White Heat (Dusty Springfield album)

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White Heat
Studio album by Dusty Springfield
Released December 1982
Recorded Conway Recording Studios,
Kendun Recorders,
Group IV Studios,
Hollywood, California,
November 1981– June 1982
Genre Pop, new wave
Length 37:44
Label Casablanca Records
NBLP 7271 (US)
Producer Howard Steele
Dusty Springfield
Dusty Springfield chronology
Living Without Your Love
(1979)
White Heat (1982) Reputation (1990)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

White Heat is the twelfth studio album recorded by singer Dusty Springfield, and eleventh released. It was only released in the United States and Canada.

It was released because of a change in record labels; in the aftermath of the disco backlash and its ensuing dramatic drop in record sales worldwide, Springfield's American label United Artists Records was bought out. 20th Century Fox Records took on the project, but by the time that the album was completed and ready for release, 20th Century Fox had in turn been sold, bought by the US arm of the PolyGram conglomerate. The release date was postponed for another six months and when White Heat finally came out, it had been relegated to the re-activated Casablanca Records, a label closely associated with disco, which in the year of 1982 didn't improve its chances of sales. Springfield later stated that she was surprised that the album came out at all: "Everytime I made an album, the company I'd made it for would be swallowed up. They'd fire everyone that you'd worked with and the enthusiasm would disappear with them. Then I had to fire the original producer because he had put half the budget up his nose... there was a point where I began to feel that I was just some company's tax loss." To add insult to injury, the British subsidiary of Polygram, a label the singer had been connected with for 25 years in various forms, declined its option to release the album in the UK; fans of Springfield's in her native country consequently had to buy import copies from the US and Canada.

More so than her previous two albums, It Begins Again (1978), and Living Without Your Love (1979), and the non-album single "It Goes Like It Goes" (1980), White Heat was a distinct departure from Springfield's Los Angeles produced adult contemporary sound, being closely identified with the new wave, synthpop sounds of the early 80's but the album arguably contains the most diverse selection of genres to be collected on any Dusty Springfield studio album, ranging from Robbie Buchanan's ballad "Time and Time Again", gently orchestrated by James Newton Howard, to the aggressive hard rock of "Blind Sheep", co-written by Springfield herself. The sessions for the latter are historic in that they are the last designated sessions for Twentieth Century Fox Records in the Musician's Guild Logs.

The album's opening track and only single release was "Donnez-Moi (Give It to Me)" which production wise took more than a few hints from contemporaneous synthesizer-driven pop productions by Giorgio Moroder, like Donna Summer's The Wanderer and Irene Cara's "Flashdance... What a Feeling", and British New Romantic bands like the Human League and their 1981 album Dare. The man largely responsible for the before its time technically advanced synth arrangements on "Donnez-Moi" and also "I Don't Think We Could Ever Be Friends" and "Gotta Get Used to You" was Jean-Alain Roussel. Mauritius-born Englishman Roussel had previously arranged and played keyboards for among others Donovan, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Cat Stevens, Joan Armatrading and Julien Clerc and lived in Montreal at the time. Springfield lived part-time in Toronto at this stage in her life, the two met through mutual friends and ended up collaborating on most of White Heat.

Although the album proved to be as commercially unsuccessful as It Begins Again and Living Without Your Love it received very favourable reviews at the time and many critics singled out the closing track, the Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill-influenced "Soft Core", as the album's highlight. Written by Canadian New Wave band Rough Trade's Carole Pope and Kevan Staples, the song describes the realities of a dysfunctional relationship. The track with its brutally honest lyrics about "drugs and alibis" is notable in Springfield's discography in more ways than one; as many of her collaborators later have witnessed, when the self-confessed perfectionist Springfield laid down her lead vocals on a track, "she would record one word at a time. Sometimes even syllable by syllable." "Soft Core" was cut in a single take by sheer mistake, thanks to an engineer throwing a tape machine into 'record', with composer Kevan Staples playing a grand piano. The sound of footsteps heard at the beginning of the track is, in fact, Springfield walking up to the piano for what she thought was just a rehearsal; the song is, in other words, a live performance on a studio album.

White Heat also featured contributions from a new generation of British fans and showed that Springfield was very much au courant with what was going on in the music scene; "Losing You" (not to be confused with her 60's hit), originally titled "Just a Memory", was written by Elvis Costello. The track was first released as the B-side of his 1980 single "New Amsterdam" and later included on the compilation Ten Bloody Marys & Ten How's Your Fathers (US version: Taking Liberties). Jean-Alain Roussel's "I Don't Think We Could Ever Be Friends" was co-written with none other than Sting, the connection being that Roussel previously had appeared on The Police's 1981 album Ghost in the Machine, playing piano on their hit single "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" so as Springfield later said: "they banged together a song for me too."

Some five years later, two other British fans of hers were to play an important part in finally resurrecting Springfield's recording career; Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, better known as Pet Shop Boys.

White Heat in its entirety was first issued in the UK in 2002 when it was released on CD by Mercury/Universal Music.

Track listing[edit]

Side A

  1. "Donnez Moi (Give It to Me)" (Jean-Alain Roussel, Paul Northfield, Luc Plamondon, Christiane Robichaud) – 3:55
  2. "I Don't Think We Could Ever Be Friends" (Jean-Alain Roussel, Sting) – 3:27
  3. "Blind Sheep" (Daniel Ironstone, Tommy Faragher, Dusty Springfield, Mary Unobsky) – 4:30
  4. "Don't Call It Love" (Dean Pitchford, Tom Snow) – 3:31
  5. "Time and Time Again" (Paul Buchanan, Jay Gruska) – 3:42

Side B

  1. "I Am Curious" (Carole Pope, Kevan Staples) – 4:09
  2. "Sooner or Later" (Tommy Faragher, Daniel Ironstone) – 4:21
  3. "Losing You (Just a Memory)" (Elvis Costello) – 2:51
  4. "Gotta Get Used to You" (Jean-Alain Roussel) – 3:55
  5. "Soft Core" (Carole Pope, Kevan Staples) – 3:13

Personnel[edit]

  • Dusty Springfield – lead vocals, background vocals
  • Max Gronenthal – background vocals
  • Eddy Keating – background vocals
  • John Townsend – background vocals
  • Danny Ironstone – background vocals
  • Barbara Busa Cilla – background vocals
  • André Fischer – drums
  • Casey Schelierell – drums
  • Steve Zaretsky – percussion
  • Nathan East – bass guitar
  • Davey Faragher – bass
  • Marlo Henderson – bass
  • Mark Leonard – bass
  • Kenny Lewis – bass
  • George Nauful – guitar
  • David Plehn – guitar
  • Jean Roussel – synthesizer, piano
  • Robbie Buchanan – piano, Fender Rhodes
  • Tommy Faragher – synthesizer, percussion, background vocals, Wurlitzer, Casio
  • Nicky Hopkins – piano
  • James Newton Howard – Prophet synthesizer, string arrangements
  • Caleb Quaye – synthesizer, bass, guitar, Wurlitzer, Mini Moog
  • Kevin Staples – clarinet, guitar, Mini Moog
  • Steve Sykes – guitar, Wurlitzer, Mini Moog

Production[edit]

  • Dusty Springfield – record producer
  • Howard Steele – producer, engineer, mixing
  • André Fischer – producer
  • Jackie Krost – executive producer
  • Steve Zaretsky – assistant engineer
  • Lindy Griffin – assistant engineer
  • Philip Moores – assistant engineer
  • Nick DeCaro – arranger, conductor
  • Karen Chamberlain – assistant engineer
  • Les D. Cooper – assistant engineer
  • Debra Courier – production assistant
  • Glen Christensen – art direction
  • Bret Lopez – photography
  • Mac James – paintings

Sources[edit]