Lost Treasures: Dusty Springfield – “The Look Of Love”

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From 1967, our Lost Treasure this week was released on Phillips records in two slightly different mixes – one on the 45, the other on the soundtrack album of the James Bond movie “Casino Royale”.  “The Look Of Love” was one of a number of hits for British singer Dusty Springfield, born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien.  Dusty’s career began in the early 60’s as part of the pop-folk trio The Springfields, along with her brother Tom Springfield & Tim Feild.  During their brief existence, they were Britain’s top selling group in 1961 & ’62.  Her solo career began in late 1963 when she was signed by the Phillips label who released “I Only Want To Be With You.  This would begin a long string of hits that would last until the early 70’s.  Some of her songs were self-penned, but she also had considerable luck with Hal David-Burt Bacharach compositions such as “The Look Of Love”.  A versatile singer who did justice to soft torch ballads as much as power pop tunes, Dusty had a special fondness for R&B – particularly Motown songs & the gritty ‘Memphis sound’.  Shortly after recording this single, she left Phillips for the Atlantic label & would record a landmark album “Dusty In Memphis” that showcased her talents as a soul/R&B singer backed by some of Memphis finest studio musicians.  Around this time she also lent here talents as backup singer to British singer Madeleine Bell, also Kiki Dee, Anne Murray & Elton John.  She appeared frequently on British TV’s pop/rock music shows & even did a performance backed by a very young, undiscovered Jimi Hendrix & his band The Experience before fame came to that group.  During the Memphis sessions, Dusty suggested to Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler that the label should sign a new British group called Led Zeppelin.  It was partially due to her advice that LZ was signed to the label. 

By 1970, she was a top billing touring star, but the hits were no longer coming as pop/rock music had radically changed over the past few years & her style didn’t fit in with listeners music tastes.  She once again relied on backup singer work for numerous artists in between tours.  By the mid-70’s she had retreated from the music scene to live in obscurity in the US.  During the 70’s she signed with ABC Records, then Mercury but neither label was able to produce singles or albums that clicked with the buying public. In 1987 she accepted an invitation to sing with British pop group The Pet Shop Boys & their single “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” which once again brought her name & voice to prominence with record buyers.  She also sang duets with Richard Carpenter & B J Thomas that resulted in AC charted hits. In the early 90’s she again teamed up with the Pet Shop Boys to record & release several successful singles & albums.  Her final recordings were in 1995 – George & Ira Gershwin’s “Someone To Watch Over Me”single& album “A Very Fine Love”.  Around this time she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She received months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment and the cancer was in remission.  In 1995, in apparent good health, Springfield set about promoting the album, which was released late that year. By mid-1996, the cancer had returned and in spite of vigorous treatments, she died in Oxfordshire UK in 1999 at age 60.  Her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame took place two weeks after her death.  Have a safe, healthy, solitary weekend, stay busy & we’ll do our best to keep you informed & entertained at Puget Sound Media!

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Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

1 thought on “Lost Treasures: Dusty Springfield – “The Look Of Love”

  1. The songwriting team of Burt Bacharach & Hal David probably have had more than their fair share of hit songs. Surprisingly, their first #1 hit was on The Country Music charts in 1957 – Marty Robbins, “The Story Of My Life”. Their 1st Pop Charts hit was in 1958 – “Magic Moments”, Perry Como. I mentioned all this in recognition of Burt Bacharach’s birthday today. The prolific composer celebrates his 93rd birthday today (May 12, 2021).

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