Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield
Dusty Springfield. Michael Putland

Dusty Springfield (April 16, 1939- March 2, 1999):

Dusty Springfield was one of the most successful British female singers in history. She had six top 20 singles in the US and is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Dusty Springfield was also bisexual and had female partners throughout her life.

Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien:

Dusty Springfield was born with the name Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, but she changed it after joining a folk band with her brother and calling themselves the Springfields. They were popular in Britain in the 1960s and had a hit in the US, "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" in 1962.

Dusty Sets Out on her Own:

Dusty was drawn to R&B music and left her brother's band to set out as a solo performer in 1963. She was known as a "blue-eyed soul singer," a term used to describe white artists who performed soul and R&B music. She had a very popular and long career that spanned many genres of music. Her hits included "I Only Want to Be With You," "Wishin’ and Hopin’," "The Look of Love,” and "You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me," and "Son of a Preacher Man."

Dusty Springfield Comes Out:

Dusty Springfield considered herself to be bisexual said in 1970, "I couldn't stand to be thought of as a big butch lady. But I know that I'm as perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy." This was quite a thing to admit in 1970, just one year after the Stonewall Riots.

Dusty Springfield's Female Loves:

Dusty Springfield had many lovers. She said in an interview with The Advocate in 1978, "I had never, from the age of 16, been out to dinner with anyone. I thought you just went to bed with people." Perhaps Dusty struggled with her attraction to women. She said in an interview with The Los Angeles Freepress in 1977, "I mean, people say that I'm gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. I'm not anything. I'm just ... People are people.... I basically want to be straight.... I go from men to women; I don't give a shit. The catchphrase is: I can't love a man. Now, that's my hang-up. To love, to go to bed, fantastic; but to love a man is my prime ambition.... They frighten me." But others who knew her said Dusty didn't have an issue with her attractions to women. Rather, she just wanted to be accepted for loving women.

Dusty Springfield's Lesbian Wedding:

Like many pop stars, Dusty Springfield struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. While in recovery, she met an American actress and the two were wed in California inthe late 70s (although gay marriage was not yet legal.) However, that relationship was not healthy and later Dusty admitted it was an abusive relationship.

Dusty Springfield and Carole Pope:

The one female partner that is out about being lovers with Dusty Springfield is Carole Pope. Pope was a Toronto-based singer/songwriter and the two met backstage at a concert. The two had a wild romance with dates in Montreal, London and Amsterdam. "It was surreal," says Pope of the jet-set romance. The romance was not long-lived, but it was passionate. Pope told The Advocate, "I will tell you one of my most intimate memories of Dusty. I got her to sing to me in bed, and that was like--my God--ecstasy. I remember making her sing `Breakfast in Bed.'"

Dusty's Legacy:

Dusty Springfield's music inspired people of all sexual orientations. When she died of breast cancer in 1999, Melissa Etheridge told The Advocate "As a child listening to the radio, I was taken by surprise when a sexy, husky woman's voice came out. 'Son of a Preacher Man' is one of the steamiest, coolest songs ever sung by a woman. She will be missed." Melissa sang "Son of a Preacher Man" at her memorial service.

Janis Ian said of her, "Dusty recorded my song `In the Winter,' and from that moment on I felt I'd never be able to do the piece justice again. Dusty killed when she sang. There aren't many singers you would beg to do your material, but Dusty was one of them. It's one of the prouder moments in my life, hearing her sing my song."

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