My sexuality has never been a problem to me but I think it has been for other people.
It’s marvellous to be popular, but foolish to think it will last.
I just decided I wanted to become someone else… so I became someone else.
On this day, 15th December 1964, Dusty Springfield was deported from South Africa.
Her crime was to insist on playing to mix race audience outside of Cape Town. This angered the white apartheid government. The evil regime had her put on a plane back to the UK. The regime was, regarded as legitimate by the rest of the world at that time.
It was a brave move by a singer who had released her first album earlier in the year. Later in the year she was voted the UK’s favourite female singer,not that this incident would have played any part in that.
As she was escorted to the plane the black airport workers formed an impromptu guard of honour for her.
The following text is excerpted from Wikipedia 2011:
Springfield’s tour of South Africa was interrupted in December 1964, and she was deported, after she performed before an integrated audience at a theatre near Cape Town, which was against the South African government’s segregation policy. In the same year, she was voted the Top Female British Artist of the year in the New Musical Express poll, topping Lulu, Sandie Shaw, and Cilla Black. Springfield received the award again the following three years.
In 1965, Springfield took part in the Italian Song Festival in San Remo, and failed to qualify for the final with two songs. During the competition, she heard the song “Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)”. Its English version, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, featured lyrics written by Springfield’s friend, Vicki Wickham, and her future manager, Simon Napier-Bell. It reached No.1 in the UK in May 1966 and reached No.4 on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, where it was also No.35 on the Billboard Top 100 for 1966. The song, which Springfield called “good old schmaltz”, was voted among the All Time Top 100 Songs by the listeners of BBC Radio 2 in 1999.
In 1965, Springfield released three more British Top 40 hits: “Your Hurtin’ Kinda Love”, “In the Middle of Nowhere”, and Carole King’s “Some of Your Lovin'”. These were not included on the album Ev’rything’s Coming Up Dusty, which featured songs by Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley, Rod Argent and Randy Newman, and a cover of the traditional Mexican song, “La Bamba”. This album peaked at #6 in the U.K.
Springfield was instrumental in introducing Motown to a wider British audience, both with her covers of Motown songs, and in facilitating the first British TV appearance for The Temptations, The Supremes, The Miracles, and Stevie Wonder on a special edition of the Ready Steady Go! show, called The Sound Of Motown. The show was broadcast on 28 April 1965 by Rediffusion TV, with Springfield opening each half of the show accompanied by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Motown’s in-house band The Funk Brothers.
Springfield released three additional U.K. Top 20 hits in 1966: “Little By Little” and two dramatic ballads by Carole King: “Goin’ Back” and “All I See Is You”, which also reached the US Top 20. In August and September 1966, she hosted Dusty, a series of six BBC TV music and talk shows. A compilation of her singles, Golden Hits, released in November 1966, reached #2 in the U.K.
Dusty singing Solomon Burke’s ” Somebody to Love”
Springfield’s biographers and journalists have suggested she had two personalities: shy, quiet, Mary O’Brien—and the public face she created in Dusty Springfield. In the 1970s and early 1980s, during a time when her career had slowed down, she succumbed to alcoholism and drug dependency (which she later battled successfully). She was hospitalised several times for self-harming (by cutting herself) and was diagnosed as suffering from manic depression. During this period of psychological and professional instability, Springfield’s involvement in some intimate relationships influenced by addiction resulted in episodes of personal injury. An incident in early 1983 led to her brief hospitalisation at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where she was admitted under her real name and received medical attention from hospital staff who were unaware of who she was. In her early career, much of her odd behaviour was carried out more or less in fun and was treated as such (as, for example, her noted food fights and hurling a box of crockery down a flight of stairs). Springfield had a “wicked” sense of humour and a great love for animals (particularly cats). She was an advocate for several animal-protection groups. She enjoyed maps, and would intentionally get lost and navigate her way out.
The fact that Springfield was never reported to be in a relationship recognised by the public meant that the issue of her being “bisexual” was raised continually throughout her life. In 1970, Springfield told the Evening Standard:
” A lot of people say I’m bent, and I’ve heard it so many times that I’ve almost learned to accept it….I know I’m perfectly as capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy. More and more people feel that way and I don’t see why I shouldn’t. ”
By the standards of 1970, that was a very bold statement. Three years later, she explained to the Los Angeles Free Press:
” 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…. 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. ”
In the 1970s and 1980s, Springfield became involved in several romantic relationships with women in the U.S. and in Canada that were not kept secret from the gay and lesbian community. She had a love affair with singer-musician Carole Pope of the rock band Rough Trade.
While recording her final album, A Very Fine Love, in January 1994 in Nashville, Tennessee, Springfield felt ill. When she returned to England a few months later, her physicians diagnosed breast cancer. She received months of radiation treatment, and for a time the cancer was in remission. In 1995, in apparent good health, Springfield set about promoting the album.
Cancer was detected again during the summer of 1996. In spite of vigorous treatments, she succumbed on 2 March 1999. She died in Henley-on-Thames on the day she had been scheduled to go to Buckingham Palace to receive her award of Officer, Order of the British Empire. Before her death, officials of Queen Elizabeth II had given permission for the medal to be collected by Springfield’s manager, Vicki Wickham, and it was presented to the singer in the hospital in the company of a small party of friends and relatives. Her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, had been scheduled for 10 days after her death. Her friend Sir Elton John helped induct her into the Hall of Fame, stating:
” I think she is the greatest white singer that there ever has been. “
Springfield’s funeral service was attended by hundreds of fans and people from the music business, including Elvis Costello, Lulu and the Pet Shop Boys. It took place in Oxfordshire, at the ancient parish church of St Mary the Virgin, in Henley-on-Thames, the town where Springfield had lived during her last years. A marker dedicated to her memory was placed in the church graveyard. Some of Springfield’s ashes were buried at Henley, while the rest were scattered by her brother, Tom Springfield, at the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland.
(excerpted from Wikipedia 2011)