Dusty springfield dating
with her blonde beehive, panda eyes and effervescent love for life and music.
Then, out of nowhere, she found herself at the centre of an international row.
We regularly see photographs of actresses and women singers kissing each other, and we know of many who are openly in gay relationships.
Before long she began, like many a fading star in Hollywood, to slip into alcoholism, turning up unrecognised at Alcoholic Anonymous meetings in the suburbs of Los Angeles without the beehive hair and black eyes and under her real name Mary O’Brien. Soon her girlfriend at that time, an intelligent journalist called Sue Cameron, would be calling ambulances on a regular basis as Dusty began to gabble about seeing demons that were telling her to do bad things.
When I spoke to the medical journalist Maggie Vandershoot, she explained that Dusty possibly suffered from an undiagnosed bipolar disorder and that the hallucinations may have been brought on by the medication she was prescribed for depression by various doctors.
She was also venerated for her championing of the black Motown stars of the day.
She loved black R ’n’ B music and so when in 1968 she was invited to record in Memphis, the home of soul, in the studios where Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding worked, she was exultant. Whether the laryngitis that plagued her career was the real cause, or, as she claimed, she really was intimidated to be recording where Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding sang, I don’t know, but the sessions were difficult.
She believed that a new start could be her salvation.
She’d always been in love with the idea of America, from the days when her mother had taken her to see Hollywood musicals when she was a little girl, and a few months after my interview with her she abandoned London and went to live in Los Angeles.
Did I want to be responsible for ruining her career? At the same time, she was obviously keen to clear the air.
So after consulting my editor at London’s Evening Standard, where I then worked, I decided to bury the sex discussion in the middle of the article.
As a result, her visa was revoked and she was escorted to the airport and put on a plane out of the country.