Every year back in the early fifities we spent our holidays at a guest house in Bognor Regis. A couple of times we were there with another family from North London called the O'Brien's. Little did I know that within a few years I would have become a fan of their daughter, Mary.
Mary was about five years older than me for she was born in 1939.
In 1958, after she had left school, she joined a group called The Lana Sisters which gave her a grounding in harmonising before, in 1960, forming her own group 'The Springfields'. They had hits with 'Say I Won't Be There' and 'Island Of Dreams'.
In 1963 Dusty Springfield went solo with the soul-like 'I Only Want To Be With You' and became one of the most accomplished female singing star of The Sixties.
Dusty had grown up with the influences of Glenn Miller, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Peggy Lee but it on her albums that she allowed herself the freedom to express herself. Dusty was also a bit of a perfectionist and sought material that suited her voice. The writing combination of Burt Bacharach and Hal David suited the smokiness of her voice - 'The Look Of Love' is an excellent example of this.
It is rumoured that one of her songs was recorded in a stair-well so that she could acheive the right effect.
Dusty Springfield was a performer and when the 'girl' groups and singers went out of fashion Dusty came back with the marvellous 'Dusty In Memphis' album with it's 'Son Of A Preacherman' track.
Dusty Springfield died of cancer in 1999 but her legacy in jazz, blues and soul lives on.
Three good albums:
1. Dusty Springfield: Hits Collection
2. Dusty Springfield: The Look Of Love
3. Dusty Springfield: 'A' Sides and 'B' Sides