Rock Flashback: Dusty Springfield

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dusty Rock Flashback: Dusty Springfield

An image of Dusty Springfield looms over the stage at a 2006 tribute concert in her honor (Getty Images/Samir Hussein)

In 1960, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Dusty Springfield[/lastfm] began singing with her brother in a folk group called the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Springfields[/lastfm]. Her big hair and evening gowns gave her the look of a country singer, but her musical style was pure soul, and in ’60s Britain, she was an iconic figure. Over there, she was famed as a singer and TV performer. In the States, she hit steadily, if not so spectacularly, from 1964 onward.

But the key to Dusty’s musical immortality was …

Dusty in Memphis. In 1968, she signed with Atlantic, which had been the top soul label for nearly 20 years. Label executives sent her to Memphis to record with the city’s top session players and the label’s top producers. She found it intimidating working with such top-drawer talent, and ended up contributing her vocals in New York after the instrumental tracks were cut in Memphis.

Although Dusty in Memphis was not an especially big hit at the time, it’s recognized today as one of the greatest albums ever, and her performance of “Son of a Preacher Man” is the sexiest thing you’re going to hear today.

After years out of the spotlight, Dusty collaborated with the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Pet Shop Boys[/lastfm] on “What Have I Done to Deserve This” in 1987, resulting in one of the biggest hits of her career.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994, and died this week in 1999, 10 days before she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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