Well, dear reader the phone did ring lots of times,I’m sure, but twice with something important, it seems.
The first was from a Lady Dusty knew in L.A., Allee Willis, she had written a number hits for people and also had been, it appears, a drinking partner with our girl a few times in the dark and distant past.
Allee had just collaborated with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe the ‘boys’ from the Pet Shop Boys, a written a great song with ” a somewhat complicated format” called (yes you’ve guessed it) What have I done to deserve this; and ‘the boys’ very much wanted Dusty to help them on the track which was going to be included on their first album. They were both huge fans and thought this would be a great song for her to feature “in and around the chorus, well all over the record really”.
Dusty had heard the Petshop Boys and, indeed liked their sound very much,”never in a million years thinking I’d get to sing with them”.
Therefore, her immediate response was NO !! If in doubt run away dahling. Allee told the boys Dustys answer and they ‘filed’ it away and would approach her again sometime.
A short while later Dusty’s long time friend and now manager, Vicki Wickham, called her with what would appear to be a real GEM!!
Richard Carpenter,he of The Carpenters, was considering getting back into the pop business after a number of years absence since his lovely sister Karen had left this World. He wanted Dusty, Dionne Warwick and few other ‘good singers’ to feature on this album, great stuff and at last she would be working with professionals again, quite a refreshing change after the Peter Stringfellow debacle.
The arrangements were made for the session, Richard had written a beautiful song for Dusty, Something in your eyes, and it was perfect for her voice, not quite so dramatic as her sixties product but right for her now and the record buying public it seemed !
Dusty did a great job with it as anyone who has heard the track will agree. You can actually see Dusty and Richard perform this on You Tube (where else)??
However Richard decided to release it under his name, no mention of Dusty, and of course it sold reasonably well because of the fact it was obviosly Dusty singing on the track.
Now……how Dusty didnt call around to his house and deliver him “a good old Twentieth Century Fox chorus girl slap” I dont know, maybe she did, its not documented.
One positive action to come from this release was Dustys voice was out there again and, guess what, the Pet Shop Boys were on the phone aagin to Vicki, would Dusty please rethink their offer, please, pretty please.
Strangely enough Dusty jumped at it this time and arrangements were made quickly for Dusty to fly into London, stay at the Portland, and attend the studios within a couple of days to record the song. Maybe the speed was in case she changed her mind again, who knows, thats not documenmted either !!
Dusty arrived, on time it seems, and ‘the boys’ were as excited as she was nervous. “there she was Dusty Springfield, the hair, the eyes and we couldn’t believe we had Dusty singing on one of our records”
The ‘boys’ couldn’t beleive it when our girl demurely asked “what to you want me to sound like” !!! They just wanted her to sounds like Dusty Springfield, nothing more and they were sure it was all the track needed. They were of course dead right, the song was a huge hit all around the World and so it should be. Dusty aparently took the task very seriously and (not literally I think) rolled up her sleeves, fingered her hair, took and couple of drags on her cigarette (our girl is smoking now for the first time in her life) sometimes 40 cigarettes per day !!
The PSB knew exactly how to use Dustys vocals on this track not only to sell the record but to bring Dusty to the fore, so that one could be forgiven for thinking it was a new Dusty Springfield single. Dusty would be and should be extremely grateful for this and “I find it difficult to BE grateful, it sticks in my craw”, well luckiliy she did deal with her missgivings and went from strength to strength with her new mentors, producers and best friends in the business.AND DIDNT IT SHOW ?? Dusty was all over the press both the Nationals and the Music papers.
She must have thought many times……What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this….way to to go dahling and not before time………