From my Dusty articles archive

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:58 pm

#72 from gm
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The Straits Times (Singapore) * 12 March 1999
Obituary: Dusty Springfield
There was no one like the queen of Blue-eyed Soul back then and none with her emotional depth ever since
CHRIS HO

The pop world acknowledges her as Britain's great voice of blue-eyed soul. Young pop fans today know her for the song Son Of A Preacher Man (recorded in 1968) from the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction, and also for the Pet Shop Boys duet What Have I Done To Deserve This. To me, Dusty Springfield, who died last Tuesday at the age of 59, is simply Britain's greatest and best singer ever.
Born Mary O'Brien in North London on April 16, 1939, her first singing engagement was to fill in for the Lana Sisters. She caught the pop limelight as one third of the Springfields — a folk trio she formed with her brother Tom. During the group's tour of the States, Springfield discovered the new American R&B and decided it was the music she wanted to record thereon as a singer. This was the time of a burgeoning Motown Records which was forging black music as the sound of young America. In England, the new Mod movement was also grooming itself on hip American soul.
Signed to Philips Records, Springfield scored her first solo hit with I Only Want To Be With You in 1963. But it was not until 1966 that she topped the charts with an Italian ballad rewritten in English — You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. By then, she had also started experimenting with other styles of music, including bossa nova, Broadway tunes and Burt Bacharach. Her cover of the latter's I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (first recorded by Dionne Warwick) had become her third British hit, reaching No. 3 in 1964. Bacharach was so impressed with Springfield he wrote The Look Of Love specially for her and it became a Stateside smash in 1967. At the same time, Aretha Franklin's production team of Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin had heard Springfield's hit-rendition of Gerry Goffin & Carole King's Some Of Your Lovin' and were eager to work with her.
The opportunity came when Springfield decided to sign with Atlantic Records for her Stateside releases. The result was Dusty In Memphis in 1969 which Rolling Stone critics now rate as one of the all-time greatest rock albums. That marked a big turning point in her career. First, it accorded her with rock and soul credibility as a pre-eminent song-stylist. She was up until then regarded widely as a kitschy pop singer and balladeer with big hairdos. Second, its success lured her to the States where she finally relocated for the next 15 years. Working the cabaret and club circuit there, she fell victim to substance and alcohol abuse in the '70s. She was also trying to steer a public persona away from her self-confessed bisexuality.
It was a different time for most singers who came out of the '60s. America was undergoing a musical transition, moving towards a newer black funk and pasteurised disco. Caught nowhere in between, her career floundered despite a series of comebacks that looked more like false re-starts. It was not till 1987 when the Pet Shop Boys invited her to sing What Have I Done To Deserve This? that she began to hit the charts again.
Springfield's musical and personal journey to America was a career irony. Though the American-made Dusty In Memphis gave her the rock esteem, she was trapped without a viable musical direction in the US after that. Much as she claimed she was bored with Britain when she left, it was Britain that gave her the celebrated comeback in the late '80s. This is not to be taken lightly because rare is the British singer who is welcomed home with unreserved praise after a bout of "selling" to America. Musically, she strove for US acceptance until the very end. Her last album A Very Fine Love (1995) was a Nashville, Tennessee project that sounded lost yet true in a personal sense.
Ultimately, she probably recognised her real home when she chose England to nurse her fight with terminal breast cancer. A close friend of hers remarked shortly before her death on March 2 — "Dusty wants to die Mary O'Brien. That's who she was and it is who she is becoming again. It's as if she wants to go back to the beginning." Springfield was looking forward to two important accolades just before her death — an investiture at Buckingham Palace where the Queen was to confer an OBE upon her on March 2 and an induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame along with Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen at New York's Waldorf Astoria.
More than just a very fine voice, Springfield is pop music's real successor to, dare I say, Judy Garland's emotional intensity. Her greatest asset is an inner turmoil of deep longing and smouldering vulnerability that availed itself to a rich palette of stylistic jaunts. There was no one like her as a rock stylist back then and none with her emotional depth ever since.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:59 pm

#73 from gm
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Evening Herald (Plymouth) * 4 March 1999
Ex-Star's Tribute To 'Voice Of The Sixties'

A West Devon record producer who sang with Dusty Springfield in the 1960's today paid tribute to the legendary singer who lost her long fight against breast cancer this week. Mike Hurst was just 19 when he made up the third member of the Springfields in the early 1960's and sang and played guitar with Dusty and her brother Tom. More than 30 years later he still remembers Dusty with affection, although they had not seen each other for years.
Mr Hurst, now a record producer, said: "Being in the Springfields started my life in the music business. I was only 19 at the time and we were the first British band to get a song in the top 10 in America." In 1962 and '63 the trio had hits with such songs as Island of Dreams, Say I Won't be There and Silver Threads and Golden Needles. Dusty later shot to fame in 1964 with I Only Want To Be With You, followed by several more hits in the '60s. After a break of some years she returned in 1987 together with the Pet Shop Boys. She had been fighting breast cancer for many years and she died at her home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire on Tuesday night aged 59.
Mr Hurst said: "Over the years our paths crossed every now and again but in the last six months when I knew how bad she was we were in touch most weeks by letter. We all knew what was going to happen but there was still hope. The writing was on the wall and I just wanted to let her know how much I cared — because you do you know. She never lost her sense of humour and we shared laughter through letters."
He added: "She was a tough lady, which any woman in the music business has to be. We shared the same sense of humour which was good because we could have lots of arguments. One thing I do remember about her was she loved to smash crockery. She used to send the manager out to the nearest Woolworths to buy up cheap crockery and she just loved the noise of it breaking."
Thirteen years ago, Mr Hurst, who has six children and 10 grandchildren, moved down to Bradstone, between Tavistock and Launceston, where he lives with his wife Marjorie. Over the years, the 56-year-old has been a record producer for stars such as Cat Stevens and Shakin' Stevens, as well as producing shows locally for the Plymouth Athenaeum.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:04 pm

#74 from gm
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Seattle Weekly * March 1999
Longtime Fans Bid Farewell To One Of Soul's Greatest Singers
TOM DANEHY

Life, the saying goes, is crappy and then you die. But before that final disappointment hits, life's usually at its crappiest when someone else dies. It could be a loved one or a friend, or someone you've never met. Someone who touched you from a distance, nudged you in one direction or another, showed what greatness can be accomplished when one is fueled by passion. It's been a bad month for great people. In the space of five days, we lost Stanley Kubrick, Joe DiMaggio and Dusty Springfield. All three expanded our lives in subtle and glorious ways — Kubrick through his unflinching confidence in his own vision; DiMaggio by setting for himself, and then adhering to, an almost inhuman standard of excellence; and Dusty, by living up to her nickname in a series of recordings which will live forever.
There are enormously popular singers and then there are Great Voices. The latter are set apart by nuance, style and the ethereal ability to transmit, in an undiluted fashion, emotion and power and sex from the singer's throat to the listener's ear. It's a symbiotic relationship — the singer sings, we listen with undivided attention and devotion. A simple equation, seldom completed. I've heard lots of good voices in my lifetime, but only three great ones — Aretha Franklin, Karen Carpenter and Dusty Springfield. And now only Aretha remains.
Growing up in a ghetto in the 1960s, it wasn't the macho thing to like female vocalists. Oh, you could nudge your buddy and smirk at the sight of Mary Wells in a too-tight dress on American Bandstand. Or hope that, at the school dance, the right girl-group slow song might allow you to pull your dance partner closer, past the "Let's-see-some-daylight-in-there" point, where you might catch a hint of the possibilities of life. But you didn't like girl singers. They were girls. You wanted to dance like James Brown, sweat like Otis Redding, and forestall puberty so you could sing falsetto like Smokey Robinson just one more year. But I couldn't help myself with Dusty. Her voice cut right through me. Sultry and smoky, breathy and dripping with emotion, fired by passion from the heart she wore squarely on her sleeve.
I used to joke that puberty was a particularly difficult time for me, coinciding as it did with the sight of Julie Newmar as Catwoman and Dusty Springfield singing "The Look of Love." Resurrected recently for a series of commercials, "The Look of Love" is the undisputed sexiest song of all time. And unlike Madonna, Foxy Brown and all the other slut-rockers who've taken the fun and mystery out of sex, the most risqué lyric in the whole song is, "I can hardly wait to hold you, feel my arms around you . . . Don't ever go."
Born Mary Catherine Isabel O'Brien, she was part of a British generation which giddily worshipped at the altar of American rhythm and blues. From this phenomenon sprang, among many others, the blues-rock of the Rolling Stones, the mystical soul of Van Morrison, and the heart-breaking sincerity of Dusty Springfield.
Saddled throughout much of her career by sub-standard material, she began as part of a skiffle-folk group, The Springfields. After heading out on her own, she bounced around from one sound to another, translating an Italian ballad into "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me," and breathing life into the schmaltzy Beatles-esque "I Only Want To Be With You." But it was on the pop-soul classic "Wishin' And Hopin'" that she found her niche. Behind that trademark facade of blonde bouffant hair and raccoon eye makeup was a Voice, an instrument from God which could belt out Motown, growl Stax, and purr Atlantic with equal ease. Like Mick Hucknall today, she was an oddity; a white soul singer who just happened to be the best in the world.
When Motown sent one of its famous multi-act revues over to England, they begged Dusty to host the show at its various venues and on the big BBC broadcast. Encumbered by the chronically lame BBC orchestra, she nonetheless tore the roof off the sucka', stealing "Heat Wave" from right under Martha Reeves' nose. The broadcast became the stuff of legend in England. Elvis Costello credits it with sparking his interest in music, and Elton John said it made him join her official fan club the very next day.
For her part, Dusty remained unconvinced of her own power. In an interview before her death, she said she felt overwhelmed by the talent of the Motown performers. She added that the ultimate highlight of her career just may have been when she joined Reeves and others on stage to sing backup on Marvin Gaye's "Hitchhike." As she remembered the moment, a smile crept across her face and she sang, in her dustiest, "Hitchhike . . . hitchhike, Baby."
Her career was schizophrenic: She enjoyed icon status in Britain, while never really catching on big in the U.S.; she was revered in the industry (she was Aretha Franklin's favorite singer), but enjoyed only a so-so following among American music fans. This changed with the 1969 release of Dusty In Memphis, one of the greatest pop-soul albums of all time. Best known for the smoldering "Son Of A Preacher Man," it also includes the playful "Just A Little Lovin' (Early In The Mornin')" and the magnificently sad "Breakfast In Bed." When she whispers "You've been cryin', your face is a mess; Come in, Baby, I can dry your tears on my dress," it's all over. But even this album didn't do blockbuster business, though it quickly achieved classic status. It will appear on just about every Best of All Time List ever compiled. (Incidentally, Aretha had been offered "Son of a Preacher Man" first, but turned it down, not wanting to offend her preacher father. But after hearing Dusty's version, she had to record it. Franklin says she didn't come close to Dusty's version.)
Dusty exiled herself to Holland for much of the '70s and '80s, consumed by (and consuming) drink and drug. She made a triumphant return on the Pet Shop Boys' "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" in 1988. She later had a hit in England with the theme song from the movie Scandal, and then later with a song from the film While You Were Sleeping. But at that same time, she learned that she had breast cancer. She was given a year to live, and then lasted almost five. Last week she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with Elton John doing the honors. She'd wanted to live to see that day, but fell short by two weeks. Life is indeed crappy. The hell with macho. She was my favorite.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:06 pm

#75 from gm
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University of Virginia's Declaration * 25 March 1999
A Look Back at the Life of Dusty Springfield
MATT CHAYT

On March second, the twentieth century lost its greatest singer. Her name was Dusty Springfield, and she was 59 years old when she lost her five-year battle to breast cancer. Unfortunately, she is not remembered by legions of fans, nor have sales of her music earned her a place in the record books. She does leave behind a catalog of staggeringly diverse, intelligent performances and an intriguing, queer life.
At 16, Mary O'Brien was a fat, awkward tomboy with a crush on Peggy Lee's voice. She had reluctantly quit playing soccer and was trapped in a dull adolescence in Hampstead, England. Looking in the mirror one day in 1955, she told herself, "Be miserable or become someone else." And so began Mary O'Brien's 35-odd years of masquerading as Dusty Springfield, a glamorous, heterosexual femme fatale who hid under thick eye makeup, elegant gowns, and an outrageous blond beehive. As Dusty recalled, she would have to think herself into the Dusty Springfield persona before going on stage. The parade of guises she adopted — "white negress," mod queen, and folk singer, to name but a few — were all manifestations of her desperate desire to fit into the straight system. It didn't matter that behind the scenes, she got in food fights with Martha and the Vandellas, or that she punched Buddy Rich's lights out. Dusty Springfield's glittery public image had no rough edges.
After a few years in her brother's band, Dusty struck out on her own in 1963 with her first solo single, a little ditty called "I Only Want To Be With You." Hit after hit followed, and before long she had her own TV program and had even made a dent into the U.S. charts. Her first singles became hits in the United States at the same time as the Beatles' earliest work, and thus Dusty was a soldier in the British Invasion. During this early period, she gained appreciation from her countrymen for introducing breaths of cultural fresh air like Motown, Woody Allen, and Jimi Hendrix to the United Kingdom. Sometimes, however, she pushed the envelope too far, as when she protested apartheid in South Africa in 1964. She was placed under house arrest by the South African government for refusing to sing to segregated audiences and eventually drummed out of the country. In this instance, her beloved England failed her, disavowing her actions and reprimanding her for fear of alienating its racist trading partner.
Those who knew Dusty's work appreciated her ability to test the musical boundaries of her time. As a singer, she constantly pushed herself, tackling Broadway-style ballads (like "I Close My Eyes and Count To Ten," recorded in a ladies' washroom) along with slinky numbers like "The Look of Love" and "Wishin' and Hopin'." On her most famous album, Dusty in Memphis, Dusty proved that she had what it took to pull off serious R&B music. The album's nostalgically sensual cut "Son of a Preacher Man" ensured that Dusty Springfield would forever be known as the "white negress" — a label bestowed on her by critics who couldn't reconcile the single's spellbinding vocal with the fact that Dusty was not only English, but white. By contrast, Aretha Franklin's version of "Preacher Man" is never heard, and for good reason: it stinks.
In the 1970s, with the arrival of singer/songwriters and the increasing over-emphasis of guitars in popular music, Dusty's popularity dwindled. She relocated from London to Hollywood and began to enjoy the women's tennis scene and the friendship of Billie Jean King, as well as experimentation with drugs, escapist pleasures which helped her to cope with poor record sales, and a constant battle with rumors in the press. After several years of increasingly dangerous drug abuse, Dusty began to fight back.
She gave an interview in which she blasted the hypocritical pre-AIDS Hollywood environment, where she observed rampant homophobia in an industry that was "75 percent gay." At the same time, however, she also confessed "I still don't know who Mary O'Brien is." Close observers were not startled to read in the press that Dusty's erotic investments were other than heterosexual. She had long demonstrated an opposition to gender norms, as when she upset her record label by recording "Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa," a song originally written for a man. Nevertheless, the 1970s were rough for Dusty, and for years things only worsened.
By 1987, Dusty Springfield was at the end of her rope. She had gone from releasing the greatest album ever by a female singer, Dusty in Memphis, to recording the theme songs to "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "Growing Pains." Retired in England, and certain she would never perform again, she got a phone call from the Pet Shop Boys, a geeky synth-pop duo. They wanted her to with them on a song they'd written. Both Dusty and her manager thought the idea was a little crazy, but figured there was nothing to lose. Dusty reported to the studio and came face to face with the Boys, two of the most notable of her many gay fans. As the legend tells it, she asked the duo "What do you want me to sing like?" She was prepared to adopt yet another mask. Which would it be this time? Would she have to dig her beehive out of mothballs? "We just want the sound of your voice," vocalist/lyricist Neil Tennant replied. The freedom from constantly creating new identities was the first of several breakthroughs for Dusty. Over the next three years, Dusty Springfield was to record some of her greatest work, including her masterpiece, "In Private," which she energized with her personal experience as well as her powerful voice. For that track, the Pet Shop Boys provided her one of their typically faux-melancholic soundscapes while also giving her a powerful lyric that offered her the chance to launch a viciously witty assault on the heterosexual system that had forced her into decades of psychological hiding.
On the Pet Shop Boys-produced album Reputation, Dusty returned to the genre-bending spirit of Dusty in Memphis, venturing into hardcore techno ("Occupy Your Mind") and even rap ("Daydreaming"). She even engaged the then hot-button issue of nature vs. nurture on the track "Born This Way." The most famous song that resulted from the collaboration, however, was "What Have I Done to Deserve This?," an exuberant, multi-layered duet that was a massive international hit (even if nobody remembered the "old" Dusty Springfield).
Dusty's music and life seem a collection of contradictions. She was a pop singer old enough to have had her picture plastered on a teenage Elton John's wall, yet she recorded club hits in the 1980s. She is best known for songs that wove tragic, abusive heterosexual love narratives (like "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"), yet she came out in 1975, a year before Elton John's allegedly pioneering confession. The roles she played were a reminder of the provisional nature of all our identities. She floated between labels — white and black, straight and gay, male and female. These inconsistencies, this queerness, boosted her appeal to gay people. The astounding fact that she herself was simultaneously a diva and queer, of course, made us especially love her.
What everyone can appreciate, regardless of his/her sexual proclivities, is that she was truly talented. Amid contemporary models of Girl Power that are more about packaging, parody, and pregnancy, Dusty Springfield's voice carries her above the rest. Sure, she had the survivor's ethic that's critical to Girl Power, but most of all she had that voice. She never had to learn to read music because the art of singing came naturally to her. Whispery and vulnerable, yet capable of superhuman feats of volume and pitch, Dusty's voice is immortalized on her records, which she painstakingly recorded one word, sometimes even one syllable, at a time.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:08 pm

#76 from gm
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Discoveries * April 1999
Celebrating Miss Beehive
DON CHARLES

My musical love affair with Dusty Springfield began when I purchased Dusty in Memphis in 1981. I only bought the LP so I'd own a copy of "Son-Of-A-Preacher Man" in stereo. However, once the needle hit the grooves, Dusty's rich, burnished vocals went straight for my heart, especially when she sang soulful Goffin and King numbers like "So Much Love" and "No Easy Way Down." Dusty in Memphis was soon filed among my most favored records in my collection, and before the year was out, a half-dozen more joined it.
To ensure that everything she cut met her high professional standards, Dusty insisted on producing most of her own recording sessions. In my opinion, those self-produced sessions from 1963-1968 are her best. Their impeccable quality won her the opportunity to work with veteran A&R man Jerry Wexler: That resulted in the rock standard "Son-Of-A-Preacher Man" and the accompanying album whose acclaim has only grown with time. Despite a sharp decline in chart records after 1969, Dusty's early body of work commands such respect that in recent years, younger artists such as Daryl Hall, Richard Carpenter and The Pet Shop Boys lined up for the chance to record with her. These collaborations propelled her back onto the charts in the '80s and '90s with contemporary singles like "Something in Your Eyes," "As Long As We Got Each Other,"What Have I Done To Deserve This" and "Wherever Would I Be."
Dusty Springfield was known as the Queen of Blue-Eyes Soul; media reports accurately credit her with introducing soul music to British audiences in the '60s. However, more knowledgeable historians will remember Dusty for her amazing eclecticism, which encompassed everything from Motown covers ("Can I Get A Witness?") and Latin-American floor-shakers ("La Bamba") to jazz ("Earthbound Gypsy"), show-tunes ("Where Am I Going?") and light classical numbers ("Morning"). She should also be remembered as one of the definitive interpreters of Burt Bacharach's song catalog (one listen to either version of "The Look Of Love" she recorded is enough to confirm that fact.) Social activists may recall her pioneering anti-apartheid stance in South Africa, taken a full two decades before the United Nations cultural boycott was instituted, or her early advocacy for lesbian and gay rights.
There'll undoubtedly be lots of anthologizing and repackaging and dredging-up of previously unissued Dusty Springfield material. Not all of this will be respectful of her legacy, but that won't matter in the long run. Now that she's gone, her legend will grow larger and the artifacts she left behind — recordings, filmed performances and print interviews — will surely increase in value. As for sentiment, Dusty made it known that she didn't want an overabundance of grief expressed at her passing.
Instead of a memorial service, she instructed her manager, Vicki Wickham, to throw a party so that friends could celebrate her life rather than mourn her death. Every chance I get, I'm going to pull out Dusty in Memphis or Reputation or any of her other excellent albums, and I'm going to celebrate Dusty Springfield, just as I've done for the last 18 years. As long as I can lift a tone arm, press a play button, or phone in a request to the local oldies station, Miss Beehive will never die. You see, that's the beautiful part about musical love affairs, there's no need to ever say good-bye.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:10 pm

#77 from gm
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The Advocate website * 16 April 1999
I Remember Dusty
JUDY WIEDER

Not everyone will recognize Dusty Springfield when they see her on the cover of the current issue of The Advocate. But if we could slip some kind of sound chip into the photograph and have that sexy, lusty voice suddenly sing out from the newsstands — oh, yeah! The recognition factor would be staggering. After all, from "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" to "Son of a Preacher Man," Dusty had the voice that one well-known (closeted) lesbian once characterized as, "a living, breathing organism."
I remember the first time I met Dusty. I was in the dead heat of my songwriting days and had, of course, fixated on the notion of having Dusty record something I'd written. I'd already made several trips to London, working with various English bands, always enquiring about Dusty's whereabouts. The answer at that time was usually "Amsterdam." She had found a new love there and was enjoying the freedom of a city well-known for loving and supporting gays.
Then one night in 1987 a friend of mine told me that an ex-lover of hers had been an ex-lover of Dusty's. She suggested we meet. We did. During the course of a friendly dinner, Dusty's ex suggested that I go to the annual fund-raising banquet for the Van Ness Recovery House, the first recovery home for gay men and lesbians. The entertainment that evening was to be the Anais Nin String Quartet, the Fabulous Parakeets, and the pièce de résistance: Dusty Springfield. I didn't need much additional encouragement, although I got it: "I will take you backstage to meet Dusty after the performance," the ex offered. Finally, I thought, the opportunity to pitch the greatest living pop voice a song.
This never occurred. Oh, sure, I watched Dusty Springfield climb onto a tabletop surrounded by cheering men during the show and belt out "Wishin' and Hopin'." I also went backstage where an overwrought Dusty — surrounded by an entourage of lesbian friends, handlers, and coworkers — explained to everyone in the room that she'd lost her voice at noon that day and spent the rest of it running to doctors for shots to bring her famous sound back in time for the show. She was without question distraught enough to shut down any song-pitching instincts on my part. But that didn't matter. What mattered was I got to hear her sing her heart out at a very vulnerable time in her life. The diva herself was recovering, and everyone knew it.
One last thing: The memory I take with me the most is Dusty — with a white towel wrapped around her neck, sipping tea — trying to control her excitement over a recent development in her floundering career. She had just cut "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" with the Pet Shop Boys in London. She had no idea at that point in time that it would mark her comeback. But she did know something wonderful had happened: "I didn't know what they were going to do with my vocals," she told me. "I didn't think I fit into their sound. It took me a few takes to realize I wasn't supposed to fit into them. They wanted me to sing like I sing. They wanted me." She was amazed. I was amazed she was amazed. Who wouldn't want her?
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted The Advocate to tell the story of Dusty Springfield. I am sorry it had to come after her death. However, with my own determination, the great editing skills of The Advocate's arts and media editor, Anne Stockwell, and the graceful writing gifts of Advocate contributor Michele Kort, we did it. Bon voyage, Dusty . . .
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:12 pm

#78 from gm
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The Advocate * April 27, 1999
The secret life of Dusty Springfield
She gave herself completely to her music and to the women she loved. She was our diva. This is her story.
MICHELE KORT

Dusty Springfield loved maps. She liked to curl up in bed with an atlas and could follow a road map with a navigator's elan. "She was a good person to be lost with," her longtime friend and manager Vicki Wickham has said. Perhaps the certainty of maps, with their solid boundaries and clearly marked destinations, comforted a woman who had to carve her own path through the pop-music jungle for nearly 40 years. The fact that she loved women only made the road more dangerous. In the music world of the 1960s — let alone that of the '70s and '80s — there were no k.d. langs, Janis Ians, or Melissa Etheridges.
Potent proof of how hard it was to live a gay life during Dusty's heyday is the fact that although several of her female lovers talked to us for this article, only one allowed herself to be named. Those who loved Dusty grew up, as she did, in a world where it was too risky to be honest about one's sexuality. Nevertheless, they feel it's important now that she be remembered fully, as the woman she was and not just the woman we saw. Dusty Springfield took risks at every turn — in the naked emotion of her singing, in her insistence on exploring a vast landscape of musical styles, and in her decision to speak openly about being bisexual long before it was chic. When she died of breast cancer on March 2 at age 59, the world lost an artistic and social pioneer as well as one of its most beloved voices. "As a child listening to the radio, I was taken by surprise when a sexy, husky woman's voice came out," Melissa Etheridge tells The Advocate. "`Son of a Preacher Man' is one of the steamiest, coolest songs ever sung by a woman. She will be missed." Janis Ian felt an even closer connection. "Dusty recorded my song `In the Winter,' and from that moment on I felt I'd never be able to do the piece justice again," she recalls. "Dusty killed when she sang. There aren't many singers you would beg to do your material, but Dusty was one of them. It's one of the prouder moments in my life, hearing her sing my song."
Born Irish Catholic on April 16, 1939, in north London's Hampstead, Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien was the convent-educated child of an accountant, Gerard, and his wife, Kay. Her father loved piano music, from Beethoven to Jelly Roll Morton, and would quiz Mary and her older brother, Dion, on matters melodious. "What was that tune I just played? . . . What song am I tapping out on the back of your hand?" By age 11, Mary had done her first amateur recording, showing already impressive pipes as she belted out Irving Berlin's "When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam." A year after high school, in 1961, she found her first big success with the Springfields, a group her brother formed. Mary and Dion became Dusty and Tom. Their folkish started making hits on both sides of the Atlantic. "We were pseudo-everything, and we knew it," said Dusty. "We just sang very fast and very cheerfully."
On the strength of their American hit "Silver Threads and Golden Needles," the Springfields were invited to record in Nashville. On that trip Dusty also visited New York City and, passing by Colony Records on Broadway (next to the famous Brill Building), she heard the Exciters singing the lyric "I know something about love," from "Tell Him." "It got me by the throat," Dusty remembered. It helped convince her to go solo in the fall of 1963 and follow her real bliss — American R&B. To accompany her new sound, she adopted a bouffant blond (her natural color was reddish), kohl-lidded look — a synthesis of British mod, French Vogue, R&B diva, Kim Novak, and drag queen. Her high-camp style, complete with awkward but endearing gestures and dance steps, still sends shivers down gay and lesbian spines. First there's the drag contingent. "I worship Dusty," New York drag empress Lady Bunny says breathily. True, Dusty was not quite like other drag icons. Most drag queens maintain that they learned to dress from glamorous women. Dusty, on the other hand, said she learned to dress from drag queens. Blond, bewigged Bunny is a case in point. People think she copied Dusty's look, but Bunny demurs. "I thought I was copying Sharon Tate," she says, laughing. "It just came out like Dusty." For other gay men Dusty's appeal goes much deeper. "I think anybody who dismisses Dusty as camp has missed the entire point," says Earl Marona Jr., a New York marketing consultant and major Dusty fan who has combed the Continent for hard-to-find releases to complete his CD and vinyl collection. "Her voice is so authentic, so unbelievably honest and real. And then on top of that she layered on all this delicious artifice, all this glamour and drama. Sure, gay men enjoy the '60s glamour, but they're responding to something that's much more real and authentic underneath."
Dusty's authenticity was an instant hit with her first single, the timelessly infectious "I Only Want to Be With You," and over the next seven years graced British and American charts with such songs as "Wishin' and Hopin'," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," and "The Look of Love." Five times named England's top female singer, she had her own TV show as well. Dusty was a definitive interpreter of the great American songwriters of the day — Randy Newman, Goffin and King, Bacharach and David — and onstage and on vinyl she amazingly mixed girl-power pop with big-band jazz, Italian ballads, bossa nova, and, most stunningly, renditions of R&B gems. British singer Cliff Richard rather perjoratively dubbed her "the white Negress" but missed the essence of her homage to that music.
Indeed, it was Dusty who introduced Motown to England, hosting a seminal Ready, Steady, Go! special that featured the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes — and Martha and the Vandellas, whom Dusty got to know in 1964, when she traveled to New York to do a mostly Motown holiday show at the Brooklyn Fox theater. The girl singers from opposite sides of the pond formed a joyful camaraderie that included swapping professional services. "The Vandellas ... did the backup for Marvin Gaye from the wings," recalls Dusty in Bravo Profiles: Dusty Springfield, which airs repeatedly on the cable network. "On the first show [at 10 A.M.] there was always one who'd overslept, who wasn't there. So I got to be the third Vandella, and that, to this day, is the biggest thrill of my life." "She carved a subtle, uncompromising niche for herself and for blue-eyed soul artists that followed merely by exposing her passion, intelligence, and empathy in her craft and respectfully submitting her contribution in the midst of the brilliant black musical gods that loomed about her," noted Greg Lyle-Newton, program director of Seattle classic-soul station KSRB-AM. "That took guts." It took even more guts to perform in South Africa in December 1964, a time when apartheid kept most artists away. Dusty, however, used a legal loophole to play before mixed audiences — she refused to play before segregated ones. After a show in Cape Town, the racist government made her leave the country.
As Dusty began to know world politics firsthand, she also began to know something about love. Her two great passions mixed: The women she loved were often musicians whose talent she admired. She had a relationship with an African-American soul singer with whom she worked in England and in 1966 began a five-year cohabitation with an American folk-rock singer who met Dusty while touring in England. Springfield's unwillingness to compromise her love life — even as she tried to keep it private was as radical at the time as her political gestures. This was, after all, pre-Stonewall, pre-feminism, and pre-glam rock. According to a former lover (who remained a dear friend), Dusty wasn't conflicted by her sexuality per se but by the public response to it. "I'm sure she didn't think about it at all until it was a constant question [from the British press]," says Dusty's onetime love. "She was looking for the same thing we're all looking for — warmth, acceptance, total unconditional love. She had the capacity to love deeply. Watch the TV shows, listen to her songs. She was really just a lover of the world, and she wanted love back."
Unfailingly honest in her singing, Dusty probably wanted to be as honest about her life, so in 1970, career be damned, she gave a notorious interview to Ray Connolly in London's Evening Standard. "She purposely pushed me into giving her the chance to `come out,'" Connolly wrote in the March 4 Daily Mail after Springfield's passing. "She was very brave, possibly foolhardy . . . I suspect she was actually relieved to have finally confronted the gossip." Said Dusty to Connolly back then: "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 . . . 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.... Being a pop star, I shouldn't even admit that I might think that way."
Three years later she gave an even more wrenching explanation of her sexuality in a soul-baring interview-cum-therapy session with Chris Van Ness of the Los Angeles Free Press: "I mean, people say that I'm gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. I'm not anything. I'm just ... People are people.... I basically want to be straight.... I go from men to women; I don't give a shit. The catchphrase is: I can't love a man. Now, that's my hang-up. To love, to go to bed, fantastic; but to love a man is my prime ambition.... They frighten me." People who knew Dusty say she was gay, but she obviously detested both the label and the stigma. One might surmise that her ambition was not necessarily to love a man but to be accepted for — or at least left alone about — loving women. Not that she let her private conflicts get in the way of her wild streak and her open love affair with her gay fans. In his March 4 obituary in Britain's tabloid The Mirror, Anton Antonowicz recalled that years ago Dusty received a stern rebuke from the royal family after a charity performance before Princess Margaret. "The place was packed with Dusty's gay following. `It's nice to see the royalty isn't confined to the box,' she told the assembled queens. Margaret wasn't amused" and "turned her back on Dusty at the after-show party. Then she sent her a letter containing a typewritten apology for insulting the queen, which Dusty had to sign and return."
By the time she gave the Van Ness interview, Springfield had left England and moved to Los Angeles. Her career had shifted westward after she recorded her 1969 masterpiece in Tennessee (Dusty in Memphis, with its hit single, "Son of a Preacher Man") and its soulful follow-up in Philadelphia (A Brand New Me). But while living in Los Angeles she seemed to misplace her atlas, maps, and all sense of personal geography. America had seemed like a dream to her, but it bred nightmares too. "It was very, very good to me and very, very bad to me," she would later say. Much of her muddling in the '70s was probably caused simply by the reality of being a woman in the music industry of that time. No longer a "girl" and a song interpreter rather than a writer, she was dependent on managers and producers to come up with the right setting and material for her. In England she'd pretty much produced herself — "She heard everything," praises her former lover — but her work was uncredited. Female producers were still a rare breed, and the perfectionism that was praised in men branded an intelligent, opinionated woman like Dusty "difficult." The albums she put out during the '70s all have sterling moments, but she was now slotted in an "adult contemporary" box that couldn't contain her talent.
Perhaps because she was denied an outlet creatively, perhaps because her lifelong fears and inadequacies were catching up with her, Dusty began seriously to abuse drugs and alcohol. Soon she found herself caught in an alcoholic haze that's still all too familiar to gays and lesbians torn between the closet and the need to live their own true lives. "When I knew Dusty, unfortunately, she was a mess," says a lesbian business owner in Los Angeles who had a brief affair with her. "She was a very fragile, brilliant, special person — the sweetest, nicest person you could ever know. But she was also the most insecure person who ever lived. She was drinking, using, and slitting her wrists. She was so vulnerable." Like many a single lesbian in the '70s, she seems to have had lots of lovers — a fact Springfield herself copped to in a 1978 interview with The Advocate. "I had never, from the age of 16, been out to dinner with anyone," she confessed. "I thought you just went to bed with people." For a while she developed an interest in the women's tennis tour and perhaps in a tennis player — although Rosie Casals, with whom she's been linked, was quoted in the March 7 Mail on Sunday as saying they were "extremely close friends, but not lovers." Dusty even married one of her lovers, a flamboyant singer-actress, in the late '70s at a backyard wedding in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley. The "best lady" that day remembers that Dusty wore a formal wedding gown (the other bride wore a pants outfit with a gold vest and long tie) and ran around complimenting people. "Oh, everyone is so dashing," she'd say in her heart-melting English lilt. Dusty was trying to stay sober at the time, so those who wanted to drink would surreptitiously retrieve a bottle of Jack Daniels that hung from a rope outside the bathroom window. "Everything seemed happy and peaceful that day," says the best lady. Unfortunately, the partnership turned sour and even threatening. In later years Dusty, candid as always, would admit to having been in an abusive relationship.
In 1981 Springfield relocated for six months to Toronto, home of a new love, singer-songwriter Carole Pope. Pope and Kevan Staples were the cornerstones of the Toronto band Rough Trade, whose music was "humorous and sexual and stark, with an R&B influence," according to Pope. At the time, they were managed by Vicki Wickham, a friend of Dusty's since 1963 and her manager from 1985 until the end, and it was she who set up Pope with Springfield while Dusty was performing in New York City. "I went backstage to see her, and we just started talking in stupid English accents," recalls Pope. It was a perfect way to connect with Springfield, a basically shy person who nonetheless had a sparkling, self-deprecating sense of humor and loved to put on "goonish" voices a la Peter Sellers or Monty Python. "I remember thinking, She's totally not my type. She's so over-the-top in what she's wearing, but she's so charming," says Pope. "The other big reason I was attracted to Dusty was because my mother had died two years before, and she was also a blond Englishwoman. It wasn't obvious then, but it sure is now." Their first real date was in Montreal, where Dusty was performing, and their second was a trip to London and Amsterdam, where Dusty was doing a TV show. "It was surreal," says Pope of the jet-set romance. "I realized what a diva she was [frequently late, overly concerned with her appearance in public] and how out of control she was, but for some reason I was mesmerized."
During the course of their relationship, Dusty was preparing her eclectic and sometimes overtly sexual White Heat album. Pope and Staples contributed two cuts, most prominently the boozy, Kurt Weill-styled "Soft Core." But by the time Dusty returned to Los Angeles to record White Heat, she and Pope were breaking up. It had been a tumultuous affair, with Springfield still drinking (and Pope joining in), but there had been lots of laughs and wonderful moments as well. "I will tell you one of my most intimate memories of Dusty," says Pope. "I got her to sing to me in bed, and that was like — my God — ecstasy. I remember making her sing `Breakfast in Bed.'" White Heat went nowhere, chartwise, and wasn't even released in Great Britain. Over the next few years Springfield wondered if she'd even record again. Then the gay-identified-but-not-yet-out Pet Shop Boys called and asked Dusty to sing with them on "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" Not only did Nell Tennant and Chris Lowe adore Dusty's voice, but they also innately understood how to showcase it. The record soared to number 2 on both sides of the Atlantic and restarted Springfield's career. Tennant and Lowe also contributed several songs to Springfield's next album, Reputation, which was well-received in Europe but wasn't released in the States. Song titles such as "Nothing Has Been Proved" and "Born This Way" along with lyrics such as "Who cares what they're whispering, whispering, whispering" ("Reputation") and "What you're gonna say in private / What you're gonna do in public" ("In Private") were perfectly attuned to the secret side of Dusty's life.
By that time Springfield had finally found steady sobriety. She'd also found a male she could truly love — her cat Nicholas (she'd become quite the rescuer of strays in Los Angeles). She loved him and female feline Malaysia so much, in fact, that when she moved back to Europe in 1990, she first spent time in Amsterdam rather than kennel her pets to meet British quarantine requirements. When Malaysia later was killed by a car, Dusty dedicated Reputation to her, writing, "May the great litter box in the sky have room for us all." Dusty's final album, the Nashville-recorded A Very Fine Love, reflects a wiser, more grounded woman at midlife. Sadly, just as she finished recording it in 1994, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and its release was delayed while she underwent treatment. When Dusty finally was able to promote it in England in 1995 — confident that she had beaten the disease — she seemed comfortable with her music, her appearance, and her choices. "It used to be said of me, `Oh, she needs to be a star,'" she told Scotland on Sunday in June 1995. "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."
Meanwhile, magically, Dusty's star was rising again. Hip young directors had begun to spike their films with her classic vocals. To her surprise and delight, Pulp Fiction, the monster 1994 hit in which Uma Thurman sniffed coke to "Son of a Preacher Man," earned Dusty her first platinum record. It must have seemed like a good omen — a glimpse of a bright future in which, fully recovered in mind and body, she would share her gift with a new generation of fans. Instead, the cancer returned in 1996 and settled in her bones. Once describing herself to Carole Pope as being as sturdy as a Shetland Pony, Dusty figured again that, with her Irish gumption, she could beat it. "Once she knew it was going to be a horrific fight, she fought harder," said her longtime friend Sue Cameron. "She never gave up because she loved life so much. Until two weeks before her death, she was still regaling nurses and doctors with her sense of humor."
In her final months the honors, belated but still heart-stirring, even to a practiced cynic like Springfield, began to pour in. "Dusty was unbelievably delighted by all the honors," says Cameron. She received her Order of the British Empire award in her hospital room, brought to her in a Fortnum & Mason bag from the palace by Wickham. "We had a few people in to watch her get it — nurses, doctors, and people she knew," Wickham told The Guardian. "She was in great spirits and thrilled to bits." Dusty couldn't quite hang in there for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, however; she died just 13 days before she was inducted into its ranks at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria. Elton John gave her induction speech, and Melissa Etheridge sang a sultry version of "Son of a Preacher Man" — a proudly out-of-the-closet lesbian singing about "the only boy who could ever teach me" in honor of a woman who was required by convention to sing covertly about her real-life loves.
At her funeral in Henley-on-Thames, England, the last of her many destinations, her casket was brought to the church by a horse-drawn carriage as she had requested, and "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" was playing as it was carried into St. Mary the Virgin Church. Eulogies were read by Lulu, Elvis Costello, Nona Hendryx, and Neil Tennant, who said, "I think Dusty would have been amazed and moved to learn how much she means to people." "It was so intense," says Carole Pope, who was one of an estimated 300 mourners in the church. "The whole town was out in the street crying. It was a Princess Di kind of thing. If only she'd known how loved she was, 'cause she never quite knew that." Afterward Mary O'Brien/Dusty Springfield would be cremated, and her ashes spread in a beloved place in Ireland. No more maps would be needed. She would be home.
gmoyle
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:13 pm

#79 from gm
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The Observer * 19 June 2005
Keep it Dusty
A shy yet bolshy perfectionist who loved a good food fight; an anti-apartheid champion; and a conundrum even to herself. Novelist ALI SMITH sings the praises of Dusty Springfield, the star who couldn't stand to hear her own voice

It was late at night about seven years ago and I was on my own, an insomniac, lying on the couch flicking channel after channel and knowing I should go to bed, when I came across an old music show. It was fronted by Ed Sullivan, the American music host who always looked drunk, like he couldn't quite remember who it was he was meant to be introducing next. And there was what's her name, you know, from the sixties, Dusty Springfield, who, with her hip little waistcoat and her blouse with its long frills like antimacassars coming off the sleeves, and her pure white-blonde perfectly coiffed wig, right now, 30 years after she sang this song on TV the first time, was singing 'Son of a Preacher Man', live, and smiling the most charismatic smile. The whole performance seemed effortless, almost self-dismissive, yet she was building up the song with a skill so consummate that I sat bolt upright on the couch.
Look at that, I thought to myself, I just saw the real thing; because it was as if I'd just seen something completely afresh that I'd thought I'd known off by heart — the incidental soundtrack to my own life via the BBC or the radio or the record player, something I associated with home and my older sisters shouting up and down the stairs about how to dye hair, and my mother calling through as she lit a cigarette in the kitchen; a particular female postwar voice, a combination of energised, exhilarated, sure and insecure. You can hear this combination in Springfield's first album early in the Sixties; a mix of pre-feminist feist and pre-feminist winsomeness. Her speaking voice compared to her singing voice is feist up against the slight-seeming middle-class English convent girl shyness, self-deprecatory, someone rounding her vowels beautifully out of a kind of personality-less politeness.
She was a vocal perfectionist, only satisfied with the sound of 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me' after they'd recorded it into a microphone hung over the echoing stairwell in her studio. She hated the sound of her own singing voice so much that she demanded the volume on the playback in her headphones be turned up so loud that it reached pain threshold. When legendary producer Jerry Wexler made her hear her own voice, stripped back, on Dusty in Memphis, it must have been a different kind of pain threshold.
Springfield was a conundrum; so shy on film that she could hardly speak and often so traumatised before performance that her throat would seize up, but bold enough to throw a bread roll at a head waiter in the Post Office Tower restaurant after she saw him being mean to one of his own staff, notorious for loving a good food fight, and especially for smashing whole dinner services, which she loved to do by dropping them down huge flights of stairs. Bolshy enough to insist, too, when she got to South Africa on tour in 1964, that she'd only perform to mixed audiences. Under segregation laws she was arrested then thrown out of the country.
She made black American music visible in the UK; she promoted the Motown Revue tour in Britain in 1965, the first time acts like Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, were heard here. And then, double-voiced as she was, shy and bold as she was, she was also brave enough in the liberal, tolerant, profoundly repressed 1960s to admit to a journalist that she was 'as perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy', the consequences of which statement were huge.
You'll have your favourite song of hers. I've got mine. A couple of years ago when I was writing a play about her I asked a lot of people what their favourite was, and was interested that almost nobody mentioned the same songs. But you can bet that somewhere in the performance of your favourite there's a little existential battle happening in what the voice does with the song.
Big ridiculous notions to hold in the one hand, pop song and existential survival. But Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, or as she's better known, Dusty Springfield, could do a lot with something as trivial as a pop song. She was what you might call an expert in brevity. 'It is marvelous to be popular,' she said two weeks after her first hit single, 'but foolish to think it will last.' And what did she say at the end, when she knew she was dying? 'I'm going out blonde.' And all through a turbulent and pretty existential career, fighting all those demons? 'I don't really care about the kudos,' she said. 'I just want to get it right.'
Wanting to get the song right — that's good enough for me.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:15 pm

#80 from gm
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Independent on Sunday * March 26, 2006
The invention of Dusty Springfield
Mary O'Brien was born with the voice that would make her our greatest female pop singer, but everything else that went to make the icon of Dusty Springfield she created herself. ADAM SWEETING investigates

It has become a no-brainer for fans and critics to describe Dusty In Memphis as one of the greatest albums of all time. Its 11 songs partnered her incomparable voice with a batch of sublime arrangements, masterminded by the Atlantic Records A-team of Arif Mardin, Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler. Elvis Costello calls it an album "that will chill and thrill, always and forever", and Rolling Stone voted it one of their Top 10 Coolest Records. It was Neil Tennant's love for Dusty In Memphis that prompted the Pet Shop Boys to approach Dusty in 1987 to give her a career-reviving hit with "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" Atlantic's grandees get another chance to reminisce about the making of Dusty In Memphis in the South Bank Show's forthcoming profile of Springfield, but Dusty herself never understood what all the fuss was about. "It's become rather an overrated classic," she told me in 1990. "It's not as if it's some magnificent work of art. It's a good record." I don't think she was being deliberately perverse. She just had a shrewder perspective on her own work than anyone else.
Dusty's death in 1999, at the age of 59, has boosted the legend of Springfield as the Great Female Voice of British pop, though it hasn't done much to promote a deeper understanding of what made her a great artist. "There's something sad about the way people become almost more famous when they die," reflects Lulu, a fellow-performer who became a close friend of Dusty's during the Sixties. "I loved her voice, and there was a beautiful, attractive quality in her vulnerability. She was very insecure. She was a hard taskmaster in the studio because she was such a perfectionist, but that's why she was so great too."
There were several reasons why Springfield may have felt ambivalent about Dusty In Memphis. Despite raves from the critics and generating one of her best-remembered hits with "Son Of A Preacher Man", the album wasn't a commercial success. It was also a record over which Dusty had less control than she'd grown accustomed to. Jerry Wexler and his collaborators were probably unaware that Springfield had effectively produced all her own work in England, even if it didn't say so on her record sleeves. "All the hit records I had in England were found, produced, almost promoted by me," she told Rolling Stone magazine in 1973. "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!"
Furthermore, the Memphis album marked the beginning of her period of exile in California, when she suffered grievously from being cut adrift from the friends and fellow-artists who'd supported her during her spectacular run of success in Britain. From 1963's barnstorming "I Only Want To Be With You" through "In The Middle Of Nowhere", "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself", "Goin' Back" and her biggest international hit "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", Dusty had become one of the biggest names in British pop during its most revolutionary decade. Now, transplanted to a West Coast which never looked quite right to her convent-educated English eyes, she descended into a trough of poor records and tawdry gigs on the casino and supper-club circuit. She became, in her own phrase, "Rent-a-Diva".
Springfield was intelligent enough to realise that the dawning of the Seventies was likely to render her Sixties persona, with its spectacular frocks, platinum beehives and black eye-shadow, perilously passe, and she had begun to feel a chilly wind blowing through her record sales. Yet it's inconceivable now that such a successful artist could have been left to blunder up a personal and creative cul-de-sac. She ended up stranded, unable to find sympathetic musical collaborators and struggling to build lasting personal relationships. The Seventies were a litany of unmemorable albums, while her private life became a free-fall into drugs, alcohol and self-mutilation.
Since her death, details have emerged about her lost decade-and-a-half in Los Angeles, and the South Bank Show film sketches in the outlines while stepping tactfully around the murkier details. It's clear that Springfield's sexuality caused her protracted agonies, and part of her motivation for relocating to California may have been the desire to escape the prurience of the British press. As Neil Tennant commented at the time of her death, "in England, she had the whole lesbian thing thrown at her in the papers. She wasn't married. Did she or did she not have a boyfriend? Those days were tough. I mean, that was before even tennis players came out. I think that's why she went to America. She was fed up." One of those tennis players was Billie Jean King, who came to know Dusty well. King tells the South Bank Show. "She wanted to be true to herself . . . and she had a lot of demons because of it. I think her sexuality was difficult because I think she knew she was gay by this time, and there is no way back in the Sixties and Seventies that you were gonna talk about it."
Almost no way. In 1970, Dusty gave an interview to Ray Connolly of the Evening Standard in which she confronted the dragon head on. "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 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." Thirty years later the comment would barely have been noticed, but Dusty realised she was walking into a minefield. "For 15 years she didn't have another hit," Connolly added, and these were years in which Dusty passed through a string of unfulfilling relationships. It's instructive to compare how David Bowie's "I am gay" confession to the Melody Maker in 1972 lit the blue touch paper under his career.
Her sexuality aside, Springfield laboured under the burden of being female in an industry where all the key executives, managers, producers and musicians were men, and women were expected to be compliant dolly-birds. In England, she had been able to exert control over her work in the studio, albeit uncredited. When she moved to the States, she forfeited all her behind-the-scenes leverage. Stories abound of how Dusty, in her heyday, drove producers and musicians to infinite lengths in search of sounds often only she could hear. Simon Napier-Bell, who co-wrote "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", remembered how the track was recorded. "Dusty complained about the echo on her voice. When the engineer went to the basement to adjust it, he noticed how good the natural echo sounded in the stairwell. Five minutes later, Dusty was halfway up it, leaning out from the stairs, singing into a microphone hanging in space in front of her."
Derek Wadsworth worked with Springfield for 15 years as musician and arranger, and remembers how she would adjust musical keys to create the maximum emotional impact. "She would work very hard to get exactly the semitone which would make her strain the vocal at the top end, so you get this kind of wonderful torture. For example, in "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" she pushed that key change to the absolute limit, so she could only just squeeze it out. To me, she sounded like a little mouse on a railway line when an express train is coming towards her, and you just want to hug that little mouse and save its life." She grasped the bigger musical picture, too. "It was like putting a jigsaw together. Dusty would have made a great scientist, because she analysed every detail."
It's Wadsworth's view that the "Dusty Springfield" persona had been crafted with equal fastidiousness by the woman born Mary O'Brien in west London in 1939. "Dusty Springfield was a creation of Mary O'Brien. She was almost not like a real person. She put the whole package together — the hair, the shoes, the gestures — and she had impeccable taste. I know in particular she modelled herself on Peggy Lee. She liked the way Peggy put her eyes on one side halfway through the song and did this little smile. There's a saying that the true nature of art reveals itself only at the very highest level, and I think that was the way with Dusty."
Springfield might have been designed to provide employment for battalions of psychotherapists. If she felt conflicted sexually, her personality also divided into an introverted, analytical half which found fulfillment in the endless fine detail of recording and production, and a performing half which adored stages and spectacle. "I think Dusty became a gay icon because of the extreme artificiality and formality of her persona," suggests Camille Paglia, cultural critic. "I think there was that element of pushing her energies to the absolute limit that the gay audience usually esteems in a major star. You can see Dusty's power if you compare her with Madonna who is one of the great pop divas of our own time, but who strangely lacks the ability to bond with a live audience or to open herself emotionally. With Dusty there's a sense of passion, not only passion as emotion but passion as in the passion of Christ. It's almost as if she's tortured by her gift."
If the Pet Shop Boys hadn't ridden to her rescue with the aptly-titled "What Have I Done To Deserve This?", Springfield might only be dimly recalled as a derelict Sixties icon, but their intervention allowed her to connect with a new generation. Now, writer/director Jessica Sharzer is preparing a movie about Dusty's life (rumours of an Ang Lee biopic were unfounded), set to star The West Wing's Kristin Chenoweth, and some measure of immortality seems assured. Dale Winton, a Dusty fanatic who named each chapter of his autobiography after one of her songs, thinks that's only reasonable. "I am very pleased to say that her enduring legacy is not the beehive and the black eye makeup. People have got savvy to the voice, the style, the phrasing and the delivery, and that is how she will be remembered. Put any of her records on your iPod today, and you have absolute class."

• The South Bank Show's Dusty Springfield will be broadcast on 9 April at 11.10pm on ITV1
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:16 pm

#81 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Independent * February 25, 2006
Devoted To Dusty
She was one of the biggest stars of the 1960s. But Dusty Springfield was a woman in turmoil. As Ang Lee plans a film of her life, LUCY O'BRIEN remembers the white lady of soul

She had an iconic image — blonde bouffant, panda eyes and designer dresses — and a husky vibrato that resonated on a stream of hits like "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", "Goin' Back", and "Son Of A Preacher Man". But until her death in 1999 at the age of 59, Dusty Springfield was generally written off as a faded 1960s has-been. After she was buried at a quiet ceremony in Henley-on-Thames, the accolades poured in. The Queen said that she was saddened, and stars including Cher, Elton John and the Pet Shop Boys paid tribute to Dusty as one of the finest female vocalists of her generation. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe said: "She brought pleasure to millions of music lovers around the world. She will be sadly missed." It was as if Britain had only just realised what a unique singer it had lost.
Now, seven years later, Dusty-mania is officially upon us. Along with an ever-increasing appetite for her music, the award-winning director of Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee, is to direct a biopic of the singer, with rumours of Charlize Theron in the lead role and Kate Moss playing her first lover. The appeal for the director of the emotionally complex gay cowboy film is clear — behind Dusty's sparkling exterior was a closet lesbian who fought depression and addiction to drink and drugs. It was this struggle that gave her that "difficult" reputation, and obscured her talent for years.
I interviewed Dusty in the late 1980s when I was working on the first edition of my biography. She was thoughtful, with a warm sense of humour and a pragmatic appraisal of the music business. She was in the process of moving back to England, describing Los Angeles — her home for 15 years — as "part naff, part glamorous". She added, "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." With her penchant for epic ballads and raw American soul, Dusty always was ahead of her time. In the 1960s she rejected the notion that female pop vocalists should look pretty and sing sweet. While other beat girls like Cilla Black and Sandie Shaw veered towards girl-next-door pop, Dusty injected a wayward energy into a UK scene stifled by mainstream light entertainment.
For a white, suburban convent girl from High Wycombe, her influences were unusual — ranging from the vaudeville blues mama Bessie Smith to the eccentric jazz artist, Blossom Dearie. An earthy, anarchic approach to life pulsated through that decorous Home Counties exterior. She was assertive at a time when women were expected to toe the line. She was hard on musicians who didn't come up to scratch, but kept those she felt genuinely wanted to help her. "Those who would play for me standing up if they had piles, which is what a drummer did for a week at the Talk of the Town — and he drummed beautifully," she once said.
Perhaps one of her greatest achievements was inventing that look — the impossible beehive, the smudged eyes, the glittering gowns. In true diva style, she had a succession of wigs that she named Cilla, Sandie and Lulu, and a host of gay fans who appreciated the fact that she modelled herself on drag queens. During a Gay Liberation march in the late 1960s, for instance, about 20 gay men led the parade dressed up as Dusty. "She should have been an old-style movie star," her Sixties manager, the late Vic Billings, told me. "Someone like Greta Garbo, wanting to be alone and languishing in her bedroom all day, maybe reaching over for the occasional chocolate." Though friends said she could be "as temperamental as hell", she also exuded the graciousness of a Southern belle.
Despite the flamboyant image, Dusty described her inner self as a "boring librarian". Born Mary O'Brien in 1939 to an accountant and a spirited Irish housewife, Dusty was a plump, bespectacled schoolgirl. By all accounts she had an unhappy childhood, with her parents caught in a loveless marriage. With a sense of reinvention Madonna would be proud of, the teenage Dusty dyed her hair blonde, donned a pair of high heels, and joined the Lana Sisters, a merry 1950s female trio who sang novelty jazz tunes.
From there she formed The Springfields with her brother Tom, a folk/pop group that became national favourites with songs like "Island of Dreams" and "Silver Threads and Golden Needles". At the peak of their success in 1963, she left to go solo, immediately scoring a hit with "I Only Want To Be With You". She became a staple on the mod TV show, Ready Steady Go, and championed a new US label fresh out of Detroit called Motown. "She was the soul singer. Out of all the girls — Lulu, Cilla and all of that — it was Dusty doin' it for me. She made me feel it. She had the vamp," remembers P P Arnold, a former Ikette who sang back-up on many of Dusty's records.
While she appealed to the mod cognoscenti, Dusty was also popular with a mainstream family audience. She topped the charts throughout the 1960s, and hosted her own TV shows. But by the end of the decade, she felt stifled by her status as a household name. She jealously guarded her private life, terrified that the press would discover she was a lesbian. Being an openly gay pop singer then was tantamount to commercial suicide — as the late Jackie Forster, gay activist and actress, recalled: "Being a lesbian was not seen as a nice thing. We'd been fed this dreadful misinformation about what lesbians were, and how we always lurked around lavatories or railway stations to pick up poor defenceless women. People were terrified of being found out at work, and there was tremendous self-oppression."
The gay scene for women was non-existent apart from the club Gateways, immortalised in the film The Killing Of Sister George, which Dusty frequented sometimes with her girlfriends. "At Gateways they'd play her records all the time, along with Doris Day and Julie Andrews," said Forster. "We adored Dusty. Everybody bought her records, especially 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me'. Dusty was attractive to us because she was a glamorous singer and a lesbian. I think even if she'd sung crap we'd have still loved her, because even though she never imposed it, or mentioned it, she was our role model."
Dusty was more outspoken on the issue of racism. Many of her friends in America, including the Motown artist Martha Reeves, were supporters of the civil rights movement. The first British artist to include a "no apartheid" clause in her contract, Dusty was deported from South Africa in 1964 for refusing to perform before segregated audiences. Her stance caused an uproar in the Commons. "We never realised it would cause so much fuss," remembered Billings. "It was horrendous and frightening." Dismayed to be pilloried for standing up for her beliefs, Dusty cried for days after the deportation.
She became a magnet for tabloid rumour. By the end of the Sixties, speculation about her sexuality reached fever pitch, and she escaped to America. Her move was spurred by the success of Dusty In Memphis, an album she recorded in the US with the Atlantic Records dream team of Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd. Released in 1969, it was a Southern soul selection that has since become a classic. Dusty thought she could break America with her brand of "blue-eyed soul", but people couldn't understand an English white woman trying to sound like Aretha Franklin. She was steered towards the Vegas-style supper club circuit, which for her was a living death. This was the start of a downward spiral. Dusty sang less and less, retired to her home in Laurel Canyon, and anaesthetised herself with a combination of vodka, Mandrax and cocaine. By the early 1980s she was near-bankrupt and given to self-harm.
It took many bouts of rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings before she found her equilibrium. In 1987 she was ready to try again, and recorded "What Have I Done To Deserve This?", a duet with the Pet Shop Boys that propelled her back into the nation's consciousness. She made two more albums, 1990's Reputation, and A Very Fine Love in 1995, but had to stop work when the breast cancer she thought she had beaten in the early 1990s returned. She fought the disease, retaining her sense of humour to the end. Sometimes she would stop the ambulance ferrying her home from the Royal Marsden Hospital to get out and go shopping. Then when she received her OBE in her hospital bed shortly before her death, she quipped: "It's a nice medal. But couldn't they have got a better ribbon? It's a bit frayed."
Towards the end of her life she found a new sense of peace. "I am a woman of a certain age," she said, after recording A Very Fine Love. "I'm comfortable with that and want to reflect it in my music." It's that gentle poise and panache that will be remembered, along with a voice full of vulnerability and emotion — "the Irish melancholy in me" — that always told a story. She is still sorely missed, but Ang Lee's film will introduce her to a whole new generation, and keep her sound alive.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:18 pm

#82 from gm
This one's a keeper
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rock's Backpages * July 2007
The Real Dusty Springfield
KEITH ALTHAM

The Dusty I knew as a music journalist for the NME in the Sixties and interviewed a dozen times was a wondrously talented loveable mess of self doubt. The glamorous Dusty Springfield on TV was purely a figment of her imagination. The real girl was initially a chubby, curly, red haired, bespectacled, self conscious but "jolly hockey sticks" lass called Mary Isobel Catherine O'Brien born 16th April 1939 in West Hampstead. "Dusty" was her own creation whom she fashioned from fan photos in Hollywood magazines to provide her anxious self with something to hide behind. "Whenever I hear my name announced to go on stage it always feels like it is someone else," she once revealed.
When I first glimpsed Dusty on my family's ten inch black and white TV in l960 with The Springfields' singing folk-pop songs like 'Silver Threads and Golden Needles' (The whole world seemed to be black and white before 1962) she appeared a sophisticated blonde bombshell. She had an image which was a cross between the Hollywood teen dream Kim Novak and the platinum bee-hived American jazz singer Peggy Lee. Later she told me in an interview she had actually based her look largely on a more obscure Fifties American screen siren called June Haver.
On a good day 'Dust' looked a knock-out on TV with her viciously backcombed blonde hair and Sixties penchant for dollops of mascara and oodles of lip gloss but in her more desperate moods the wig could slip askew and the eye make up could run so that she would resemble a distressed giant panda left out in the rain. Fortunately she had a sense of humour about her "disguise kit" and would lapse into wild bouts of "Goonish" catch phrases like "You Dirty Rotten Swine" and "You have deaded me" which echoed around her dressing room as she threw things at the wall (Dusty ran master classes for "chuckers") as she repaired her make-up.
Dusty was either up or down and the downs were often terrible "black dog depressions" that lead to alcoholic binges and pill popping that in turn led to her becoming a "cutter" whose self abuse was heartrending for her friends and loved ones. She was a lesbian who initially was confined to the closet in the Sixties because it was considered a career threatening persuasion for a female pop star. She later became a courageous fighter for her gender rights and comported herself with great dignity and discretion on that front as she defied the bigotry of the times.
In 1964 she defied the apartheid system in South Africa and went on tour there on the understanding she was allowed played to non-segregated audiences. When the authorities reneged on the agreement she was on the first flight home and refused to leave without her band for whom they were making tickets home difficult because some of them were black. Dusty was nothing if not loyal to her friends. Music might be spiritual but the music business is not and she would take on anything or anyone she saw being prejudicial or unjust.
She took on the foul-mouthed macho jazz band leader and drummer Buddy Rich in a New York club who delighted in making life difficult when she co-starred with him and refused her rehearsal time with his band responding nastily, "Who do you think you are you fxxxxxxx bitch?" Mister Rich had his feet up on a desk in the club at the time but not for long because she caught him with a perfectly executed right hook. When she finished the club engagement his band clubbed together and bought her a pair of professional boxing gloves which they presented to her with great delight on stage.
Despite the avalanche of gold and platinum records for millions of albums sold she even doubted the true worth of her glorious white soulful voice which made songs like 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me', 'I Just Don't Know What to do With Myself' and 'Son of a Preacher Man' uniquely her own. She was a perfectionist in the recording studio, which made life difficult for those who worked with her, like composer Burt Bacharach (for whom she had a thing) and producer Jerry Wexler with whom she did not but did some of her best work. However you will never find any of them questioning her professionalism or dedication. For Dusty it just could always be better with just one more take.
"How can I call myself a soul singer when I hear people like Aretha Franklin and Martha Reeves sing – god I wish I had been born black," wailed Dusty more than once when I interviewed her at the Ready Steady Go TV studios in Wembley during the Sixties. The show, first at studios in The Strand and later Wembley became like an unofficial club for weekly meetings with the media and musicians. Dusty never seemed able to accept was that she had real soul but it was white and born of her own self-doubt and anxieties. She was helplessly, hopelessly, haplessly insecure and sometimes sang from the depths of an inner despair with the heart breaking appeal of a lost child on songs like 'If You Go Away', 'I'm Going Back' and 'The Look of Love'. She was the woman with the child in her eyes. She could sing like Marilyn Monroe looked and when you met her it made you feel instantly paternal and protective.
To me, and millions of other fans, she was only truly innovative female vocalist of those years and someone who has managed to endure and leave a dramatic impact and lingering memory to this day. Of all the other high profile female pop stars of her generation, like Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw and Lulu, it is Dusty whose reputation for musical integrity and performance stands tall despite her paranoia and desperation that she was "not good enough."
I took to her initially as a music critic after writing a rave review of her first solo album, A Girl Called Dusty and then another in 1967 called Where Am I Going in which I wrote in the sleeve notes that songs like 'Sunny', 'If You Go Away' 'They Long to be Close to You' and 'Bring Him Back' were "classic pop and beautifully structured vocals of an unique quality". I called the album a vocal triumph, which it was, and set up an interview with her, via publicist Keith Goodwin, later at the inevitable Ready Steady Go in the Strand. I saw her in reception, said "Hello" and she walked through me as though I was not there and cut me stone dead.
I was mortified and returned sulkily to my office around the corner in Covent Garden and phoned Goodwin for an explanation. "How far were you from her?" asked Keith. "About six feet?" I replied. "I guarantee she never saw you," said Keith. "The girl is blind as a bat without her specs. You were not even on her radar at that distance. Was she wearing that sodding big blonde wig?" "Yeah I think so." "Probably never heard you either then – silly cow had it over her ears. Go back, she is expecting you." Keith was always refreshingly honest about his acts and although he genuinely loved Dusty he regarded her as sort of "loveable potty wombat" who drove him to distraction with her practical jokes and erratic time keeping.
I returned to the studios and confronted Miss Springfield by peering up her left nostril. "It's Keith from the NME, Dusty. I arranged an interview with you – is it OK?" I shouted. "Mon Capeetan," shrieked La Springfield myopically peering back and lapsing into her silly "Bluebottle" voice from the Goon Shows, always a sign of affection. "Lovely to see you 'Neddy' – thank you so much for the rave review. Absolute bollocks, of course. I was awful." We were back on course.
I was rather stupidly vain of my friendship with Dusty, perhaps because she trusted so few men, and at one Christmas Party hosted by RSG I even managed to persuade her reluctantly to take the floor with me. The next day was a Saturday when I always played soccer for my local football team and was extremely careful not to name drop but as we were changing amidst the usual traditional fetid male smells and horse liniment one of my team asked me what I had been doing last night. "Dancing with Dusty Springfield," I said. Of course I never lived it down. Shouts of "Give it to Dusty's dancing dimwit" were bellowed at me by my unforgiving team-mates for weeks when I was alone and palely loitering on the right wing waiting for the ball to be passed.
I eventually earned the ultimate accolade of Dusty's approval, at one point on being asked to write the sleeve notes for her album, aptly titled Where Am I Going in l967, as she had recently run into someone – thankfully not badly injuring them – whilst dottily driving her car at night and wearing dark glasses. She claimed distraughtly at the time that she "had not seen the pedestrian." I loved the album and wrote some cringingly adoring sleeve notes emphasizing the wonderful interpretations she had made of songs like 'You Don't Own Me', 'Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa', 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' and 'Wishin' and Hopin''. To my amazement this wonderful album was a flop and failed to make the charts although I note with some satisfaction now it is regarded as a vinyl rarity and passes hands for hundreds of pounds on eBay.
Although Dusty had her dark moments she could also be great fun. Once you were accepted as a "friendly fire" she seldom made any pretence about her glamorous star status and I recall being summoned down to Ready Steady Go when it moved to Wembley, on one occasion so that she could "Hit Back" over budget restrictions imposed on her recent BBC TV series on which she had memorably performed 'Mockingbird' with Jimi Hendrix. I met her in the canteen. "Keef", Dusty spluttered once I had made my presence known from the obligatory two feet, "That sodding Cilla is giving me problems – do you want to come back to the dressing room and give her a good kicking for me."
Somewhat disconcerted that I seemed to have been summoned to boot the good natured Cilla Black I was greatly relieved to discover it was only a wig she could not tame by that name and she had two others one called "Lulu" and the other "Sandie" cut in the styles used by her female contemporaries. We hoofed "Cilla" about with a great glee for several moments and much raucous laughter until the late Rolling Stone Brian Jones popped his head in her dressing door and pointed out he was next door with a groupie and could we keep the noise down as he could not concentrate on the job in hand. "So sorry," smiled Dusty sweetly and hurled a heavy ashtray at his head which made a very satisfactory dent in the door as it was swiftly closed. "Nice boy," quoth Dusty going back to layering her eye make up "But led by his dick like all of them . . . now where were we . . . Oh yes I would like you to write in the NME I am personally going to bomb BBC Broadcasting House . . ."
She was no pouting Debbie Harry was our Dusty and nature did her no great favours in the beauty stakes of life but she made the most of what she had and if you listened and heard with your heart she was truly beautiful. Dusty was "The Special One" from The Sixties.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:20 pm

#83 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Globe and Mail (Canada) * 23 October 2009
Dusty Springfield 'touched something deep inside me'

I don't know how other so-called ghost-written books are done, but Anne Murray was closely involved in the research and preparation of this manuscript. We spent more than 30 hours in face-to-face interviews, either in her Thornhill, Ont., home or her rented condominium in Jupiter, Fla., held dozens of phone conversations to discuss aspects of the book and exchanged several hundred e-mails. Here, Murray talks about her relationship with the troubled Dusty Springfield.

During a trip to L.A. I arranged to meet Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, better known to the world as Dusty Springfield. I have admired so many great women singers over the years, from those whose songs filled my childhood home in Springhill — Patti Page, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Sarah Vaughan, and Mahalia Jackson — to my contemporaries Bonnie Raitt, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Olivia Newton-John and Patti LaBelle. But if I had to pick one artist who, song after song, always touched something deep inside me, it would be Dusty.
I loved her work from the moment I heard I Only Want to Be with You in 1963, her first major hit. The sound was different from anything I had heard before — it made a visceral connection. Clearly I wasn't alone. In the next seven years she put seven songs on Billboard's Top 25. Her voice was at once unique — songwriter Burt Bacharach, who worked extensively with her, said you could recognize it in three notes — sensual, powerful and soulful. It was that element of soul that I think Elton John was acknowledging when he called her the greatest white singer in history.
Dusty and I had met once before, in London in January, 1973. I was returning home from Cannes, and one night Bill [Langstroth, whom Murray would marry in 1975] Brian Ahern [formerly of Singalong Jubilee ] and I caught the second of her two shows at the London Palladium. Brian disappeared afterwards, but Bill and I waited with what seemed like hundreds of people backstage. Finally we were ushered into her dressing room — a complete mob scene — and talked to her for a while. Suddenly she grabbed one of Bill's hands and one of mine and yelled, "Everybody get the fuck out of here — now!" Then she turned to us and said that we were the only real people there. Her security detail emptied the room in minutes. The three of us sat quietly and talked for a short time — Dusty, it was obvious, was pretty spaced out — and then we said our goodbyes.
The next time I saw her was in L.A. in 1975. I had called her up to see if she would sing backup vocals on Together, that first Tom Catalano [-produced] album, and invited her to our room at the Continental Hyatt House, where Bill and I were staying, for drinks. I'm not sure what Dusty was expecting, but she was clearly unhappy to see Bill with me in L.A. Perhaps she'd had a few drinks before she arrived; she had a couple more with us and was soon quite drunk. At one point she excused herself to use the washroom and then, on the pretext of a snag in her zipper, summoned me to join her. There she came on to me verbally and wanted to know "what was up" with Bill. I spurned her advances, telling her that Bill was the man I planned to marry. When Dusty returned to the room, she physically attacked Bill, scratching his face with her fingernails. It was quite a scene, but she calmed down after that, and Bill ended up driving her home.
Dusty did agree to sing backups and later that year came to Toronto to record them. We got along just fine, and there was no mention of the scene in L.A. We had a few parties at the house and sang together a lot, impromptu. She'd been battling drug and alcohol abuse for some time, but she was clean then and drinking only Fresca, as far as I knew. Although she never really became a confidante, she did tell me that she could only dimly remember seven years of her life. That was no exaggeration. One night after a day in the studio, a group of us trooped back to my home for a delivery of Chinese food. Over spareribs and chow mein my brother Bruce told Dusty how much he'd enjoyed a performance of hers in the Bahamas in the early 1970s; he'd been there during a vacation. She said, "I've never been to the Bahamas in my life." At some point during those recording sessions, she had a heart-to-heart with Bruce and me and talked about her addictions. She told us that before her performance at the London Palladium that Bill and I had attended, she'd taken a few Quaaludes. No wonder she seemed out of it. A few years earlier I'd taken half of one pill — my first and last — and I fell asleep sitting up in a chair.
Dusty and I kept in sporadic touch after that. In 1984, when I went to Britain to tape Sounds of London, my CBS-TV special, I asked her to be a guest. Our time together there was spent mostly on the set. She arrived three hours late for rehearsal. An entire crew from Canada and the United States was left irately cooling its heels while we waited for Dusty. When she arrived, her first excuse was that she was having her nails done. But when I buttonholed her later and asked, "What the hell was that all about?" she explained that she was nervous about working with me and wasn't sure she could "cut it." She had said the same kind of thing when she sang backup vocals in Toronto. I asked, "Dusty, what are you talking about?" "It's too high for me there," she said. "I can't sing the part." "Dusty, don't be ridiculous. Of course you can sing there. You sounded fabulous in rehearsal!" So she sang it — and of course it was magical.
On other occasions she'd say, "You're so good," and I'd say, "What are you talking about? You're the greatest." I was singing well at that time, as well as I had ever sung, but there was nothing wrong with her pipes. As part of that London special we staged a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and more than half the people were there to see her. We sang a medley together and it was terrific. But Dusty had to be told repeatedly how good she was; she would otherwise quickly lose confidence. Her insecurities flummoxed me — of all the people who needn't have felt insecure about their talent, she'd have been at the top of the list. She simply had no idea how good she was.
Dusty had a reputation for being difficult to work with, in part because she was meticulous and in part because her ears were so good that she could hear if one of a dozen string players was out of tune and then identify which one. In the recording studio she'd insist on take after take, a standard of perfectionism that sorely tested the patience of her producers. But there was none of that when she worked with me.
I saw her again at her house in L.A. — there were walls of gold records and the writer Fran Lebowitz was there — but in 1981, when Dusty lived in Toronto with Carole Pope (formerly with Rough Trade), she never called me. Then in 1999, not long before her death, I received a call from a friend of hers; Dusty had drawn up a short list of people to say goodbye to, and I was on it. First I sent her a tape we'd made of our rehearsals from the 1975 album, and then I called her. She was tired and failing, but we spoke for about 20 minutes, reminiscing about some of the good old days. It was very hard to say goodbye. She seemed a tortured soul, but for all the excesses and all the demons she fought within, I will always remember a sweet and vulnerable woman and my favourite singer of all time.

Excerpted from Anne Murray, All of Me: A Memoir (Knopf Canada, 2009)
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:21 pm

#84 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Sunday Express * 12 April 2009
For the love of Ms Dusty
Today is Dusty Springfield Day but on the eve of what would have been her 70th birthday and a decade since she died from breast cancer, it is only now that this troubled soul's greatness has truly been recognised, says CHARLOTTE HEATHCOTE

The decade since Dusty Springfield's death has so firmly cemented her status as the queen of blue-eyed soul that her reputation has arguably come full circle, her talents eclipsing the myriad stories and rumours about a troubled personal life. Those rumours centred around Dusty's sexuality, something the star was never truly comfortable with. This was partly due to her staunch Catholicism and partly because homosexuality was still taboo during the Sixties and Seventies. It was a conflict, however, that impacted on her career.
North Londoner Dusty, born Mary Elizabeth Catherine O'Brien, made her stage debut aged 17, singing in a small west London club and, after a period singing with the Lana Sisters, she and brother Tom formed the Springfields with Mike Hedges. It wasn't until 1963, though, that she made her mark on the charts with I Only Want To Be With You. Three years later she released her biggest hit, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. By then Dusty was firmly established as one of the most iconic figures of the decade thanks to her backcombed blonde beehive and kohl-rimmed eyes.
For all the glamour of her image, she was no pop puppet. She produced all of her own records up to 1969's Dusty In Memphis and earned a reputation for rare perfectionism. Her stage persona was, however, a mask for a troubled soul. Kiki Dee sang backing vocals for Dusty and explains: "There was the Dusty who had star quality, then there was the vulnerable Dusty." Wanting to be true to herself, Dusty bravely came out as early 1970 when she told an interviewer: "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." However, any chance of truly coming to terms with her own sexuality was complicated by her parents' refusal to take it seriously.
She moved to America, in part hoping to reignite a flagging career but also to escape the resulting press scrutiny. The move marked the beginning of a wilderness period for Dusty. American producers were dismissive of creative input from a woman and, stripped of the power she had wielded in the British music industry, Dusty saw the quality of her output slide over the course of the next decade. She ended up performing on the casino circuit.
At the same time, living on the opposite side of the world to her nearest and dearest, she went into meltdown, anaesthetising herself with a dangerous cocktail of vodka, Mandrax and cocaine. "I lost nearly all the Seventies in a haze of booze and pills," she ruefully admitted. A lifelong tendency to self-harm during difficult times led to periods in hospital and even attempted suicide. A sequence of stormy relationships only brought temporary solace. In the Eighties she "married" her girlfriend Tedda but their destructive relationship was doomed to failure. "She had to test people," says Simon Bell, her former backing singer who also nursed her through the final months of her life. "She had to do something very bad until people would say, 'I can't put up with this any more, I'm going,' and she would say, 'I told you so!'"
Dusty's career enjoyed a rebirth in 1987 when she sang on the Pet Shop Boys' What Have I Done To Deserve This? and she moved back to Britain two years later. However, the loneliness remained. Simon Bell explains: "She learned what was bad for her and cut it out. Drugs, alcohol and romantic relationships had to go; they brought out something destructive in her but there was nothing that made her really happy." Although Dusty went on to release two solo albums, by the mid-Nineties she was battling the breast cancer that would eventually kill her. "She had a reputation for self destruction but as soon as she was faced with certain death she fought back and wanted to live," says Simon.
Tomorrow (April 13) would have been Dusty's 70th birthday so, in tribute, today is Dusty Springfield Day at the British Music Experience, Britain's first permanent music exhibition at the O2 in London. "When she was ill and sold her future royalty earnings, she only got $1million, which she wasn't terribly happy about," says Simon Bell. "She felt she wasn't being recognised in the way she ought to be, so she'd be thrilled by the amount of attention she's getting now."
"I am survivor," Dusty said during the battle with cancer that killed her at 59. Those words may seem ironic on one level yet, as far as her legacy is concerned, they were prescient.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:23 pm

#85 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Times * April 3, 2009
The legacy of Dusty Springfield
The greatest girl singer of the Sixties would be 70 this month, but her legacy is evergreen
BOB STANLEY

Few would question Dusty Springfield’s position as the best British female singer of the Sixties; many would claim that she is the best bar none. Until relatively recently she was seen as one of a crop of stars of the era famous enough to be known by their first names — Cilla, Sandie, Lulu and Dusty. All of them scored a string of hits between 1964 and the turn of the Seventies; all of them had their own TV series. Yet whenever a new starlet has appeared this decade, be it Amy Winehouse, Duffy or Adele, Dusty is always the one cited as a reference point.
Dusty Springfield was originally Mary O’Brien, a chubby, redheaded Catholic girl from West Hampstead. She died just over ten years ago, and would have turned 70 on April 16. Her reputation has only grown since her passing; her influence has never been more apparent. A new compilation, Just Dusty, reminds us that at the heart of her appeal is that voice. There is an intimacy and honesty to it that is sometimes almost too much to bear. Even on an overfamiliar song such as Burt Bacharach’s This Girl’s in Love With You it’s as if she is singing to you alone, pouring it all out, apologetic, humble, deeply sad. When Dusty sings, “Say you’re in love with this girl, if not I’ll just die”, it makes you catch your breath — she might just be serious.
The voice came from a mishmash of influences: you can occasionally detect Peggy Lee’s subtlety and apparent effortlessness; the sleepy ease of Astrud Gilberto; the raw strength of Aretha Franklin. The influences are from all eras, all genres. This may explain the timelessness of Dusty’s voice, why it resonates, and how an overt pastiche such as the title track of Duffy’s Rockferry album can result in a million-selling album more than 30 years after her golden era ended.
What isn’t as easily emulated is her control. Take You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, her only No 1. There are battalions of brass, a choir to embarrass the Red Army, as much bombast as a three-minute pop song could ever take. Yet Dusty’s performance is entirely vulnerable. She’s stumbling to an understanding of where lost love has left her, and it’s an abject, lonely place: “You don’t have to stay for ever, I will understand.” A couple of years later, on Breakfast in Bed, she sang the same words, was equally convincing, but now played the cooing adulteress, giving the song an audible wink. “Breakfast in bed and a kiss or three, you don’t have to say you love me” — it’s total seduction. Breakfast in Bed was on the Dusty in Memphis album. Released at the end of 1968, it had a breeziness and soft, soulful delivery that hadn’t been apparent on her earlier, British recordings. “It’s become a rather overrated classic,” she later said, and certainly its low sales figures at the time would have coloured her judgment. Still, she was being too modest. This album is the touchstone of blue-eyed soul. It included perhaps her best-known song, Son of a Preacher Man, but for Dusty the process of recording in the same studio as her idols — Franklin, Percy Sledge — left her stricken with nerves. She always hated her vocal on Preacher Man and how it “seemed to move people on a sexual level where it didn’t move me at all”.
Her honesty, individuality and openness are traits taken for granted in modern singers. Echoes of her humour and modesty can be found in Adele, who recently responded to the idea of a celebrity perfume by laughing, “I suppose I could bottle my p***”. To her fans in the Sixties Dusty was sexy, tough, in control and unlike the doe-eyed Marianne Faithfull or gawky Cilla Black, she was never a puppet, never played the victim and wasn’t obviously pretty. Yet her sexuality gave her more to fear from the media than most.
Dusty’s public traumas — plate-smashing and food fights backstage, thumping the paparazzi — always made her newsworthy. While Winehouse’s breakdowns and Lily Allen’s cheek are now deemed acceptable pop-star behaviour, this wasn't the case in the Sixties, when girl singers were meant to be sweet, obedient, at all times professional. Dusty wasn’t having that. On a trip to South Africa in 1964, she had it written into her contract that she would play only to unsegregated crowds. The result was that she arrived to “South African government [agents] standing under the wings of the plane, it was a severe embarrassment to them . . . they drummed us out of the country. I had this really naive ideal that being there would make some kind of difference,” she later told the fan-club secretary Paul Howes. “That loop-hole got closed so I didn’t do an ounce of good.” This behaviour just wasn’t the done thing in the conservative showbiz world of the early Sixties — “I just got slagged left right and centre by Max Bygraves and people like that who were, I suppose, worried about me closing down some form of work for them,” she said.
It would be nice to think that Adele and Duffy will take on board Dusty’s artistic bravery when recording their difficult second albums. From Dusty With Love, the sequel to Dusty in Memphis, was recorded at the Sigma Sound studio in Philadelphia. This was a particularly forward-looking move — in 1969 Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were relative newcomers with just the odd Intruders or Jerry Butler hit to their credit: three years later they were the biggest production team in soul, with hits such as Love Train, If You Don’t Know Me By Now, and Me and Mrs Jones. With the classically oriented Thom Bell mastering the strings and the Sweethearts of Sigma on backing vocals, the whole of From Dusty With Love was fresh and airy, and remains her undiscovered jewel. A Brand New Me, the first single taken from it, got into the American Top 30, but it would be her last appearance there for almost two decades.
This must have been heartbreaking. By 1969 she had made the courageous move to live and work in America, leaving trusted British associates such as her producer Johnny Franz behind. She next worked on an album with the Brill Building legend Jeff Barry in New York — it was never completed. Her confidence was shot by the poor sales of In Memphis and From Dusty With Love, and now she was far from home. This, at least, gave her the courage to come out in an Evening Standard interview, knowing that the press wouldn’t be on her doorstep the next morning. “I know I’m perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy,” she told Ray Connelly. She had been assumed gay by the media for years, and finally it was in the open. This being 1970, her profile plummeted immediately.
Years of abandoned or ill-advised projects followed, 1984 being record low for her career. Dusty signed a deal with Peter Stringfellow, who was starting a record label. He produced a single, a weak Donna Summer B-side called Sometimes Like Butterflies, and mixed it without consulting her. It was desperate. When she heard the single, Dusty hissed: “I could strangle the f*****.” Three years later, the Pet Shop Boys put her back in the Top Ten with What Have I Done to Deserve This, and her reputation has climbed steadily ever since.
What now seems most remarkable about Dusty Springfield was her self-invention. Nobody helped her to become the beehived, sequined creature seen in stark monochrome on the cover of her Greatest Hits; it came out of nowhere in much the same way as Winehouse’s impossibly piled-up hair, bright red lipstick and tattoos. When she left the Springfields at the height of their popularity in 1963, Dusty binned the stiff petticoated skirts in favour of the all-denim outfit that she wore on the cover of her debut album, A Girl Called Dusty. It told you that she was in charge, a strong woman. “I was raised on potatoes,” she later said. “I developed this front so people wouldn’t know. Because if they knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.”
While Sandie Shaw had Eve Taylor to push her into Eurovision and the indignity of Puppet on a String, and Marianne Faithfull’s manager Andrew Oldham organised a soft-porn photoshoot of her in lacy underwear, Dusty was in sole control of her public image. This would lead to the occasional ropy decision — promoting a new single on TV in 1969 she decided to wear a ludicrous red page-boy wig; the song was Am I the Same Girl, to which the obvious answer was “no”. Sartorial issues were often a problem. “Sometimes I look like a ten-cent hooker,” she said in 1984, “other times like a drag queen.” On the other hand, her independence meant that her opinion was well respected. According to Jerry Wexler, Dusty was responsible for Atlantic signing Led Zeppelin, a recommendation of which she had no recollection when Howes reminded her: “It’s just that I get so incredibly enthusiastic about things — it was the same with Motown — I suppose somebody listens. Gee! I wish I’d got a commission. I’m really dumb!”
When I Only Want to Be With You, her first single, burst into the Top Ten in January 1964, Dusty Springfield liberated the Sandies, Lulus and Twinkles, the British Sixties beat girls, by reinventing the American girl group sound for the kids of Bradford, Bellshill and Bournemouth. More recently, fierce originals such as Kate Bush, Siouxsie Sioux and Björk all owe Dusty a debt — she was there first, she fought the war for originality and emancipation single-handedly. For everybody else, there’s I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten. The lyric is in the same giddy vein as the Shirelles’ Will You Love Me Tomorrow, an instant crush at a party, only the singer here is no 15-year-old. She is old enough to realise that love is frightening and dangerous; few recordings convey its gut-churning highs and lows so well. The delivery is undisguised, wide open, sensual, dark and quite beautiful. And this is why Dusty Springfield’s music will never grow old.

Dusty, the singers’ singer

Duffy: “Dusty was a woman who strove for quality and, in many ways, she was ahead of her times. During the Sixties it wasn’t as straightforward as it is today to hop on a plane and make a record in America, yet she proved that geography meant nothing in search for great music. I will probably be introducing someone’s grandchildren to Dusty’s Dusty in Memphis record. As sure as we are of her brilliance, her records and legacy will never disappear.”

Neil Tennant: “Dusty to me has one of the most beautiful voices anyone’s ever had in pop music. She has a very vulnerable quality in her voice, and a fantastic way in which she phrases things. She always turns a song into a Dusty Springfield record. I learnt an awful lot about singing just from listening and watching her. She takes your song and makes it sound ten times better.”

Kiki Dee: “I'd been a huge fan and I had this great opportunity when I was 17 to sing backing vocals on Some of Your Loving. In the studio she was a pleasure. For me, she epitomises the individual. She knew exactly which material was right for her, which was quite unusual then. She was before her time.”

Vicki Wickham, former manager: “Dusty's voice had a 'sound' and it was not a British vocal sound. It was a mixture of American genres from country to soul, from folk to pop. Dusty once said: 'You can never be authentic if you're British. It's mimicry' — she was
right, and followed this to a T. She listened to a huge range of singers and took on board the phrasing, breathing techniques and attitude of each. She was extremely musical —
almost to a fault. She had amazing ears and she could hear one violin out of an orchestra that was out. She was such a perfectionist."

Simon Raymonde, former bassist with the Cocteau Twins (He and brother Nick are sons of Ivor Raymond, arranger and writer of Dusty's I Only Want To Be With You): “I remember this woman with big hair coming to the house and sitting in the garden with my old man. I actually love the stuff she did with Neil Tennant; it was great that the Eighties saw a resurgence in appreciation for her, and it was well overdue.”

Nick Raymonde, of BMG, credited with discovering Take That: “My first memory was meeting her and her manager Vicki Wickham in Studio Two where Dad worked at Decca. How tall and disconnected she seemed from my little-boy world. I instinctively knew even then that was because she was the thing I most wanted to meet — a superstar. She was the Sixties female equivalent of David Bowie for me. Totally alien and therefore completely aspirational. I don't know how I have resisted wearing eyeliner all these years.”
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:25 pm

#86 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
Salon * 10 August 2010
Dusty Springfield
JOHN MANCHESTER

The oldest stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral, made in the 12th century, glow with panes of a deep special blue. It’s a color whose formula no artist or scientist has been able to recreate. Among the recordings of the 1960’s is a voice of deep blue, a shade as impossible to recreate as the blue in the glass of Chartres. It belonged to an Irish Catholic woman born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, who reinvented herself as Dusty Springfield. We can’t know what spiritual meaning Chartres blue might have had back then, but some of us who lived through the ‘60s know that Dusty’s voice uniquely expresses the spirit of that time (more so than her beehive wigs and sequined dresses). You can hear the wild hope and joy of those times in her voice, the eroticism, the silly pop fun. More often you hear frustrated longing and abject sorrow expressed with a brutal honesty unheard of in white singers up to that time.
Like all The Three Graces, Dusty grew up in a home filled with classical music. Her first band, the Springfields, sang a kind of super cheery folk music. Her voice already stands out. As she later explored pop, country, jazz and R&B, her voice expertly took on disguises that caused many to assume she came from the deep South, or that she was Black. All those styles ultimately filtered through her voice and came out that unmistakable Dusty blue. Her voice didn’t just adapt to suit different genres. It changed for each song. It also changed in the course of some songs, typically from some version of a smaller voice to a very BIG full voice. An old trick for a singer with power, holding some of it back before you let it loose, but not many have used it like she did.

~~~~~~~~
Brian Chin: From the liner notes to “The Best of Dusty Springfield”
She’s in full voice throughout her breakout hit, “I Only Want to Be With You.” The sun of early ‘60s optimism shines throughout the song. She belts out “Stay Awhile,” the voice even fuller, but now there are clouds. She’s a force of nature, blowing with desperate need.
In “Wishin’ and Hopin’” she employs her favorite trick: going small to large. Her wishes and hopes start with short staccato phrases, sung like she’s in complete control, obsessively ticking down a list. By the time she reaches “That won’t get you into his arms” her control is slipping. In the next phrase, she loses it, “So if you’re looking to find love you can share,” revealing desperation. Her voice has opened up some, but still she holds something in reserve, and it’s central to the meaning of the song. What she’s been holding back is explicit here: “Just do it, and after you do you will be his.” Even though its sexist message makes us uncomfortable today, she’s done such a great job that we can’t avoid enjoying her misguided hope.
The voice in “Little By Little” is a cousin to the full voice in “Stay Awhile,” only this time it’s a fullness of anger. In the release, the lyrics reveal just what’s happening: “Little by little, bit by bit, I’m going crazy and you’re causing it.” Yet I hear relief in her voice, as though going a little crazy might not be such a bad idea in this sad situation.
“You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” is her masterpiece. She lays into the minor verse at medium strength, but with the sorrow turned up to ten. She hits the major chorus, puts the light of hope in her voice, but doesn’t really turn up the power much. She’s afraid to, as if this desperate gambit – offering all her love for nothing in return – is still likely to be rejected. It’s only in the last chorus, modulated up a whole step, that she loses control and lets her full need show, “Believe me, believe me.” What makes the song so devastating is that an element of her need is the same as in “Wishin’ and Hopin’.” I don’t think there’s a song or singer that’s better expressed the perilous conflation of doomed love and sexual need.
In “I’ll Try Anything,” the small voice of the verse, “You belong to somebody else and not to me,” is tired, but not resigned, ‘cause it knows the work ahead: She’ll try anything, “cheat and I’ll lie, to make you my man.” And you best believe she will.
I would have loved to have seen the look on Burt Bacharach's face when he heard what Dusty did with “The Look of Love.” She’s invented a completely new voice here, a tiny thing with the power of a chorus of sirens. Here it’s not fear that has her holding back, but languor, like she’s so full of desire that it’s put her in some trance where it’s all she can do to get it together to open her mouth.
Most of these songs are torch songs. I don’t know of anyone who carried a hotter, brighter flame. A lot of that heat is plainly erotic. Often I hear that voice as making love, but not in the obvious, vulgar sense (Except perhaps in “Look of love.”). She’s not so much making love to us listeners, but for us, conveying warmth to our hearts. She does more than torch songs. “Wayfaring Stranger” is chaste, religious, and she conjures another suitable voice, a silvery flute.
Dusty was largely responsible for introducing Motown to England, inviting Detroit acts onto her TV show. In an interview she tells of practically falling down the first time she hears Martha Reeves’ “Heatwave” – an experience I remember having myself. Dusty sings “Heatwave,” “Dancing in the Streets,” and “Nowhere to Run,” with an unalloyed joy that’s miles away from the pathos of her torch songs. She lets her body move on these Motown songs, but in most of the video footage of her body is severely restrained even as that huge voice comes right out. What I love is this little shy smile she lets out every once in a while at the end of a phrase, a young Catherine O’Brien who knows she’s just done really good.
Elton John, in an interview, nails an aspect of the appeal of performers like Dusty; their vulnerability, that we’re “waiting for them to crack up at any moment.” She did for a time, in LA, with drugs and booze. But then she got herself together and restarted her career in midlife, achieving several hits with the Pet Shop Boys. In late interviews she seems to have really found some peace and wisdom. It shames me that I’d somehow assumed from all her on stage look that she was somehow a little ditsy. What we see in those interviews is a focused, smart, wise woman.
She was a heroine who was brave enough to demand unsegregated concerts in South Africa, even though they endangered her career. And who brought Black performers to England, along with superior American recording techniques that she had to fight with sexist engineers to adapt. She was a gay woman she was at least semi-out practically before anybody in pop culture.
Above all, she gave us one of the greatest pop voices of the 20th century, a voice that was pure 1960s, and always pure Dusty. She died in 1999 on the day she was to receive her OBE from the Queen, ten days before she was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If I could, I’d sing to her now:
“You don’t have to say you love me, just be close at hand.
You don’t have to stay forever, I will understand.
Believe me.
Believe me.”
She didn’t stay forever, and I don’t understand, except in a way she did, because her voice is right here, close at hand, on my ipod.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:28 pm

#87 from gm
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Express * 21 April 2011
Who was the real Dusty?
A new film and charity concert will pay tribute to Dusty Springfield, the singer with the eccentric upbringing who always struggled with the truth about her sexuality
SIMON EDGE

There is an informal rule at Buckingham Palace that if anyone receiving an honour from the Queen is ill or infirm, they can jump what otherwise tends to be a two-hour queue. But when Dusty Springfield was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list of 1999, there was no question of her getting as far as the Palace. Having beaten breast cancer once before, the disease had come back and she was in no state to leave her rented mansion on a hill above Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.
Dusty's long-time friend and manager Vicki Wickham — sometimes wrongly assumed to be her lesbian partner — was given rare permission to pick it up on her behalf. By then the ailing singer had been admitted to the Royal Marsden Hospital, the leading cancer centre in West London, where she was toasted in cups of tea by a group of nurses and friends. As she unwrapped her award, she observed that it was probably the first time an OBE had ever been delivered in a plastic carrier bag. She died a few weeks later, on March 2, just short of her 60th birthday. Hundreds of mourners lined the streets in the rain as her body was carried by horse-drawn glass hearse to her funeral in Henley.
Twelve years on her memory is still very much alive. Two weeks from today artists including Boy George, Kenny Lynch, Mica Paris, Rick Astley and Hazel O'Connor will perform a tribute concert at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, which Dusty herself used in her final months. Three days after that, a plaque on her old house in Notting Hill Gate will be reinstated. And the green light has just been given for an £18 million biopic based on the iconic, panda-eyed singer's life, to be produced by the great-grandson of Hollywood giant Douglas Fairbanks.
"Nobody ever thought she was going to die. She'd beaten cancer once and we all thought she was going to do it again," says author and longtime fan Sharon Davis, on whose recent biography, A Girl Called Dusty, the film will be based. "But her name, her music and her likeness will never die. She could have temper tantrums, she could smoke and swear like a trooper and at one stage she could drink like a fish and take dope like a junkie. But we're all capable of stamping our feet and Dusty wasn't a monster, far from it. She was the girl next door, a very nice lady. Hopefully this concert will be the first of many in her memory because she is part of our heritage, a part of British history."
The woman who would achieve stardom as the queen of white soul was born Mary O'Brien in middleclass West Hampstead, London, in April 1939. Her father was an accountant who had been born in India, while her mother was the stage-struck daughter of an Irish newspaper editor. Moving between West London and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, the family was not a happy one. Dusty later said her parents had a "lousy marriage" but divorce was not an option because they were strong Catholics. Overshadowed by her elder brother Dion (short for Dionysius), she herself was a plain, awkward schoolgirl who craved her parents' attention and once pressed her hands on to a radiator until her palms were bright red. Nobody noticed.
As a teenager she joined an act called the Lana Sisters but then in 1960 teamed up with her brother and his Old Etonian friend Tim Feild in a trio named The Springfields. Dion called himself Tom Springfield and Mary became Dusty. "Tom wanted a name with a folksy, country feel and if you look at a map of America there happens to be a Springfield in almost every state," says Mike Hurst, who replaced Feild when the latter left the group. "Why 'Dusty'? I really can't remember. Certainly I always called her Dusty. I think Tom was the only one who at times called her Mary." Her auburn hair became blonde as she adopted a look that would define the rest of her career. "She was more outrageous for the time than anybody else with her hoop skirts, her whiteblonde hair and the heavy mascara," says Hurst. "She toned it down a bit as the Sixties went on and the heavy eye shadow tended to go but the hair remained the same and the whole thing was definitely a mask to hide behind. It never showed on stage but she always had insecurities."
The Springfields became the top British vocal group of the pre-Beatles era. But in 1963 Dusty went solo, scoring immediate success with I Only Want To Be With You. She had further chart hits with You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, the Burt Bacharach songs Wishin' And Hopin' and I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, and Son Of A Preacher Man. She was deported from South Africa in 1964 for refusing to perform before segregated audiences — and was criticised by Max Bygraves and Derek Nimmo for making it harder for them to work in the apartheid state. She hated the controversy and cried for days. She also felt hounded by the media after telling an interviewer she was "perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy" — a bold declaration for 1970. A couple of years later she escaped to America.
The move was not a success: people didn't take as well as she had hoped to a white English woman trying to sound like Aretha Franklin. She ended up on the supper-club circuit, which she despised, and fell into a downward spiral of vodka, barbiturates and cocaine. "I lost nearly all the Seventies in a haze of booze and pills," she later said. In the early Eighties she went through an unofficial marriage ceremony with Teda Bracci, an American actress she had met at Alcoholics Anonymous. But it was a stormy relationship that lasted only two years and at the end of the decade she moved first to Amsterdam and then back to Britain.
"There were certain things she was addicted to, like the drink and the drugs and indeed relationships, that she eventually learned she just couldn't have," says her backing singer and close friend Simon Bell, who moved in with her for the last 14 months of her life. "She was never totally comfortable with the fact that she was a lesbian. She was very open privately with me but I think her Catholic background stayed with her right to the end and she never completely came to terms with it."
She had a brief career revival with two hits written and produced by the Pet Shop Boys and made two more albums. But she stopped work when the breast cancer she thought she had beaten returned. "Near the end she had me as a companion rather than a romantic partner and I think she did feel the lack of that," Bell recalls. "She mentioned it more than once so I guess she would have liked to be able to have that kind of life. But when she did have it, she wasn't very good at it and it was destructive." In public she was devoted to her fans but she was intensely private offstage. "Don't forget that Mary invented Dusty and the two did argue and fight against each other," says Sharon Davis. "She was two people and sometimes when they clashed it could be very frightening."
Her illness did little to tame her explosive side. But those closest to her never held it against her for long. Her neighbour Gib Hancock said in an affectionate tribute at her funeral: "Nobody who heard her in full flight will forget it. Volatile seems a very inadequate word to describe it. However, as day follows night, her remorse would follow every outburst. She used to come to our house distraught and ashamed. 'You'll never believe what I've just said to so-and-so,' she'd say. Genuine regret led to a potted plant or a carefully selected small gift and an abject apology."
Mike Hurst, who is reforming The Springfields for the concert (with the Dusty role taken by Katy Setterfield, winner of the BBC's The One And Only), says she never really changed. "She always had a vulnerability that audiences somehow picked up on. She was looking for something that I guess she never found, outside of music. And even though she was somewhere else as far as the public were concerned for the last 15 years of her life, her iconic image as a Sixties female legend was still intact. Today teenagers still know exactly who she was and that's quite something."
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby st louis blues » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:30 pm

I cannot thank you enough for sharing these articles. For the past couple of years I've been trying to collect all the articles and pictures I can find for my own scrapbook. I just want to say how much I appreciate the contributions of long time Dusty fans to this forum. I'm here in the U.S. and it's very difficult to find some of these older stories unless someone decides to post them. It's nice having them together. To all of you who have shared memories, articles, and your photographs, I truely thank you. [bow] Please keep them coming. Do you have more from the early 1960's? I'm going to enjoy reading these this weekend. :yes:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby gmoyle » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:11 am

St Louis Blues: If you have your heart set on more articles from the 60s, then your best option is to contact Paul Howes & buy back-copies of the Dusty Springfield Bulletin. Issues 28-55 each have 4-7 pages of clippings from the 60s music press. I must say, though, that most of those Dusty articles are fanzine froth, albeit usually with Dusty's humor part of the mix ~ & that's always delightful.

As I mentioned earlier, my digital collection is entirely random, as in: if it was online somewhere, I snagged it :) I also omitted a small 'rash' of tabloid articles from 1999 & since. (I admit The Sunday Express pieces teeter [pun intended] on the edge.) But, so, that's the lot! Not quite a hundred, but I am ever vigilant ;)

Meanwhile, open invitation to other LTD participants to add more . . .
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby daydreamer » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:47 am

Just working my way slowly through the one's I haven't seen before, mainly from overseas. I have to take offence with the opening of the "Salon" article, Dusty was not a big girl with strong broad shoulders! [:o] Just the opposite in fact, but maybe she had such a huge presence, we can forgive the writer because I've often heard from people who never saw her in person that she was "quite tall wasn't she". I liked the NZ article, even with a couple of gaffes thrown in because it contained some excellent descriptions of Dusty, eg "If anyone could record in a toilet and make it sound like a cathedral, it was Dusty Springfield" and "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".
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby PeelMeAGrape » Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:26 am

This might be a bit off-topic, but does anyone have the photos that accompanied the RuPaul interview?
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby daydreamer » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:27 pm

It's taken me a while to work through (too much tennis watching the past couple of weeks [:)] ) but I've now caught up with articles I've not read before and with some that I had read but have now been re-acquainted with. One's that I've particularly enjoyed are #74 Seattle Weekly, #79 Ali Smith (who often slips Dusty into her novels and wrote the radio play about Dusty) and #82, Keith Altham reminiscing about the Dusty he knew. Thanks again Geraldine.

The RuPaul interview didn't have any photo's with it, just caricatures of them both.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:10 am

From Rolling Stone, July 13th 1978

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Cas19 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:58 am

Thank you Frans I enjoyed reading this, love the pic too.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby karen » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:21 am

Nice clip Frans ..thanks for posting.. [:)]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby neonouille » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:51 am

Thanks from me too, Frans! :yes:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Scarlett_O » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:17 am

[bow] What i love about coming back to LTD to catch up on posts ... spending my Saturday night catching up with Dusty [yahoo]
"And I miss you in the earth's atmosphere, I wish you were here"

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Corinna » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:50 am

Isn't it a nice way to spend a Saturday night? [:D]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby james » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:05 pm

Great clips
Thanks for sharing
X
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:15 pm

:rose:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:01 pm

White Heat 2.jpg
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby SweMaria » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:42 pm

Thank You very much for posting this review of "White Heat", Frans! :thumbsup: :note:
It's so nice to read that the journalist Graham Lock really seems to like it! :yes: [ear]

Lovely to read the letter from Dusty too! :thumbsup: :rose:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby darren2722 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:13 pm

Wow! Thanks Frans. Like Maria says it's great to see a positive review of White Heat made at the time of It's release. :bravo: [8D]

And Yes Dusty: I and many others did enjoy White Heat immensely. :yes:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Beautiful soul » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:27 pm

Hi Fran's, what was Dusty's letter from? Looks like a letter to fans she used to provide on the old fan club. :thumbsup:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:28 pm

You're right, Connie. It usually was a phone-message to Lynne Jackson of DS International. She made a transcript and published it in the newsletter. More messages to follow!
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Cas19 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:36 pm

Loving seeing all these Frans, thank you so much.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby karen » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:03 pm

Yes Frans , thanks so much for these great stuff... :thumbsup:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:11 am

An interview:
Interview  1982 1.jpg

Interview  1982 2.jpg

Interview  1982 3.jpg
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:13 am

continued
Interview  1982 4.jpg

Interview  1982 5.jpg

Interview  1982 6.jpg
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:14 am

Interview  1982 7.jpg
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby donellac » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:40 am

Wow, Fantastic, Amazing to read this interview :yes: :yes:

It is such a privilege to hear Dusty speak. [yahoo]

Thank you so much for posting this. And for all your memories of Dusty.

Dxx
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby pat.dunham » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:06 am

Thxs Frans a great read! Look forward to more.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:59 am

From 1979
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:01 am

Another from 1979
1979 x 1.jpg

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:04 am

April, July and December 1980
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:10 am

Oktober 1981
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby darren2722 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:04 pm

These are great Frans, [8D] Thanks a million. :thumbsup:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby IWannaBeABluesSinger » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:52 pm

1981.jpg

Thank God she knew.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Cas19 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:02 pm

Thank you Frans, have loved reading all of these.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:04 pm

Learnt from the best [;)]
Got some more:

February 1982
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:06 pm

February 1982 continued
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:18 pm

February 1983
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:21 pm

February 1984
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:23 pm

Last one, Oktober 1986
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby pat.dunham » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:51 pm

Frans, what a joy it has been to read Dusty's letters to DSI. I'm sorry they have finished. I think
I'll read them again. Thanks so much. BTW Congrats on your win.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Dotty86 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:48 pm

Thanks for posting all of these Frans. They were really enjoyable to read. :thumbsup:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby fobakawa » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:48 am

Great reading Frans. Thanks so much for posting them. Very enlightening for me anyway. [:)]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby donellac » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:51 pm

fobakawa wrote:Great reading Frans. Thanks so much for posting them. Very enlightening for me anyway. [:)]


Yes indeed, very enlightening for me too!

It is such a pleasure to read Dusty's own words. :thumbsup:

Thank you so much for posting them. You are a star :star: :star:

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby paula » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:36 pm

thanks for posting these, Frans. I haven't read them all but intend to!
I think its funny how on so many letters , Dusty starts off with a little weather report [8D]
The letters really do show Dusty's dedication to her fans..always keeping some connection.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby boztiggs » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:44 pm

Wow!! lots of reading there!! Thanks for posting Frans!

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Britpop » Sat May 18, 2013 10:44 pm

A completely engrossing and amazing thread. Thank You to all responsible.
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Beautiful soul » Sat May 25, 2013 2:02 am

I recently came across this old article which was complimentary to Dusty. I didn't find it in a search of the forums archives, so I'll post it here. Hope it's not a duplication and its ok to post it here. Thanks [:)]

DUSTED OFF
A Next Generation of Elegant, Complex Singers Revisit Dusty Springfield
image.jpg
image.jpg (37.08 KiB) Viewed 16144 times



DEANNA STAFFO
By Geoffrey Himes | Posted 3/26/2008
BACK BEFORE SHE WAS A SOLO star, back before she was the focal point of the Eurythmics, Annie Lennox was in a British pop band called the Tourists. The group's one moment of glory was a 1979 single, "I Only Want to Be With You," which found Lennox wailing unstoppably over tumbling, rushing proto-techno/rock backing, delivering the title line simultaneously as a pledge of devotion and a threat of possession. The template for all her future successes--from the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" to the solo "Why"--can be found in the double-edged nature of that Tourists single, in the talent to wield emotional nakedness as both a gift and a weapon.
That talent came from Dusty Springfield, of course. Springfield hit first with "I Only Want," taking it to the No. 4 chart spot in England in 1963, just as the Tourists would 16 years later. Springfield sang it over the horns and strings of a big band rather than synthesizers, but what were synths conceived to be other than a substitute for a big band? Is it really a coincidence that the song's co-writer, the veteran British tunesmith Ivor Raymonde, was the father of the Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde? Or that Springfield made a 1987 comeback with the help of the Pet Shop Boys? And is Lennox's belt-it-out challenge to the terrified object of her affections really any different from Springfield's big-lunged cry but for the added icy frosting?
Lennox is hardly the only singer who owes such a debt to Springfield. From Lesley Gore to Amy Winehouse, female singers wanting to open the throttle on romantic need and desire have inevitably borrowed more than a little from Springfield--especially if they were white women who loved black R&B. Just as the Beatles and Rolling Stones tried to imitate black American artists such as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Smokey Robinson, and in not quite getting it right created something new and wonderful, so did their female contemporaries. In trying to impersonate Ronnie Spector, Little Eva, and Darlene Love, and missing the target a bit, Springfield created an unprecedented hybrid sound that made fans out of Elvis Costello, Nick Hornby, Sting, Elton John, and many more.
One of her biggest fans has been Shelby Lynne, the Alabama blonde who was making country records for Epic by the time she was 20 in 1988. Lynne struck out with country radio, but her first two albums were terrific, a great voice hinting at a love of R&B within the confines of mainstream country. Lynne won a Grammy for Best New Artist on the strength of 2000's I Am Shelby Lynne, and the award made a weird kind of sense. Lynne had reinvented herself as a new artist by spotlighting her Springfield-esque R&B instincts.
In late January, Lynne released Just a Little Lovin' (Lost Highway), a collection of nine songs originally recorded by Springfield plus a new Lynne composition in the same mode. Among those tunes is "I Only Want to Be With You," but unlike Lennox, Lynne doesn't try to imitate the big sound of Springfield's original. Lynne goes for an unexpected minimalism, singing in a relaxed conversational voice over drum brushes and bossa-nova guitar.
It couldn't be more different than Springfield's trademark sound, but it manages to get at the heart of the '60s diva's art. If Springfield's "I Only Want" is the high-school version of the song and Lennox's the college version, Lynne's is the divorcée take. Her protagonist has been through enough men that she no longer has to shout at them; she can croon, "No matter what you do, I only want to be with you," with such a knowing finality that her lover realizes there really is nothing he can do about it.
Lynne's whole album is like that--radically different from Springfield in its sound but incredibly faithful to her emotional impact. Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote "The Look of Love" as a confession of being overcome by infatuation, but Lynne sings it in an intimate whisper that implies her hormones may be racing but have failed to short-circuit her intelligence--she sounds like a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it.
When Springfield sang "The Look of Love," she did so surrounded by a huge orchestra and a cavernous echo, but she achieved much the same effect as Lynne: brain was fully engaged, contemplating how to best handle the unruly desires surging through her. She achieved that effect--as Lynne does now--by almost never sounding like she's working when she sings. Even when Springfield is belting out a big chorus over a thundering band, she never sounds strained.
This is the exact opposite of modern diva singing exemplified by Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and nearly every finalist on American Idol. That's why Springfield, Lennox, Lynne, and Winehouse can transmit multiple emotions at a time, while most of today's vocal acrobats can barely communicate one.
All nine of the Springfield songs that Lynne redoes can be found on The Dusty Springfield Anthology (Mercury/Chronicles), a three-CD, 77-song box set that makes the case that Springfield is the most underacknowledged great artist of the '60s. Of that decade's great divas--Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Ronnie Spector, Darlene Love, Diana Ross, Petula Clark, Cass Elliott, Lesley Gore, Grace Slick, Martha Reeves, Carla Thomas--only Franklin left behind enough great tracks for a better box set. And no one had better taste in songwriters; Springfield's box set includes five songs by Bacharach, four by Carole King, three by Leon Huff, and three by Randy Newman--recorded before most people knew who he was.
Springfield's influence is in the air this year. The Australian diva Tina Arena has included four Springfield numbers on her recent album, Songs of Love and Loss, and Maine folk-rocker Carol Noonan has included three Bacharach-by-Springfield songs on her new album of '60s covers, As Tears Go By. Noonan strips the songs down even further than Lynne, slowing them down and crooning them over a drummer-less band of accordion, mandolin, upright bass, and jazz guitar. She has a pleasurable voice, and it's a pleasant album.
But it lacks the rare sense of drama that Lynne and Springfield share. It's tempting to look to their biographies for an explanation. Lynne and her sister--singer Allison Moorer, now married to Steve Earle--were just teenagers when they watched their alcoholic father kill their mother and then himself in 1986. In 1970, Springfield admitted to the British press that she was bisexual, though it turned out she'd always been a lesbian.
Imagine trying to support yourself and your orphaned younger sister by singing upbeat country love songs after something like that. Imagine recording pop-operatic odes to heterosexual love while hiding your own true feelings. That might enable you to sound uninhibitedly emotional and shrewdly aware at the same time. At the very least, it might lead you to adopt a peroxide beehive tall enough and black mascara thick enough to resemble a Fellini heroine or a female impersonator.
Or maybe biography has nothing to do with it. Maybe Springfield and Lynne are just brilliant artists--underrated only because their chosen medium is the pop-diva music of romantic trauma.
Connie
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby darren2722 » Sat May 25, 2013 9:02 am

Great Article Connie. [8D] Did you type all that out ? :thumbsup: [bow]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Beautiful soul » Sat May 25, 2013 9:18 am

Lol Darren! If you saw me typing, you'd never ask! :oops: I type with one finger-- it would have taken a week! I figured out a way to copy and paste things like this. If only I could see what I'm doing on this phone! :lol: glad you liked the article [bow]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby donellac » Wed May 29, 2013 9:51 am

Thank you for finding this Connie. It is a great piece! It is always good to find articles that celebrate Dusty in this way. :star:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby dustyfan92 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:44 pm

There are some interesting articles in here. Thank you for sharing! [:)]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Zoey » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:37 pm

Beautiful soul wrote:Lol Darren! If you saw me typing, you'd never ask! :oops: I type with one finger-- it would have taken a week! I figured out a way to copy and paste things like this. If only I could see what I'm doing on this phone! :lol: glad you liked the article [bow]


Bless you, Connie. <3
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Hampson » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:54 pm

I expect we've seen this before, but a lot of new members might not have.

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 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.”

Wend
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby FionaJ » Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:57 pm

Hello Wend, thanks so much for posting this....I really enjoyed reading it and found it very interesting.

The more I read about Dusty, the more fond of her I become. As a relative newcomer to her music and life story, I am finding it an incredible learning experience. She really is (don't like saying was) an exceptional person.
Then the harsh reality dawns that she is no longer with us 'in person'. My only consolation is my (personal) belief that she has gone to a better place, and I'm fortunate to also believe that her spirit lives on and she will know of the love that is out there for her.

Many of you have been Dusty fans for many years, and some since the very start, but I also have a feeling that it is sometimes the case that Dusty 'finds' us. Maybe at certain times in our lives when we are in need of comfort and/or consolation we find her reaching out to us through her music and the inspiration of her personality.

I apologise if this is a bit 'deep' but this seems the most appropriate place to express such thoughts.

Fiona x
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Hampson » Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:48 pm

And there is always something else to find out about Dusty isn't there. What I like is she is so down to earth and normal amidst her greatness. And then after a while you can see the true Dusty, and ignore some of the myths written about her, which then puts you in a position to make your own mind up as to what is true and what is rubbish.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Lucy » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:58 am

Hi Wend.thanks for posting this interview for us newbies....

I'm like Fiona in that the more you read and learn about Dusty the more you can't help loving her. To have come through all the highs and lows of her life with a sense of humour and great intelligence is I think a great inspiration to us all.
She's been with me since I was about 12 and helped me through some tough times ( although she never knew it) in my life. And now I'm 'older' and wiser Dusty is still with me in her songs and her legacy. I love the letters that were written by her. It really would have been like having a long distance pen pal.
I know when I was in the fan club in the UK I always looked forward to those newsletters and finding out what Dusty was up to.....

She has fans all over the world and only last week I found out that a very good friend of mine that I've known for over 40 years here on Australia is a fan herself and I never knew... I've told her about LTD so hopefully she too can catch up with Dusty....
Linda

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby RenegadesEPC » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:59 pm

Hello Fiona,

I agree with you. Isn't it the worst to suddenly realize at random times in the middle of the day that we'll never meet Dusty in person? Aside from those that had the opportunity to meet her, of course. She is amazing, and I feel the same way about her finding us. I was a very shy fourth grader who ate lunch alone in the library when she "found" me and guided me out of my shy tendencies (for the most part!)

But I believe there is something about every human being that is eternal. Have you ever heard of the play "Our Town" by Thorton Wilder? There's an entire monologue in act three about sparks and stars in the universe, and the eternity of a being. That's why I like to believe Dusty lives on with us through her music, and other people, such as us, that will continue to remember her.

So, Dusty does find us, console us, comfort us in a way. And it's strange how you can really MISS a person without ever even meeting them.

Claudia
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Hampson » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:34 pm

I've been trying to put Pam's clippings on here of Dusty in Oz way back then, but not having a lot of luck at the moment. Thought you might like to see them Lucy and others of course. Gimme time.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Lucy » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:20 pm

Thanks Wend. Look forward to seeing them.....
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Hampson » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:10 am

Lucy wrote:Thanks Wend. Look forward to seeing them.....


Try this, let me know if you can't see them, and I'll endeavour to put them on individually.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1023573428 ... 8DQu8_XRQ#

Pam kindly gave me permission to put them on my Dusty Website, but as I've currently closed it down, I don't think she would mind them going on here for the time being until I get up and running again, which may not be for quite a while.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Lucy » Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:02 am

Thanks Wend .
Can read it fine. Lots of good clips. A few I've seen before but, lots I haven't. So thank you. [bow] [bow]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby darren2722 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:41 pm

Cheers Wend & Pam some great stuff there. :bravo: Hope you're website is back soon. [beg]
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Lucy » Wed May 27, 2015 7:52 am

Hi Everyone
I recently bought a copy of 'The Story of Rock' from eBay. I
It includes a lovely piece on Dusty up to 1982. What nobody knew then was that her career would take off again in the 90s... Hope you can read the pages....
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Lucy » Wed May 27, 2015 7:57 am

The last 2 pages...
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Pudge » Wed May 27, 2015 1:07 pm

Great article Lucy ,thank you for posting. Wish it belonged to me
Into my life forever

Dorn x
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby dusty nut » Thu May 28, 2015 1:25 pm

THAT'S A BRILLIANT PIECE, THANK YOU LINDA.
Lynn x


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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:57 pm

Hello all,

found another newsletter from DSI, dated May 1983:

Afbeelding (1).jpg


Afbeelding (2).jpg
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:59 pm

Afbeelding (3).jpg

Afbeelding (4).jpg
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:23 pm

Afbeelding (7).jpg


Afbeelding (8).jpg
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:34 pm

IMG_20150702_0001.jpg

IMG_20150702_0002.jpg
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Lucy » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:10 am

Thank you Frans. Great reading!, :thumbsup:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby FionaJ » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:15 pm

Wonderful to read these Frans....thanks so much for posting them :bravo:
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby darren2722 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:27 pm

Thanks Frans. :thumbsup: Much appreciated, some great reads here. <3
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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Hampson » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:28 pm

Thank you Frans.

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Re: From my Dusty articles archive

Postby Frans » Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:45 pm

You're all welcome <3
canards, canaux, canailles
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Frans
Wasn't born to follow
Wasn't born to follow
 
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