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Wednesday, March 3, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT


Queen joins mourning for Dusty

Dusty Springfield was awarded an OBE in January

The Queen has joined in the mourning for singer Dusty Springfield who has lost her battle against breast cancer.

The Queen said she was "saddened" by the singer's death so soon after bestowing an OBE for her services to the music industry.

The award was made in the New Year's Honours List but Dusty was too ill to collect her prize in person and died at her home in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire on Tuesday.

The BBC's Nick Higham looks back over Dusty Springfield's career
Gerry Marsden, of the 1960s group Gerry and the Pacemakers, led the tributes: "I think Dusty would want us to remember her now with a load of fun," he said. I don't think she would want us sitting around moping.

"She was great. We'll all miss her a great deal."

Cilla 'devastated'

[ image: Dusty Springfield is credited with bringing Tamla Motown to the UK]
Dusty Springfield is credited with bringing Tamla Motown to the UK
A spokesman for TV presenter Cilla Black said the she was too upset to comment on the singer's death.

"I called her at home, and she was devastated, absolutely devastated. Even though she knew Dusty was ill, she can't take the news in.

"They were friends for more than 30 years and on Cilla's last album, she did a duet with Dusty," she said.

Dusty Springfield's biographer Lucy O'Brien: She had a genuine pop sensibility
TV presenter and performer Des O'Connor said: "Dusty was unique.

"She had an absolutely distinctive voice and was one of the best singers Britain has ever produced.

"It is a sad, sad loss to the music world."

The 59-year-old performer was first diagnosed with cancer in 1994.

Dusty wanted to 'go out in style'

[ image: She became a gay icon in the 1980s after singing with The Pet Shop Boys]
She became a gay icon in the 1980s after singing with The Pet Shop Boys
Mike Gill, who worked with the singer for nearly 32 years, first as her press agent and then looking after her back catalogue, said: "She championed a new type of music in the early Sixties when she brought Tamla Motown to Britain, which is something that has always been seriously overlooked.

"She was a great fighter. Even before the illness she was one of the most stubborn people I have met in my life, but her attitude to the cancer was `I'm going to beat this'."

Mr Gill has been working on a Dusty Springfield tribute four-CD box set which will be released at the end of the year.

"It was done with Dusty's full knowledge and her blessing when she knew she was dying. She said `Tell Mike to get things organised. I want to go out with a bit of style'."

Nineties revival for sixties icon

The BBC's Chris Jones: "Britain's best female pop singer"
Dusty Springfield was best known for her blonde beehive hair and trademark heavy-black "panda-style" make-up.

She originally found fame with her brothers Tom and Tim Field in a folk trio, The Springfields. Her first song was the Motown-influenced I Only Want To Be With You, which was also the first song to be played on the UK chart show Top of the Pops.

Other hits followed, including You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, and Son Of A Preacher Man - given a new lease of life by the 1994 film Pulp Fiction.

Her career declined in the 1970s but in 1987 she was rediscovered by the Pet Shop Boys - and their collaboration What Have I Done To Deserve This? reached No 2 in the charts. She subsequently became a popular icon in the gay community.

She continued to record after being diagnosed with cancer, making her most recent album A Very Fine Love in 1995.

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