Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien OBE (16 April 1939 – 2 March 1999), professionally known as Dusty Springfield, was an English pop singer and record producer whose music career spanned from the 1960s to 1990s. She is credited as one of the preeminent singers of blue-eyed soul music and the first singer to introduce the Motown sound to the British audience on a Ready Steady Go! television special The Sound of Motown in 1965. Prior to starting her music career, she was a member of pop groups the Lana Sisters and the Springfields.
- People resent change, I think in some ways, but they forget that they've changed too. I think most of us changed for the better rather than the worst.
- As quoted in a 14 April 1981 interview on The Mike Walsh Show.
- I didn't invent an image. It just sorta grew on me, like a fungus or whatever it is. It was an extension of me. Well: I did say at seventeen, "I'm going to invent Dusty Springfield", but it was an extension of Mary O'Brien, convent schoolgirl. And I think that's what [Sheena]'s probably got, and there are too many people flashing around, saying "You gotta develop an image, kid!" I think that you know, singing and songs are the things that are the most important thing. An image comes when you present yourself to the public. And the public really kind of accepts you or they don't accept you. Trying to invent something that's not natural to you will be a disaster.
- As quoted in the episode "Sheena Easton - Pop Singer" from the BBC documentary series The Big Time (2 July 1980)
- Many other people say I'm bent, and I've heard it so many times that I've almost learned to accept it ... I know I'm perfectly as capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy. More and more people feel that way and I don't see why I shouldn't.
- I'm glad to see that royality isn't confined to the box.
- The magic of my situation with Johnny Franz was that he allowed me the freedom to follow my enthusiasm. He’d sit in the control room while I’d go out and scowl at the musicians. It was very difficult for them because they’d never heard this stuff before. I’m asking somebody with a stand-up bass to play Motown bass-lines, and it was a shock. The ones who thought I was a cow I didn’t work with again. The ones who wanted to learn with me, they had the greatest time. Johnny had played piano for Anne Shelton, and had perfect pitch. Bless his heart, he’d sit there and read Popular Mechanics. But he had good ears, he’d suddenly look up from Popular Mechanics and go, E flat! I never took the producer’s credit for two reasons. For one, he deserved it and I was grateful. And then there was the calculating part of me that that thought it looked too slick for me to produce and sing. Because women didn’t do that. And there remains in the British audience, though less so, that attitude of ‘Don’t get too slick on us. Don’t be too smart or we won’t love you.’ And I wanted to be loved.
- Irishness is a state of mind rather than a geographic thing. I’m not English. My name is O’Brien and I’m glad it is. I’ve got nothing against the English and I’m glad I was born here. But I’m glad my mother came from Kerry and I’m glad my name is Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien and I can weep at Riverdance on TV, and it makes me laugh.
- As quoted in a July 1995 interview from MOJO
Old Grey Whistle Test interview (1978)
"Interview with Anne Nightengale", Old Grey Whistle Test, BBC, 7 February 1978
- It was that I felt that I'd done as much as I could do there [in England]. I didn't know what direction I could go, apart from across the sea.
- On why she relocated to the United States in the late 1960s
- I was ready to work; what I couldn't was the right producer. I had considered various people like the people who do Randy Newman and talked to Ted Templeman who was doing Carly Simon at that time. Again, availability. I wasn't at the right place and right time. They were busy. And the thought of Roy was very strange, I mean, it was a bizarre combination. But I didn't know; I think a lot of people don't know what a very broad musical background he does have; He started out at Decca in the classical department and sort of regressed through Frank Chacksfield and Mantovani, passed through that into pop music and really got into heavy stuff; into rock. But I didn't know he had that background and it was nice. He has incredibly good judgments.
- Things have changed, sound systems now work - on occasion. Various things are made easier in some ways for the artists. All the things I used to want to do and get right, and became known as being difficult cause I wanted them... they are now part of a parcel of a tour, and it will be a delight to work under that system.
- On how live music technology changed during Springfield's hiatus.
All excerpts of lyrics written by Dusty Springfield and/or her co-writers are shown here.
- ...when, oh, when I see your face, yeah
And, oh, when I'm in your warm embrace
I know for sure our love is something special
- "Something Special", written by Springfield
- Now, when you pass my way
I guess I'll smile and say
To think that boy was mine
Once upon a time
- "Once Upon a Time", written by Springfield
Quotes about Springfield
- ...If I had to pick one artist who, song after song, always touched something deep inside me, it would be Dusty. I loved her work from the moment I heard I Only Want to Be with You in 1963, her first major hit. The sound was different from anything I had heard before - it made a visceral connection.
- Dusty sings around her material, creating music that's evocative rather than overwhelming ... Dusty is not searching – she just shows up, and she, and we, are better for it.