Dusty Springfield at 80: Her 10 greatest songs ever

15 April 2019, 16:36 | Updated: 16 April 2019, 15:28

Dusty Springfield in 1966
Dusty Springfield in 1966. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Dusty Springfield would have turned 80 in 2019, and with a movie based on her life on the way, here are her best ever songs from 'Son of a Preacher Man' to 'The Look of Love'.

Tuesday (April 16) marks what would have been Dusty Springfield's 80th birthday. Often described as 'The Queen of Blue-Eyed Soul', Dusty passed away 20 years ago last month at the age of 59.

She was arguably Britain's greatest female singer, and was among the biggest female pop stars of the 1960s.

With a movie based on her life on the way, here are her 10 greatest songs ever for the perfect Dusty introduction:

  1. 'Nothing Has Been Proved'

    This song was the second collaboration between Dusty and the Pet Shop Boys, and was a hit in early 1989.

    Written by the Pet Shop Boys for the film Scandal about the Profumo affair, the song describes in chronological order the actual events of the story, and mention, by first name only, the main characters involved including Christine Keeler and Stephen Ward.

  2. 'Wishin' and Hopin''

    Dionne Warwick first recorded this Burt Bacharach and Hal David tune, and they later convinced Dusty to record her own hit version of it.

    Despite not being a particularly big UK hit, it has since gone on to be one of her most well-known songs.

    A cover by Ani DiFranco was famously used in the intro for the 1995 Julia Roberts romcom My Best Friend's Wedding.

  3. 'Spooky'

    This Halloween favourite was originally an instrumental song performed by saxophonist Mike Sharpe, and was later a hit for the group Classics IV.

    Many people have covered it since, with Dusty's 1970 version being one of the most famous.

  4. 'I Only Want to Be With You'

    Dusty's debut solo single was a top five hit in the UK in 1964, and became one of her signature songs.

    It was later a hit for artists as diverse as the Bay City Rollers, the Tourists (featuring Annie Lennox) and Samantha Fox.

  5. 'The Look of Love'

    Another Bacharach/David track, this song was used in the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale.

    According to Bacharach, the melody of the song was inspired by watching Ursula Andress in an early cut of the film. The song was later nominated for an Oscar.

  6. 'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself'

    Tommy Hunt first recorded this Bacharach/David song, before Dusty scored the biggest hit with it in 1964.

    It has been recorded by many artists since, including Dionne Warwick and a hard rock version by The White Stripes.

  7. 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me'

    Originally an Italian song, Dusty scored the first English-language hit version in 1965, and it became her biggest ever hit, reaching number one in the UK and four in the US.

    Dusty was apparently unhappy with the acoustics in the recording booth on the day, and she eventually moved into a stairwell to record. She was not satisfied with her vocal until she had recorded 47 takes.

  8. 'Goin' Back'

    Written by the songwriting duo of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, this song describes the loss of innocence that comes with adulthood along with an attempt to recapture that youthful innocence.

    Goldie of Goldie & the Gingerbreads was the first to record it, but her version was withdrawn due to lyric disagreements. King decided to record it herself, but then offered it to Dusty Springfield.

    The Byrds covered it in 1967, leading to tensions within the group, as David Crosby was not pleased with the song, and was eventually forced out.

  9. 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?' (with Pet Shop Boys)

    This song had been written by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe with Allee Willis. Tennant had wanted to collaborate with Dusty Springfield, who had been one of his childhood heroes.

    However, Dusty's management only became interested after the worldwide success of their debut album Please.

    The song's success - it reached number two in both the UK and US - revived the singer's career after years in the wilderness.

  10. 'Son of a Preacher Man'

    Dusty's most iconic track was recorded for her seminal album Dusty in Memphis in 1968.

    Songwriters John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins were asked by Jerry Wexler to write a song for Aretha Franklin, and remembering that Aretha's father was a preacher, they quickly came up with this song.

    Originally recording it with Aretha, they decided it did not fit with her other songs and gave the song to Dusty instead. Aretha later released her own version two years later.

    The song found a new lease of life in 1994, after its famous use in Pulp Fiction.