Guide to British Music of the 1960s


Dusty Springfield

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Dusty Springfield - vocals

Dusty Springfield (real name Mary OíBrien) launched her solo career when the Springfields broke up in 1963. With a dramatic image and a unique voice she soon became one of the UKís top female artists. Her music style changed from the folk of the Springfields to soul music and, many would say, she rivalled the great American soul singers such as Aretha Franklin.

Always a troubled figure due to her Irish Catholic upbringing and media intrusion into her private life, Dusty let her music speak for her. I Only Want To Be With You in 1963 reached number four and was followed by a string of classic singles and superb albums during the 1960s. I Only Want To Be With You was also the first record ever played on BBC's Top of the Pops. In 1964, Dusty toured extensively, as part of package shows in the UK, but also in the US and Australia. She courted controversy the same year when she performed in South Africa but agreed to only sing in front of non-segregated audiences. She was deported after singing to a multi-cultural audience.

You Donít Have to Say You Love Me, Middle of Nowhere, Just Donít Know What To Do With Myself and I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten demonstrated her excellent soul voice. Ready Steady Go dedicated a whole show to the Sound of Motown with Dusty as host. This was followed by her own television shows including two series of Dusty for the BBC.

After meeting Atlantic Records producers Arif Marden, Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler in 1968, she recorded the classic Dusty in Memphis album which spawned the hit Son of a Preacher Man. This was widely viewed as one of her best works but it failed to chart in the UK.

She moved to the US in the 1970s but had a lower profile. However, in the 1980s she made a comeback, recording with the Pet Shop Boys in 1987 as well as having a major hit with Nothing Has Been Proved, the title track of the film Scandal. These showed that her voice was still strong but she died from cancer in March 1999.

Making Time recommendation

  • Dusty in Memphis

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