The Big Brit Folk Sound
The Springfields sprung onto the pop scene first in 1961 with a couple of top 40 UK chart records. Then, in August of 1962 they broke through onto the American Billboard Pop Charts with “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” reaching number 20. For a folk group, they had a big sound supplemented by orchestra. This sound would be very similar to a later UK British Invasion group – The Overlanders, with their release of “Yesterday’s Gone” on the Hickory label.
The first Springfield lineup consisted of Mary O’Brien, brother Dion O’Brien and Tim Field. Mary would assume the stage name of Dusty Springfield and her brother would become Tom Springfield. Dusty had earlier performed with the Lana Sisters in England – a very early girl pop – pre-Invasion group. Tom would go on to write songs for British folk group – The Seekers. Mike Hurst would later join the Springfields and would then move on to form Brit Beat Group Mike Hurst and the Method, a 1964 group which include guitar phenom Albert Lee who played in a score of Brit bands – as well as Tony Ashton who later appeared in Ashton Gardner and Dyke. For a short time the Method featured guitarist Jimmy Page as well (Yard Birds, Led Zeppelin and session musician for tons of British Beat and Invasion Groups.
The Springfields would chart in the US a total of four times – with “Gotta Travel On”, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People”, and “Island of Dreams” joining “Silver Threads”. By mid 1963 – they were finished. But female vocalist Dusty Springfield had only just begun.
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