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Dusty Springfield’s 20 greatest songs

T uesday 16 April marks what would have been the 80th birthday of Dusty Springfield , who died 20 years ago last month aged just 59. Frequently described as “The Queen of Blue-Eyed Soul” and Britain’s greatest female singer, Dusty Springfield was the biggest female pop star of the 1960s and, in Elton John’s estimation, she is the greatest white singer there has ever been. With her own primetime BBC television show, she was a style and cultural icon, famous for her beehive hair and panda eye makeup and loved for her huge and varied body of work.Apart from soul as exemplified by her landmark 1969 album Dusty in Memphis , Dusty – born Mary O’Brien in Hampstead, north London – also embraced numerous other styles from the straightforward pop of her breakthrough hit “I Only Want to Be With You” and Motown -style floor fillers such as “In the Middle of Nowhere”, to show tunes and torch songs and grandiose overblown epics such as her most famous song “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”. As heady as the 1960s had been for Dusty, the better part of the next two decades was the polar opposite.Despite its now exalted status, Dusty in Memphis was a commercial failure and Dusty decamped to America and virtual obscurity. Notoriously insecure, she descended into a well-documented spiral of drink, drugs and mental health issues until an unexpected comeback in the late 1980s – which included a hit song with the Pet Shop Boys – thrust her back into the public eye and resurrected her career. Her reputation as a great artist now, exactly 50 years since the release of Dusty in Memphis , has never been higher. Here are just 20 Dusty songs that vividly illustrate why. From extras. 20. I Don’t Want to Hear It Anymore (1968) The songs on the Dusty in Memphis album displayed Dusty’s impeccable taste, with the majority of the material handpicked from the catalogues of many of the great songwriters to emerge from New York’s famed Brill Building production line. This is a wonderful Randy Newman song about infidelity and gossip with Dusty’s achingly desolate vocal a masterclass in vulnerability. 19. Tupelo Honey (1973) From the sadly overlooked Cameo album (and not on Spotify, so enjoy the YouTube clip instead), this is a soulful cover of the Van Morrison song from a period when Dusty had all but disappeared off the radar. Dusty’s version adds a verse not on the Van original yet clocks in at just over four minutes to Van’s seven; she effortlessly harnesses the emotion and sentiment of Van’s lyrics, and takes the song in her own inimitable direction. 18. All I See is You (1966) Lavishly orchestrated, big production number in the highly emotional style of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” which became a live tour de force. Her fourth hit single of 1966, reaching No 9 in the UK and featuring an early example of the picture sleeve with Dusty in regal pose.