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Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield

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Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien (16 April 1939 – 2 March 1999), better known by her stage name Dusty Springfield, was an English singer. With her distinctive mezzo-soprano sound, she was a popular singer of blue-eyed soul, pop and dramatic ballads, with French chanson, country, and jazz also in her repertoire. During her 1960s peak, she ranked among the most successful British female performers on both sides of the Atlantic. Her image – marked by a peroxide blonde bouffant/beehive hairstyle, heavy makeup (thick black eyeliner and eye shadow) and evening gowns, as well as stylised, gestural performances – made her an icon of the Swinging Sixties.

Born in West Hampstead in London into a family that enjoyed music, Springfield learned to sing at home. In 1958, she joined her first professional group, The Lana Sisters. Two years later, with her brother Tom Springfield and Tim Feild, Springfield formed the folk-pop vocal trio The Springfields. Two of their five 1961–63 Top 40 UK hits – "Island of Dreams" and "Say I Won't Be There" – reached no. 5 in the charts, both in the spring of 1963. In 1962 they also hit big in the States with their cover of "Silver Threads and Golden Needles".

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