Friday, November 19, 2010

Music Box: Dusty Springfield

One of my fondest memories from the late '80s was the resurgence of three female music legends, Ronnie Spector, Liza Minnelli and Dusty Springfield. While Ronnie refurbished her signature song to make a winning duet with Eddie Money, Liza and Dusty were even more fortunate, each collaborating with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys. While Liza's "Results" received enormous publicity, Dusty's 1990 comeback album, "Reputation," didn't even get released in America until many years later, despite the enormous success of "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" with the Boys in '87. (Might the lack of success of Ronnie's "Unfinished Business" have played a role in this?)
   It's a shame, because "Reputation" -- Dusty's first album in eight years and arguably her best since the 1960s -- is pure a pure delight. (The album fared pretty well in the UK, where it sold 60,000 copies in the first two weeks and charted two Top 20 singles, "In Private" and "Nothing Has Been Proved.") "In Private" was such a rousing dance anthem, in fact, it ended up becoming a huge dance-floor hit in the U.S., despite never being commercially released here. (It peaked at No. 14 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart in early 1990 -- and definitely got the crowd at Studio One going back in the day.) Equally good is the melodramatic title track -- which reeks of the Boys but was actually one of the songs they didn't produce or write -- that plays like the antidote to Olivia Newton-John's "The Rumor." Both videos are below -- like Liza, Dusty released an accompanying tape of videos from the album -- and I see iTunes has the 1997 reissue, "Reputation and Rarities" available at the nice price. Dusty's place in history is secure. But I'd like to think the Pet Shop Boys will someday be better appreciated for the geniuses they are. Works like "Results" and "Reputation" are wonderful supporting evidence.



Anonymous said...

I've always loved Dusty's "REPUTATION" CD and I think Pet Shop Boys have a magic touch whenever they collaborate with anyone ("She's Madonna" and "We're the Pet Shop Boys" with Robbie Williams; their sensational remix of Madonna's "Sorry"). But have you heard the wonderful remake PSB did (with Elton John) of "In Private" that is on their FUNDAMENTALISM CD (the bonus disk of remixes and bonus songs that came with FUNDAMENTAL. The CD version of the song is a Stuart Crichton Club remix and it is much, much better than the Tomcraft 7" Mix that you can find on Youtube.

nojarama said...

Both Dusty's and Liza's albums are essentials that I still play to death. The re-issues are fantastic!

Rob said...

Nothing Has Been Proved? Bwa-hahahaha! Did no-one catch that glaring mistake at the time? PROVEN it should be....thank you.