Top 10s – Dusty Springfield

A new feature I’m trying out this year. I take one chart-topping artist that we’ve met so far on this countdown and rank my personal Top 10 from their discography.

The only requirements are: for a song to feature it has to have been released, and to have charted, in the UK singles charts.

So, without further ado, my first ever Top 10… Dusty! The Queen of British soul. The Queen of the Beehive and the eye-shadow. Hands down the best UK born female singer, ever… I’m still annoyed that I will only ever get to write one post about her in this countdown, and that’s why she’s featuring first here.

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First up, the notable absences… Classics such as ‘The Look of Love’, ‘You Don’t Own Me’, ‘Wishin’ and Hopin’ and ‘Breakfast in Bed’ were never released in the UK and so cannot feature. The record that came closest to being in my top 10 was her debut hit, ‘I Only Want to Be With You’. A classic, but not the real Dusty… Here we go, then.

10. ‘Son of a Preacher Man’, 1968 – peaked at #9.

Surprisingly low? It’s great and all, and is probably her signature tune, but one I’ve always appreciated rather than loved…

9. ‘Give Me Time’, 1967 – peaked at #24

A trademark Dusty ballad, with some very sixties production and percussion. Only reached #24? Criminal.

8. ‘In the Middle of Nowhere’, 1965 – peaked at #8

Pure pop Dusty. Not her usual sound, but I love the ‘Hey, Hey, Heys!’ Gone for a live version here. The sound’s not great, but she looks amazing.

7. ‘What Have I Done to Deserve This?’ with the Pet Shop Boys, 1987 – peaked at #2

Every great Diva needs at least one triumphant comeback… By the mid eighties, Dusty wasn’t in great shape and neither was her career. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe brought her in for this duet and brought her voice to a whole new generation. It’s much huskier here, but perfectly suits the more minimal late-eighties sound. The Pet Shop Boys would go on to produce her next album. More on that in a bit…

6. ‘I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten’, 1968 – peaked at #4

Not really a ballad, not just a pop song, sounds like a Bond theme… Brilliant. Love the video here, not so sure about the dress…

5. ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself’, 1964 – peaked at #3

Dusty started off her solo career with a handful of bouncy pop singles… Then she released this bad boy. I’d say that this is when Dusty became Dusty. The White Stripes cover isn’t bad either…

4. ‘In Private’, 1989 – peaked at #14

One of Dusty’s gay anthems. The lyrics are written from the POV of a woman having an affair with a man, but we can all read between the lines… Following her Pet Shop Boys duet, Dusty came back with a full PSB produced album, including this banger. A song I’ve only recently come to, but one that instantly ranks alongside her greatest.

She may have excelled at soul, dance and pure pop, but I love her ballads the most, and it’s been very hard to choose between this top 3…

3. ‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me’, 1966 – peaked at #1

Her one and only UK #1 – read my original post on it here.

2. ‘Losing You’, 1964, peaked at #9

Near impossible to choose between my top two…

1. ‘All I See Is You’, 1966, peaked at #9

In fact, I’m still not sure. I think ‘All I See Is You’ has just a touch more of Dusty’s trademark defiant heartbreak. She’s devastated by the loss of her love, but you know that she’ll carry on. The ending soars, almost operatic.

There you have it. Let me know if you agree or not… Ten classics, only one of which made #1!  I had fun doing that, and will do it with another artist very soon.

5 thoughts on “Top 10s – Dusty Springfield

  1. good list, though my own faves would be slightly different:

    1. I Close My Eyes & Count To 10
    Some Of Your Lovin’
    What Have I Done (PSB’s)
    I Just Don’t Know What To Do
    Am I The Same Girl
    Daydreamin’ (PSB song/production that for some odd reason they didn’t release as single – when asked why Dusty said “I don’t know – ask the boys!”)
    A House Is Not A Home (with Burt Bacharach TV performance only, still unreleased, 1970)
    Nothing Has Been Proved (PSB’s)
    How Can I Be Sure
    You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.

    The greatest British female vocalist of all-time and the greatest pop duo of all-time, the greatest female pop song writer (Carole King) and the greatest sophisticated writer of romantic melodies (Burt) of all-time there….

    I might be biased… 🙂

    • I did restrict myself to singles, otherwise my list might have looked a little different… Had never really listened to ‘Daydreamin’ before, but I am loving Dusty rapping! I do prefer ‘In Private’ to ‘Nothing Has Been Proved’, though. And what can I say about my top 3, I love a big ballad..

  2. Pingback: Top 10s – Buddy Holly – The UK Number Ones Blog

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