When we think of the 1960s in regards to the popular culture at the time, one would be remiss not to think of Dusty Springfield. She is considered one of the most successful female British pop singers of her time – but more than that, she had an incredibly distinctive voice that was slightly husky in its timbre and her stage presence made her instantaneously lovable.
Her 1964 hit, ‘I Only Want To Be With You’, made her the second successful British act to land a hit in the States. She embodied the swinging sixties in her stride and her image; she had a platinum blonde beehive hairstyle, wore thick black eyeliner, and sometimes donned an evening gown. Springfield had the vocal range and style of a mezzo-soprano.
She was born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien and would eventually adopt the stage name of Dusty Springfield after she joined her brother’s band, The Springfields. The powerful female pop singer left her brother’s folk band in 1963 and found immediate success as a solo artist with her first hit, ‘I Only Want To Be With You’.
Her first of three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show took place on May 10th in 1964. That night, she performed her first major hit.
Her friend and fellow musician, Elton John, helped get Springfield inducted into the rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame. He said about her, “I’m biased, but I just think she was the greatest white singer there ever has been – every song she sang, she claimed as her own.”
Watch Dusty Springfield make her debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964: