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Dancing With Demons: The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfieldby Penny Valentine and Vicki Wickham
Synopses & Reviews
From the very first note, Dusty Springfield's voice made songs such as "I Only Want To Be With You," "Son Of A Preacher Man," and "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" worldwide hits and Dusty an international star.
But what lay behind that unforgettable voice and stage persona? What were the demons that plagued Dusty with the highest highs and lowest lows? Vicki Wickham was Dusty's friend and manager for much of her career. Penny Valentine was the journalist closest to Dusty at the height of her fame. Together with the cooperation of Dusty's friends and lovers they now, for the first time, tell the true story of the unforgettable star.
Drawing on the memories of those who knew Dusty, Valentine and Wickham give the most revealing portrait yet of the singer. They open up the secret of Dusty's lost years in America, her loves and losses, her emotional traumas, and severe addictions.
"Arguably Britain's top pop singer, Dusty Springfield (1939-1999) possessed a voice that survived decades of abuse and, over four decades of recording, proved to be equally adept at lushly orchestrated pop tunes ('You Don't Have to Say You Love Me'), R & B ('Son of a Preacher Man') and disco ('What Have I Done to Deserve This?')....The unvarnished portrait of a troubled, volatile, and gifted singer is told with equal parts compassion and sensation. Most of Springfield's more eyebrow-raising incidents were played out of the spotlight (fans will get a first look at what went on during the 'missing years' of the '70s); with this fast-paced tell-all bringing them center stage, she may soon rival Judy Garland for tragic diva status." Publishers Weekly
"Here is overdue recognition of a singer mostly remembered for one song, 'Son of a Preacher Man'....Springfield struggled with drug and alcohol abuse usual rock-career plagues and also manic-depressive tendencies and sexuality issues. When she embarked on a 'gay marriage,' she and spouse bashed one another with cookware, and Springfield ended up in the hospital. Through it all, journalist Valentine and manager Wickham were there. Despite being an authorized biography, no salacious material seems to have been suppressed, and yet this is a very warm paean to the late singer." Booklist
"Despite having known Springfield personally, the authors sadly reduce Springfield's titular 'demons' to a series of unflattering anecdotes and a scattering of aimless quotes. The book lacks a cohesive narrative voice and skips around in time, detracting from the dramatic story of her artistry. If only Springfield were portrayed as something other than a caricature of a spoiled pop diva, the reader could have moved closer to understanding the woman behind the voice." Library Journal
"An entertaining but clumsily written biography of the '60s pop singer. Though not perhaps the major cultural icon her authorized biographers make her out to be...Dusty Springfield enjoyed great success for a few years in both her native England and the U.S.....Although Wickham and Valentine successfully portray the singer as a sensitive, intelligent, and witty artist and expertly evoke the pop scene of the British 1960s, they mire their story in endless rounds of amateur psychoanalysis. While the two present reasonably convincing evidence that Springfield was a lesbian, they also never, try as they might, show what effect her sexual orientation had on her work....No great writing here, but since this is likely to be the only biography of Dusty Springfield, it will serve as the standard." Kirkus Reviews
Dusty Springfield led a tragic yet inspiring life, battling her way to the top of the charts and into the hearts of music fans world-wide. Her signature voice made songs such as, "I Only Want to Be With You," "Son of A Preacher Man," and You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," international hits. In Dancing With Demons, two of her closest friends, Valentine and Wickham, capture, with vivid memories and personal anecdotes, a Dusty most people never glimpsed in this no-holds-barred yet touching portrait of one of the world's true grand dames of popular music.
About the Author
Penny Valentine was the journalist closest to Dusty at the height of her fame and was taken into the singer's closed 'inner circle' of friends. She now lives in North London and works at the Guardian.
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