Dusty Springfield was, at the height of her success, the best selling female artist in the world. But can you guess how many no1. hits the blonde, blue-eyed queen of soul enjoyed? Just one -- "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", which topped the charts 50 years ago in March 1966. "You assume, particularly if you are a fan, that Dusty had loads more hits than she actually did." says Mari Wilson, who starred in Dusty the Musical and has covered several of her songs on her own new album. "I wasn't aware she only had one No.1, but once you said that, I thought It'd "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", -- though that's the one I enjoy singing the least, funny enough. "Dusty sang so many songs that were were brilliantly crafted by people like Carole King and Burt Bacharach because in those days, we had the songwriters and the artists. "It was only when the Beatles came along that we were like: 'Oh ---they write their own songs!' "It was never really done before. "The songwriters were very, good at their job --- they were craftsmen --- but that created the problem of different people covering the same songs, which was difficult for certain artists. "They'd be saying: "Oh, no she's covered it, so what's going to happen to my version? "But then again, Dusty did Son of a Preacher Man and so did Aretha Franklin. Aretha's versions is a bit more funky, but I think Dusty's is more popular because it's more straightly sung and has that husky sound. "I like singers like Peggy Lee who sound like they're peeling potatoes while they're singing, you know effortless. "And I think that's what's so nice about Dusty -- she's singing only to you because it's so softly sung. She's got one of the most-instantly voices, the minute you hear the first couple of notes, you know it's Dusty Springfield. "It's like Amy Winehouse -- as soon as you hear her, you know it's Amy Winehouse and that's lovely, to have a voice that's so instantly recognisable -- how wonderful is that? "It's breathy and slightly husky and just really lovely, but the incredible thing about Dusty, and I know because I used to watch her TV shows, is that she could sing anything. "She could sing pop, Latin, jazz, she could sing Country and they all sounded so natural. "Dusty was amazing, but she was blind as a bat, never wore her glasses and was quite feisty. "In the studio, her word was law, she knew what she was talking about and she was respected for that -- she recorded 47 takes of You Don't Have To, even singing in the stairwell to get the acoustics right, before she was happy." It's incredible there hasn't been a Dusty Springfield biopic. Her story is ripe for the Hollywood treatment --- alcohol, drugs, her sexuality and tragically, early death from breast cancer, aged just 59. There have been plans. Nicole Kidman was keen but now, chart topping singer Adele is apparently in the running. " They've been trying to get it made, but who would be right?" Asks Mari." "They should go for an actress rather than a singer. If you look at the Tina Turner film, they used Angela Bassett and it was great because she's an actress, and they used Tina's voice. "So I think if they used Dusty Springfield's and found the right actress, it would be better. "At one time, they did mention my friend Michelle Collins, who was one of my backing singers before she went into Eastenders and Coronation street. "Dusty was quite a private person." reveals Mari. "In those days, it was uncool to be a celebrity. Nowadays, everybody wants to be one --- God knows why, I hated that side of it. Now, everyone wants to tell you everything about themselves. It's horrible, but it was very different then. 'She was very private, didn't have very high esteem and had quite a temper, apparently.' That would explain the fight Dusty had with an actress she lived with that saw her hit with a saucepan, knocking out several teeth and requiring plastic surgery. 'That's right, because Dusty had her nose done as well,' says Mari. 'If you look at pictures of her when she was young, she had a more prominent nose, which, I thought was so much nicer, she had a more angular face and I thought it looked lovely.'
Springfield was the greatest of all the iconic Brit Singers
Mari Wilson was always a Dust Springfield fan and has been increasingly linked to her in recent years.
We didn't have to say that we loved Dusty Springfield, we just did.
What was the younger English that had a hit with Dusty Springfield ? This was the Pet Shop Boys, comprising of Neil Tennent and Chris Lowe, who enjoyed helping Dusty back to the UK top 10 in 1987 with 'What have I done to deserve this?' Dead at just 59, born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brian had been through a bit of a slump, following many years incredible success on both sides of the Atlantic. She had a very distinctive vocal range, the mezzosoprano which managed to be full of power and was very sensual and sensitive at the same time. Dusty had many hits here with songs that others had success with in the USA, BUT SHE ALSO HAD MANY huge hits in the States herself. In fact Dusty in Memphis is now considerer a bona fide classic album, recorded over there with American Musicians. The MAJOR US music MAGAZINES have regularly voted it one of the greatest records of all time, by man or woman, in any style, and Dusty has also been honoured in the US Rock and roll and UK music halls of fame. Her heyday, of course, was in the 60's, with her blonde hair up in some wonderful bouffants, and gowns in all sorts of colours! Footage of her belting out a number with Tom Jones is worth looking for on the internet or tv repeats -- he is clearly taken aback by her incredible voice. Dusty had battles with booze and drugs, and is said to have been far more insecure and shy behind the scenes than the confident woman she became on stage. But, as the Pet Shop Boys and the whole world knew, she had a voice most singers would kill for.