In many ways she epitomised the sound and style of the era. Yet her unique voice, powerful, sensual and rich in passion, had a timeless quality that has proved appealing to new generations of fans. A contemporary of Sandie Shaw, Cilla Black and Lulu, Springfield was determined to elevate the craft of pop singing by careful choice of material.
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In she became the third member of a short-lived girl group known as the Lana Sisters. Reinventing herself as Dusty Springfield, she then joined her brother Dion stage name Tom Springfield in the British country-music trio the Springfields, who achieved moderate success in the early s. Bringing a fragile uncertainty to her cover versions of songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David that had been hits in the United States for Dionne Warwick , Springfield had a string of British hits. In the late s Springfield began to take herself seriously as a soul diva. In she hosted a television special that promoted Motown artists, including the Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas , to British audiences, and she often performed American rhythm-and-blues songs in her own subsequent TV appearances. Springfield continued to record into the s, but her career was derailed by poor management and struggles with drugs and alcohol.
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International polls have named Springfield among the best female rock artists of all time. Her image, supported by a peroxide blonde bouffant hairstyle, evening gowns , and heavy make-up, as well as her flamboyant performances, made her an icon of the Swinging Sixties. Born in West Hampstead in London to a family that enjoyed music, Springfield learned to sing at home. In she joined her first professional group, The Lana Sisters , and two years later formed a pop-folk vocal trio, The Springfields , with her brother Tom Springfield , and Tim Feild. They became the UK's top selling act. Springfield brought many little-known soul singers to the attention of a wider UK record-buying audience by hosting the first national TV performance of many top-selling Motown artists beginning in To boost her credibility as a soul artist, Springfield went to Memphis, Tennessee , to record Dusty in Memphis , an album of pop and soul music with the Atlantic Records main production team.
Destiny, of course, had other plans for the London schoolgirl. She burst into a pop world that had never seen such a reinvention — long before Ziggy Stardust or Annie Lennox's androgynous figure in a suit, Dusty transformed herself. As a teenager, Springfield discovered for herself American folk music. Springfield, however, was hooked. She concocted her Dusty Springfield persona, partially inspired by drag queens and complete with a blonde beehive wig and layers of mascara, a far cry from the mousy redhead with glasses that she was previously. Facts about the Belfast-born singer.