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" Final Resting Place of Dusty Springfield "
Dusty Springfield. 16th April 1939 - 2nd March 1999
St.Mary the Virgin Church, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, England. UK
Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien OBE (16 April 1939 – 2 March 1999), known as Dusty Springfield, was a pop singer and entertainer.
Of all the female British pop artists of the 1960s, she made one of the biggest impressions on the American market. Owing to her distinctive sensual
sound, she was one of the most notable white soul artists. Born to an Irish Roman Catholic family that loved music, Mary O'Brien learned to sing at home.
After finishing school in 1958, Mary O'Brien responded to the advertisement to join an "established sister act", The Lana Sisters. With this vocal group,
she developed the art of harmonizing, learned microphone technique, recorded, did some television performances, and played live both in the U.K. and at U.S.
Air Force bases.
In 1960, Dusty left the band and formed a pop-folk trio with her brother, Dion O'Brien, and Reshad Feild (who was later replaced by Mike Hurst). The new trio
changed their names to Dusty, Tom, and Tim Springfield, and chose The Springfields as their name during a rehearsal in a field in Somerset in the
springtime. Intending to make an authentic American album, the Springfields traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to record the album Folk Songs from the Hills.
The American pop tunes that she heard during her stay there helped to turn Springfield's career from the folk and country sounds towards the pop music
rooted in rhythm and blues. During the spring of 1963, the Springfields recorded their last British Top 5 hit, "Say I Won't Be There", before disbanding.
They played their last concert in October 1963.
Dusty Springfield began her solo career in 1963 with the upbeat pop hit, "I Only Want To Be With You". Her following hits included "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself", "Wishin' and Hopin'", and "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" .
A fan of American pop music, she campaigned to bring the little-known soul singers to a wider British audience by devising and hosting the first British performances of the top-selling Motown Records artists in 1965. Her rendition of "The Look of Love", written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, was featured in the James Bond movie Casino Royale (1967) and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song in 1967.
The marked changes of pop music in the mid-1960s left many female pop singers out of fashion. To boost her credibility as a soul artist, Springfield went to Memphis, Tennessee, to record an album of pop and soul music with the Atlantic Records main production team. This album, Dusty in Memphis, earned Dusty a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1970, and it received the Grammy Hall of Fame award in 2001. International readers and viewers polls list the record among the one hundred greatest albums of all time. This album's standout song, "Son of a Preacher Man", was an international Top 10 hit in 1969. After that album, Springfield's pop music success dipped for many years. In 1987, collaborations with the Pet Shop Boys returned her to the Top 20 of the British and American charts with the three singles "What Have I Done to Deserve This?", "Nothing Has Been Proved", and "In Private".
While recording her final album, A Very Fine Love, in January 1994 in Nashville, Tennessee, Springfield felt ill. Upon returning to England a few months later, her physicians diagnosed her with breast cancer. She received months of radiation treatment and for a time, the cancer was in remission. In 1995, in apparent good health again, Springfield set about promoting the album, and she gave a live performance of "Where Is a Woman to Go?" on the BBC-TV music show "Later With Jools Holland", backed up by Alison Moyet and Sinéad O'Connor. The last song Springfield recorded was the George and Ira Gershwin song "Someone To Watch Over Me". The song was recorded in London in 1995 for an insurance company television advertisement. It was included on Simply Dusty (2000), the extensive anthology that Springfield had helped plan, but did not live to see released. Cancer was detected again during the summer of 1996. After more vigorous treatment, she succumbed to the cancer in April 1999. She died in Henley-on-Thames on the day she had been due to go to Buckingham Palace to receive her award of the Order of the British Empire. Before her death, officials of the Queen had given permission for the medal to be collected by Springfield's manager, Vicki Wickham, and it was presented to the singer in the hospital where they had been joined by a small party of friends and relatives. Her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, had been scheduled for 10 days after her death. Her friend Sir Elton John helped induct her into the Hall of Fame.
Pictures courtesy of John Rose seen here next to Dusty's Grave.