Dusty Springfield

British singer (1939–1999)

Dusty Springfield (16 April 1939 – 2 March 1999) was an English singer. Her real name was Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien. Her musical career lasted from the late 1950s to the 1990s. She recorded over 200 songs during this time. She became one of the most successful female singers in Britain. She made soul music. Between 1963 and 1989, she had six top 20 singles on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart and 16 on the United Kingdom Singles Chart.[1] She is a member of both the US Rock and Roll and UK Music Halls of Fame. She is famous as a pop icon of the Swinging Sixties.[2]

Dusty Springfield
Background information
Birth nameMary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien
Born(1939-04-16)16 April 1939
West Hampstead, London, England
OriginEaling, London, England
Died2 March 1999(1999-03-02) (aged 59)
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England
  • Singer
  • record producer
  • presenter
  • arranger
Years active1958–1995

Springfield was born in London.[3] She learned to sing at home. She liked American jazz music, and wanted to sound like that.[4] In 1958, she joined her first professional group, The Lana Sisters.[5] Two years later, she formed a singing trio, The Springfields.[6] Her solo career began in 1963. Her first successful song was "I Only Want to Be with You". Other successful songs followed: "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).

Later, she worked in Memphis, Tennessee on a soul album with Atlantic Records. The album was called Dusty in Memphis. It was released in 1969. It has been ranked among the greatest albums of all time by the magazine Rolling Stone,[7] and in polls by VH1 artists, New Musical Express readers, and Channel 4 viewers.[8] The album was also awarded a spot in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Springfield was openly bisexual.[4]

In March 1999 Springfield was going to go to Buckingham Palace to be given her award of Officer, Order of the British Empire. Springfield was given the award early in January 1999 in hospital.

Springfield died of breast cancer on 3 March 1999. Her name was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two weeks later, on 16 March.[9]


  1. Clifford, Mike (13 November 1988). The Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock (6th ed.). Harmony Books. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-517-57164-4.
  2. Annie J. Randall (2009). Dusty!: Queen of the Postmods. Oxford University Press. p. 51. ISBN 9780199887040.
  3. O'Brien, Lucy (2000). Dusty: A Biography of Dusty Springfield. Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-33039-343-0.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kort, Michele (1999). "The Secret Life of Dusty Springfield". The Advocate. Liberation Publications (Thomson Corporation Company). Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  5. "Lana Sisters". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  6. Valentine, Penny; Wickham, Vicki (August 2000). Dancing with Demons: The Authorised Biography of Dusty Springfield. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-76673-5.
  7. "89) Dusty in Memphis". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. 1 November 2003. Archived from the original on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  8. "Dusty in Memphis by Dusty Springfield". BestEverAlbums.com (Amulet Solutions – Europe). Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  9. McMahon, Barbara (16 March 1999). "Dusty Joins the Greats of Rock & Roll". The Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2012.

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