Her legacy is the style in which every British singer sings.'
Adam Mattera, editor of the gay men's magazine Attitude, said Springfield's personal story had a huge resonance with gay men at the time: 'When the rumours began about her sexuality, and she actually said that she was attracted to men and women, it was very significant. Her lyrics were all about secret loves, but instead of going into the corner and weeping she stood defiant. After the lost years, with her Eighties comeback, there was a clever, knowing sense of camp. She was in on the joke, which separated her from traditional gay icons. She understood what made her popular in the gay community and played up to it.'
Springfield bridged the gap between old-school divas like Judy Garland and more modern artists. 'She paved the way for people like Gloria Gaynor and Donna Summer, through to Debbie Harry and Madonna, who took the defiance further. She broke the mould with her music, her sexuality, by refusing to fit comfortably into the music industry's expectations. She was subversive.'
Lucy O'Brien, whose biography of Springfield was published in 1989, said: 'Dusty pushed back the frontiers and redefined the role of women in British pop music. She chose classic material which she invested . . . with a unique pathos and vulnerability. She made an enormous contribution to British pop.'
Tributes were paid by all generations of the pop business. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of The Pet Shop Boys said they had been proud to work with Britain's greatest female singer.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:24 am

#49 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Guardian * 4 March 1999
Dusty Springfield: A soulful, smoky signature
RICHARD WILLIAMS

Of all the many distinctive voices to emerge from the British pop scene in the fertile 1960s, none was more naturally soulful than that of Dusty Springfield, who has died from the effects of cancer, aged 59. Despite a somewhat erratic career, she was respected by successive generations of singers and musicians — and by anyone capable of responding to the carefully shaded emotions she brought to the music of her prime, in hits such as I Don't Know What To Do With Myself, Son Of A Preacher Man, I Only Want To Be With You, The Look Of Love, Some Of Your Lovin' and You Don't Have To Say You Love Me.
With her lavishly backcombed blonde hair and generous applications of mascara, she became an instantly recognisable figure. More important, she was the only white woman singer worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the great divas of 1960s soul music: Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Mary Wells. Unlike the vast majority of her would-be rivals, who merely reproduced the much-caricatured rawness of the archetypal soul singer and ended up producing nothing more than a modern version of blackface minstrelsy, she understood that the artistry of a Franklin or a Knight had its essence in grace and nuance, the products of genuine musicality. Like them, she had the gift of adding new layers of meaning to a lyric which, in other hands, might have expressed something quite straightforward. Originality was important, too. These women were not the products of an industrial process such as the music business later became. Each one put her distinctive signature on a song, and a special smoky intimacy made Dusty's voice stand out among them. For women singers of that era, such a talent usually carried the penalty of an automatic dependency on the contributions of male record producers, arrangers and songwriters. Women were not expected to know what was best for them. Springfield certainly did, and her opinion played a powerful role in her recordings, which were distinguished by a thoughtful choice of material and by impeccably soulful arrangements.
Born Mary O'Brien in Hampstead, she had already been a member of an all-female trio called the Lana Sisters when, aged 21, she joined her brother Dion and a friend, Tim Field (later replaced by Mike Hurst), in a folk and country-based group called the Springfields. She and Dion renamed themselves Dusty and Tom Springfield, and in 1961 the trio signed a contract with Philips Records. Their first single, Dear John, made little impact, but Breakaway and Bambino were small hits, earning them enough votes to be named Best UK Vocal Group in the New Musical Express readers' poll at the end of the year. Solo artists ruled the charts in the immediate pre-Beatles era, and competition among groups was hardly intense. Nevertheless, the Springfields created a niche for themselves with their pop-oriented versions of folk and country songs. In 1962 they enjoyed a surprise US Top 20 hit with a rousing version of Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Dusty's voice emerging from the exuberant three-part harmony to deliver a poignant middle-eight which emerged as the record's commercial hook — the bit of the song you wanted to hear over and over again. Repeating the same device on Tom Springfield's Island of Dreams the following year, they enjoyed their biggest British hit, reaching the top five.
It was already obvious that the haunting quality of Dusty's voice, exposed in those brief solo passages, was the group's main attraction. Her gingham-and-mascara image, too, virtually obliterated the bland presence of the group's two male members, and it was no surprise when, at the end of 1963, she embarked on a solo career. The song chosen for her debut, I Only Want To Be With You, reflected a move away from the group's successful hybrid and towards the music that she loved — the contemporary girl-group sounds of the Ronettes, the Crystals and the Chiffons, blending simple teenage sentiments with powerful orchestrations. Supervised, as were many of her best records, by Johnny Franz, a Philips staff producer, I Only Want To Be With You became the first record to be featured on the inaugural edition of Top Of The Pops on New Year's Day, 1964, and made its way into the top five. That summer, another dramatic arrangement contributed to the success of I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Simultaneously, her more delicate version of another Bacharach-David song, Wishin' And Hopin', was giving her a top 10 hit in the United States. Both songs were taken from her first solo LP, A Girl Called Dusty.
The hectic mid-60s represented her prime. In 1965 alone she had hits with In the Middle Of Nowhere and Some Of Your Lovin', appeared in the Royal Variety Performance and the NME Poll Winners' Concert at Wembley (sharing the bill with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones), and hosted an ITV special devoted to performers from Berry Gordy's Tamla and Motown labels: Martha and the Vandellas, the Miracles, the Temptations, the Supremes and Stevie Wonder. These were artists whose work she loved best, and whom she had enthusiastically brought to the attention of the British audience. She was also perhaps the only non-American singer who could perform alongside them without fear of humiliation. Little By Little, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, Goin' Back, I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten and The Look Of Love (a ballad written by Bacharach and David as the theme to the James Bond spoof Casino Royale) were the hits that carried her from 1966 to 1968, the year in which she signed a contract with Atlantic Records in the US.
As a result of that new relationship she travelled to Tennessee, where producer Jerry Wexler, arranger Arif Mardin and engineer Tom Dowd (Atlantic's key music men) supervised the sessions for Dusty in Memphis. Generally viewed as the best of her career, the album was a carefully chosen and beautifully performed collection. Its big hit, The Son Of A Preacher Man, had originally been written for Aretha Franklin, whose father was a famous minister, but it became the defining performance of Springfield's career, the ultimate proof that she could take the material of black music and refashion it into something true both to its own essence and to hers. It was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Sessions in Philadelphia with the producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, then on the brink of success with the O'Jays, Billy Paul and others, resulted in another fine album, including a memorable version of A Brand New Me. These were the days when one of her aides de camp would hire an extra seat on a transatlantic flight to transport the rhinestone gowns for an American tour.
In 1972 she went to live in Los Angeles, a move which coincided with a swift and steep decline in her popularity. When the US-recorded albums See All Her Faces and Cameo made little impact, she began to settle into semi-obscurity which lasted until the late 1980s, despite several half-hearted comeback attempts (including one sponsored by the Hippodrome label, run by Peter Stringfellow, the nightclub impresario). An approach in 1987 from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys restored her fortunes. Tennant and Lowe understood the mysterious glamour of her voice well enough to incorporate it into one of their own hit singles with great success, and Springfield even re-emerged to perform the song, What Have I Done To Deserve This, at the Albert Hall during the British music industry's annual awards ceremony. The partnership continued in 1988 when she sang Nothing Has Been Proved, the theme from Scandal, the feature film dealing with the affair between Christine Keeler and John Profumo. Another Tennant/ Lowe song, In Private, reached the top 20 the following year, although an album, called Reputation, only crept into the Top 40.
Thanks to Tennant and Lowe, the public had been reminded of her existence as something more than a ghost from the 1960s. Not long after this satisfying renaissance, however, she began to suffer from the effects of what was to become a fatal condition, and one of the most consistently affecting voices in pop music was finally silenced.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
PENNY VALENTINE writes:

I once went to dinner with Dusty Springfield in a little house she was renting high in the Hollywoood Hills. She was not, said mutual friends, in 'good shape', and we all agreed that Hollywood was not the right place for her in the late 1970s when she was less successful. So it was a surprise when I was met by an exuberant woman who threw open the door with a triumphant 'Taarraa!' and showed me into a front room where a garden table was decked out with Cinzano umbrella, plastic knives and forks, plates, cups and extravagant purple plastic flowers. I can't remember what we ate in this extraordinarily kitsch setting but I do remember we laughed a lot and that at least 12 rather mangy cats roamed the room throughout the meal — all rescued by the singer from the surrounding neighbourhood.
That was the thing about 'Madam' — as her loyal friend and unofficial manager Vicki Wickham and I called her — her unpredictability and a sense of humour that vied with a much more complex personality. It was a combination which inevitably threw people off balance and which meant that hardly anyone could say with any real honesty that they really knew her. What do you remember about Dusty? A brilliant soul diva? A very blonde woman with too much hair and panda eyes who should never have worn short skirts on Ready Steady Go? Or do you remember the hand that would suddenly reach up mid-song and pluck the air to draw down the notes or turn sideways as though to ward off the grief of the lyrics?
Dusty was a singer who had a natural affinity with Scott Walker even though they emerged from very different musical traditions (his a European sensibility, hers rooted in the black church: neither their natural heritage). They were, though, both signed to the same label and constantly fighting for their musical independence — something that, being a woman in the 1960s, Dusty never quite managed to pull off in the way Walker did (while he was a 'genius' she was classified as 'difficult' or 'temperamental' when she challenged anyone in the studio). She also shared some personality traits with Elton John: they both put on 'Goons' voices to hide their shyness with people, they had the same kind of strangely asexual stage presence. I remember a night in California when Elton desperately tried to encourage her back into the recording studio and it was the first time I felt he really deeply cared what happened to anyone.
Dusty was a strong woman and a confused woman. She would be honest and forthright to a fault yet she never had the confidence to be seen without her make-up, even if that meant, as it inevitably did, that she would be two hours late for promotional appointments. Yet once she was in a studio with musicians she admired — as she was on the Dusty in Memphis sessions — she was always on time and ready to go. For in the end it was always the music that counted. We had first met in the 1960s when she had just left the Springfields to go solo. I am certain the main reason we got on was because we were Tamla Motown fans and could sing all the words to Dancing In The Street — although, let me tell you, it wasn't exactly a competition. Because of course, rising above all the frustration about not being able to do things her way, about being bracketed as a British 'girl singer' (not something she ever complained about but something which I think stopped her being given the status she deserved early on) was that extraordinary and wonderful voice that had no right to be so easy with what was an 'adopted' musical form.
A symbol of her times, it would not be difficult to portray Dusty as a tragic figure mis-directed, self-destructive, struggling with Catholic guilt, lonely probably too. Yet she was also the woman who nerve-rackingly roller skated on to the stage at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; who giggled like a teenager; whose parties in the 1960s were notorious for the amount of custard pies that landed in people's faces. Dusty commanded enormous loyalty from people who had been in her life over 30 years or more and yet she seemed to feel emotionally safest with animals. Last week she determinedly left the Royal Marsden hospital, soon after being awarded an OBE, so that she could go home to Henley and spend a final few days with her cat Norman [Nicholas! — Nicholas Nicholaievich, if I’m not mistaken: gm].
An icon to gay, lesbian and straight audiences all over the world (her record Breakfast in Bed practically became a lesbian anthem) Dusty Springfield may have just been born too early. Naive, trusting, distrustful, intelligent, she had grown up in the shadow of Marilyn Monroe. Two decades later the post-punk and feminist era might have served her better, perhaps psychologically securing her in a world where women had more chance of controlling their own music and defining their own sexuality.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:25 am

#50 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Independent * 4 March 1999
Dusty, Soul Of British Pop, Dies
PAUL MCCANN

Dusty Springfield died at her home in Henley-on-Thames on Tuesday night after a long battle with cancer. The 59-year-old singer, whose trademark blonde beehive and "panda" eye make-up inspired a generation of modettes, was diagnosed with cancer after finding a lump in her breast in 1994. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy failed to cure the cancer and she moved to her present home late last year to find peace and solitude before she died.
Springfield, whose real name was Mary O'Brien, was born in north London in 1939. She was awarded the OBE in the New Year's honours list and received it in a private ceremony at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London four weeks ago. Tributes to the singer were led by the Queen who was said by Buckingham Palace to be "saddened" by the singer's death so shortly after she received her OBE. Sir Elton John, who was given the news of her death while touring America said: "I thought that Dusty was the best white British female singer to come along at the time. To me, she was as good a singer as Aretha Franklin." Contemporaries from the 1960s also joined the tributes: "She was an incredible artist," Cilla Black said from her home yesterday. "I'm very sad and deeply shocked." A spokeswoman for Lulu, who was a friend of Dusty Springfield for 30 years said: "I have just spoken to Lulu, and she just said that she is obviously very sad, but at the same time relieved that Dusty is no longer suffering."
Springfield got her start in pop with an all-girl group called the Lana Sisters before forming The Springfields, a folk group, with her brother. They had hits in the UK and the United States before she began her solo career in 1963. Her first hit was in 1964, with "I Only Want to be With You", a song, which like many of her hits was influenced by her passion for the Motown label's soul music. She was an intensely private person and her trademark make-up and wig were part of a plan to preserve her anonymity and privacy. After her successes in the Sixties, which included the songs "Son of a Preacher Man", "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself", she went through a period of decline. She moved to the US in the early Seventies and after her album Cameo did not record a hit for many years. After a series of comebacks and a battle with drugs and alcohol, she hit the charts in the Eighties with the Pet Shop Boys and the single "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" Her songs started to feature on film soundtracks and she became a figure of tragic adoration for the gay community.
The Pet Shop Boys said yesterday: "Dusty was the pop icon of her generation and brought pleasure to millions of music lovers around the world. She will be sadly missed." Her appearances on the influential pop programme Ready Steady Go have secured her place in the culture of the early Sixties. For a generation, the Profumo scandal and bank holiday clashes between mods and rockers are all replayed in their memories to the background of a Dusty Springfield song.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:27 am

#51 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Independent * 4 March 1999
The Finest Female Voice We Ever Had
ANDY GILL

In one of those strange, premonitory coincidences that occur from time to time, I had been thinking about Dusty Springfield — specifically, The Springfields' 1962 hit Island Of Dreams — just a few hours before learning of her death. Why, I wondered, had nobody (to my knowledge) ever recorded a cover version of this beautiful, fragile song, so full of hope and yearning, yet so vulnerable? The answer, of course, applies equally to virtually the entire output of Dusty's solo career; for only the most foolhardy or hubristic of singers would dare place themselves in direct comparison with the finest female pop voice this country ever produced. True, Elvis may have taken on You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, and The Byrds successfully re-worked Goin' Back, but you could search long and hard for covers of hits like I Only Want To Be With You, Losing You and I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself , and even if you did manage to find one, it's odds on you wouldn't be able to recall what it sounded like, so completely did Dusty inhabit those songs.
She was born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in 1939, and raised among London's Irish community based in West Hampstead. A brief stint as one of the three Lana Sisters was succeeded by a more successful liaison harmonising with her brother Tom in his folk group The Springfields, who scored a few hits in the pre-Beatles early 1960s, and provided her with a catchier stage name. Dusty shrewdly opted for a solo career, quickly becoming one of the pre-eminent icons of the era. Her formidably backcombed blonde bob and heavily mascara'd "panda eyes" set Dusty apart from the more waiflike run of 1960s pop chanteuses. Dusty was an unashamed glamourpuss. None of her peers, however, could quite match Dusty's poise and command of her material. Many of her songs dealt with an almost masochistic degree of female vulnerability, yet Dusty seemed somehow in command, strong and powerful despite the emotional tribulations. It's there at its most compelling in Dusty's underrated 1964 hit Losing You, a breathtaking performance which builds with operatic grace from its subdued, reflective opening to a cathartic climax which leaves her emotionally drained but cleansed of regret: as the song concludes, it's clear that once the eyes are dry, she will prevail.
By the time Dusty's bisexuality became common knowledge in the mid-1970s, she was already an icon for gays who admired her glamour, her dramatic musical style, and her spirit of survival. She was the perfect pop diva, a role model for drag queens and drama queens alike, though the rumours didn't help a career lulled into inactivity by boredom: there was a gap of almost 20 years between top ten appearances, until her 1987 comeback collaboration with The Pet Shop Boys, What Have I Done To Deserve This?. The accompanying Reputation album and its country-oriented follow-up A Very Fine Love were reasonably well-received, but neither really did Dusty's abilities full justice.
Apart from the tranche of 1960s hits, her peak achievement is undoubtedly the Dusty In Memphis album she recorded in 1968 with Atlantic's noted soul production team of Tom Dowd, Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin, from which came the hit single Son Of A Preacher Man. Unlike her previous arrangers who tended to lay on the melodrama with a trowel, they played instead to Dusty's vocal strengths, letting her voice rest easily among the more restrained Memphis soul settings. Although the album was a flop on both sides of the Atlantic at the time, it remains probably the finest pop record ever made by a British female singer, an indelible testament to her immense talent.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:28 am

#52 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Independent * 4 March 1999
Obituary: Dusty Springfield
CHRIS WELCH

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD was one of the finest singers to emerge from the froth and bubble of the Swinging Sixties. In many ways she epitomised the sound and style of the era. Yet her unique voice, powerful, sensual and rich in passion, had a timeless quality that has proved appealing to new generations of fans. A contemporary of Sandie Shaw, Cilla Black and Lulu, Springfield was determined to elevate the craft of pop singing by careful choice of material. Her affinity for soul music enabled her to imbue her own singing with its values, without resorting to mere shouting and screaming. She admired the great American performers like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight and was selflessly keen to promote their work. However Dusty Springfield, more than the other girls who put their stamp on the Sixties, had a unique power and maturity. This enabled her to interpret songs by composers like Burt Bacharach and Carol King with such force they became definitive versions. Even now you only have to mention songs like "I Only Want To Be With You", "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" and "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" and it's possible to hear Dusty's voice, sometimes strident, sometimes delicate, her character imprinted on every note.
Dusty, with her blond beehive hair-dos and heavy "Panda" eye make-up was an instantly recognisable celebrity; an icon of the black-and-white Sixties. Yet many saw this image as a mask to conceal an awkward, insecure woman who needed to be reassured. In fact she was quite capable of defending herself, as critics and detractors soon found. When interviewed in Music Maker magazine in 1966 she was described as Britain's most powerful answer to the soul sound then sweeping the nation. "Dusty is that rare bird — a singer who knows music well, a singer who has to believe in a song before recording it. A singer with soul. Her reputation in music circles can be summarised in three words: 'Anything WON'T do!'" It was Springfield's determination to extract high standards from her backing musicians, and to brook no nonsense or interference from promoters — and occasionally waiters in restaurants — that earned her notoriety as a "troublemaker". When cakes and drinks went flying at pop parties and awards ceremonies, it was usually Dusty getting stuck into the mayhem with an enthusiasm that would have won approval from Oasis.
She hit the front page of the Daily Mirror when she threw a cake at a waiter whose manner she didn't like, at the Melody Maker Poll Awards. But her pranks were usually good-humoured, like her ability to mimic her favourite radio comics the Goons. The combination of high spirits and high ideals made her good company and good copy. Dusty Springfield was hardly ever out of the headlines during her six years at the top and she seemed destined to become one of the great, perennial performers. This made her slow fade into obscurity during the Seventies all the more distressing. There were some signs of a revival in her fortunes, but the glory days were over.
She was born Mary O'Brien, in Hampstead, north London, in 1939. She and her elder brother Dion began singing together as children in their parents' garage, where they made their earliest tape recordings. When Mary left school she carried on singing harmonies with her brother, who had began performing at local folk clubs. In 1957 the pair gained further experience singing at Butlin's holiday camps. Mary later joined a vocal group, the Lana Sisters, who made some records and backed the singer Al Saxon. In 1959 she returned to work with Dion who had in the meantime teamed up with Tim Field.
A pleasant spring day and Tim's surname inspired a suitable name for the new trio — the Springfields. It seemed opportune to adopt stage names. Dion became Tom Springfield and Mary was now Dusty Springfield. The group became very popular on the club circuit with their folk-tinged style and in 1961 were signed to Philips Records. The Springfields had Top Five hits with "Island of Dreams" (1962) and "Say I Won't Be There" (1963). They also enjoyed American success with "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" which got to No 20 in September 1962 and went straight to No 1 in Australia. The Springfields thus spearheaded the so-called "British Invasion" before the Beatles. In July 1963 they had their last hit with "Come On Home" which peaked at No 31. The group broke up in September 1963 after a farewell show at the London Palladium.
In the aftermath Tom Springfield concentrated on writing while Dusty launched her solo career in fine style with "I Only Want To Be With You" by Ivor Raymonde and Mike Hawker. It went straight to No 4 in the UK in January 1964 and No 12 in the US. In a burst of activity Springfield recorded her first solo album, went on tour with bands like the Searchers and the Tremeloes, and then collapsed from overwork. But artists lived or died by issuing a steady stream of singles. Her follow-up, "Stay Awhile", came out in February and got to No 13 in the UK. Then came a trip to the US to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. Her debut album, A Girl Called Dusty, appeared in April 1964. One of the tracks was "Wishin' and Hopin' ", her next US hit, which got to No 6. Her next UK smash was "I Just Don't Know What Do With Myself", followed by "Losing You" which was written by Tom Springfield.
From 1965 to 1968 Dusty Springfield was rarely out of the charts. On "In the Middle of Nowhere", she was backed by Doris Troy and Alan Price. After "Some of Your Lovin' " and "Little By Little" came "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", her biggest hit, which sold a million and got to No 1 in March 1966. An Italian ballad with English lyrics, it was revived by Elvis Presley in 1970. Springfield never had another chart topper, but many more fine performances followed, including "Going Back", "All I See Is You" (1966), "I'll Try Anything", "Give Me Time" (1967) and "I Close My Eyes and Count To Ten" (1968).
She seemed to be enjoying her success. But periodic dust-ups hit the headlines. In December 1964 she was invited to tour South Africa. Although clearly against apartheid, she agreed to go, but refused to perform before segregated audiences. In the row that ensued she was deported back to Britain. This drew some criticism from British showbiz artists including Derek Nimmo, who felt that Springfield was needlessly offending prospective employers. She offered them only a sharp rebuke, later describing Nimmo as "a prat".
In 1965 she appeared on the Royal Variety Show and headlined her own UK tour as well as embarking on a ceaseless round of cabaret, club and television shows. Occasionally she blew her top. The journalist Keith Altham recalled meeting Springfield for an interview at ITV's Ready, Steady Go! studio: “She had three wigs for different occasions. Wig Number One was called Cilla, Number Two was Lulu and Number Three was Sandie. I found her tossing one of the wigs all around the dressing room. I said, "Hi Dusty, am I interrupting something?" She said: "I'm just giving Cilla a good kicking!" The odd thing was you wouldn't recognise Dusty without her wigs, false eyelashes and make-up. I think that was a kind of mask that helped give her confidence.”
However Springfield wasn't afraid of Buddy Rich, the tough-talking American jazz drummer who insulted her when they appeared on a show together in New York. Altham remembered: “There was a row about the billing. She wanted her name to be the same size as Buddy's. She climbed a ladder outside the theatre to alter the sign. He called her a name and she whacked him one!” Springfield, says Altham, had a vulnerable, childlike quality: “She was rather like Marilyn Monroe in that sense. She was quite humble about her singing and really didn't think she was any good. But of all the Sixties girls she was the best and had a very special talent. She later led a rather lonely, isolated existence and I thought it was a big mistake to duck out of the public eye when she went to live in America. She just seemed to lose all her confidence.”
Springfield toured the world in 1967 performing in cabaret in London, New York, Australia and Japan. That same year her third album, Where Am I Going, included versions of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" and Aretha Franklin's "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream". She was voted Best Female Vocalist in the New Musical Express annual awards for five successive years, and she was given her own BBC television show on which she cheerfully introduced such favoured guests as Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner and Scott Walker. In 1968 she switched from Philips to Atlantic Records and in September cut an album in Memphis. Using American musicians, Springfield found the funky backing sound she had always wanted. These sessions produced the celebrated Dusty In Memphis album which featured tunes by Randy Newman, Goffin & King and Bacharach-David. It also included the last of her big hits, "Son of a Preacher Man". Released in December, 1968, it got to No 9 in the UK and No 10 in the US. Many years later the song was featured on the soundtrack to the 1994 Tarantino movie Pulp Fiction.
Springfield relocated to America in 1970 and thereafter recorded only sporadically and received practically no recognition in Britain. An interview she gave to the London Evening Standard in 1975, in which she hinted at her sexual orientation, resulted in a cooling of popularity at home. Certainly she found the intrusion into her private life unpleasant. She said later: "I have been extremely hurt by people saying things about me. I have a certain pride in myself as a woman and it upsets my femininity. I can't stand to be thought of as a big butch lady. I've done nothing wrong and I refuse to invent a relationship to appease people." By now her health was poor and she suffered from depression. Moving to Los Angeles, she spent more time campaigning for animal rights than recording. She bought a house on Laurel Canyon and tried to fit into the suburban scene. "It was sort of nouveau riche," said Springfield. "The trouble was — I was not very nouvelle and not very riche."
In 1973 she signed with ABC- Dunhill and recorded her eighth album, Cameo, and released the singles "Who Gets Your Love" and "Learn To Say Goodbye". They weren't a success. "I felt totally alien in Los Angeles," she said. "I wasn't proud of the sounds coming from my throat. I didn't think I could tell what the good songs were any more. When things started to go wrong, I got depressed and lost a couple of years." Between 1974 and 1977 she did no recording at all and began to drink heavily. Then she took a grip and started to piece her life together. She even took singing lessons. However "comebacks" in the late Seventies and early Eighties failed to take off. She needed a kick start to her career. Help came from an unlikely source. In 1987 she was invited to London record with the Pet Shop Boys. The result was her first chart appearance in years when she guested with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe on their single "What Have I Done To Deserve This?", a No 2 hit in both the UK and the US. "That was a watershed in my life," she said. Springfield hadn't known who the Pet Shop Boys were but liked their "West End Girls" when she heard it on the radio. She didn't know quite what the group wanted, but Tennant explained they just wanted to hear that husky, breathy voice. She later went on to record "Nothing Has Been Proved", the Pet Shop Boys' theme tune to the 1989 movie Scandal — for which Springfield made her first promo video.
Springfield now came back from California to live in England with her cat, Nicholas. Her return was celebrated with a BBC biography, Dusty, screened in May 1994. A new album, A Very Fine Love, was released in 1995 and showed her singing as well as ever. Then, just after she had completed recording, she was diagnosed as suffering from breast cancer and she had to undergo chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital. She said: "I remember crying, thinking, I haven't got time to be ill." In February 1998 she suffered a recurrence of breast cancer. Her illness turned out to be "a learning curve", she said. "It's a long time since being a star was the most important thing to me. I don't need to be adored, to hear that applause. If I never heard it again, I would still be fine."

Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien (Dusty Springfield), singer: born London 16 April 1939; OBE 1999; died Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire 2 March 1999.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:30 am

#53 from gm
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Belfast News Letter * March 4, 1999
My First Love
News Letter Reporter IAN STARRETT Recalls The Evening He Met Singer Dusty Springfield, Who Died Yesterday Aged 59

I was close to Dusty Springfield once. For half an hour . . . on a single night . . . but we were still close. She'd clasp my nervous hand, ruffle my hair, giggle, confide gossipy titbits and flutter the most outlandish eyelashes in the history of the Swinging 60s. She was my first love and I was weak at the knees. I was a teenager with printer's ink in his nostrils, a desire to write about music and desperately trying to look like a cross between James Dean and a young Elvis Presley and failing miserably. Teenage angst? I could write a book about it.
Soul diva Dusty Springfield, who sadly passed away yesterday, was a household name in a generation before somebody invented the word superstar. She had been my pin-up, the dream girl I thought about when I went to sleep at night, the singer whose voice melted my besotted youthful heart. Wearing my Christmas present of fashionable Italian-style pencil-thin tie and neatly-pressed Limavady Technical College blazer I ventured with schoolboy trepidation into Limavady Agricultural Hall where Dusty was to sing to a multitude of Ulster fans.
That's right, Limavady Agricutural Hall, believe it or not a 60s dance mecca that attracted a pre-Ecstasy era of funseekers from all over Northern Ireland, a booze-free zone in an age of Ulster teenage country innocence that hadn't quite caught up with the Swinging London sexual revolution we'd read so much about. "Would she give me a few minutes interview?" I hopefully asked promoter Bobby Platt. "Ask her," he said, so I did. Which is how the pin-up from my bedroom wall became a living, breathing reality before my eyes and how we ended up spending a happy half-hour, warming our hands around an oil-fired heater, in a dressing room converted from the hospitality corner where cattle and sheep judges were entertained with refreshments on farm show days every first Thursday in July.
While some long-forgotten showband warmed up the audience out front, husky -voiced Dusty regaled me with tales about music, life and newspapers. And the lovely lady who was born Mary O'Brien confessed: "I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. My family are in the local newspaper business in the Irish Republic and I was very interested in the newspaper game until the music bug got me." Unlike so many of today's showbiz gliteratti there was nothing self-centred about Dusty. She had as many questions for me as I had for her — she'd have made a good reporter, I thought. All too soon Dusty had to change out of the warm woollen polo-necked dress she wore into one of her exotic stage costumes. As I left the dressing room she pursed her lips and pecked mine. A photographer called me back for a hasty picture. Golden framed that black and white image of yesteryear stands to this day on top of the bookshelf in my bedroom — a bloke never forgets his first love.
Her stage act, even in a farmers' venue in Limavady, was dynamic; the distinctive voice carrying down the hall, out the windows and halfway up the mountain road to Coleraine. Several times she flirtingly darted sparkling-eyed glances in my direction — I was standing sidestage — and once or twice she winked one of those heavily mascaraed eyelids and my heart thumped like a Lambeg drum on a Twelfth morning. The beehive hairstyle was her trademark and Limavady Technical College back then was a backcombed girlie breeding ground of Dusty lookalikes.
Born on April 16, 1939, she had been to Northern Ireland before as a member of the Springfields — remember Island of Dreams? — with her brother Tom. In the end she became one of the finest and most successful female artistes in the annals of popular music. She had 16 hits in seven years — You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, Son of a Preacher Man and I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself were three of her chart toppers — but eventually she deserted Britain for a more reclusive life in California where she encountered drug and booze problems as rumours swept both sides of the Atlantic about her sexuality. She devoted her life to her cats and following the US women's tennis circuit. She returned to England after more than a decade. Two comeback attempts, one backed by London nightclub boss Peter Stringfellow, failed before she teamed up with the Pet Shop Boys to notch a No 2 chart hit in both Britain and the United States with What Have I Done To Deserve This?
In recent times she had fought a brave fight against breast cancer, which had been diagnosed in January 1994. Her sterling services to music were recognised by the Queen when she was awarded the OBE in the New Year's Honours List in January but the then ailing Dusty was too ill to go along to collect her accolade. Yesterday, Her Majesty was "saddened" to hear of her death. Dusty died at her Henley-on-Thames home, at the too-young age of 59, from the disease she had battled against so courageously. Her British agent Paul Fen described her as "one of the icons of the music industry, one of the most talented female singers of this century".
Dusty died just 11 days before she was to be inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony in New York. Music and the memories of this once young lad, who in the full flush of youth had loved her passionately from afar, are much the poorer for her early passing.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:33 am

#54 from gm
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The Irish Times * March 4, 1999
Perfectionism And Psychological Tensions
JOE JACKSON on the extraordinary metamorphosis of the woman who became Dusty Springfield

In 1955, the 16-year-old Mary Isobele Catherine O' Brien, living in London, of Irish descent, sat in front of a mirror, stared at her "chubby tomboy" face, national health glasses and "short mousy red hair" and said "you'll never make it, Mary. You're too dull and boring. You'll be a librarian." This, according to Lucy O'Brien's 1991 biography, Dusty, signalled the beginning of the metamorphosis that would, in time, kill off Mary O' Brien, give birth to Dusty Springfield and leave her at the mercy of psychological tensions that bedevilled her all her life.
But let's look first at the music, which is where Dusty Springfield's story begins. Take You Don't Have To Say You Love Me: Dusty was such a perfectionist that she did 47 takes of that song, pushing a full orchestra beyond breaking point, before she finally said "OK". From the start of her solo career, at a time when most female singers recorded what was chosen by their record company, Dusty called the shots, choosing the material she wanted to record. First up was I Only Want To Be With You because she loved "the tune, the tempo" according to songwriter Ivor Raymonde, who also became the singer's producer and later remembered how Dusty developed her reputation for being "difficult" in the studio. "Dusty was an exacting artist. Bad musicians would annoy her, the tempo had to be just right, and before a session, the key had to be set so it wasn't too high or low. She was a perfectionist, like me, so we got on well."
A sense of insecurity apparently never let go of Dusty Springfield. She may have kicked off her legendary debut album, A Girl Called Dusty, with a raw slice of r'n'b entitled Mama Said, which beautifully expressed her desire to "be Ray Charles," but, deep down, Springfield always felt she wasn't the "real thing". That is, black. In fact, years later, while recording one of the greatest soul albums of all time, Dusty In Memphis, she was described by Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler as the "most insecure singer" he ever met. Dusty responded by saying: "What he didn't realise is how intimidated I was. Because they were talking about Aretha [Franklin] and I'm going 'what am I doing on this label? Why are they recording me?' and that showed in the time it took to get vocal performances out of me." One hopes that, before she died, someone did make Dusty Springfield realise that being black is not the sole criterion for being a soul singer. In fact Dusty, at her best, was a better soul singer than many of her black peers. Her version of Son Of A Preacher Man certainly, is better than Aretha Franklin's. It's subtle, mysterious and poetic.
Sadly, her sense of self-acceptance seemed to evaporate over the following decade. Particularly after she moved to the US, which later led her to admit: "the loss of conviction is not an overnight thing". This comment seemed to apply not just to her music but the fact that, around this time, Dusty developed a dependency on drink and drugs "to combat feelings of isolation and frustration," according to her biographer, Lucy O' Brien. O'Brien also suggests that "Dusty gradually lost her focus and sense of self", quoting the singer: "I felt I was obsolete, with a feeling of uselessness and depression." This feeling seems to have lingered during her final years, despite her "comeback" with The Pet Shop Boys. There is a moral here for all of those pop stars who seek to "reinvent" themselves. Be careful the beast you create doesn't eat you alive. That, in the end, rather than cancer, just may have been what finally "killed" Dusty Springfield. Or rather, Mary O'Brien.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:35 am

#55 from gm
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The Irish Times * March 6, 1999
Did She Know How Great She Was?
In a tribute written shortly before her death earlier this week, playwright FRANK MCGUINNESS pays homage to Dusty Springfield, one of the great voices of the 1960s and latterly, a gay icon

The music of the 1960s has now been pirated, plagiarised and publicised to such an extent that it bears no resemblance to the reality I remember. Back then, no one would make any claim for that music's greatness. Certainly, nobody imagined its permanence. Songs were wonderfully disposable. There was a gorgeous embarrassment of riches. The Supremes were quite simply the greatest woman group of all time. In those same months in 1964, Marianne Faithfull broke your heart with As Tears Go By. Sandie Shaw trod barefoot through city streets as lonely as the Arctic, knowing "There is Always Something There to Remind Me". And then in December Petula Clarke went Downtown, the first record I ever spent my own money buying. You see what I mean? An embarrassment of riches.
Boys at that time were ashamed to admit their interest in female singers. Can you believe it now, looking at the list of records I've just mentioned? Well yes, I'd say you can, if you remember the reality of the times. I've always detected the first assertions of feminism in those songs. Here were women troubling the certainties, doubting the securities of courtship. Marianne would take off with Jagger. She would write his greatest song, Sister Morphine and take years to get her due credit. Sandie would win the Eurovision and be the Puppet on a String. Cilla Black would forget the savage, unforgiving voice that turned Anyone Who Had a Heart into a hymn of precise, public hatred and would be forgiven for doing so, because there was no one to tell her what she had just created. Lulu married one of the Bee Gees. The mighty rage of Shout was transformed into the sweetness of To Sir with Love. It is fair to say they lost their bearings. And then there was Dusty Springfield.
Who was she? Mary O'Brien, (pretty Irish), born in Hampstead, London. Sang with the Lana Sisters, left them, joined The Springfields with her brother Dion. Like all good exiles she changed her name to Dusty, he changed his name to Tom. Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Island of Dreams, Bambino, the greatest hits of that group. Marvellous harmonies, controlled by the woman herself. Silver Threads and Golden Needles will still tear the longest marriage apart, it knows about money, the need for it, the despair success brings, the necessity to confront successful despair. Dusty was 23 when she sang that song. How did she know about money?
I remember their last performance at the London Palladium on television. They were given a present, and Dusty asked was it money? I link that memory to my constant mishearing of the title on Island of Dreams. I always thought it was Ireland of Dreams. They followed it up with Say I Won't Be There and Come on Home. I'd never thought of Ireland as a place of exile, as a place to go into exile from, I was 10, I didn't know her name was Mary O'Brien, I didn't know how much money and exile went together. The song made sense of my grandmother and her daughters, weeping over my great, brave Uncle Tommy leaving every summer to sail back to Glasgow where he, like so many Donegal men and women, went to find work:
I wander the streets and the gay crowded places,
Trying to forget you but somehow it seems,
My mind always wanders. . .
Dusty's beautiful voice first gave me the instinctive sense of loss, the shocking truth of home, far far away on the Island of Dreams.
I now recognise I've loved that woman's voice since that mishearing. All creativity is based on mistakes. When you're learning a language what you get wrong is consistent. What you get right is erratic, fanciful, pure chance. Why did Dusty leave that most successful group? She was taking a chance, she was learning a new language, she was becoming an artist. And she would dismiss all of this as shite. The best artists do. But I would defy any actor to listen to her singing I Only Want to Be with You and not hear the magnificent surge of happiness, the wildness of her excitement, the fear of her disillusionment. And if you were to ask me what great comedy in the theatre does, I'd give you the same answer. Never forget when you listen to Dusty Springfield what an actor you're listening to. We have been spoilt by Ella Fitzgerald's justice singing They Can't Take That Away From Me, Peggy Lee's honesty when she diagnoses her Fever, and Mabel Mercer letting loose her ghosts when she confesses that These Foolish Things dictate the truths about her life.
The voice of this century is female, and it most definitely is not comforting. There was no comfort in the unified voices of the Derry factory girls singing Stay Awhile, Dusty's second hit, walking, arms linked, outside Woolworth's in March, 1994. They were demanding recognition. "I Just Don't Know What To Do with Myself", and Dusty's hands, hair, black dress, conformed to the rituals of a woman in mourning for her past self. She gave us Wishing and Hoping —
You gotta wear your hair, just for him,
Show him that you care, just for him,
— a sound piece of advice, much more useful nowadays for gay boys out to get rugby queens than for girls hell-bent on husbands, and she knew what she was doing.
She certainly knew what she was doing when she went to South Africa in 1964. Before it was fashionable or serious, she insisted on performing before a non-segregated audience. They asked her to leave. Well, no, they threw the woman out. Brownie points for political correctness? All right, but I've always thought the Brownies were a fair organisation, and I wish to Christ there was such a thing as political correctness. The woman who could let Madeline Bell and Doris Troy do her backing vocals and still sound as good as those singers might have had a reason for stating her politics in South Africa.
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, but it goes without saying we will be close at hand. The song is such a tentative declaration of friendship that its pleading becomes a statement of solidarity. And she didn't let her mates down. Her secrets increased with her sorrows, and the songs from then on were all about sorrow. Of course she didn't let on. Her make-up was a very effective disguise. I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten, and it was as if she had suffered some amputation of the soul, unflinchingly letting a lover go. But she was never a victim. When she sang The Look of Love, you knew for certain she was not looking into a mirror. And she gave no quarter to whoever chose to listen to her either. There never was A Son of a Preacherman. He was someone your imagination conceived, a babe, a wound, a child that shouldn't have been, and never was. He was a dream, and we can all dream.
She carried a heavy burden. I sometimes wonder when she washed the mask off her face did she recognise the skin beneath the singer? I'd love to think she did, but then I'm biased, I love Dusty Springfield. It's pretty clear I'm not alone. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe gave her the superb What Have I Done to Deserve This? in 1988. It sold well. I wonder did she enjoy it? Dusty always does that to me. Makes me question. There are nights when I listen to her singing
Where did our love lie?
In the middle of nowhere
Where did we say goodbye?
In the middle of nowhere
I identify that song with love that has gone or is going well. Confusion. She gives me no solutions. She's far, far away on the Island of Dreams. That's where she's chosen to be. I think that's why I absolutely respect her. She wouldn't want that. Would she want to be known as the woman who first sang on Top of the Pops? Would she want to be thought of as the voice of revolution? What revolution? What confusion?
Does she know how great she is? Does she know how much she is respected? Does she ever think of the way she challenged her audience? Does she realise that when the Bay City Rollers and Annie Lennox singing with the Tourists had top 10 hits with I Only Want to be with You, they created a first — three different artists, same song, three top 10 hits. Would she think it ridiculous that this reflects well on her? (The others can be safely dismissed, the difference is chalk and diamond). Would she think her album Dusty in Memphis is an extraordinary reconciliation between Irish and American music? Would she care that her version of My Lagan Love, sung on her television show, sets standards of interpretation that are still to be surpassed? When she hears herself singing The Windmills of Your Mind does she listen to a generation deliberately not taking the right path to any understanding of itself? She might, but she's not saying. So I'll make a claim for her music's greatness. I can imagine its permanence. I could not dispose of these songs. They are wonderful and gorgeous. And so is Dusty Springfield. The woman herself.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:37 am

#56 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Observer * 7 March 1999
My date with Dusty
Britain's first lady of soul had chosen us to make what was to be her last video. We'd found the perfect location, we'd borrowed a horse . . . but now she wanted us to stop the wind blowing
SEAN O'HAGAN

Some time in the late Sixties, before my family invested in a record player, my father was given a box of seven-inch singles by a workmate who was emigrating to Australia. For years, the box sat in the bottom of a cupboard, untouched, gathering dust. Later, in the early Seventies, I dragged it up to my bedroom and, more out of boredom than curiosity, played the records one by one. Amid the familiar (The Beatles, Tom Jones) and the exotic ('They're Coming To Take Me Away' by Napoleon XIV) nestled a host of bright and brassy female voices: Sandie Shaw, Cilla Black, Sandy Posey, Twinkle, Petula Clark and, brightest and brassiest of all, Dusty Springfield.
For reasons I was unsure about for a long time, Petula Clark's 'Downtown' and Dusty's 'I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten' cast the deepest, darkest spell. Back then, I was entranced by the modernist sheen of Roxy Music — by the strange, sensual sway of their slow songs, the sense that they were arbiters of a world of sexual otherness way beyond the dull confines of my own. Somehow, Petula and Dusty — though they came from another time, when sophistication seemed synonymous with melodrama — belonged to that world, too. There was a suggestion of repressed desire and deep, dark longings that simmered just beneath the surface of their best songs. I don't know if Petula Clark ever recorded anything else as dynamic as 'Downtown' but I do know that Dusty struck out for the stars with the still extraordinary 1968 album Dusty In Memphis; that, in the company of Atlantic Records' finest southern soul men, she finally found an ideal home for her big soul voice. Restrained rather than melodramatic, it remains her finest hour, and its hit single 'Son Of A Preacher Man' her most transcendent moment.
Dusty In Memphis has, over the years, become one of my favourite after-hours albums. Maybe because of her subsequent disappearance from the charts and the various rumours about her (mostly concerning her bisexuality and her Seventies drink problem) Dusty became an almost mythical figure to me; someone who seemed to sum up a moment — Profumo, Ready Steady Go!, Mods and miniskirts — then simply faded from view when that moment passed.
Our paths crossed, though, in 1995, when, after a decade of writing about pop music, I had a short-lived career as a pop video director. With my friend Seamus McGarvey, now acclaimed as a cinematographer — he has just shot Tim Roth's The War Zone — I co-directed a couple of videos for a little-known rap group, Marxman. The first illustrated a song about human rights abuses in Northern Ireland and was banned by the BBC for 'political bias'; the second, featuring Sinaad O'Connor, concerned slavery and colonialism. They were agit-pop videos, and we didn't land an awful lot of work on the back of them. It was with some surprise, then, that we entered the corporate portals of Sony for a meeting with Dusty Springfield.
To this day, I don't know if Dusty had ever seen either of the Marxman videos; I doubt it. More likely the record company wanted someone with Seamus's talent and expertise to create a video that looked like a feature film. The film in question was Into The West, in which Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin trail two children and a white horse across beautiful Irish landscapes. Our remit was to recreate the feel and look of Into The West for a big, windswept song called 'Roll Away'. It seemed like a dodgy idea, but it was, for once, a decent budget. And it was Dusty.
For two days, Seamus and I drove around the Galway coast and into Co Clare, marking out beaches, dolmens and standing stones on our map. We found a white horse and two children who lived near Cregg Castle, the country house which was to be our base. It was a two-and-a-half day shoot and, since it can rain in the west of Ireland like nowhere else in these isles, we hired walkie-talkies for the crew, ordered pre-packed lunches and tried to make sure that as little as possible was left to chance. We didn't, however, plan for Dusty, who turned out to be a law unto herself.
To put it mildly, she did not trust the video promo process: close-ups, for instance, were out of the question. Neither did she seem aware of the often frenetic pace of video shoots, a momentum that dictates its own creative energy. Not this time, though: Dusty made her daily entrance on set around midday. That is, she left the hotel and made her way over to the 40ft silver Winnebago we had hired at her insistence (making considerable inroads into the budget) from a Neil Jordan film shoot further down the coast. I still have nightmares about that Winnebago: the half-mile tailbacks it left in its wake; the stand-offs between the driver and tractors, lorries and herds of cows. Our schedule went rapidly out of the window.
Then there was the wind: Dusty hated the wind. It blew in off the Atlantic, ruffling her hair and her concentration. Lip-syncs went awry at the slightest gust, and there was talk of constructing a 'windbreak' — we explained that, save for a Christo-style wrapping of the entire coastline, there was sod-all we could do about the wind. We shambled along on the verge of panic, shooting what we could where we could.
At the end of the second day, after we had been fleeced by locals who insisted we pay each of them £100 to film on their beach — which didn't belong to any of them — Seamus and I repaired to a nearby bar. Although not given to overstatement, he explained to me that we were 'up shit creek without a paddle'. He had reams of footage of the two kids and the horse, acres of landscapes and sky, but precious little Dusty. Too wired to sleep, we sat up with her until the early hours, trying, but seemingly failing, to impress the need for a change of gear — a half day's total dedication to the delicate art of the lip-sync.
Then, something strange happened. Relaxed by Irish whiskeys, we began quizzing Dusty about her life, about the recording of Dusty In Memphis and what it was like, as a white, second-generation Irish immigrant girl from London, suddenly to find yourself working with Arif Mardin and Jerry Wexler, the architects of Aretha Franklin's southern soul. She seemed remarkably blase about the experience, recounting fragments in her gently self-deprecating way. We were transfixed. Later, before bidding us goodnight, she apologised for the flood of tears that had engulfed her earlier in the day after singing a chorus amid the elemental landscape of the Burren. 'I haven't been well,' she murmured, 'and it all catches up with me from time to time.' Little did we know.
The next morning, Dusty was ready on time and, when the camera rolled, she gave it her all, over and over. Ever the diva, she had waited until the eleventh hour, then performed faultlessly, passionately, for the camera. I'm sure there was a mocking twinkle in her eye — a 'how could you ever have doubted me?' look — as we all crowded around her after the final run-through, relieved to the point of effusion by her late rallying. She brought out chilled champagne for the crew. Then she posed for photographs, smiling and joking. For a moment, the uncertain, vulnerable human being and the living legend coalesced. Later, when the rest of us loaded the vans to leave for the airport, she decided, on a whim, to stay on at Cregg Castle to 'rest and relax'. I remember thinking, as she waved us off, how tired and vulnerable she looked. And how utterly alone.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:39 am

#57 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Telegraph * 4 March 1999
Dusty Springfield Dies On Day She Was To Get OBE
COLIN RANDALL

Dusty Springfield, the Sixties pop star whose brooding, soulful voice won her international acclaim, has died after a five-year battle against cancer. The 59-year-old singer died at home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on Tuesday, the day she should have attended a Buckingham Palace investiture after being awarded the OBE in the New Year Honours. Because it was known that Dusty would be too ill to receive the award in person, arrangements were made for it to be collected by her manager, Vicki Wickham, 11 days ago. It was presented to her in a private gathering at her bedside in the Royal Marsden Hospital in west London. The Queen was said to be "saddened" at news of the singer's death so soon after she was honoured. Later this month, Dusty was to receive further recognition, with her inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. A four-CD boxed set of her work, prepared with her blessing, is due for release later this year. Mike Gill, who worked with her for more than 30 years, as press agent and later looking after her back catalogue, said: "Hers was the greatest voice ever produced by a female in this country and she could never be impersonated."
Born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in north London, Dusty began her career as member of the Lana Sisters in the Fifties. Later, she changed her name to form the pop-folk trio the Springfields, which also included her brother, Tom. After five hits, notably Island of Dreams and Say I Won't Be There, the trio split up and she embarked on a solo career. Watching The Beatles play the Cavern club in Liverpool, the Springfields had seen "the writing on the wall" for their style of music. In 1964, her first big solo hit, I Only Want To Be With You, was also the first song to be played on the BBC television programme, Top of the Pops. Among a string of other successes were Son Of A Preacher Man and her million-selling 1966 number one hit, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me.
Although she resented constant speculation about her private life, she was once described as "the first woman in pop publicly assumed to be gay" and occasionally spoke openly about her sexuality. In 1988, she told the News of the World that she had had sexual relations with men and women. Eighteen years earlier, London's Evening Standard had quoted her as saying: "'I don't go leaping around to all the gay clubs but I can be flattered. Girls run after me a lot and it doesn't upset me. I couldn't stand to be thought to be a big butch lady but I know that I'm as perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy." Dusty also had personal struggles with alcohol and drugs, admitting at one stage that she "lost nearly all the Seventies". Her career collapsed and she lived a reclusive life for many years until a collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys took her back into the charts in 1989.
She was first diagnosed as suffering from breast cancer in 1994. She was given the all-clear after surgery, but the disease recurred after three years. When initially told she had cancer, Dusty was philosophical. She said: "I shed about three tears and then said, 'Let's have lunch'. My brother came, the neighbours, my secretary, my accountant. I had a really good time. That's the spirit of my family, as if to say: 'Oh, to Hell with it'. It was only when I came home one night and saw my cat lying asleep that I thought, 'Who's going to look after you?' It was as if somebody had run a train through me. I wept and wept and wept because then I realised: it is you. Yes, it might kill you."
Dusty's concerns for her pet have been met. She arranged for the cat, a 12-year-old Californian ragdoll called Nicholas, to be adopted by Lee Everett-Alkin, widow of the late disc-jockey Kenny Everett. Ms Wickham said: "Nicholas had been in the home of Lee many times. We can be sure he will be looked after splendidly."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:40 am

#58 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Telegraph * 4 March 1999
Dusty: Behind The Mask
One of the last interviews Dusty Springfield gave was to MICK BROWN. He pays tribute to Britain's finest female singer

There are few people who would deny that Dusty Springfield was the finest female pop singer that Britain has ever produced. In fact, the only person who would have questioned it was Springfield herself. When, in 1968, she arrived in America to record what stands as her finest work, Dusty in Memphis, she was at the top of the tree, a star with a string of hit singles behind her and a reputation as one of the most soulful and technically accomplished singers of the day. "I never heard her sing a bad note," the producer Jerry Wexler later recalled, adding that the sessions that had produced such timeless classics as Son of a Preacher Man and Breakfast in Bed were a nightmare. Dusty, he said, was "the most insecure singer in the world". An accurate appraisal, although the choice of the word "singer" was possibly too particular. For not only did Springfield always lack confidence in her own abilities, throughout her life she was plagued by insecurities about her appearance, her personal relationships, pretty much everything.
The apparent self-assurance which she brought to her performances in the Sixties on stage — and on the foremost pop programme of the day, Ready, Steady, Go! — was a total façade. She could move from one side of the stage to the other, she once recalled, and "Four times within that single movement I've gained confidence, I've lost it, gained it, lost it. And it's just so . . . exhausting." While the extraordinary appearance that was her trademark — hair whipped into a giddy mound of bleached candyfloss, the panda-black eyes, the liberal application of maquillage — was less a matter of beautification than a desperate attempt at disguise.
When I last met Springfield, four years ago, she had already suffered the first ravages of the cancer which finally killed her. At the time, it appeared that the disease was in remission. She had recently completed an album, her first in some years, entitled A Very Fine Love: a collection of soft-rock songs tailored for the adult-oriented rock market — Mariah Carey and Mary Chapin Carpenter territory, although Springfield was still a better singer than either of them. Springfield was a delightful interviewee: charming, funny and candid. When it came to photographs, however, her insecurities became apparent. In the studio she fussed and fretted over her appearance and subsequently pleaded for some artful retouching of the finished prints — less a matter of vanity, it seemed, than of a profound lack of self-belief. In another life, she told me, she would have chosen to be a cosmetic surgeon, for what could bring more happiness to people than eradicating their flaws and blemishes and rendering them perfect?
She emerged in an era when women singers were expected to do as they were told. Almost alone, for the time, she was a singer who paid real attention to what she sang and how it was arranged and produced. From the outset, she chose most of her own material, favouring American songwriters such as Burt Bacharach, Jerry Ragavoy, and Goffin and King (her taste was always flawless). She contributed to the arrangements, chivvying the musicians — laconic men in Bri-Nylon shirts playing between sessions for Frankie Vaughan and The Black and White Minstrel Show — to emulate the sound of the Motown stars she loved and admired. This did not always go down well. Springfield acquired a reputation for being "difficult" which would haunt her for years to come.
Dusty in Memphis was to be her artistic pinnacle and her last major success. Sensing that the musical mood had changed in Britain, she based herself in America, but her moment seemed to have passed. She was no longer a pop star, but nor was she a cabaret performer; her career dwindled and she began to find it — as she delicately phrased it — "harder to get out of bed in the mornings". In her first flush of fame, Springfield had lived the life "of a nun", always the first to leave a party, the person who would roll the joints in the back of the tour bus and pass them on. Drink was another matter. With her career in a tail-spin, she took to drinking — and barbiturates and cocaine — with a vengeance, until finally undergoing rehabilitation in the early Eighties and conquering her addiction.
Even through the most fallow years of her career, Springfield could always rely on the loyalty of her gay audience; partly a matter of the timeless allure of the diva — with her repertoire of vividly lovelorn songs and an appearance that almost caricatured femininity — but mostly, perhaps, a matter of sympathy by association. Since 1970, when she had acknowledged to a particularly persistent newspaper reporter that "I'm perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl or a boy", Springfield's sexuality had been a subject of gossip and conjecture in the pop business; and a positive handicap, she always believed, in an age when sexual candour was frowned upon.
But by the end of the Eighties her position as a camp icon had become an advantage. She revived her career, with modest success, as a disco diva, and in 1987 she was invited by the Pet Shop Boys to sing on their record What Have I Done to Deserve This. Typically, when the call came her reaction was one of disbelief. "I went in and said, 'What is it you want'," she recalled, "and they said: 'The sound of your voice.' And for all these years, I've always thought it's never been enough for me, so I assume it has never been enough for anyone else." But that song, and her recording of the theme tune to the film Scandal, put her back in the charts for the first time in years, completing that peculiar and quixotic journey from being dismissed as a "has-been" to being hailed as a legend.
When we met, she talked enthusiastically of A Very Fine Love as the album that would consolidate her good fortune, but her illness prevented her from touring or promoting the record and it was only a modest success. It was to be her last recording. At the time, she was living alone, in a small house in Berkshire, "sleeping at all the wrong times", reading and putting in obligatory appearances at her local residents' association. Sometimes, she told me, she felt "utterly happy", and then something as commonplace as a plane flying overhead could plunge her into restless depression. "I don't want normality," she said. "I want options, whatever it is. Wherever I am, all my life I've always felt a need to be somewhere else." The unspoken subtext was that all her life she'd felt the need to be someone else. "Dusty Springfield" was always an act. But it was a good one.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:41 am

#59 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Telegraph * 4 March 1999
Obituary of Dusty Springfield
Sixties pop singer whose soulful voice brought hits with You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and Son of A Preacher Man

Dusty Springfield, who has died aged 59, was one of Britain's most successful female pop singers; she had nine Top 10 hits in the 1960s, and with her upswept hair and panda-shadowed eyes was among the emerging pop scene's most readily identifiable stars. She was distinguished from her contemporaries both by her choice of material and by the quality of her voice. Dusty Springfield was a fine judge of a lyric, and favoured emotional songs written by the American teams of Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Jerry Goffin and Carole King. Their songs, rooted in the Broadway tradition, were perfectly suited to a voice often described as soulful but whose ideal setting would perhaps have been cabaret. Usually backed by lush string arrangements, she sang with a voice that was low and sensual and made her songs sound like confessions of sins she took increasing pleasure in committing. Her voice sounded mature and smooth too, and the assurance of her performances gave her records longer life than the fizzier offerings of such rivals as Lulu and Cilla Black.
Dusty Springfield was among the first British singers to champion the sound of black America, Motown. She was much influenced by that label's girl groups, and in turn her rich voice surprised them. The singer Mary Wells believed Dusty Springfield must be black before seeing her on television, while Cliff Richard dubbed her "The White Negress". When Motown's stars came to London to host an edition of the pop programme Ready, Steady, Go, they invited only one British guest — Dusty Springfield.
She was born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in Hampstead, north London, on April 16 1939. Her father was a tax inspector and she was educated at a convent school in Ealing. On leaving school, she worked as a shop girl before joining a cabaret act, The Lana Sisters, but with her brother soon formed a group, The Springfields. By the early 1960s, the group's folksy sound had made them one of the music scene's most popular acts, and they had even scored a rare British success in America with Silver Threads and Golden Needles. But in 1963, with folk overtaken by the more raucous Merseybeat sound, Dusty Springfield went solo; her brother went on to write songs for The Seekers, including Georgy Girl and The Carnival is Over.
Her first release was the sprightly I Only Want To Be With You, and the single's success was assured when it was the first song to be performed on a new television programme, Top of the Pops. The song was also a hit in America and, with the Beatles, Dusty Springfield began the "British invasion". A cover version of the same song, by The Tourists, later launched the career of Annie Lennox. Between 1963 and 1967, Dusty Springfield had a string of hits that included I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself and I Close my Eyes and Count to Ten. Her success culminated in 1966 with her only Number One, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, originally an Italian song to which her manager put English lyrics in 20 minutes.
By now she was almost as celebrated for her image as for her music. Her hair was a blonde and beribboned beehive, while her eyes would have won the heart of any lemur. She had taken the look from a French model she had seen in Vogue, constructing it by applying eye-liner in layers for four or five days. At night her eyelids were powdered to prevent the make-up smearing. But though distinctive, her image was essentially something to hide behind; for all her success, she had little self-confidence. This was not at first apparent, partly because she could stand up for her beliefs. When, in 1964, she toured South Africa, she insisted on playing to unsegregated audiences. This contravened apartheid laws, and after she had defied the authorities to perform in a black area of Cape Town she was immediately deported. Two years later, she was booked to play a New York club and asked the jazz drummer Buddy Rich, who was also appearing, if she could rehearse with his band. Rich resented not being top of the bill himself and replied in chauvinist and intemperate language. Dusty Springfield punched him in the mouth. As she was leaving the club that night, Rich's band gave her a present — a pair of boxing gloves.
But her star was declining. Although she had had some success with a song from the soundtrack of the Bond film Casino Royale — The Look of Love, perhaps her definitive vocal performance — her two most recent albums had flopped. She seemed out of step with the mood of popular music as it edged towards rock, psychedelia and more overt rebellion. In 1968 she fled London for Memphis. She had long been fascinated by America — she was a considerable expert on the Civil War — and in Tennessee recorded her finest album, Dusty in Memphis (1968). It was supervised by Jerry Wexler — Ray Charles's and Aretha Franklin's producer — who gave her voice more room to breathe, unlike the British producers who had tended to bury it beneath over-elaborate arrangements. This new sound, however, did not sell well. Although a single, the sassy Son of A Preacher Man, did reach the Top 10 in Britain, it was to be her last hit for 20 years. She had success in America with The Windmills of Your Mind, the theme to The Thomas Crown Affair (1969), but for Britain it was re-recorded by Rex Harrison's son, Noel. Her career had run aground, and with it her self-confidence. Dusty Springfield spent the next two decades in America.
She could not later recall much of that time. She had taken refuge in alcohol since a member of the Temptations had quelled her stage fright with 88 per cent proof vodka, and drink now dominated her life. She also succumbed to drugs, became fat and attempted suicide. A comeback tour of Britain in the mid-Seventies had to be cancelled because of poor ticket sales, and when journalists did show interest in her, it was mainly in her sexuality. Her much-publicised remark in 1970 that she was "as capable of being swayed by a woman as by a man" kept the newspapers busy, as did her friendship with Billie Jean King and her following of the women's tennis circuit. Dusty Springfield attempted several more comebacks in the 1980s, among them a disco-influenced album made in Toronto, White Heat (1982), and a quickly dissolved musical partnership with the nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow.
She was rescued by Neil Tennant, singer with The Pet Shop Boys, who had long admired her voice. With the group she recorded What Have I Done To Deserve This (1987) and Nothing Has Been Proved, the theme to Scandal (1988), the film of the Profumo affair. Both songs were hits, as was In Private and the subsequent album, Reputation (1990). With some of her insecurities conquered, she moved back to Britain, living in Buckinghamshire with her cats; in 1991 she won pounds 75,000 after the comedian Bobby Davro implied in a sketch that she was a drunk, which she was not. A new generation discovered her music when Son of a Preacher Man featured in the film Pulp Fiction (1994). Then shortly afterwards she began her fight against breast cancer. Dusty Springfield was appointed OBE in the New Year Honours this year.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:43 am

#60 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Times * 4 March 1999
Obituary: DUSTY SPRINGFIELD
Dusty Springfield, OBE, pop and soul singer, died of cancer on March 2 aged 59. She was born in London on April 16, 1939.

Dusty Springfield was acknowledged on both sides of the Atlantic as the finest female soul singer Britain has produced. Her croakily erotic voice — which belied the shy, vulnerable convent girl who produced it — created a string of hit records during the Sixties' beat boom. After three successful years teamed with her songwriter brother Tom as two-thirds of the folk music-based group the Springfields, she made her 1963 solo debut with I Only Want to be with You, sung with jaunty fervour. It was an immediate hit, remaining in the charts for 18 weeks, and it has endured as a pop classic. More hits followed throughout the Sixties, including Stay Awhile, I Just Don't Know What to do with Myself, Losing You, In the Middle of Nowhere, and the poignant You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, which in March 1966 took her to No 1. The following year she was back in the Top Ten, at No 4 with I Close my Eyes and Count to Ten.
Dusty Springfield took her enjoyment of her fame right down to the wire in those heady years. As part of the swinging London club scene, she found she had become a model for teenage girls, who slavishly copied her startling beehive blonde hairstyle and dark "panda" eye makeup. On concert tours she played to packed houses, and adoring fans writhed and screamed when the myopic star appeared hesitantly from backstage to belt out her first number. The Sixties were her apogee. She consistently won the top female singer award, outshining such contemporaries as Lulu, Cilla Black and Sandie Shaw.
But the golden years did not last. Her career, spanning more than four decades, was a turbulent one even by the standards of the pop world. Persistent tabloid interest in her sexual proclivities — largely engendered by her confessing that she was as much attracted to women as to men — drove her to live in Los Angeles for much of the Seventies. There, although she became something of an icon for gays and lesbians, her talent was largely neglected. "I became bored with being a pop singer," she confessed. A rare success was Son of a Preacher Man, taken as a single from an otherwise stonily received LP Dusty in Memphis.
Despondent, and fighting what was to be a lifelong weight problem, she followed a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse. Known for her impulsive candour during interviews, she once said: "I lost nearly all the Seventies in a haze of booze and pills. I couldn't have one or two drinks. I had to get loaded. Vodka and the pills helped ease my shyness. Then I got into cocaine and in seven months I was a brain-scrambled wreck." But she went on to overcome her addictions and then revived her career, courtesy of the Pet Shop Boys, and enjoyed an inspired period in the late Eighties and Nineties. The group began by inviting her to sing on what was to become their worldwide triumph, What Have I Done to Deserve This? and went on to write much of her album Reputation. In 1994, however, she discovered that she had breast cancer. She was forced to cancel her singing dates and undergo surgery and months of chemo- and radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London. After the initial shock, her attitude was typically wry: "Why me? Why not?" she said, and added: "I never expected to live this long anyway, so it's uncharted territory."
Dusty Springfield was born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in Hampstead, of Irish parents. Her father was a tax consultant and her mother, as the singer once described her, was "a free spirit who married to escape spinsterhood; they both bitterly regretted it." Staunch Catholics, they stayed together for the children but quarrelled endlessly. Dusty recalled a troubled childhood. "I was so unhappy as a kid." She would challenge her hot-tempered father when he hit her, and she became "very jealous of my brother Dion. He was older and the blue-eyed boy." She grew up at first in Buckinghamshire and then in Ealing, where she went to a convent school. On leaving she took a part-time job in Bentalls department store, meanwhile joining a syrupy all-female vocal trio, the Lana Sisters, which sang mostly at air bases. In 1960 she and Dion, who was already writing songs, adopted the stage names Dusty and Tom Springfield, and launched themselves as the Springfields, a folk-singing duo. Dusty supplied the guitar accompaniment. Success was elusive to begin with, but when they were joined by Tim Feild they quickly became one of the country's top vocal groups. They had two Top Five singles with Island of Dreams (1962) and Say I Won't be There (1963), by which time Feild had been replaced by Mike Hurst. The Springfields had a million-seller in America with the country standard Silver Threads and Golden Needles (although it did nothing in Britain) before splitting up in 1963.
Inspired by the ear-thumping "wall of sound" style pioneered by the American producer Phil Spector, Dusty Springfield recorded her first solo hit, I Only Want to be with You, which got to No 4. It was the first record ever played on a new television programme called Top of the Pops. By 1967 she was in full flow, with a string of hits including Middle of Nowhere, Some of Your Lovin', and Look of Love, which featured in the James Bond film Casino Royale. She was also a regular on the TV pop music show Ready, Steady, Go. At the time she used her celebrity to campaign on behalf of the then little-known American soul and Motown artists. Her eclectic taste in music tended to set her apart from most of her peers in this country. She became popular in America, where she made numerous appearances. In all she had 16 hits almost successively during the 1960s before her career began to falter.
She exiled herself to California for 15 years, living in a two-bedroom house with up to a dozen cats for company. She made sporadic visits to Britain, each time attempting a come-back. But renewed success eluded her until 1987, at the start of her collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys (the singer Neil Tennant and keyboard player Chris Low). Not only did she have a share in the duo's No 2 hit What Have I Done to Deserve This?, but she featured on the sound track of the film Scandal, about the Profumo affair, singing their theme tune Nothing Has Been Proved. She was still bedevilled by her past, however. In 1991 she sued and won undisclosed damages in the High Court as the result of a sketch on a television show in which the comedian portrayed her performing while drunk. After extensive chemotherapy she was in 1995 pronounced to be clear of cancer. But the disease returned in the following year. She was appointed OBE in the last New Year's Honours.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:45 am

#61 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Times * 4 March 1999
Springfield Was The Best, Say Showbiz Friends

The music business paid tribute yesterday to Dusty Springfield, who died of breast cancer on Tuesday night at her home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Lulu, a contemporary singer and a close friend, said: "I am terribly sad at her loss, but relieved that she is no longer suffering." Another friend and recording star of the 1960s, Cilla Black, said: "She was an incredible artist. I'm very sad and deeply shocked."
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys, whose collaboration with Miss Springfield brought her back to the hit parade in 1987, said: "It was a dream come true when Dusty Springfield agreed to sing with us on the song What Have I Done To Deserve This? She hadn't recorded for several years but as soon as she arrived in the studio and began to sing, we knew that the greatest female singer Britain has ever produced was still on brilliant form. We were in awe of her. Dusty was a tender, exhilarating and soulful singer, incredibly intelligent at phrasing a song, painstakingly building it up to a thrilling climax. She was also warm and funny."
The nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow, who signed Miss Springfield for his Hippodrome label in the mid-1980s, said: "In my opinion, hers was the original Girl Power. She was a very strong character throughout her career and no one pushed her around. If you were ever to give out a crown for the Queen of Pop in Great Britain, it would be to her." The Radio 2 presenter Johnnie Walker said: "She really was one of the great British singers. She could do anything from a beautiful ballad to making a really good soul record like Dusty in Memphis. It is very sad that we have lost her. She will be greatly missed."
Mike Gill, who worked with her for nearly 32 years, first as press agent and then looking after her back catalogue, said: "She was very warm and great fun. Hers was the greatest voice ever produced by a female in this country. She championed a new type of music when she brought Tamla Motown to Britain." Mike Hurst, the third member of the folk group The Springfields until Dusty and her brother Tom decided to go solo, said: "I have her to thank for all my life in pop. To me she was the best female singer this country every produced."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:46 am

#62 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Independent * 7 March 1999
Perfection In The Stairwell
SIMON NAPIER-BELL on the making of one of Dusty Springfield's greatest hits

It was 1966 and Dusty Springfield, who died last week, had just been to the San Remo song festival where she'd heard an Italian song she liked. She bought a copy home thinking she might record it. Having no idea how to get hold of English lyrics, she asked advice from Vicki Wickham, an old friend of hers, and a new friend of mine. Dusty had expected Vicki to suggest Norman Newell or Hal Schafer, the best-known writers of lyrics for European songs, but Vicki grabbed the opportunity for us. "Simon and I will write them," she said. Dusty was doubtful. And to be honest, so was I.
Vicki and I spent most nights eating and clubbing together. But that night, after our usual lavish dinner, we changed our normal routine of going straight to the Ad Lib club, and instead took a taxi to Vicki's flat where we sat listening to a scratchy old acetate singing at us in Italian. Neither Vicki or I were sentimental people, and we both hated gushy romantic lyrics. Nevertheless, I conceded, "It's from Italy. The words have to be romantic. It ought to start with 'I love you'." Vicki shuddered at the thought. "How about 'I don't love you'?" she suggested. I thought that was a bit extreme. "No, it's going too far the other way. Why not, 'You don't love me'?" That was more dramatic, more Italian, but a bit accusatory. So we softened it a little: "You don't have to love me". That didn't quite fit the melody, so we added two more words. "You don't have to say you love me". Great. That was it. We could do the rest in the taxi. When we got to the Ad Lib club the song was all but finished, and we arrived only 10 minutes later than usual.
I'm often told by people who read this story that it spoils their fantasy about the song's meaning. But the truth is, a great many songs are written in much the same way. It's just that most songwriters have the good sense not to tell people. Fortunately, Vicki told Dusty that we'd sweated through the night to get it just right. And luckily, Dusty loved it. Well, no! That's not really true. She said she quite liked what we'd written and would see how it fitted with the backing track, which was already recorded. The next night she took our lyric to the Phillips recording studio in Marble Arch and showed it to her producer. He was as unsure of it as Dusty was, but suggested she try it. Dusty was always desperately unsure of herself, and this led many people to think she was intentionally difficult. When it came to recording she could accept nothing less than perfection, and always presumed she could come nowhere near it.
That night, she complained that the echo on her voice wasn't right, so the engineer ran downstairs to the basement to adjust the inputs to the echo chamber. As he did so, he noticed how good the echo sounded in the stairwell of the seven-storey circular staircase. Five minutes later, Dusty was halfway up it, singing into a mike hanging in space in front of her. What she then sang was one of the greatest pop performances of all time. Sheer perfection from the first breath to last. In its own genre, as great as anything by Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra or Luciano Pavarotti. In the music business, things often come together that way. People mess around fiddling with microphones and being half-serious about lyrics. Then the artist steps in and gives an electrifying performance and all the messy pieces turn into a magnificent whole.
"You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" has been covered hundreds of times by other singers but I'm sure it's always been Dusty's original performance that has persuaded them to record it. People often tell me the song makes them feel it's about their own personal love story. But that was Dusty's greatness. And it's exactly what all great singers are able to do. They use the lyrics of a song as a shell into which they put their own emotions. Even if the lyrics are mundane, they give them meaning far beyond their original intent. As listeners, we find our ill-defined feelings being expressed with clarity; our vague sensations being bought firmly into focus. And no one ever did it better than Dusty — that evening, standing in the stairwell, letting Vicki and me know what it was we'd really written.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:50 am

#63 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Daily Mail * 4 March 1999
DUSTY
Her look defined the sixties, her singing voice entranced a generation. Yet she harboured a secret she feared could destroy her career . . .
RAY CONNOLLY

Dusty Springfield was a collision of contradictions. Musically gifted, loved and admired by millions, she was eternally tortured by self-doubt and uncertainty. Born with a voice that could melt the soul, she never really enjoyed singing and put her record producers through misery in her attempts at perfection. An attractive, strong-minded, intelligent, funny woman, she saw herself locked in the body of an 'awful, fat, ugly, middleclass kid'. And, though she was always the irreverent, high-spirited English convent girl who was born in North London and grew up in Ealing, the music she loved most was always that of black America.
Then there was the matter of sex. All through her great days in the Sixties, when hit followed hit, she was dogged by rumours that she was a lesbian. It bothered her massively, so much so that in 1970, on the only occasion that she and I met, she purposely pushed me into giving her the chance to 'come out'. Normally the subject just wouldn't have come up. But Dusty wanted to talk about it in public. She was very brave, possibly foolhardy. I don't know. As I took her home she wondered to me if her admission, that she was 'perfectly as capable as being swayed by a girl as a boy,' would affect her career. Who can tell? For 15 years she didn't have another hit. Then, after years in the wilderness, she came back. Finally, the music industry treasured her. This year she was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours List, and voted a member of America's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
But yesterday, with the sad irony that mirrored her life, on the day she should have been receiving an OBE at Buckingham Palace from the Queen — it had instead been sent by the Palace to her hospital bed — her fans and the popular music establishment were mourning her death. Cliff Richard put it very simply: 'If you were to pick out one female voice that Britain has produced it would just have to be that of Dusty Springfield. She had the voice of voices, the perfect pop rock voice.' Tim Rice's description was even more succinct: 'She was just a wonderful singer, and I've never heard anyone say she wasn't, or that they didn't like her, because you couldn't.'
Dusty probably never fully realised it, but just about everyone over a certain age loved her, not only for her beautiful voice, but for her honest courage. She was her own woman who said and did what she thought, and though undoubtedly she suffered as a result, she was never less than true to herself. But then, she probably always was true to herself, right from the time when she was a redheaded, short-sighted dumpling of a suburban convent schoolgirl in National Health glasses in the Fifties, when her name was Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien. Known as Dusty because she was a bit of a scamp, she said then she wanted to be a blues singer, 'whatever that means' — and set out to find out.
Her father was a tax consultant, and perhaps a frustrated classical pianist. Certainly he had aspirations. From an early age she heard a lot of music. Her father liked Beethoven; her elder brother Tom, with whom she was to form The Springfields when she was 20, preferred Aaron Copeland and jazz. She wanted to be Peggy Lee, and it was her crush on the glamorous, American torch singer that brought about a change in her appearance. On the other hand, it might simply have been the need for a mask to cover her shyness, because virtually overnight, her looks changed.
She reinvented herself. One moment she was in a shop assistant's gown, the next, with a black sheath and chignon, her hair bleached, pale lipstick and eyeliner brushed like tar around her eyes, she was answering an advertisement to sing with an all-girl trio, the Lana Sisters. She laughed about it later: 'We played American air bases wearing silver lame little pants and pale blue tulle skirts with draw strings which we'd pull and whip back our skirts, like flashers, half way through the act to reveal these lame numbers underneath.' Two years later she was famous, with her brother Tom, The Springfields and songs like Silver Threads and Golden Needles and Say I Won't Be There. It was the beginning of the Sixties and they were the most popular group in Britain. But they knew it couldn't last. They could see The Beatles coming, and Dusty went solo.
Perhaps she was always solo at heart. Certainly she was always a star. And stars are different. Immediately she was a huge success, her first solo record, I Only Want To Be With You, a worldwide hit. But she had high standards. She'd been to America with The Springfields, listened to Phil Spector's 'wall of sound' production techniques, fallen in love with the Motown records and heard what Burt Bacharach and Hal David were writing for Dionne Warwick. She knew what she wanted. Sadly, no matter how they tried, her willing producer and arrangers at the Philips recording studios in London's Marble Arch couldn't satisfy her on their modest equipment. The acoustics of the studio made the recording sound bland. 'It was like singing in a padded cell,' Dusty would complain. 'I felt as though I was in a padded cell.' Most performers would simply have accepted the situation. Dusty argued and sulked. She was a lifelong perfectionist.
Although the hits kept coming, I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, Stay Awhile, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (Cliff Richard's favourite) and Some Of Your Loving (Tim Rice's), she was never satisfied. They could always have been better, she felt. She could have been better. 'I'd hang over the control board,' she said, 'and turn the knobs up so that the drums sounded as though the Household Cavalry had just gone past and any mistakes were buried.' The danger, in her producers' eyes, was that it would also drown her voice. Perhaps that was what she subconsciously wanted. She was consumed with the thought that her voice wasn't good enough, that she couldn't sing like Aretha Franklin. At session after session, she drove the engineers mad during recording sessions, taking a hand microphone into the ladies lavatories at the studios in search of the right echo on one occasion, recording her hit I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten in the corridor as the cleaners came into work on another occasion.
For four more years in the Sixties she remained the most popular girl singer in Britain, with her high spirited escapades (no pop awards ceremony seemed complete without her chucking a jelly at someone), her own TV shows and more hits, Little By Little, If You Go Away, Going Back and Son Of A Preacher Man (reprised so successfully on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction movie a few years ago that it earned her a first platinum record). But by the beginning of the Seventies popular taste was changing. Her records were no longer selling so well and she was wondering about her future. She didn't want to end up playing the Northern clubs for the rest of her career.
It was at this moment that we met and she began to talk about her private life. In those days to admit in public to being anything other than 100% heterosexual was considered artistic suicide for a pop star. But Dusty had obviously had enough of the rumours. She chose her words very carefully: 'There's one thing that's always annoyed me, and I'm going to get into something nasty here. But I've got to say it because so many people say it to my face. A lot of people say I'm bent, and I've heard it so many times that I've almost learned to accept it. I don't go leaping around to all the gay clubs but I can be very flattered. Girls run after me a lot and it doesn't upset me. It upsets me when people insinuate things that aren't true. I couldn't stand to be thought to be a big butch lady. But I know I'm perfectly as capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy. More and more people feel that way and I don't see why I shouldn't. There was someone on television the other night who admits that he swings either way. I suppose he could afford to say it, but, being a pop star, I shouldn't even admit that I might think that way. But if the occasion arose I don't see why I shouldn't, too.'
Today such comments by a rock star wouldn't raise an eyebrow. But then? It was an honest and brave thing to do. I don't know whether she ever had any regrets. As I gave her a lift home she laughed and said: 'D'you realise what I've just said could put the final seal on my doom . . .' But I suspect she was actually relieved to have finally confronted the gossip. What is interesting is that since then there have been no kiss and tell stories about Dusty, which must make her virtually unique in pop, her friends and, presumably, lovers, having been absolutely loyal in protecting her privacy. I think that tells us a lot about her.
Most of the Seventies and Eighties weren't kind to her. Always in love with America she avoided the pitfall of ending up on the Northern club circuit only to fall into a worse one by going to live in California At first there were nightclubs, and no doubt the money in San Francisco or New Orleans was better than it would have been in Bradford or Doncaster, but in a career sense she lost her way. She became, in her words, a 'Rent-a-Diva'. Hers was a huge talent, but one which needed cherishing. Not a songwriter herself, she needed the best songs and the best arrangers. She got neither and lost all confidence. She became, perhaps understandably, addicted to alcohol and tranquillisers. It was a difficult, lonely time, of simply not knowing what to do next.
As bright, witty and full of common sense as she was, emotionally she was wafer thin. She said later: 'I lost control over my career. I felt totally alien in Los Angeles, I wasn't proud of the sounds coming from my throat, I didn't even think I could tell what the good songs were any more.' And then, in 1987, it was all changed again — by a fan who just happened to be a young techno rock musician. He was Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys, and quite simply he wanted his all-time favourite girl singer to record with him. Dusty was nervous and puzzled: 'I couldn't work out what they wanted until we'd finished the session in London,' she said. 'Then I realised: it was the sound of my voice. It was that simple.' The result was What Have I Done To Deserve This?, a worldwide hit and a completely new beginning.
The following year another Neil Tennant hit followed, Nothing Has Been Proved, which was used on the titles sequence of the movie Scandal. It was almost back to the beginning for her, singing over the credits of a movie about 1963, the year she went solo. Then, just as her career was being revived, came the cancer, first in 1994 and again two years later. She approached it with typical aplomb: 'I shed a few tears at the hospital when it was confirmed, but then I pulled myself together and took everybody out for what turned into a roaringly funny lunch.'
Dusty would have been 60 in April. She was rich, having sold the rights to her entire back catalogue of recordings to a financial company for a substantial sum, and she was loved and protected by a very private circle of friends. Undervalued for so long, she died at her home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, finally knowing that, whatever she thought of her abilities, her country and profession honoured her, and her peers in popular music cherished her, as did every one of us who ever filtered our own emotional frailties through that beautiful, yearning voice. As Cliff Richard said: 'Dusty Springfield — the voice of voices.'
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby daydreamer » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:51 pm

Thank you again Geraldine, I think those interviews that Dusty gave in the 90's are some of her best ever. So many usable quotes, as is proved by the fact that they made it into the books. I do already have most of what you have posted but it's great to have them all on our forum. I didn't have the article pre the RuPaul one and I found it amusing to hear another young person talk about how Dusty affected them in their youth by saying that she was the one who "got us in our stomachs". I know exactly what that means, I've always felt like that. Also, the Belfast Newsletter is new to me, again a youngster who loved Dusty and got to meet her. The picture of him with Dusty that he talks about appeared on our site, see below....

ianstarrettdusty.jpeg
ianstarrettdusty.jpeg (33.06 KiB) Viewed 18294 times
There's a part of you, that's a part of me...

Carole x
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:36 pm

Ah, Carole, wait till you see the The Straits Times (Singapore) & The Southland Times (NZ) ;)
But next the March 1999 US coverage ....
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby karen » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:04 pm

These are great to see Geraldine think maybe they should be printed and made into booklets re LTD.. [:D] :thumbsup: thank you.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby trek007 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:26 pm

Some of these articles are new to me, some are not.
I am enjoying reading them all and it's really good having them here in one place.
I too can related to the pit of the stomach feeling.
No other artist has ever affected me like Dusty and no one else probably ever will!
So thank you Geraldine for putting all this on LTD.
Trekx. Often called Carole.

Ev'rything's coming up Dusty.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:46 pm

#64 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Los Angeles Times * 4 March 1999
'Queen Of White Soul' Hailed As Pivotal Pop Figure
GEOFF BOUCHER

Dusty Springfield, whose sensuous, husky-voiced explorations of American soul music made her the most acclaimed female pop singer in her native England, has died. She was 59. The onetime folk singer catapulted to fame after finding her true muse in the sounds of Motown and soul, influences that clearly flavored her 1960s hits "Wishin' and Hopin'," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and "Son of a Preacher Man." After a five-year battle with breast cancer, Springfield died Tuesday night at her home in Henley-on-Thames, about 30 miles west of London, said her agent, Paul Fenn. Her death coincides with a rising chorus of praise for her career and influence. Before her condition worsened, she had been scheduled Tuesday to visit Buckingham Palace to be honored as an officer of the Order of the British Empire. On March 15 she will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with a class that includes Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel.
Springfield, born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in London, changed her name in the early '60s to join her brother in the folk trio the Springfields. But after seeing the Beatles perform, she abandoned the genre's twang and turned to soul music. Her influences included Dionne Warwick, the Shirelles and soul-gospel singer Mitty Collier, but her smoky singing voice was unique. "Dusty's voice was and always will be recognizable, one of the truly great, distinctive voices of our time," said composer Burt Bacharach, who wrote two of her biggest hits, "The Look of Love" and "Wishin' and Hopin'." Springfield's career took off in early 1964 with "I Only Want to Be With You," the first song ever played on the British TV show "Top of the Pops." Her voice made the song a hit, but her fashion helped make her a star: She wore thickly caked eye makeup, a peroxide blond beehive and Supremes-style gowns. The look, she would say later, was an image to hide behind. Biographer Lucy O'Brien, whose book "Dusty" will be published in April, wrote of her subject: "As youth mod culture came to a head in the Sixties — with its stringent attention to fashion, Motown and television pop programs — Dusty Springfield, panda-eyed and urbane, emerged as Queen Bee."
Springfield, an intensely private person who surprised many by publicly acknowledging her bisexuality in the 1970s, became an icon for the gay community and a pioneer for female artists. Elton John, who will be the presenter at Springfield's Hall of Fame induction in New York, learned of her death Tuesday night just before his sold-out concert in Peoria, Ill. "Hers was the first fan club I belonged to," John told his audience during the show. "I had pictures of Dusty all over my walls." John sang "I Only Want to Be With You" and said, "Dusty, wherever you are, this one's for you, my love, with all my love."
Springfield's career reached an artistic zenith in 1969 with "Dusty in Memphis," a landmark recording of the British star in a Tennessee studio with Aretha Franklin's production and musical team. One of the producers of that album, Jerry Wexler, recalled in a telephone interview Wednesday that the sensitive Springfield would only sing if wearing headphones with the accompanying music on full volume — so she couldn't hear her own voice. "She didn't want to hear herself," Wexler said. "Can you imagine? She was the queen of white soul. There are no Dusty clones or acolytes because Dusty had a quality that was inimitable. She had an absolute sexual vulnerability in her voice." The critical acclaim for the album did not translate into a major commercial success, and Springfield, after moving to Los Angeles in 1972, went into semi-retirement. In interviews years later she would reveal that she was grappling with substance abuse and depression throughout the decade as several career revivals fell short. The 1980s saw Springfield return to England and the charts as she recorded "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" with the Pet Shop Boys, which hit No. 2 on the U.S. charts — her biggest hit in the States.
Several recent reissues of her classic works and the inclusion of "Son of a Preacher Man" on the soundtrack of the film "Pulp Fiction" triggered a small Springfield revival. But the singer's career was, to many observers, defined by unrealized potential. "She had a truly evocative voice and great talent," Ahmet Ertegun, the co-founder of Atlantic Records, which signed her in the late '60s, said Wednesday. "That album 'Dusty in Memphis' was one of the great albums ever . . . but for one reason or another follow-up albums didn't materialize. We should have had more. She was very special."
Robert Hilburn, The Times' pop music critic, said Springfield's spot in music history is assured but she might have benefited from having her career begin in a different era. "Springfield was an extraordinarily soulful singer whose 'Dusty in Memphis' album is one of the classics of the modern pop era," Hilburn said. "But she often had trouble finding material or producers that properly showcased her sensuous and intimate pop style. Despite her many accomplishments, it's tempting to think Springfield could have reached even greater commercial and artistic heights if she had come along in the '90s," he said. "In this era, the record industry has finally begun allowing women the opportunity to produce their own recordings, giving them greater control over the content and tone of those works."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:48 pm

#65 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The New York Times * 4 March 1999
Dusty Springfield, 59, Pop Star of the 60's, Dies
STEPHEN HOLDEN

Dusty Springfield, the smoky-voiced English torch singer whose interpretations of pop ballads were suffused with a heartbroken wistfulness, died on Tuesday at her home in Henley-on-Thames, near Oxford, west of London. She was 59. The cause was breast cancer, said her agent, Paul Fenn. Ms. Springfield had one of the longest recording careers of any contemporary pop star, beginning in 1961 when she had the first of several hits with her folk-pop trio, the Springfields, and ending with her 1995 album, "A Very Fine Love." She had most of her major hits in the 1960's when she was considered the British equivalent of Dionne Warwick and recorded only intermittently after the early 1970's. Her career was briefly rejuvenated in 1987 when the English duo the Pet Shop Boys (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe), who were longtime fans, produced her Top Five hit, "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" They also wrote and produced "Nothing Has Been Proved," the dense, swirling post-disco theme song that she sang on the soundtrack of the 1989 movie "Scandal," about the Profumo sex scandal that had rocked the British Government.
Ms. Springfield became an international pop star in 1964 with "I Only Want to Be With You," a perky early-Beatles-style love song. Other major 60's hits included "Wishin' and Hopin' " (1964), and "The Look of Love" (1967), both written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the team that supplied Ms. Warwick with most of her early hits. Ms. Springfield's sultry rendition of "The Look of Love," from the soundtrack of "Casino Royale," anticipated the heavy-breathing eroticism of Donna Summer a decade later. Her best seller, "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" (1966), was a big-belting tear-jerker that reached No. 4 on Billboard's singles chart and won her her first Grammy nomination. The country-soul ballad "Son of a Preacher Man," her Top 10 hit from 1969, won her new respect and her second Grammy nomination after being prominently featured in the 1994 movie "Pulp Fiction."
Dusty Springfield was born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien on April 16, 1939, in Hampstead, London. While attending British convent schools, she discovered the music of Peggy Lee, whose intimate come-hither style was a major formative influence. She got her professional start with an Andrews Sisters-style group called the Lana Sisters, but quit to form her own folk-pop group, the Springfields, with a friend, Tim Field, and her brother, Dion O'Brien, now known as Tom Springfield, who is her only survivor. Promoted as a British answer to Peter, Paul and Mary, the group had a popular British television show and scored several English hits before breaking through in the United States with a Top 20 single, "Silver Threads and Golden Needles." While visiting New York with the trio, Ms. Springfield recalled many years later, she heard the Exciters' brash, aggressive song "Tell Him" coming out of a Broadway record store and decided that she wanted to go pop. "I was deeply influenced by black singers from the early 1960's," she said. "I liked everybody at Motown and most of the Stax artists. I really wanted to be Mavis Staples. What they shared in common was a kind of strength I didn't hear on English radio."
Ms. Springfield subsequently broke up her folk group and signed as a soloist with Philips Records. Her first single for the label, "I Only Want to Be With You," established her new direction. Ms. Springfield, with her teased beehive hairdo and eyes heavily blackened with mascara, was a 1960's pop fashion icon. From 1964 and 1967, when she left Philips, 11 of her singles hit the American pop charts. "Son of a Preacher Man," a song that Aretha Franklin had rejected but later recorded, became Ms. Springfield's first single for Atlantic Records and was featured on her Atlantic debut album, "Dusty in Memphis," which is widely regarded as a pop masterpiece. To make the album, the Atlantic producing team of Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin, who had brought Ms. Franklin to her peak of popularity, took Ms. Springfield to Memphis to record with a hot rhythm section. The record, which included "The Windmills of Your Mind," an early collaboration of Michel Legrand with the lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman that was written for the movie "The Thomas Crown Affair," was a perfect blend of warm country-soul and New York pop sophistication. For many singers, including Melissa Manchester, Linda Ronstadt and K. D. Lang, it provided a blueprint for stylistically adventurous vocal showcases.
But "Dusty in Memphis" was not a big hit, reaching only No. 99 on Billboard's album chart. In 1970 Atlantic released her much-admired rhythm-and-blues-flavored album, "A Brand New Me." Recorded in Philadelphia, the album fared no better than its forerunner. Thereafter Ms. Springfield, who was awarded the Order of the British Empire in January, recorded only sporadically. Although her subsequent American albums — "Cameo" (1973, ABC-Dunhill), "It Begins Again" (1978, United Artists), "Living Without Your Love" (1979, United Artists), "White Heat" (1982, Casablanca) and "A Very Fine Love" (1995, Columbia) — found her voice as full and compelling as ever, the material and production rarely matched the singing.
After the 1970's she led a peripatetic existence, living sometimes in Los Angeles, at other times in the Netherlands and Britain. In 1997 Mercury Records released the 3-CD, 77-song "Dusty Springfield Anthology Collection." Last month Rhino Records released an expanded version of "Dusty in Memphis."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:49 pm

#66 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Salon * March 4, 1999
D U S T Y S P R I N G F I E L D: 1 9 3 9 - 1 9 9 9
JOYCE MILLMAN

Dusty Springfield was a big girl. On old '60s TV shows like "Shindig" and "Hullabaloo," in her signature bleached-blond beehive hairdo and tough-chick black eyeliner, and with her strong, broad-shouldered frame, she looked nearly Amazonian next to those skinny little birds in their fringed go-go dresses. Her voice was big as well — big and husky, simmering and frisky, sexually knowing and powerfully vulnerable. Like her idol, Aretha Franklin, Dusty looked like she had skipped right from self-assured tomboy to confident woman. Dusty saw it another way, though. In an oft-quoted remark, made at the height of her fame, she said that underneath it all, she still felt like an "awful, fat, ugly, middle-class kid." Two months ago, dying of cancer, she reflected on her life in a British newspaper interview, recalling that she had an epiphany at age 16: "Be miserable, or become someone else." So Mary Catherine O'Brien bought a tube of black eyeliner, took the stage name Dusty Springfield and became one of the greatest female pop singers of her generation.
Dusty first began performing in a group called the Lanas, and then with her brothers as the Springfields. In 1963, at age 24, Dusty had her first solo hit, "I Only Want to Be With You"; her husky, shouted vocal seemed startlingly, thrillingly mature — too mature for the record's tinny pop instrumentation. Dusty is often grouped with both the British Invasion and the girl group sound, but, really, she was in a category of her own. She was first and foremost a soul singer; she adored American R&B and is credited with popularizing the music in Great Britain. In 1968, she recorded her masterpiece, "Dusty in Memphis," with Aretha Franklin's producer, Jerry Wexler, which yielded the hit "Son of a Preacher Man" and included other frankly sensual R&B ballads like "Breakfast in Bed" and "Just a Little Lovin'." Back home, they called her "the White Queen of Soul." But Dusty also had a bit of the chanteuse in her, which is apparent in her torchy, languid performances of the Burt Bacharach-Hal David songs "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself," "In the Land of Make Believe" and "The Look of Love," all hit singles during the mid-'60s. And she was a diva too, as witnessed by her 1966 hit "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," with its over-the-top, melodramatic Ivor Raymonde orchestration.
In 1987 gay British popsters Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys rescued Dusty from a prolonged dry spell, marked by problems with drugs and booze and several failed comebacks, that had lasted for most of the '70s and '80s. Singing a duet with Tennant on the Pet Shop Boys' lovingly crafted dance hit "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" she cooed, smoldered, emoted. The joy in her voice was unmistakable. After "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" Dusty never really dropped completely out of sight again. She was celebrated as an icon of the gay community as much for her music and self-made-swan persona as for her bisexuality, which she had first alluded to in a 1975 newspaper article. "Son of a Preacher Man" enjoyed a revival when it was included in a pivotal scene of "Pulp Fiction." She recorded another album (her last), "A Very Fine Love," in 1995, and was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Last January, she received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth. But her hard-won comeback was darkened by a 1994 diagnosis of breast cancer. She died from the disease at her home outside London Tuesday at the age of 59; she will be inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony in New York City on March 15.
In its obituary, the BBC News reported that Dusty's longtime friend Mike Gill has been working, with her approval, on a new four-CD box set of her work. In recent months, said Gill, Dusty began prodding him to speed it up. "Tell Mike to get things organized," Gill remembers her saying. "I want to go out with a bit of style."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:50 pm

#67 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Village Voice * 16 March 1999
Dusty In Heaven
BARRY WALTERS

Dusty Springfield was a pop singer. She liked rich orchestrations, grand melodies, lost-love lyrics. She did not aim to be radical, but her artistic sensitivities and temperament were undeniable. She insisted on picking her own songs and involving herself in the production of her records and in how her musicians played them. This was subversive, particularly for a girlie-girl in the mid '60s. Legend has it that Buddy Rich called her a bitch, and that she clocked him. She initially rejected nearly every song brought to her for 1969's illustrious Dusty in Memphis.
Born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in London 59 years ago, Dusty Springfield died March 2, 1999, in her home in Henley-on-Thames, after a protracted battle with breast cancer. Intensely private, Dusty didn't discuss her illness much in interviews, but she also didn't keep it a secret — she once said that she walked away from her 1994 diagnosis resigned to thinking ''Oh well . . .'' until she realized no one would be around to take care of her cat. Columbia delayed the release of her final album, '95's A Very Fine Love, so she would be well enough to promote it. The overdue honors thrown at her on the eve of her passing came a little too late: She was recently named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire but couldn't attend the ceremony, and on March 15 she'll be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As usual, the industry prepared itself for inevitable posthumous consumer curiosity. Mercury's 1998 The Very Best of Dusty Springfield collects 20 flawless '60s single sides, while the label's three-disc 1997 The Dusty Springfield Anthology presents a 77-cut chronological trip through 34 years of hits and misses recorded for over a half- dozen different companies — classics, some substandard album tracks, and frequently fanciful obscurities reflecting her range. Rhino's latest incarnation of the oft reissued Dusty in Memphis adds worthy outtakes, but also adds an entire rightly aborted 1971 album with girl-group Svengali Jeff Barry. And Rhino's Dusty in London gathers previously unreleased-in-America tracks recorded shortly before the singer's 1970 move to L.A.
But put all that aside for now; just listen to ''The Look of Love.'' It's probably Burt Bacharach's least complicated melody, the arrangement minimal, Hal David's lyric simplicity itself. Dusty sings the first word alone, the orchestra joins her on the second, but the track is essentially Dusty sighing, yearning, caressing desire's elusive face with one of her many voices — her hushed, husky croon. She seems hypnotized, spaced-out, stoned on love, and the more she holds back, the more she conveys. Check the phrasing: ''The look pause of love pause is in [pause] your eyes [pause], the look [pause] your heart [pause] can't disguise.'' You can picture her locked into a two-way, across-a-candlelit-restaurant-table stare, pacing herself as if to elongate that sweet gaze, as if she can't believe it isn't a dream or doesn't want to wake up or snap out of it. The spell won't last forever, so she might as well soak it up with every softly exhilarated cell of her body.
Or check out a Northern Soul dance number on the same '67 album. ''What's It Gonna Be'' is a 131-second model of compression and drama, tension and release. A swingin' discotheque bass bumps, stabbing strings like something out of Psycho start sawing away, and Dusty enters the atmosphere of dread with her heart in her hands, ready to rip it in two lest her lover beat her to it. Her delivery is tough, cool, cutting, yet unguarded and bordering on hysterical, capable of lashing out or imploding at any moment. The background singers echo her despair, and the word ''hurtin''' is repeated seven times in a few seconds. Yet she's not ready to go out without a fight, and she aims for a make-it-or-break-it plea that would have been implausible only a moment ago. Several registers higher than where she started, her entreaty shoots out from an entirely different part of her body, one that doesn't seem to belong to a white Englishwoman in a beehive, in mascara worn as proto-goth eye shadow, in a flowery maxi dress. ''Baby believe me!'' she cries. You do.
British superstar Cliff Richard called her ''the White Negress.'' During one of her first American tours with Martha and the Vandellas, Dusty would occasionally step in for a missing Vandella, supplying vocals from backstage. When she toured South Africa in '64, Dusty refused to sing in segregated theaters. After a few shows, she was deported. A few months later, she hosted a special edition of the Mod-identified TV program Ready Steady Go, introducing Motown to England. Her own British TV show, Dusty, championed her soul-music soul mates. Footage of her romping through Charles and Inez Foxx's ''Mockingbird'' with Jimi Hendrix proves just how far she would go for what she believed: Jimi's guitar nearly drowns out both of their voices, because Dusty had insisted to her horrified BBC engineers that this was how it was supposed to sound. Carole King considered this ''difficult'' singer her ultimate interpreter, and what Dusty does to ''Some of Your Lovin''' alone proves the point. Aretha Franklin had rejected ''Son of a Preacher Man'' until Dusty did it. And although Dusty preferred Aretha's interpretation, it's Dusty's original that overflows with understated genius. Dusty: ''All Aretha ever said to me — and I died — we were in a lift, and she just put her hand on my arm and went, 'Girrlll!'''
Through much of her life, sadly, Dusty did not like herself. Memphis coproducer Jerry Wexler has said she insisted on doing her vocals with the instrumental backing in her headphones as loud as possible because she didn't want to hear her own voice. Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant recalls how his heroine insisted on recording her vocals one syllable at a time for their 1987 number-two hit ''What Have I Done to Deserve This?,'' her highest-charting American record ever. Soon after Dusty blurted out in a 1970 interview that ''I'm as perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy,'' she retreated to L.A., where she developed drinking and drug problems, and even attempted suicide. She cleaned up, but her career never recovered, and her music fell from near-continual brilliance to mere sporadic transcendence.
That shift is obvious after the first few cuts on the final disc of her '97 Anthology. The material suddenly gets schlocky and bloated, and her voice often feels thin, labored, and lost until the Pets bring Dusty back to her refined pop-soul roots. Everything clicks on '89's ''In Private,'' a haunting, veiled allusion to forbidden love that's completely understood by its intended audience — in England, Dusty is both mourned publicly by the queen (the real one) and revered by lesbians and gays as the quintessential pop icon whose mix of public exuberance and personal anguish not only mirrors their own but also is their own. In America, ''In Private'' remains one of the only noncurrent early-morning anthems of a gay circuit party scene that ordinarily (and fearfully) refuses to look back. Her lung power here is diminished, but her urgency lives on.
Although it's rarely acknowledged, Dusty's legacy is everywhere. There's a direct line between Dusty determination and Girl Power, the Dusty Springfield created by former folksinger and aspiring nun Mary O'Brien and the Ziggy Stardust forged by David Bowie. Look harder and you'll see the link between Dusty and k.d. lang, Boy George, Sleater-Kinney, Annie Lennox, Labelle, Teena Marie, Missy Elliott, Bonnie Raitt, X-Ray Spex, K.T. Oslin, George Michael, Living Colour, Elton, Alanis, Eminem, Janis — any performer who insists on stepping over a line they're warned never to cross. Dusty in Memphis delivers the emotional and musical masterstroke that every critic suggests, but the exhilaration doesn't begin and end there. Most of Anthology would sound timely today sandwiched between Britney Spears and Air, lowbrow and high, pop commerciality and avant-garde art, because Dusty was all those things. She was the original riot grrrl, a White Panther in a wig, a femme dyke who would be a drag queen, a nice Catholic girl your grandmother would and probably did like. She's my all-time favorite. I hope I hear Dusty in heaven.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:51 pm

#68 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Billboard * 19 March 1999
Springfield Remembered: Tributes Pour In For Late U.K. Singer, 59
PAUL SEXTON

LONDON — The far-reaching impact of Dusty Springfield's recorded legacy was immediately apparent in the welter of public tributes that followed word of her death. The outpouring was led by Queen Elizabeth, who was said in a statement from Buckingham Palace to be "saddened" by the news. A true icon of British pop music of the '60s, Springfield died March 2 from breast cancer at the age of 59 at her home in Henley-on-Thames, near London. Springfield had been suffering from cancer since 1994. She was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the U.K.'s New Year Honours list, and her investiture had been due to take place on the day she died. She was allowed to receive the award in the hospital in January.
Vicki Wickham, Springfield's close friend of 36 years and her manager since her 1980s career renaissance, says, "I think Dusty was very satisfied with where she'd got to, but if I'm honest, she didn't like the trappings that went with success. She was such a perfectionist, and she always felt she wasn't as good as, say, Aretha [Franklin], who she loved." Veteran British pop svengali Simon Napier-Bell, who co-wrote the English lyrics to Springfield's biggest hit, "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me," with Wickham, adds, "She had this amazing thing of sounding fragile with great power. Her best performances — whether it was 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' or 'Wishin' And Hopin' ' or 'Son-Of-A Preacher Man' — I think they match any great performance by Aretha, Sinatra, or even Pavarotti."
Springfield's impact on a generation reached far beyond her 11 top 10 U.K. hits and the same number of U.S. top 40 entries. Many fans and peers regarded her as the best, and most soulful, pop singer ever to emerge from England; her "Dusty In Memphis" album, released in 1969 and recorded with Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, and Arif Mardin, may have had limited commercial success but has assumed legendary critical status. Its best-known song, "Son-Of-A Preacher Man," brought her smoky, sensual vocals to a new generation via its inclusion on the "Pulp Fiction" soundtrack in 1994. "Dusty In Memphis" was recently reissued on Rhino Records. "One thing about Dusty is that people ask who she influenced, and the answer is nobody," says Wexler. "I can't think of anybody who carried Dusty Springfield's imprint, as opposed to Aretha Franklin, where there were many acolytes. But Dusty was sui generis — the 'queen of white soul,' I called her. "Her particular hallmark was a haunting sexual vulnerability in her voice, and she may have had the most impeccable intonation of any singer I ever heard," he adds.
Elvis Costello counts himself as an artist greatly influenced by Springfield. Early in his career, he performed her 1964 British hit "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself," written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Costello later contributed a song to Springfield's 1982 album "White Heat" (Casablanca). "She was one of the greatest singers of all time, and I enjoyed her singing my whole life," he says. In a prepared statement, Bacharach, who co-wrote several Springfield hits, including "Wishin' And Hopin' " and "The Look Of Love," said, "I just feel grateful that I knew Dusty and that I worked with her. I also feel grateful that the world knew her."
Springfield was born Mary O'Brien in Hampstead, north London, on April 16, 1939, and she made her recording debut with the vocal trio the Lana Sisters. Adopting her new stage name, she formed the Springfields with her brother Dion (who became Tom Springfield) and their friend Tim Feild. The trio signed to Philips and charted for the first time in August 1961 with "Breakaway," scoring top five U.K. hits with "Island Of Dreams" in 1962 and "Say I Won't Be There" the following year. U.S. acceptance came early, too, with a No. 20 placing in 1962 for "Silver Threads And Golden Needles."
Springfield went solo in 1963, remaining with Philips and scoring an instant smash with Mike Hawker and Ivor Raymonde's "I Only Want To Be With You." It hit No. 4 in the U.K., triggering an unbroken run of hits throughout the '60s and starting her U.S. chart career. It reached No. 12. A devoted Motown disciple, Springfield was soon an established star, with her unusually R&B-edged vocals and distinctive image of beehive hair and heavy eye shadow. She was soon securing the best material from the songwriters of the day. By 1966, Springfield had her first BBC-TV series, "Dusty." Her big hits continued until early 1969, when "Preacher Man" became her last major single for almost two decades. In the 1970s, she moved to Los Angeles and revealed her bisexuality, becoming something of a gay icon. However, this was a period of career and personal decline, and deals with such labels as Dunhill, Mercury, and Casablanca brought few rewards.
In 1987, Springfield was invited to sing on "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" by the hot U.K. chart act the Pet Shop Boys; the result was a No. 2 hit at home and in the U.S. "It was a dream come true for us when Dusty Springfield agreed to sing with us on 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?' " say the duo's members, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, in a statement. "She hadn't recorded for several years, but as soon as she . . . began to sing, we knew that the greatest female singer Britain has ever produced was still on brilliant form." The relationship led to further fruitful collaborations, notably 1989's "Nothing Has Been Proved," featured in the film "Scandal." By then she was labelmates with the Pet Shop Boys at Parlophone; in 1990 she released the "Reputation" album, which featured four tracks written by the duo. Her catalog continued to attract new generations of listeners, and "Goin' Back — The Very Best Of Dusty Springfield" was a top five U.K. album on the Philips imprint in 1994. Her last album was 1995's "A Very Fine Love" for Columbia.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:53 pm

#69 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Entertainment Weekly * 19 March 1999
Heart and Soul
Before the Celine Dions and Mariah Careys, there was the Brit diva Dusty Springfield, whose sultry songs set the standard for "blue-eyed soul."
CHRIS WILLMAN

Perhaps Burt Bacharach's elegy affords Dusty Springfield sufficient distinction: "You just had to hear two or three notes and you knew it was Dusty." Petula Clark, a fellow British Invasion bird, was also struck by Springfield's singularity: "The way she looked was easy to impersonate — the panda eyes and the bouffant hair. But the voice was impossible to imitate . . . Dusty was the perfect pop singer." Perfect, but not pure; there were other shadings that marked Springfield, who died from breast cancer at her home on the Thames, March 2, at 59. Here was a songstress for whom "blue-eyed soul" might as well have been coined ("the white Negress," Cliff Richard famously called her), but who, unlike most singers of that appellation, wouldn't likely be mistaken for black in a blindfold test. "There is a soul influence, but no blues influence," says Jerry Wexler, who coproduced 1969's classic Dusty in Memphis, describing her breathy, husky, understated phrasing. "It wasn't black soul — maybe it was Irish soul — but she had it. She stripped herself down and her singing was naked vulnerability, which made it very sexy."
Few squeezed so much sensuality out of such lonesomeness. Her best-known songs remain her 1964 breakthrough, "I Only Want to Be With You," and Memphis' randy "Son of a Preacher Man," but many of her greatest hits were hymns to desolation, like "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself." Consider the wellspring of emotion behind her breathtakingly minimalist reading of "I Can't Make It Alone," and see if her plea to be taken back by the lover she dumped doesn't sound like the dying gasps the lyrics claim, or at least an exhausted lull between crying jags . . . blue- and red-eyed soul.
Springfield's career was unusually self-made for a '60s woman's, her persona peculiarly guarded for a pop star's. The London convent schoolgirl born as Mary O'Brien had one 1962 hit ("Silver Threads and Golden Needles") with the folk trio the Springfields (including sibling Tom Springfield); but, upon hearing "Tell Him" emanating from a storefront, she underwent a kind of pop conversion experience and went solo, adopting a mod look borrowed from French models. The big hair and severe makeup were "very much a mask," manager Vicki Wickham acknowledges, for a very private woman who might've otherwise been disabled by insecurities about her looks and talent.
Springfield enjoyed 10 Top 40 hits in the '60s, but by Memphis — a pinnacle of pop record-making but a commercial non-event — interpreters were out of fashion. The never-married singer's cautious admission of bisexuality, predating even Elton's, may have hurt her career in the '70s, though she did enjoy one more smash, "What Have I Done to Deserve This?," a 1987 duet with the Pet Shop Boys. Springfield leaned toward reclusiveness even before being diagnosed with cancer in '94, but if possible, Wickham says, she would've shown up to claim her Order of the British Empire and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors this month: "She could be very cynical about a lot of things, but not about either of those."
Says legendary songwriter Jeff Barry: "The Mariah Careys and Celine Dions — she started that. Today, there's three or four divas up there trying to outmaneuver each other; it's like aerial dogfighting, and it's great gymnastics. But Dusty sang the words, not just the notes, and to me that's real big in a singer." Who'll miss that? Only anyone who had a heart.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:54 pm

#70 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Southland Times (New Zealand) * 6 March 1999
Ashes To Ashes, Dusty To Dust
MICHAEL FALLOW pays tribute to a voice of sand and diamonds.

WHEN Dusty Springfield recorded her modest-selling but monumental song I Close My Eyes and Count to 10, she included a resonant piano that years later would tantalise scholarly English songwriter Elvis Costello and torment his producers. Costello ached to reproduce that sound, but try as he might it eluded him album after album. When Springfield heard this, she laughed. They had lugged the recording gear, piano and all, into the women's bathroom at Olympic Studios. You could forgive Costello for looking in all the wrong places. If anyone could record in a toilet and make it sound like a cathedral, it was Dusty Springfield.
Her death this week will tempt people to call her music timeless. It is not. She was always of her time; often the best of her time. Her songs will date, and have already. But to answer one of her best-known songs: Yes, we will still love her tomorrow. She has become an icon of superb, soulful pop. Not that it started out that way. The first most people heard of that remarkable voice was The Springfields, formed by Dusty (nee Mary O'Brien) her brother Tom and their friend Tim Field. The Springfields were catchy, really cheerful, fakers. It would take a stony listener indeed not to enjoy Island of Dreams, but who can suppress a laugh at these North Londoners singing with a hilariously hokey mock-Texan twang.
Dusty went solo in 1963, a time when girls were girls, by golly. Her first hit, I Only Want To Be With You (bastardised for New Zealand listeners when it was appropriated as TV2's theme song) was followed by the album A Girl Called Dusty and before long she was topping polls as Best British Girl Singer thanks to dubious hits like Wishin' and Hopin' with its advice on how to suppress your own personality and use your charms to snag your man.
Back then young women were expected to sound girly. Trouble was, Springfield's voice was nothing of the sort. It was womanly. Gradually, the songs began to match the sounds more closely. Springfield started to present a more sophisticated image to the young women of the nation. Part of it was visual. With her dramatic black eyeliner and elaborate hairdos, Springfield became part of Swinging London, with its imagery of Carnaby Street, Emma Peel and Mary Quant mini-skirts. When she sang, her hands performed too; big gestures and then that grace-note affectation where her fingertips would seem to grab a note from mid-air, turn it to one side, and then release it like a blown dandelion. One observer, Charles Taylor, probably put it best. Hers was a brand of pop as steeped in the grown-up sophistication of singers like Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee as it was in love with the energy and vitality of rock and roll and soul.
American soul and British pop have reason to be grateful that Springfield became a regular visitor to the United States, developing a real appreciation for early Tamla Motown. Perhaps no individual played a larger part in bringing that sound to fresh, young, English audiences. She toured the UK with Motown package tours, hosted black artists on her British television specials. Cliff Richard, sweet guy that he is, didn't mean to sound as patronising as he did when he called Springfield a white negress.
In 1964 this blonde and beautiful advocate of black music arrived in South Africa. In hindsight, the conflict was inevitable. She had it written into her contract beforehand that she would play only to non-segregated audiences, but when she arrived the South African Government demanded she change the contract. She refused and after playing a series of mixed-race Cape Town concerts, made some widely reported withering criticisms of apartheid and the Government at a dinner party. The Government reacted strongly. "Dusty under house arrest," gasped headlines back home. She was drummed out of the country and returned home to a storm of controversy. Some British performers condemned her stand, casting her as a petulant, naive girl who had made it harder for British acts to find work there. However, this increasingly confident young woman was able to take a scolding from Max Bygraves with serene indifference.
Meanwhile the songs were growing near-perfect. Her own role in the studio production decision-making and experimentation was greater than people realised, deliberately downplayed for fear she would appear too clever. It was gorgeous, aching pop. Critic Charles Taylor marvelled that she was a purveyor of young music who didn't sound young. "A devastating chronicler of heartache who, in some essential way, knows how to protect herself," he wrote.
Come the late 1960s, when things turned psychedelic, her glitzy glamour passed badly from fashion in Britain, so she travelled to the United States to record in Memphis with producer Jerry Wexler, who had a spare song on his hands. He had been unable to persuade his biggest act, Aretha Franklin, to record a slinky song of yielded innocence called Son of a Preacher Man. Franklin, the real-life daughter of a preacher man, was uneasy about the sexual pulse of the story. So they gave it to Springfield and she gave them back a classic, giving it an understated and, crucially, an unrepentant feel. It became the heart of an album, Dusty in Memphis which, although still hailed as one of the best albums recorded by a British female singer, was never a spectacular seller.
By 1974 Dusty Springfield went into semi-retirement, bedevilled by drug and personal problems. As a performer, these were wilderness years during which one of the world's most soulful singers sang backup for Anne Murray. Modest comeback attempts amounted to little until 1987 when The Pet Shop Boys recruited her voice, and persona, for their hit What Have I Done To Deserve This?" More interesting was her soundtrack work for the 1988 film Scandal which told one of the most famous stories from her high-fashion heyday, the sex-and-spies scandal which led to the political ruination of War Minister Jack Profumo, the Lewinskyish fame of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, and the suicide of hedonist Stephen Ward. The soundtrack included Springfield's Reputation in which she pleads with the story's flawed victims to scorn the prurient condemnation that they faced: "Who cares what the world thinks? Who cares what they're whispering . . ."
Last month's copy of Q magazine alerted its readers that Springfield would turn 60 next year, "and a tremendous old fuss we should make of her. All female pop voices aspire to her." She died on Wednesday, aged 59.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:55 pm

#71 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Saturday Argus (South Africa) * 6 March 1999
Dusty's Summer Of Apartheid
Dusty Springfield, who died of breast cancer this week was ignominiously thrown out of South Africa in 1964 for performing before multiracial audiences
DIANA POWELL DOUGLAS

If anything was to cast the die for apartheid South Africa's isolation from the world of entertainment and culture it was the Dusty Springfield affair in the summer of 1964. Ms Springfield, the Swinging Sixties icon who died of breast cancer this week, had just been voted the world's top woman pop singer when she signed to tour South Africa 35 years ago. But the only woman then to have topped the Beatles on the British hit parade was ignominiously thrown out of the country within days of her arrival — for playing to a mixed race audience at the Luxurama Theatre in Wynberg.
The deportation of Ms Springfield led eventually to the British actors' union Equity barring its members from performing in South Africa, a ban that endured until after the 1994 elections. Ironically, Ms Springfield was later also accused of contributing to the Nats' hard line on theatre apartheid by what they perceived as her insistence on coming to South Africa to defy their policies.
Ms Springfield's visit was controversial from its inception because a British Musicians' Union ban on performing in South Africa was already in place, which meant her backing group, the Echoes, would not be allowed to tour. But after much last-minute wrangling — and the inclusion in the contract of a clause that the Echoes would not perform before segregated audiences — the tour was on. It was announced in the Cape Times on 5 December 1964 under the headline: Dusty for SA: Beats the ban. But two weeks later Ms Springfield was to learn that beating the ban in her own country had been a walkover compared with the intransigence of Hendrik Verwoerd's National Party government on its colour bar.
Soon after the Springfield entourage arrived in South Africa, manager Vic Billings was paid a visit by the men from the Interior Ministry, who threatened him with deportation. Then they turned up with documents they wanted him, the promoters of the tour, Ms Springfield and the Echoes to sign to the effect that they would not perform before mixed audiences. Mr Billings was quoted at the time as saying: "Needless to say we did not sign because it would have been a breach of contract. This is a matter of principle for Dusty and myself. We are not trying to tell South Africa how to run the country but we have been billed at multiracial halls . . . I defied the Musicians' Union in England by signing the Echoes to come here. The Union has a complete ban on South Africa. I hoped it would be all right when they saw the boys had performed before non-segregated audiences."
The first performances, at the Johannesburg City Hall, passed without incident and the group moved to Cape Town to appear at the Luxurama, chosen because it was still legally able to admit people of any race. In those days the only legislation that governed the make-up of theatre and cinema audiences was the Group Areas Act and the Luxurama was in an area not yet reserved for a particular race group.
On the evening of 15 December 1964, Dusty Springfield and the Echoes brought their brand of Sixties magic to an enthusiastic audience of about 300 white and coloured people. The small turnout was ascribed later to the closure of the box office on the afternoon of the show "to prevent coloured people nearby from buying the tickets". But the audience did not consist only of Dusty Springfield fans. Dr Verwoerd's apartheid watchdogs were also there and before the night was out the men from the ministry were at her hotel serving an order giving her 24 hours to leave the country.
Her deportation caused a furore around the world. Equity wanted answers, the matter was raised in the House of Commons, the SABC banned her records, the South African government charged that she had come with the avowed intention of defying its policy on multiracial audiences and an angry Ronnie Quibell, the owner of the Luxurama, accused her of "shooting her mouth off" and seeking publicity.
Dawie, Die Burger's political columnist, accused the government of "bungling" the Dusty Springfield affair. And one S J Marais Steyn, then a United Party MP, asked in an article in the Cape Argus in January 1965 when had it become an offence to appear before a mixed audience and since when were separate audiences a way of South African life. The man who was later to become Minister of Community Development, responsible for administering the hated Group Areas Act in the Nationalist cabinet, went on to regale the boyhood delights of being in mixed audiences at Pagel's and the Boswell brothers' circuses, the "bioscope" in his home town and the Cape Town City Hall.
Mr Steyn also warned that South Africa was the most lonely, isolated nation in the world and that a government guilty of such stupidity as allowing the Dusty Springfield affair to develop would never succeed in making it possible for all South Africans to live together peacefully and willingly or to restore world confidence in its ability to solve its race problems by consultation and democratic process instead of coercion and force. Prophetic words, 30 years before the final fall of apartheid.
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