DOB: April 16, 1939, West Hampstead, London, England
Origin: Ealing, London, England
DOD: March 2, 1999, aged 59. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England
Genres: pop, soul
Occupation: singer, arranger
Years Active: 1958-1999
Instruments: guitar, voice, piano, percussion
Her professional name was Dusty Springfield because can you imagine trying to fit a name like that on a record??? She was dubbed the White Queen of Soul. Her career went from the 1950s until the 1990s when she died. She had 18 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1964-1970. She is considered to be one of the best female rock artists of all time.
Born in West London to an Irish Catholic family that enjoyed music, she learned to sing at home. In 1958, she joined a group called the Lana Sisters and then in 1960 she joined a pop folk group called the Springfields that included her brother Dion. Her career started with the upbeat single I Only Want to Be With You(1963), and following that was Wishin and Hopin(1964), I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself(1964), You Don't Have to Say You Love Me(1966), Son of a Preacher Man(1968). This is my favorite song!!
Her image was iconic in the 1960s, her peroxide blonde beehive hairdo, evening gowns, and heavy makeup. This made her one heck of an icon in the Swinging Sixties decade of London. She died of breast cancer in 1999.
She was the 2nd child born to Gerard and Kay O'Brien. Her brother Dion, was born 5 years earlier, on July 2, 1934. Her father was a tax accountant and consultant, while her mother Kay was a journalist. In her early teen years, she was somewhat of a tomboy. Growing up, she listened to a variety of music because her family were music lovers. She listened to artists such as George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller. She was a fan of American jazz musicians and vocalists like Peggy Lee and Jo Stafford.
Early Career 1958-1966
She joined up with the Lana Sisters, an all girl vocal act. While in the group she developed harmonising and microphone techniques. She left the band in 1960 to join up with a pop folk trio that included her brother Dion that would go on to be named The Springfields. Her first single, I Only Want to Be With You, was released in Nov. 1963. This song featured R&B tones, with horn sections, backing singers, and double tracked vocals, along with pop music strings. The song went to #4 on the British charts, and got airplay on WMCA in Dec. 1963, basically coming before the Beatlemania craze. In 1964, her tour of South Africa was interrupted in December of 1964 and she was deported after performing before an integrated audience at a theatre near Cape Town which was against the South African governent's apartheid policy. That same year, she was voted Top Female British Artist of the year in the New Musical Express Poll, topping Lulu, Sandie Shaw, and Cilla Black. 3 years later, she got the award again
Later years and Legacy
She died of breast cancer on March 2, 1999. She is still considered to be one of the top and best selling British singers of the 1960s. In 1964, 1967, 1969 she was voted the Top Female British Artist. Out of the British Invasion era, she is one who made the biggest impact on the American market, getting 18 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Even to this day, she is still considered a big icon of the Swinging Sixties in London. Her iconic look got her a powerful following in the gay communities, because of her ultra-glam look which she says was inspired by Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve. She was often nicknamed The White Queen of Pop and the Queen of the Mods.