pljms wrote:Brian Matthew always maintained that the most popular and most requested artists on Sounds of the 60s were Billy Fury and Dusty Springfield. While Fury to my knowledge never recorded any Bacharach material, we all know that Dusty recorded practically an album’s worth of his and Hal David's songs. Because the Carpenters’ ‘Close to You’ was a hit in 1970, the only record of the song I ever heard played on SOTS was Dusty’s beautiful version. Here’s a sound only recording of her performing the song on UK TV in 1968 and apart from her slightly bizarre introduction what’s interesting about this performance is how she swaps the verses around as well turning moon dust to stardust and starlight to moonlight. Being familiar with her self-confessed problem with remembering song lyrics during live performances, I doubt very much if these changes were in any way intentional.
I remember that most of the Brit girl singing stars of the 60s were hugely popular in our school but none more so than Dusty Springfield, or 'Rusty Springboard' as we inevitably called her and looking back now I’m sure it was as much to do with her look as her singing voice. Helen Shapiro, otherwise known affectionately as 'The Foghorn' because of her deep contralto voice, was also admired and not a little envied because she was not much more than a schoolgirl herself when she was having her big hits. Sandie Shaw was effortlessly stylish and always seemed to have the attitude that it was all just a bit of fun and that one day she’d get a proper job (she did, becoming a psychotherapist). Petula Clark had a distinctive voice and looked good but was so obviously older than the others that she was more likely to have reminded us of our mothers! With Cilla Black it was all about the extraordinary songs and I don’t remember two others making more of an impression on us than her remarkable recordings of ‘Anyone Who had a Heart’ and ‘You’re My World’. When we gravitated from singles to albums I recall that ‘Dusty in Memphis’ got passed around a lot as did the now less well known ‘Helen in Nashville’ from about five years earlier. Any fears that Helen Shapiro may have made a ‘country’ album by recording at the home of C&W with local musicians were soon dispelled when we heard the earthy R ‘n’ B tones of ‘Woe is Me’. It’s hard to believe now that something as raw as this could have been a Top 40 hit in the UK at that time and it features a vocal cords lacerating performance from Helen as well as a fuzz guitar solo!