Dusty: An Intimate Portrait of a Musical Legend
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Dusty Springfield was one of the biggest and brightest musical stars of the twentieth century. From the launch of her solo career in 1963, she exuded beauty and glamour with a distinctively unique voice that propelled her into the charts time and again. Never shy of the spotlight, Dusty was deported from apartheid South Africa in 1964 for refusing to play to segregated audiences, and broke the mould as the first female entertainer to admit she was bisexual. Streets ahead of her time, with an unrivalled musical ear, she was heavily influenced by Motown and was the first British artist to appreciate its impact, successfully introducing her contemporaries Martha and the Vandellas, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder to audiences through her TV shows. Not just a fad of the Swinging Sixties, Dusty's musical legacy as one of the greatest British singers of all time has endured, her distinctive style now influencing a new generation of artists including Amy Winehouse and Adele. Using brand-new material, meticulous research and frank interviews with childhood friends, lovers, employees and confidants of the star, Karen Bartlett reveals sensational new details about Dusty's childhood, her relationships, her addictions and her lifelong struggle to come to terms with her sexuality. An intimate portrait of an immensely complicated and talented woman, this is the definitive biography of Dusty Springfield.
them almost immediately appealing in the space that opened up in British music and light entertainment in 1961, with a crossover appeal that extended well beyond a folk audience. The later part of the 1950s had seen an incredible turnover of musical styles and genres as the growing generation of teenagers fuelled a rise in record-buying and popular music, competing directly with the easy-listening, big-band based style still in favour with older generations. The Springfields filled a gap
auspices of Emlyn Griffiths, The Springfields were immediately booked in for sixteen weeks of touring Butlin’s holiday camps in a cramped VW camper van. For this they were paid fifty-five pounds a week between them, minus expenses and agent’s commission. In 1960 the popularity of Butlin’s holiday camps was at its height. Founded by Billy Butlin in 1936, each of the ten camps provided a range of activities and family entertainment, all within the single cost of the holiday. It was still an era
‘Do you want to see my gun?’ I said, ‘Yeah!’ So he pulls the suitcase out and brings out the gun and asks, ‘Would y’all like to try it? It’s not loaded.’ So I took this gun, was pulling the trigger; popped it about three or four times and on the fourth time it fired – he had a bullet in the chamber. In the hotel room. Straight out of the window. We laughed and laughed. I said, ‘The police will be here any minute.’ He said, ‘Are you kidding? The police don’t give a damn.’ While Hurst enjoyed
arrived on Friday lunchtime and spent five hot and exhausting hours hanging around backstage, and on the studio floor, during rehearsals. Dusty would appear, already immaculately made up, carrying her own clothes in plastic wrappers, with her hair loosely pinned up under a scarf. While the cast and crew waited, she would launch into a series of Goon Show jokes (always her favourite) or entertain everyone with exploits using one of her wigs. Eventually, the show commenced with Dusty weaving her
apparent that she was struggling not only with alcoholism but also with living with a mental illness. By the mid-1970s, Dusty was seeing a succession of psychiatrists, and being prescribed the antidepressants Nardil and Marplan, as well as Haldol and Seroquel, which are used to treat psychotic illnesses. She told Sue Cameron she was suffering from a mood disorder, which she later described as a chemical imbalance. ‘She went through psychiatrist after psychiatrist,’ Cameron says. ‘Each one would