Mundo Rock

Dusty Springfield

Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien OBE, known professionally as Dusty Springfield, was an English pop singer and record producer whose career extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s. With her distinctive sensual sound, she was an important blue-eyed soul singer and at her peak was one of the most successful British female performers, with six top 20 singles on the United States Billboard Hot 100 and sixteen on the United Kingdom Singles Chart from 1963 to 1989…

After the Springfields cracked the U.S. Top 20 in 1962 with “Silver Threads and Golden Needles,” the group traveled stateside to record in Nashville, where exposure to the emerging American girl-group and Motown sounds impacted Dusty so profoundly that in 1963 she left the Springfields at the peak of their fame to pursue a solo career. Her first single, “I Only Want to Be With You,” boasted a dramatic sound and soulful melody worthy of a Phil Spector hit, and it quickly reached the British Top Five; it also fell just shy of the Top Ten in the U.S., where it became the first major record from a U.K. act other than the Beatles since the Fab Four’s launch of the British Invasion. Her biggest American Top Ten hit, “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” was the first in a series of Springfield smashes from the pen of songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David; she would subsequently cover Bacharach/David classics including “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself,” surpassed only by Dionne Warwick as the finest interpreter of the duo’s songs.

Additionally charting with hits including “Stay Awhile” and “All Cried Out,” by the end of 1964 Springfield was arguably the biggest solo act in British pop, winning the first of four consecutive Best Female Vocalist honors in NME; that same year, she also created a political furor after she was deported from South Africa for refusing to play in front of racially segregated audiences. Returning to England, in 1965 Springfield hosted the television special The Sound of Motown, a show widely credited with introducing the Sound of Young America to the their British counterparts, and continued racking up smashes like “Losing You,” “Your Hurtin’ Kinda Love,” and “In the Middle of Nowhere”; in 1966, she scored her biggest international hit with the devastating ballad “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” which topped the U.K. charts and reached the Top Five in the U.S. The soundalike “All I See Is You,” another heart-wrenching evocation of unrequited love, soon reached the British Top Ten as well; it was followed, however, by the Bacharach/David-penned “The Look of Love,” a bossa nova-inflected classic positively radiating with dreamlike sensuousness.

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