The Dusty Springfield Story
Our DUSTY SPRINGFIELD Series first ran in FORGOTTEN HITS back in 2004. Below, you'll find the original introduction for this series:
When I first decided to do a feature on DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, I approached FH List Member MFPING, who had recently completed his outstanding series on CONNIE FRANICS for FORGOTTEN HITS. Jokingly (well, HALF-kidding anyway), he asked if he was becoming the guy who'd cover all the big-haired divas of the '60's ... in fact, he even sent us this hysterical picture of Connie and Dusty from what must have been something like UN-Glamour Magazine:
(Quite honestly, I'm not sure if this is a REAL picture of CONNIE and DUSTY ... or a photo of the hot air balloons used in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade ... but I figured I'd run it anyway!!!) ***
I suggested to PING that he read DANCING WITH DEMONS: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, written by PENNY VALENTINE and VICKI WICKHAM. I was in the midst of reading it myself and found it to be a difficult read ... way too much "inner circle" name-dropping ... and facts that seemed to take away from the story at hand. All the self-abuse was played up larger than the accolades of a very successful career. I remember telling PING that there was a good story here to tell and that we needed to do so in a more interesting, entertaining way. And HE said:
I have to apologize for not getting back to you sooner on the Dusty Springfield email. I went out, got the book a couple of days after your email, and finished it a little over a week later. I have to say that the book really did suck big time and didn't leave me feeling like I knew anything worthwhile about what made her tick. Your idea about a feature on her is interesting, and I would be beyond honored to co-author a piece with you, but I am having trouble envisioning how we would work it, aside from me trashing the book and you filling in the blanks, lol
So, we set out to tell a more "interesting" side of the story of DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, focusing more on her career and, if not completely downplaying her demons and idiosyncrasies, at least putting them all into one place and then getting back to the music that we all fell in love with. (Let's face it ... the DUSTY SPRINGFIELD Story doesn't have a happy ending! It WOULD, however, make an EXCELLENT BEHIND THE MUSIC television special. There is no question that her so-called "personal demons" greatly affected the longevity of her singing career.)
Unfortunately, due to a family emergency, PING had to drop out of this project unexpectedly. In carrying on alone, I tried to retain our original vision when putting this piece together. I can only hope that, to that end, I have succeeded. As such, I dedicate this piece to Michael, his late father and his entire family in their difficult time. (Hang in there, Michael...there are plenty of other divas for us to cover!)
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD was born MARY ISABEL CATHERINE BERNADETTE O'BRIEN (now is THAT an Irish-Catholic name or what?!?!?) on April 16, 1939.
To compensate for what she felt was little family recognition, she found her way through music and, in the late 1950's, auditioned to join THE LANA SISTERS, a British equivalent of THE ANDREWS SISTERS or THE BEVERLEY SISTERS. Along with RISS CHANTELLE and LYNNE ABRAMS, MARY O'BRIEN became one of the made-over bubble-cut blondes, renaming herself "SHAN" for this show-business experience. Performing with THE LANA SISTERS taught DUSTY quite a bit about stage presence and performance ... the group appeared regularly on BRIAN MATTHEWS'popular BBC radio program SATURDAY CLUB and opened for successful British acts like CLIFF RICHARD and ADAM FAITH as well as American recording artists touring U.S. airbases in Europe such as NAT KING COLE and JOHNNY RAY.
While DUSTY was off touring with the LANAS, her brother DION had formed a new folk duo with his friend TIM FEILD. In 1961, at the ripe old age of 21, DUSTY joined her brother and THE SPRINGFIELDS were born. Changing their names to TOM, TIM and DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, the trio started to take off on British TV. In 1962, a year and a half before THE BEATLES burst upon the American Music Scene, the British band THE SPRINGFIELDS scored a rare #20 U.S. hit with their version of SILVER THREADS AND GOLDEN NEEDLES, a song later covered (with varying degrees of success) by LINDA RONSTADT, THE COWSILLS, JODY MILLER and, on the Country Charts, DOLLY PARTON, TAMMY WYNETTE and LORETTA LYNN. (Ironically, this single never charted in England where THE SPRINGFIELDS had five other Top 40 Pop Hits between 1961 and 1963.)
TOM SPRINGFIELD maintained from the inception of the band's career that THE SPRINGFIELDS were on a three-year plan. True to his word, the group disbanded in 1963 ... but not before they appeared on the pilot episode of READY, STEADY, GO, the hugely successful British Television Music Series.
BTW: Dusty's brother TOM SPRINGFIELD didn't exactly disappear off the music charts after THE SPRINGFIELDS split up...he went on to write and produce many of THE SEEKERS' biggest hits, including I'LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER YOU, A WORLD OF OUR OWN and GEORGY GIRL.
1964 was a big year for EVERYTHING British and DUSTY SPRINGFIELD was no exception. Her hits I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU, STAY AWHILE, WISHIN' AND HOPIN', and ALL CRIED OUT were all Top 40 Hits here in the U.S. that year. (You can add LOSING YOU and I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF to that list on the British Charts.)
In September of 1964, she was one of the featured performers on a bill that included THE RONETTES, THE SHANGRI-LAS, MARTHA AND THE VANDELLAS, THE TEMPTATIONS, THE EXCITERS, THE SUPREMES, MARVIN GAYE and SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES ... imagine seeing THAT show!!! (And all for probably around $4.00 - $5.00!!!)
One of the first American songs to influence Dusty was TELL HIM by THE EXCITERS, the Top 5 Hit from early 1963. She loved the whole "girl group" sound and now here she was, sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in Girl Group History. She was so enamored by MARTHA REEVES AND THE VANDELLAS that she would often come out on stage to sing back-up with them ... the great white, bubble-blonde hope! In fact, DUSTY hosted a special edition of READY, STEADY, GO that featured many of the Motown artists of the day. (BERRY GORDY has credited this program with breaking many of his acts in Great Britain.) One of the thrills of her lifetime was singing a duet with MARTHA REEVES on DUSTY's big hit at the time,WISHIN' AND HOPIN'.
In 1964, DUSTY made International Headlines when she began a tour of South Africa, refusing to perform in front of any segregated audiences. (Apartheid was a BIG issue at the time and Dusty actually had it written into her contract that all her shows were to be in front of mixed audiences ONLY ... in fact, after three shows, she was pretty much forced to leave the country ... but not before the shockwave of her bold stance shot through the record industry.)
1965 was a quieter year for Dusty ... only one of her singles made the US chart (and that was the low-charting LOSING YOU, #84.) In Great Britain, however, YOUR HURTIN' KIND OF LOVE, IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, SOME OF YOUR LOVIN' and LITTLE BY LITTLE all made the UK Top 40.
While touring Italy that year, she came across a beautiful song called IO CHE NON VIVO SENZA TE. Dusty loved the melody and wanted to record the song, but a literal translation to English wasn't working, so she hired her manager, VICKI WICKHAM and YARDBIRDS' manger SIMON NAPIER BELL to write a new set of English lyrics. The result was her first #1 smash: YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME remains one of Dusty's biggest and best-known hits. (It peaked at #3 here in the States where, years later, ELVIS PRESLEY also scored a hit with his version of this tune.) The lyrics were actually pretty revolutionary at the time ... taking an opposing look at love and relationships.
Dusty was hot again but soon was turning up in the British tabloids ... seemed everyone wanted to know about her love life. Although occasionally Dusty would be linked with some male singer or movie star heartthrob, the truth was her preference was other women ... and, in 1966, this was not a lifestyle that enjoyed mass-approval by the public. Rumors that she was closer to MARTHA REEVES than her WISHIN' AND HOPIN' duet ... and known liaisons with back-up singers (and roommate / sleep-over pals) MADELINE BELL and NORMA TANEGA (both of whom would have their OWN Top 40 One-Hit Wonder in the '60's ... our previously featured I'M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME and WALKIN' MY CAT NAMED DOG respectively) as well as quite a few other female companions, kept the British rags full of Dusty stories and speculations. In 1968, she decided to come to the States to escape the intrusion into her personal life and record her next album ... and what an album it was.
THE ITALIAN JOB: Dusty's recording of YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME went all the way to #1 in Great Britain. ELVIS PRESLEY's version, released in 1970, peaked at #10 and topped Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart for a week. ELVIS enjoyed a fair amount of success translating Italian songs to English himself ... both IT'S NOW OR NEVER (adapted from the Italian song O SOLE MIO) and SURRENDER (from the Italian song COME BACK TO SORRENTO) topped the charts in late 1960 / early 1961.
DUSTY IN MEMPHIS is regarded by critics to be one of the landmark, must-have LPs of the '60's ... but, in fact, when it was first released it hovered near the bottom of the LP Charts. It peaked at #99, spending just three months on the charts and initially only sold about 100,000 copies. (It fared even worse back in Jolly Old England.) Yet it was the perfect marriage of artist, material and producer and still holds up well today.
Dusty's contract with Philips Records had expired and Atlantic Records, one of the premier R&B independent labels, couldn't wait to sign her up. ARETHA FRANKLIN had recently jump-started her career by signing with the label and, as we learned in our HISTORY OF ATLANTIC RECORDS feature, they were known for the "respect" they had for their artists. The Memphis and Muscle Schoals sound were at their peak at the time. Dusty always had a voice that favored R&B and producers JERRY WEXLER, ARIF MARDIN and TOM DOWD decided to make the most of it by selecting material that would showcase this side of Dusty's style.
The lead-off single, SON OF A PREACHER MAN, returned Dusty to The Top Ten on both sides of the ocean. It's gone on to become a '60's classic (and became a key-point on the soundtrack to one of the coolest scenes in the cult-flick hit PULP FICTION.) The song was first offered to ARETHA FRANKLIN, who turned it down, feeling it not only didn't fit her style, but also would never be a hit record. Ironically, ARETHA would go on to record her own version a couple of years later. It pales in comparison and only charted for two weeks as the "tag-along" B-Side to her #13 Hit CALL ME. Sadly, after hearing Aretha's version, Dusty became self-conscious about performing the song and even began adopting some of Aretha's phrasing when singing what truly was the definitive version in concert.
When JERRY WEXLER first presented the demos for Dusty's consideration prior to recording the album, she rejected EVERY song flat out. She said that there was nothing in the pile that she felt she could do justice to and flew back to England. A couple of weeks later, she reconsidered and, back in Memphis, selected the 11 songs that ultimately made up the LP. EVERY song she picked was from the originally rejected batch ... only this time, they were DUSTY's choices. Quite honestly, these were the songs she would have been most comfortable singing anyway: CAROLE KING and GERRY GOFFIN (4 songs), BURT BACHARACH and HAL DAVID, BARRY MANN and CYNTHIA WEIL, and newcomer RANDY NEWMAN (2 songs) were composers whose songbooks she regularly raided for material.
Her follow-up single DON'T FORGET ABOUT ME / BREAKFAST IN BED failed to make The Top 40 (it stopped at #52) and, in 1969 THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND (from the Motion Picture THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR starring STEVE McQUEEN and FAYE DUNAWAY) peaked at #22. (It was the ONLY song Dusty really fought to keep off the album, finally giving in because of her previous success with the soundtrack hit THE LOOK OF LOVE, #22 in 1967.) She released another single from these session that did NOT appear on the album, but the TONY JOE WHITE song WILLIE AND LAURA MAE JONES stalled at #71.
In an effort to keep the soulful magic alive, another album was planned, only this time the sessions would be moved to Philadelphia where THOM BELL, KENNY GAMBLE and LEON HUFF were at the helm. (In the mid-'70's, TSOP, "The Sound of Philadelphia," would be all the rage and this team was unstoppable, producing hit after hit ... however, Dusty's next album, A BRAND NEW ME, while spawning the #22 title single, did even worse on the charts, stalling at # 107. (In England, the title was changed to FROM DUSTY, WITH LOVE ... after the failure of Dusty's "new sound" on the MEMPHIS album, they must have figured it'd be a tough sell for yet another "brand new Dusty".) A BRAND NEW ME would turn out to be DUSTY SPRINGFIELD's last trip into the American Top 40 for nearly 20 years.
DIDJAKNOW?: After the critical acclaim of Dusty's recording her album in Memphis, several other artists attempted the quest of gold by recording there ... most notably the return to Memphis of their most famous citizen, ELVIS PRESLEY! However, ALL of Dusty's "Memphis" vocals were actually recorded in New York City!!! It had always been her style in the past to record her vocals last after all the other musicians had gone home. She would turn the music up so loud in the studio that the engineers and producers couldn't even hear her sing ... and then, with the mike right up in her face, turn out a letter-perfect vocal. She would then analyze that vocal phrase by phrase, doing countless re-takes until it sounded right to her ears. Despite the pleas of her producers (who felt they already had a perfect track), Dusty would sometimes re-record as little as one word 40-45 times to get just the sound she wanted. Regardless of what the record label may have said, Dusty really DID produce her own records!!! In all of the previous recording sessions held in Memphis featuring this crackerjack studio band, the musicians had been most successful by establishing the "groove" right there in the studio, with the vocalist finding their own way to mesh with that "groove" ... literally creating the final sound on the recording floor. Dusty simply could not adapt to this style and redid ALL of her "Memphis" vocals in New York City!
Dusty had spent her whole life seeking the attention of her closest family and friends. From a very early age, she would deliberately hurt herself ... purposely touching hot tea kettles on the stove to burn her hands or cutting herself with any variety of sharp objects. Those meeting her for the first time or new to her inner circle found Dusty to be suicidal ... but the truth is that Dusty always knew when to stop ... just how far to take this personal abuse. She made countless trips to the hospital (and psychiatric wards) over the years, always seeking the complete attention of those closest to her.
This trait coupled with the relative failure of her two U.S. albums and the obsessive journalistic need to exam her alternative-style sex life, led Dusty to move to the United States in 1970. She began frequenting gay clubs here (much more openly than she could at home) and developed long, deep, lifetime friendships with other publicly "open" celebrities like ELTON JOHN and BILLIE JEAN KING. One of Dusty's running jokes was that she could always tell when her career was hot again because the premier female impersonators were including her in their act. In 1970 she said "I couldn't stand to be thought to be a big butch lady but I know that I'm as perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy," publicly "outing" herself again in the media.
In the early '70's, she began having vocal problems, many of which could be attributed to a lack of self-confidence. She had also put on weight and appeared bloated and blotchy and was drinking heavily. Her drug usage had also increased. She sang background vocals on ELTON JOHN's great TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION album as well as his #1 single THE BITCH IS BACK. She was devastated when ELTON selected KIKI DEE (one of Dusty's former back-up singers) to duet with him on his #1 Hit DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART.
By the mid-70's, she was living next door to the legendary PHIL SPECTOR, one of her first musical inspirations. After two lackluster albums for Atlantic, she moved to ABC / DUNHILL and producers LAMBERT AND PORTER, who were in the process of resurrecting the career of THE FOUR TOPS after their long association with Motown Records. Whereas THE FOUR TOPS ran up a string of ABC / Dunhill "comeback" hits like KEEPER OF THE CASTLE, AIN'T NO WOMAN LIKE THE ONE I'VE GOT, ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH, SWEET UNDERSTANDING LOVE and ONE CHAIN DON'T MAKE NO PRISON, all Top 40 Hits, Dusty never even hit the charts during her ABC affiliation. By the end of 1973, she had checked herself into Alcoholics Anonymous. Career-wise, she was at an all-time low. She had had only two chart singles on either side of the ocean during the entire decade: her version of THE RASCALS' tune HOW CAN I BE SURE peaked at #36 in 1970 and a tune called BABY BLUE stalled at #61 in 1979, both on the UK charts only.
By 1980, DUSTY was back to drinking heavily and had added the anti-depressant drug Nardil to her daily diet. She was also taking Quaaludes and Cocaine and, for the first time in her life, took up smoking ... to the tune of three to four packs of cigarettes a day. She moved to Toronto to be with CAROLE POPE of the Canadian band ROUGH TRADE, with whom she was also having a relationship. She would do occasional appearances there and often left with lesbian groupies. By 1981, she was flat broke ... and sold her prized Rhythm And Blues Record Collection to GRAHAM NASHfor money she would eventually spend on cocaine. As if Dusty's career couldn't sink any lower, she spent most of 1981 and 1982 lip-synching her hits in gay bars.
The following year she checked herself back into rehab at a foundation called The Friendly House. Here, she met the woman who would eventually get her off drink for good. PEGGY ALBRECHT saved Dusty's life ... by the end of 1983, she was finally sober, an astonishing ten years after her first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Dusty decided she wanted her career back ... if she wasn't able to reclaim her position as one of the premier female vocalists in the world, she would at least let people know that she was still around. She also decided to pursue the acting career that inspired her to get into show business in the first place. (Back in the early '60's, she determined that there were too many female actresses competing for the same parts and decided to try to make it as a singer in what she felt was a "less-crowded" field!)
Near the end of her rehabilitation, she met a singer know simply as TEDDA, whom she was immediately stricken with. The relationship was turbulent to say the least. Dusty had always had wild parties, inviting guests to smash plates and china, partake in massive food fights and trash hotel rooms in ways THE WHOonly dreamed of. This new relationship took all of this to the limit ... and then some ... yet Dusty decided that she wanted to marry Tedda. A lesbian wedding was not yet a common practice and special arrangements had to be made. Before the ceremony was over, they were already fighting and hitting each other ... Dusty would later say that the ceremony should have kicked off with the phrase "Dearly beloved and barely tolerated."
Things got much worse over the next several weeks. One night, Tedda hit Dusty across the face with a saucepan, smashing her mouth and knocking out some teeth. Dusty came back and whacked Tedda over the head with a skillet. According to DANCING WITH DEMONS: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, written by PENNY VALENTINEand VICKI WICKHAM (Dusty's long-time manager), "Dusty's face would never fully recover. Even though Helene (her friend) lent her money to have plastic surgery done on her mouth in New York, Dusty chose the cheapest job possible and spent the rest on drugs. From then on, her once expressive face looked frozen and the smile that had enchanted everybody who met her was tight and lopsided." After ending the relationship, Dusty helped KAREN TOWNSHEND, wife of WHO guitarist PETE TOWNSHEND, set up a charity to support battered wives.
In the late '80's, Dusty was approached by THE PET SHOP BOYS about recording a "duet" for their new album. (THE PET SHOP BOYS were hot, having already scored five straight Top 20 Hits in the UK, including the #1 Hits WEST END GIRLS and IT'S A SIN ... they would top the charts twice more with ALWAYS ON MY MIND and HEART.) They were also an openly gay duo and Dusty seemed a most logical choice to collaborate with. When Dusty asked what type of sound they were looking for, they simply told her to "just sing like you" and the result, WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS, topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Dusty's career was hot again ... solo singles like NOTHING HAS BEEN PROVED, IN PRIVATE, REPUTATIONand ARRESTED BY YOU all hit the British charts. Plans were made for her to return to America in 1994 to record DUSTY IN NASHVILLE, a 26 year follow-up to her MEMPHIS album ... but it never happened.
Dusty was diagnosed with cancer. It was first discovered in her breast and treatment seemed to cure it. In fact, by the mid-'90's, there was also talk of a THREE DIVAS tour featuring Dusty, DIONNE WARWICK and PETULA CLARK in an obvious attempt to cash in on the success of THE THREE TENORS. Again, it never happened. The cancer was back and had spread to her bones.
In 1998, it was falsely reported in the press that Dusty had sold her back catalog for $6,000,000 ... in fact, she had sold her future royalties for $750,000, with the money to be used to live out her final days as comfortably as possible. The following year, it was announced that Dusty would be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Sadly, she died on March 2nd, just 16 days before the ceremony. Long-time friend ELTON JOHNaccepted the award on her behalf.
We hope you have enjoyed our special feature on DUSTY SPRINGFIELD. DUSTY left us with some GREAT music that has stood the test of time. Contrary to what she may have believed, she truly was one of a kind.
Here are some of the original comments we received when this Dusty Springfield Series first ran in Forgotten Hits back in 2004:
Although I already have a large collection of Dusty's music, I look forward to this week's salute to her for many reasons ... not the least of which is the information you provide along with the fine music. "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" remains my personal favorite song by Dusty; if there's a "flaw" anywhere in that song, I sure haven't found it in 40 years of "constant airplay" on my various turntables and CD players. To this day, the opening notes make me smile, lean back and listen, and get transported once again. Odd factoid about Dusty ... I read after her death a couple of years ago that she'd left a provision in her will that her cat was to be given caviar every day for the rest of its life.
Thanks for all you do ... Brad
Boy, you just NEVER hear SILVER THREADS AND GOLDEN NEEDLES by THE SPRINGFIELDS on the radio anymore ... yet ANOTHER Top 20 National Hit erased and ignored by these "know it all" programmers. (Boy, in hindsight it sure does sound a lot like a SEEKERS record! Play this one back to back with I'LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER YOU and you'll see what I mean!!! Of course, ANOTHER reason could be the fact that this #4 SEEKERS Hit from 1965 was written and produced by DUSTY's brother TOM SPRINGFIELD!!!) kk
When I think of Dusty Springfield, I think of Wishin' and Hopin' ... that song reminds me of Rawhide ... The cook for the Drive was Wishbone ... Now ... how is THAT for word association? LMVO Ron
The stuff on Dusty Springfield is just plain GOOD! Thanks.
Thanks, Hil ... I appreciate that! (kk)
Thank you for featuring Dusty Springield. I have always liked her music. My favorite song from her has to be The Windmills Of Your Mind. I have several of her CD's, but I don't remember ever hearing "I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore." You are right ... it IS a great track! :)
DUSTY's version of I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT ANYMORE was the PRIZE discovery of putting together this piece ... I LOVE it!!! (kk)
It IS a GREAT song, but her version pales in comparison to Jerry Butler's take on it. His version bombed, too (it only got to #95 in the summer of 1964). Ping
Wow, I didn't realize this song went back that far ... I never really think about RANDY NEWMAN being around during "The BEATLES Years"! (LOL) I will have to give this one a listen! (kk)
>>>We decided to tell the story of DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, focusing more on her career and, if not completely downplaying her demons and idiosyncrasies, at least putting them all into one place and then getting back to the music that we all fell in love with. (kk)
you made it perfect by doing it that way :) DominoGal
Wow! Dusty's life really does have a sad ending, does it not? For sometime I've thought of her life as 'bitter sweet', but now I realize that it was much more bitter than sweet. Nonetheless, she has always been and still remains my favorite female singer. In many respects I appreciate her full, mystifying voice so much more now that I recognize a measure of the sorrows she endured. Thank you Kent, PING, and BRITINVLVR for the materials you have added to this tremendous series.
A question: At the time of Dusty's death I think that I recall her funeral being televised. On PBS or BBC perhaps? This occurred at such a hectic time of my own life that I was unable to pursue it. This series has rekindled my interest so I ask if anyone is aware of the broadcast and how a copy may be obtained.
Tenere In Vividus Sonus
Wow ... I'm not aware of anything being televised ... anybody out there able to shed some light on this? Thanks for the kind words ... I learned a lot myself about DUSTY SPRINGFIELD during the course of doing the research for this series! (kk)
This may not be your cup of tea, but when I heard it today, I couldn't stop playing it. I love a song with a certain amount of longing and angst. The never ending pursuit of something we don't have. Coupled with the smokey soulful sound of Springfield's voice ... ahh. It hits the spot like a cold beer on a hot afternoon.
I wondered who were the writers of the song, so I did a search on Mark Barkan & Vic Millrose. Barkan had also written "Pretty Flamingo" recorded by Manfred Mann and had co-written (along with Ritchie Adams) the Banana Splits theme song. (lol) Millrose collaborated with Tony Bruno and Bob Elgin on "Last Chance To Turn Around," recorded by Gene Pitney in 1965. I have both of those songs. Unless you're a big Manfred Mann or Pitney fan, these songs aren't all that great. Suzanne
Suzanne then sent us a copy of the song and lyrics to I'LL TRY ANYTHING, a #29 Hit for DUSTY SPRINGFIELD back in 1967.
Just prior to running our DUSTY SPRINGFIELD Series we featured a recording by BARRY MANILOW of a song called SANDRA, ironically about a woman accidently cutting herself in the kitchen one day. We then received this email from MFPING:
Interesting coincidence that you recently featured this song in Forgotten Hits and now you're doing a series on Dusty Springfield. The very first version of this song I heard was by Springfield when it was used on a local public affairs program about housewives suffering from depression (this was back in the mid-70's). I tried for years to find the song with no luck, and eventually found the Manilow version instead. (I recently got a hold of Dusty's version courtesy fo DJF0321.) I have to say that I immediately preferred his version over hers, as good as hers is. "Sandra" remains one of only two Manilow songs I can stomach (the other being "Ships"). If you've never heard Dusty's version of "Sandra", I can send it along to you (as soon as I find the CD where I copied it, lol). Ping
Actually, I have it, too, and ALMOST used it in the series ... but the MANILOW version just tied in so perfectly with the OTHER "lovelorn" series I was doing that I used his instead. It still freaks me out to hear Dusty singing about the wife who "cut herself ... quite by mistake" in light of her own personal experiences. (kk)
The DUSTY SPRINGFIELD Hit List
Here's a recap of how DUSTY's records performed on the Pop Charts, both here and abroad:
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD remains one of the greatest, most unique female vocalists of our time. Her Top 40 Hit list on both sides of the Atlantic are most impressive:
8/61 - BREAKAWAY (UK as THE SPRINGFIELDS) #31
11/61 - BAMBINO (UK as THE SPRINGFIELDS) #16
8/62 - SILVER THREADS AND GOLDEN NEEDLES (US as THE SPRINGFIELDS) #20
12/62 - ISLAND OF DREAMS (UK as THE SPRINGFIELDS) #5
3/63 - SAY I WON'T BE THERE (UK as THE SPRINGFIELDS) #5
7/63 - COME ON HOME (UK as THE SPRINGFIELDS) #31
11/63 - I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU (UK, #4; US, #12)
2/64 - STAY AWHILE (UK, #13; US, #38)
6/64 - WISHIN' AND HOPIN' (US #4)
7/64 - I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF (UK, #3)
9/64 - ALL CRIED OUT (US, #31)
10/64 - LOSING YOU (UK, #9, US #84)
2/65 - YOUR HURTIN' KIND OF LOVE (UK, #37)
9/65 - IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (UK, #8)
9/65 - SOME OF YOUR LOVIN' (UK, #8)
1/66 - LITTLE BY LITTLE (UK, #17)
3/66 - YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME (UK, #1; US, #3)
7/66 - GOING BACK (UK, #10)
9/66 - ALL I SEE IS YOU (UK, #9; US #20)
2/67 - I'LL TRY ANYTHING (UK, #13; US, #29)
3/67 - GIVE ME TIME (UK, #24; US, #60)
7/67 - THE LOOK OF LOVE (US, #22)
7/68 - I CLOSE MY EYES AND COUNT TO TEN (UK, #4)
11/68 - SON OF A PREACHER MAN (#9, UK; #10, US)
5/69 - THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND (#22, US)
11/69 - A BRAND NEW ME (#22, US)
9/70 - HOW CAN I BE SURE (#36, UK)
12/87 - WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS? (with THE PET SHOP BOYS) #1 US; #2 UK
2/89 - NOTHING HAS BEEN PROVED (#16, UK)
12/89 - IN PRIVATE (#14, UK)
5/90 - REPUTATION (#38, UK)
Here are two more quick DUSTY SPRINGFIELD stories that should give you some insight into the type of person she really was. Both come from the VALENTINE / WICKHAM book DANCING WITH DEMONS and show a little bit of the "Diva" side of Dusty (with a sense of humor.)
DUSTY had a real passion for speed ... she loved to drive fast ... unsafely so ... probably part of her deep-rooted death wish that haunted her most of her life. (The only times that DUSTY was ever truly happy was when she was performing in front of an audience and then, if she sensed ANY rejection or unhappiness, she would brood about it for weeks afterwards.) Her longtime friend and companion NORMA TANEGA once explained DUSTY's frustrations and inner demons this way: "She wanted to be straight, she wanted to be a good Catholic girl and she wanted to be black." Instead, she saw herself as the opposite of everything she ever really wanted and needed to be.
In DANCING WITH DEMONS, they recount the story of the time that Dusty (and her close friend Helene) traveled to Ireland in an effort for Dusty to get closer to her roots. Dusty was practically blind without her glasses yet rarely drove less than 80 miles per hour. Helene says "Dusty refused to drive less than eighty miles an hour around tiny country lanes full of hedge-lined blind corners" and she was not wearing her glasses on this particular day. Helene could not bear to look out of the front window. "I do have good peripheral vision and it was so frightening in case something was coming round that hedge. We argued through every village because her instructions always gave you multiple choices and I was usually too terrified to concentrate." Sometimes, they would pass so close to the walls of houses that Helene, with her side window down, would have curtains from passing kitchens flapping in her face. They got lost, drove round the same villages three times and fought. Once, as they tore through a town, there was a loud metallic click."What was that?" asked Dusty."It was your side view mirror hitting the side view mirror of the other car," replied Helene."Well ... he was going too fast," Dusty reasoned. "Dusty ... he was parked! It was a PARKED car we hit!" Helene explained.
Although always portrayed as one, Dusty was never quite a "diva" in the sense of flying around the world in her private Lear Jet and having her servants and subordinates wait on her hand and foot. If anything, she was more a creature of habit. When touring or visiting a particular city, she would insist on having the exact same hotel room as the last time she was there ... it felt more like "home" to her. (She probably had had a wild party there last time anyway, complete with food fights and shattered glass ... these were Dusty's passions.) She liked that sense of familiarity.
When it became standard practice to visit the hospital for chemotherapy sessions, she was appalled to come in one morning and find another patient in "HER" hospital room. She told the nurses that she wanted the patient moved straight away. When the nurses explained to Dusty that this patient was much sicker than she was, she responded without a moment's hesitation, "Yes, but I've had more hit records than HE has."
Copyright Kent Kotal / Forgotten Hits, 1998 - 2014 ... All rights reserved