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Dusty!: Queen of the Postmodsby Annie J. Randall
"Professor Randall generally keeps clear of the life story, on the way up and the way down. She wants to see Dusty as a 'postmod,' a gay performer, a camp artist, and a tragedy. Along the way she comes up with a good deal of writing that might have left the real Dusty Springfield bored or bemused....On the other hand, Dusty! is fascinating, especially when it talks about her fans and the legion of imitators that she has inspired." David Thomson, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
Dubbed the "White Queen of Soul," singer Dusty Springfield became the first British soloist to break into the U.S. Top Ten music charts with her 1964 hit "I Only Want To Be With You"--a pop classic followed by many others, including "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and "Son of a Preacher Man." Today she is usually placed within the history of the Beatles-led "British Invasion" or seen as a devoted acolyte of Motown. In this penetrating look at her music and career, Annie J. Randall shows how Springfield's contributions transcend the narrow limits of those descriptions and how this middle-class former convent girl became perhaps the unlikeliest of artists to achieve soul credibility on both sides of the Atlantic.
Randall reevaluates Springfield's place in sixties popular music through close investigation of her performances as well as interviews with her friends, peers, professional associates, and longtime fans. As the author notes, the singer's unique look--blonde beehive wigs and heavy black mascara--became iconic of the mid-sixties postmodern moment in which identity scrambling and camp pastiche were the norms in swinging London's pop culture. Randall places Springfield within this rich cultural context, focusing on the years from 1964 to 1968, when she recorded her biggest international hits and was a constant presence on British television. The book pays special attention to Springfield's close collaboration and friendship with American gospel singer Madeline Bell, the distinctive way Springfield combined US soul and European melodrama to achieve her own musical style and stage presence, and how her camp sensibility figured as a key element of her artistry.
About the Author
Annie J. Randall is Associate Professor of Musicology at Bucknell University. The coauthor of Puccini and 'The Girl': History and Reception of Girl of the Golden West and editor of Music, Power, and Politics, she is Vice-President of the International Society for the Study of Popular Music-US branch and Co-Editor of the Music/Culture Series of Wesleyan University Press.
Table of Contents
1. Dusty's Hair
2. Transatlantic Migrations of Soul in the 1960s and 1970s
3. Voice, Gesture, Sound, and Spectacle: Dusty in Performance
4. Fans, Discourse, and Meaning
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