Dusty Springfield biography
Early life (1939-1957)Dusty Springfield was born Mary O'Brien in West Hampstead, North London, England, on 16 April 1939, the second child of Gerard Anthony O'Brien (c. 1905-1979), called "OB", and Catherine (Ryle) O'Brien (c. 1900-1976), called "Kay". Her older brother, Dionysius P. A. O'Brien (born 2 July 1934), was later known as Tom Springfield. Gerard, who had been raised in the British Raj, worked as a tax accountant and consultant. Catherine came from a family in County Kerry, Ireland, which included a number of journalists.
Springfield was raised in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, until the early 1950s and later lived in the West London borough of Ealing. Springfield and Tom were both prone to food throwing as adults.
Springfield was raised in a music-loving family. Her father would tap out rhythms on the back of her hand and encourage her to guess the musical piece. She listened to a wide range of music, including George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Glenn Miller. A fan of American jazz and the vocalists Peggy Lee and Jo Stafford, she wished to sound like them. At the age of twelve, she made a recording of herself performing the Irving Berlin song "When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam" at a local record shop in Ealing.
After finishing school, Dusty Springfield sang with Tom in local folk clubs. In 1957 the pair worked together at holiday camps. She had changed her name to Shan, and "cut her hair, lost the glasses, experimented with makeup, fashion" to become one of the 'sisters'. As a member of the pop vocal trio, Springfield developed skills in harmonising and microphone technique and recorded, performed on TV, and played at live shows in the United Kingdom and at United States Air Force bases in continental Europe. Intending to make an authentic US album, the group travelled to Nashville, Tennessee, to record Folk Songs from the Hills. The local music that Springfield heard during this visit helped turn her style from folk and country towards pop music rooted in rhythm and blues. Springfield left the band after their final concert in October 1963.
In November 1963 Springfield released her first solo single, "I Only Want to Be with You", which was co-written and arranged by Ivor Raymonde. It was produced by Johnny Franz in a manner similar to Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound". It included rhythm and blues features such as horn sections, backing singers, and double-tracked vocals, along with pop music strings, in the style of girl bands that Springfield admired, such as The Shirelles. It rose to No. 4 on the UK charts, The B-side, "Once Upon a Time", was written by Springfield. On 1 January 1964 "I Only Want to Be with You" was one of the first songs played on Top of the Pops, BBC-TV's new music programme. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc in the UK.
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