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The Springfields were a British pop-folk vocal trio who had success in the early 1960s in the UK, US and Ireland. They included singer Dusty Springfield and her brother, record producer Tom Springfield, along with Tim Feild, who was replaced by Mike Hurst.
|Associated acts||The Lana Sisters|
The trio formed in 1960, when Mary "Dusty" O'Brien, who had been a member of all-girl singing trio The Lana Sisters, joined her brother Dion O'Brien and Tim Feild, who had been working as a duo, "The Kensington Squares". Dion became Tom Springfield, and Mary became Dusty Springfield.
Tom Springfield was a songwriter and arranger with a wide knowledge of folk music and the group had strong vocal harmonies as well as Dusty's powerful lead. Occupying a musical sphere comparable with that of the contemporary Peter, Paul and Mary, they were signed to Philips Records and in 1961 released their first single, "Dear John," which failed to chart. They achieved UK success with the two follow-up releases, "Breakaway" (no. 31) and "Bambino" (no. 16), also produced by Johnny Franz.
The first recording contract the Springfields signed was offered by producer Johnny Franz at Philips Records in London. With the success of "Breakaway" and "Bambino" and numerous television appearances, the trio quickly became very popular in the UK. In 1961 they starred in their own 15-minute music TV series on the BBC, The Springfields. In February 1962 Mike Hurst replaced After Feild, and the Springfields became even more successful.
In September 1962 their version of "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" reached no. 20 on Billboard's Hot 100. It was the first single by a British group to reach the top 20 of the Hot 100, predating the Tornados' number one "Telstar" by two months (and the Beatles' US chart entry by 16 months). The record peaked at no. 23 on the Cash Box chart and reached number one in Australia. It featured lead guitar by Judd Proctor. "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" sold more than one million copies and was RIAA-certified gold.
In December 1962 "Island of Dreams" debuted in the UK singles chart, where it remained for 26 weeks. It peaked at no. 5 in its 16th week on the chart, in early April 1963, five weeks before the Springfields' follow-up hit "Say I Won't Be There" would also peak at no. 5. By this time, the Springfields were one of the most popular groups in the UK. The group had several chart hits and had recorded several foreign language records. However, Dusty Springfield felt limited by the group's folk act and Tom's lead role within the trio and, towards the end of 1963, decided to leave for a solo career, at which point the group disbanded.
Tom Springfield subsequently wrote a number of songs for Australian pop-folk band The Seekers, including the two UK number-one hits "I'll Never Find Another You" and "The Carnival Is Over", as well as the Oscar-nominated "Georgy Girl", which he wrote with actor-singer Jim Dale and which hit big on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the early 1970s, Mike Hurst – by now a successful producer – teamed up with former Seeker Keith Potger to launch Springfield Revival, a more contemporary version of the Springfields. The line-up consisted of Australian singer-songwriter Mick Flinn (vocals, guitar, kazoo), formerly of The Mixtures, plus two Britons: Donna Jones (vocals), from Manchester, and former stage musical actor Ray Hoskins, alias Ray Martin (vocals, guitar), from London. This group supported The Osmonds on tour and made two albums for Polydor in the UK and one for MGM in the US, but without any chart success. Jones and Flinn are currently members of The New Seekers.
|21st Century "revival"|
Original studio albumsEdit
|1962||Silver Threads and Golden Needles (US only)||91|
|1963||Folk Songs from the Hills||–|
|1962||Kinda Folksy No.1||–|
|Kinda Folksy No.2||–|
|Kinda Folksy No.3||–|
|Christmas with the Springfields||–||Woman's Own|
|UK||New Musical Express||Melody Maker||Australia||Irish Charts||US||US Country|
|1961||"Dear John"||—||_||_||_||_||—||—||singles only|
|"Silver Threads and Golden Needles"||—||_||_||1||_||20||16||Silver Threads and Golden Needles|
|"Dear Hearts and Gentle People"||—||_||_||_||_||95||—|
|"Gotta Travel On"||—||_||_||_||_||114||—|
|"Island of Dreams"||5||7||6||_||2||129||—||singles only|
|1963||"Say I Won't Be There"||5||5||4||_||_||—||—|
|"Come on Home"||31||31||30||_||_||—||—|
|1964||"If I Was Down And Out"||—||_||_||_||_||—||—|
|"Oh Holy Child"||—||_||_||_||_||—||—|
- YouTube: Broadcast of 20 July 1961
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 592.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 166–167. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
-  Archived 12 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
-  Archived 4 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952–2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 734. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.
- Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 844. ISBN 0-89820-188-8.