Dusty Springfield 75th Birthday Anniversary

April 16th marks what would be Dusty Springfield’s 75th birthday if she hadn’t died  in 1999 at the age of 59. Cindy Howes, host of The Morning Mix was joined by Afternoon Mix host, Rosemary Welsch to speak about Dusty’s life and career.

Dusty Springfield began her career as a more traditional pop artist but eventually gravitated toward music with a roots base of blues and soul, making her a big success in the British Invasion. “She started incorporating more serious elements in her music. Emotional, still, but digging a little deeper into what drives people in love." She started forcing that kind of attitude that you could sing about love but it could be a little more serious than just the fluffy stuff,” says Rosemary.

This kind of style and attitude left Dusty to clearly influence modern women in music who follow this theme like Adele or Amy Winehouse. “She captured emotion in sort of a way that Patsy Cline did where she could take an obvious love song but pull something out of it. The loneliness of falling in love, the validation that you get from it.” 

Dusty pulled a great amount of influence from African-American women like Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday. In the 1960s, during the Civil Rights era, Springfield was one of the most popular, top-charting artists. She was particularly influential in bringing black Motown music to the UK, pushing for artists like The Supremes, The Miracles and The Temptations to play at her shows. 

“In 1964 she went to South Africa to sing and in her contract she had an anti-apartheid stipulation saying that “I have to play to mixed audiences” and she did that, so they kicked her out of the country. I think that says a whole lot about where she would be today.” 

Rosemary tells us that she believes if Dusty Springfield hadn’t passed away in 1999 she would move on to producing music for others. Springfield’s fascination with other artists led her to work with them as well as discover them. Dusty had a keen ear for new music that was going to be successful and she often recorded her own tracks when she wasn’t pleased with the producers take her albums. 

We’re celebrating Dusty Springfield’s 75th anniversary and the influence she made on society and the music industry. You can hear the full interview below.