Dusty Springfield

This weeks Illustrated Women in History was illustrated by B Newman. It is featured in the Illustrated Women in History zine #5 which is available here

Dusty Springfield was born in 1939 in West Hampstead, London. She began singing with a group called the Lona Sisters before forming the Springfields with her brothers. The group had a few hits in the UK before Springfield decided to embark on a solo career. She went on to have a string of hits over the next decade.

Springfield was inspired by Black singers from the 1960s, and was heavily influenced by Mavis Stapes. In 1964, she refused to perform in South Africa in front of a segregated audience (the country was under apartheid). She was then deported for performing for an unsegregated audience.

In 1969, she travelled to Memphis, Tennessee to draw on the rich history of soul there. She recorded Dusty in Memphis, an album of pop and soul music. She was considered the British equivalent of Dionne Warwick and was considered the first white person to bring the sound of Motown to England with her variety music show. She was nicknamed “the white lady of soul” because of this.

Springfield’s career suffered during the 1970s when she suffered from drug and alcohol addiction. She is renowned for her distinctive voice and musical talent and in 1999, Springfield was awarded an OBE for her services in music.

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