There was a disk jockey in Chicago who would announce that we listeners would have “a date with Dusty” after a commercial or news break, meaning that his next record would be by today’s twofer, Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, known to all of us as Dusty Springfield. Naturally, most of us young guys who weren’t old enough to appreciate her beauty or her magnificent voice would groan about it…
Dusty was from London, specifically West Hampstead, but she was influenced by the great ladies of soul and R&B, and was one of the greatest “blue-eyed soul” singers ever. She had a tremendous stage presence, with her long gowns, blonde bouffant hairdo, and heavy eye makeup, and she appeared not just to sing, but to act out her songs. Tragically, she died of breast cancer at just shy of 60 in 1999. You can read about her life on Wikipedia or the website dedicated to her.
We’re fortunate to still have film of many of her performances, and those of us who groaned at having her records come up on the radio fifty years ago can now see just what a fantastic singer and performer she was. Two of the performances are above. The first is her 1968 hit, “Son of a Preacher Man,” which reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #12 on the Cash Box survey. The second is “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me,” from 1966. It reached #4 on Billboard, #3 on Cash Box, and #8 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
These are simply two of my favorite Dusty Springfield songs, but there were many more that are available on YouTube, which also has several documentaries and interviews with her, and several full albums, including 1969’s Dusty in Memphis.
Dusty Springfield, your Two for Tuesday, May 5, 2015.