Born: Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in Hampstead, London, England

Paul Howes is the foremost authority on Dusty Springfield's professional accomplishments and will hopefully one day lend his pen to this site. His book "The Complete Dusty Springfield" is the ultimate resource for Dusty's fans and those who wish to learn from her recorded legacy, and he dutifully runs the fanzine "The Dusty Springfield Bulletin" from the U.K. A few Dusty biographies exist, the most respected would likely be Lucy O'Brien's, while Vicki Wickham and Penny Valentine penned a more personal, though controversial, account. Dusty tribute sites are a valuable resource as well: do a web search under (you guessed it) "Dusty Springfield tribute sites". Hopefully one day soon these comments of mine will be removed and replaced by a suitable tribute from a notable source. Dusty is admired in every corner of the music business for her singular contribution to the art of popular singing, and has amassed one of the most earnest and grateful fan bases of any popular singer.

Annotation last modified on 2005-11-04 14:56 UTC.


Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien OBE (16 April 1939 – 2 March 1999), 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. She is a member of both the US Rock and Roll and UK Music Halls of Fame. International polls have named Springfield among the best female rock artists of all time. Her image, supported by a peroxide blonde bouffant hairstyle, evening gowns, and heavy make-up, as well as her flamboyant performances on the black and white television of the 1960s, made her an icon of the Swinging Sixties.

Born in West Hampstead, London to a family that enjoyed music, Springfield learned to sing at home. In 1958 she joined her first professional group, The Lana Sisters, and two years later formed a pop-folk vocal trio, The Springfields, with her brother Tom. Her solo career began in 1963 with the upbeat pop hit, "I Only Want to Be with You". Among the hits that followed were "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), and "Son of a Preacher Man" (1968).

As a fan of US pop music, she brought many little-known soul singers to the attention of a wider UK record-buying audience by hosting the first national TV performance of many top-selling Motown artists beginning in 1965. Although she was never considered a Northern Soul artist in her own right, her efforts contributed a great deal to the formation of the genre as a result.

Partly owing to these efforts, a year later she eventually became the best-selling female singer in the world and topped a number of popularity polls, including Melody Maker‍ '​s Best International Vocalist. She was the first UK singer to top the New Musical Express readers' poll for Female Singer.

To boost her credibility as a soul artist, Springfield went to Memphis, Tennessee to record Dusty in Memphis, an album of pop and soul music with the Atlantic Records main production team. Released in 1969, it has been ranked among the greatest albums of all time by the US magazine Rolling Stone and in polls by VH1 artists, New Musical Express readers, and Channel 4 viewers. The album was also awarded a spot in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Despite its current recognition, the album did not sell well and after its release, Springfield experienced a career slump for several years. However, in collaboration with Pet Shop Boys, she returned to the Top 10 of the UK and US charts in 1987 with "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" Two years later, she had two other UK hits on her own with "Nothing Has Been Proved" and "In Private." Subsequently in the mid-1990s, owing to the inclusion of "Son of a Preacher Man" on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, interest in her early output was revived.

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Year Title RatingReleases
1964 Dusty 2
1964 A Girl Called Dusty 2
1965 Ooooooweeeee!!! 2
1965 Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty 2
1966 You Don't Have to Say You Love Me 3
1967 The Look of Love 2
1967 Where Am I Going? 2
1968 Dusty... Definitely 2
1969 Dusty in Memphis 5 13
1970 Brand New Me 2
1972 See All Her Faces 2
1973 Cameo 3
1982 White Heat 2
1990 Reputation 2
1995 A Very Fine Love 1
1997 Songbooks 1
2003 Dusty Sings Classic Soul 1
2005 Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1964 Stay Awhile / I Only Want to Be With You 2
1966 Golden Hits 1
1990 The Silver Collection 1
1990 The Dusty Springfield Collection 1
1993 Blue for You 2
1994 Goin' Back: The Very Best of Dusty Springfield 1
1995 Dusty Sings Burt Bacharach Favorites 1
1996 Am I the Same Girl 1
1997 Dusty Springfield Anthology 1
1997 Hits Collection 1
1997 Reputation & Rarities 2
1998 The Very Best of Dusty Springfield 1
1998 Everything's Coming Up Dusty 1
1999 Dusty in London 1
1999 Dusty: The Very Best of Dusty Springfield 1
1999 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Dusty Springfield 1
2000 Classic 1
2000 Simply... Dusty 1
2000 The Collection 1
2001 Beautiful Soul: The ABC/Dunhill Collection 1
2001 Love Songs 1
2002 Spooky ~ the Very Best of Dusty Springfield 1
2003 The Singles+ 1
2003 The Ultimate Collection 1
2004 Classics & Collectibles 1
2004 The Look of Love 1
2006 At Her Very Best: Dusty Springfield 1
2006 Gold 1
2006 Complete A and B Sides 1963-1970 1
2008 Gold 2
2008 40 Original Hits 1
2009 Just Dusty 1

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