Dusty Springfield Biography

Dusty unknowingly invented Blue-Eyed Soul

Biography and Guitar Lessons

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Dusty Springfield

Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien got her stage name Dusty Springfield by combining her childhood nickname Dusty with the name of her second band, The Springfields.

“Dusty” is the nickname she was given for playing football with the boys in the streets of London, effectively describing her as a tomboy.

Growing up in the 50s, listening to the radio and records by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, and singers like Peggy Lee, Dusty was set to embrace the 60s R&B sound that was emerging from America.

This was clearly on her mind as she left her first band, The Springfields who were more of a folk act. As she left in 1963, she had her eyes set on a more American sound, influenced by artists on Atlantic, Chess, and Motown, as well as Phil Spector’s production techniques.

Her first single, I Only Want To Be With You, was produced by Johnny Franz who aimed to replicate Phil Spector’s famed “Wall Of Sound” techniques. The single peaked at #4 in the U.K charts and sold over one million copies.

The following year, she released her debut A Girl Called Dusty which was mainly a covers album.

Dusty was big on singing other people’s songs and the same year she released Burt Bacharach’s I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. This single peaked at #3 and would set the tone for what was to come.

In 1966, Dusty had her first #1 with You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, a song she heard in Italian and had the words rewritten by her friend Vicky Wickham and future manager, Simon Napier-Ball.

During this time, Dusty was also presenting a TV show called The Sound Of Motown on British TV, effectively promoting artists like Stevie Wonder, The Supremes and Mary Wells to a UK audience.

In 1968 Dusty release Dusty In Memphis, an album that had the iconic Son Of A Preacher Man on it.

In 1970, it earned Springfield a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Being a white middle-class girl from London, Dusty promoted and borrowed from the American 60s R&B/Soul genre. In doing so, she unknowingly invented a new genre dubbed Blue-Eyed Soul.

Guitar Lessons

Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 1

Today we start working on a new song in Dusty Springfield’s legendary Son Of A Preacher Man.

Due to the lack of guitar on the original recording, we are going to have to invent a guitar part.

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man step 1.

Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 2 (Free Preview)

Let’s learn that verse! The progression moves from chord I to chord IV and then back again.

The use of the 6 over the E chord, hints the 3rd of the A.

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man step 2.

Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 3

Today we continue our journey of inventing a guitar part for the super famous Son Of A Preacher Man.

In this step, we look at how to play the chorus.

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man step 3.

Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 4

In this step we learn the intro and the instrumental sections, they are not exactly the same.

In total there are seven different examples here to try. Which one will you end up using?

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man step 4.

Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 5

Today we put all you’ve worked on so far together as we play the first half of Son Of A Preacher Man.

I’ll give you two examples of how to do this, start by learning them before you develop your own variations.

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man step 5.

Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 6

Today we get into the M8. This is what chord progression legends are made of.

This section presents a new idea to the song, changes key, and takes us to the chorus a 4th up.

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man step 6.

Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 7

It is details that are too small to pick out for the average listener that in the end makes them go: Wow, without being able to explain why.

If you can put the same amount of detailed work as a great singer does, you’ll be a great guitarist.

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man step 7.

Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 8

In this final step, you play the song on your own with the band. Every time you enter a new section, aim to explore the fret board with your different chord shapes.

Remember, it is being able to “improvise the part up” that matters, not to memorize stuff exactly.

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man step 8.

Related Pages

Chords and Guitar Lessons

Son Of A Preacher Man was first recorded and released by Dusty Springfield in 1968.

Since then, few artists have recorded their version, however, most have probably had it on their set list more than once.

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man chords and guitar lessons.


Billy-Ray was a preacher’s son and when his daddy would visit he’d come along
When they gathered around and started talkin’
That’s when Billy would take me walkin’
Out through the back yard, we’d go walkin’

Go to Son Of A Preacher Man lyrics.

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