May 10, 2017

80s Dusty.

I love Dusty Springfield, but have absolutely no memory of this...



... and I watched a lot of MTV in the 80s. I remember the Pet Shop Boys, chiefly this, but never knew they got together with Dusty Springfield.

Why am I looking at Dusty Springfield this morning? It was a strange journey! Routine checking of Instapundit took me to a Campus Reform piece titled "Student gov to pursue mandatory LGBT 'ally training' for faculty." It says LGBT in the headline, but the text refers to "LGBTQIA+." I figured the A was "asexual" — correctly, I see — and I wondered why do people who want nothing need anything? Recognition? Hey, what about me? I need nothing.

And you know me, I like to say Better than nothing is a high standard. I think there's too much bad sex going on and recommend valuing nothing as pretty high on the list of things you might want.

I played my favorite nothing song, "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" by The Velvet Underground, and thought about other great nothing songs. "All or Nothing at All," "Nothing Was Delivered," "I Who Have Nothing," "Nothing Compares to U." Here's a whole big list, so you don't have to tell me I "forgot" any nothing songs, and you can find your own favorites. Maybe you like "Money For Nothing" or "King Nothing."

With that list, I stumbled into 80s Dusty. The 80s look and feel so anaesthetized. That hair, that makeup, the shoulder pads — such deadness. I don't think nothing has to be like that. The antidote is this 70s nothing:



IN THE COMMENTS: Left Bank of the Charles helps out with 2 great nothing songs where the nothing isn't in the title: Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" ("Nothing really matters") and The Talking Heads's "Heaven" ("Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens").

53 comments:

SeanF said...

I don't remember that particular song, but I do remember Dusty and the Pet Shop Boys doing "What Have I Done to Deserve This".

Laslo Spatula said...

The Eighties were the end of the American Leitkultur.

The End was Near, so -- together -- people partied, and dressed, like it was 1999.

Shoulder pads, parachute pants.

The 1999 as imagined in the Eighties, of course.

People knew the Elevator was about to take us down.

Sign O the Times mess with your mind
Hurry before it's to late
Let's fall in love, get married, have a baby
We'll call him Nate... if it's a boy

I am Laslo.





SDaly said...

You've never heard "What Have I Done to Deserve This?", or you just didn't realize that the female part was Dusty Springfield?

themightypuck said...

Missed a Nothing song. Townes Van Zant. https://youtu.be/zZcH2OOMV4A

Jack Wayne said...

I think you missed the nod to David Bowie.

virgil xenophon said...

You should drop back further into the 60s to listen to our gal Dusty. My fave was her early 60s version of "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" (cannot mend this heart of mine). IMHO the ABSOLUTE BEST version of that song. Should give it a listen, Ann.

Earnest Prole said...

Too much of nothing can make a chick ill at ease.

zipity said...

My preferred Billy Preston song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghj5V5cUo1s

MadisonMan said...

What others have said about What have I done to deserve this?

Laslo Spatula said...

"LGBTQIA+" is missing multiplication, subtraction and division. Multiplication is for breeders, of course, but it seems subtraction and division would be really important to the community.

I am Laslo.

Earnest Prole said...

But it's all been done before, it's all written in the book

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing "Nothing From Nothing"! I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed that song.

Amexpat said...

Why am I looking at Dusty Springfield this morning?

Buddy Rich was recently on the blog and Dusty supposedly slapped or punched him.

MadisonMan said...

I would've thought you'd link to Jordin singing I Who Have Nothing given that ABC is resurrecting AI ;)

Fernandinande said...

campusprideindex.org:
"The Campus Pride Index is an overall indicator of institutional commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive policy, program and practice."

The Campus Pride Index should refer to something sensible, like the institutional commitment to vibrant well-lighted hallways and diverse ice-free sidewalks. The "VWLH&DIFS" index.

Christy said...

Wouldn't the ultimate Nothing song be "Is That All There Is?"

surfed said...

Dusty in Memphis! Great tunes from Goffin/King, and Randy Newman among others. Excellent peiduction values and a highwater mark for a bird from England. And your bird can sing... Dusty in the 80's on MTV? Meh...

Earnest Prole said...

In the day of confession we cannot mock a soul

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I would nominate Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen (nothing really matters) and Heaven by the Talking Heads (heaven is a place where nothing ever happens).

Jeff Gee said...

Seventies nothing definitely beats eighties nothing, but nothing beats thirties nothing transmuted into fifties nothing. Hit it, Frank.

Ann Althouse said...

"You've never heard "What Have I Done to Deserve This?", or you just didn't realize that the female part was Dusty Springfield?"

I had to search for the video and watch it. I didn't remember ever seeing the video, but the audio seemed pretty familiar. That was 1987.

Once Dusty shows up — in her wacky 80s regalia — I recognize her and have the same reaction to I had to "Nothing has been proved," that the 80s style is really sad and dead. I may have seen both these videos at the time, but I don't remember either. The audio of "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" is, as I said, at least familiar.

I liked that "West End Girls" recording at the time. I still like it now, but it has a very fake, dead quality that makes me feel bad. I don't like seeing Dusty in that milieu. I'm sure it looked more lifelike in the actual 80s than it does looking back. Her 60s look is also rather fake, with big teased hair, so maybe it is consistent Dustiness.

Ann Althouse said...

"I would nominate Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen (nothing really matters) and Heaven by the Talking Heads (heaven is a place where nothing ever happens)."

Excellent choices. It's much harder to search for nothing songs where nothing isn't in the title.

Rick said...

The list should include "Nothin'" songs.

Nothin' for Nothin

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cinderella/nothinfornothin.html

robother said...

From the "Son of a Preacher Man" to this 80's dreck? Dusty should've taken Nancy Reagan's advice and just said "No."

Jeff Gee said...

I'm looking for a performance of "Nowhere Nothing Fuck-Up" (or possibly "(I'm a)Nowhere Nothing Fuck-up"), from the score of the Off-B'way musical adaptation of Philip K. Dick's "Flow my Tears the Policeman Said." It's an excellent 1980's nothing song, but the Internet is yielding no useful results.

CStanley said...

I wonder how much of the difference in style and music of the sixties vs. eighties can be attributed to drug fads.

Marijauana and hallucinegenics (mellow and creative) vs. cocaine (intense energy but anesthetized emotions.)

Laslo Spatula said...

Because of the lack of the word 'nothing' in the lyrics "Nowhere Man" is left nowhere, again.

"Making all his nowhere plans for nobody": is this not 'nothing'?

Does 'nothing' have a penumbra?

I am Laslo.

Kassaar said...

Nothing
The Fugs First Album (1965)

walter said...

Nothing to Cry About

Unknown said...

Dusty Springfield had a new lease of life, both professionally and personally, when she was tracked down by the Pet Shop Boys, who found her living in reduced circumstances in a motel somewhere in the US. Thanks to several hits in this improbable combo, she became a gay icon.

I'm wondering if the song and the video were also chosen by Ann for the Russian connection? If you are not a 50+ Brit, you might not realise that the song and the video are about the Profumo affair, which concerned a Minister of the Crown, lying to Parliament, a Russian diplomat and a prostitute, some elements of which might resonate in the current political climiate in the US.

walter said...

The alphabet committee should add a C and an O prefix for Closeted and Open.

Earnest Prole said...

It can cause one man to sleep on nails and another man to eat fire

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Me & Bobby McGee

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose
Nothin', don't mean nothin' hon' if it ain't free, no no

Carter Wood said...

A cheerful Dusty covers Martha and the Vandellas on her 1967 British TV show:

Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide
Got nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide


Bonus: Scott Walker singing Jacques Brel, "Mathilde."

ndspinelli said...

"I watched a lot of MTV in the 80's." That explains a lot.

Yancey Ward said...

The first commenter beats me to it, but Springfield did the female vocals for a #2 hit in the US for Pet Shop Boys right around 1988 or so. Ms. Springfield also appeared in the video for the song if memory serves.

I also remember Nothing Has Been Proved, but only because it is the end credit to the film Scandal. I don't ever remember seeing that video even though I watch a lot of music television at that stage of my life, though now that I think about as I am writing this, it was likely a couple of years later than 1988, and I was in grad school at that time and not watching much television of any kind.

Yancey Ward said...

I was right- the song was after 1988. So I wouldn't have ever seen the video without deliberately looking for it.

Static Ping said...

"What I Have Done to Deserve This?" was, best I can tell, the highest charting American single Dusty Springfield was ever involved with, going to #2 in 1987. (It was actually #1 on Cashbox if you respect their rankings.) Her previously highest was a #4 in 1966 with "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." That latter song went to #1 in the UK, her only #1 hit in her home country. ("What Have I Done..." also topped at #2 in the UK.)

In other news, she was the standard look for drag queens for a generation. (It may be longer but that's not a subject that interests me to research further.)

Mr. D said...

Then there were the Ting Tings, circa 2008.

D said...

The Who had a song that was sort of about nothing, if you take compaining about "anything" to mean a possible desire for nothing: ("too much of anything, is too much for me. Too much of everything, is too much...") Thats the song that comes to mind when you drop in your quote re nothing and high standards.

Another line from the song suggests you can only care so much ("I think this heart has bled once too often, this time, it's bled a bit too much.") And thats in the 1970s! Calm down Pete/Roger! Its a long way to 2017! Lots o caring to go yet!!

Etienne said...

I was reading that her TV show "attracted a healthy audience".

As opposed to... what? An unhealthy audience? I kid...

Not to be a party-pooper, but I could never appreciate her voice. It always sounded like she was straining.

Visually, she was a mess. She liked those hair styles that only a London cab could handle the bulk.

After seeing Go-Go Girls at a club, the bouffant was pretty much dead to me.

Yancey Ward said...

Scott Adams adeptly dismantles the Comey firing into its relevant pieces today:

"Democrats and the Opposition Media reflexively oppose almost everything President Trump does. This time he gave them something they wanted, badly, but not for the reason they wanted. That’s a trigger. It forces anti-Trumpers to act angry in public that he did the thing they wanted him to do. And they are."

And:

"Trump cleverly addressed the FBI’s Russian collusion investigation by putting the following line in the Comey firing letter: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

That one odd sentence caused every media outlet to display the quote and talk about it, over and over. And when you focus on something, no matter the reason, it rises in importance in your mind. President Trump, the Master Persuader, made all of us think about the “not under investigation” part over, and over, and over.
"

The addition of the bit about "not under investigation" actually is brilliant rhetorically. I haven't yet seen a single story that was able to avoid that part, at least as a link. Editing it out of the letter is apparently a step the media is unwilling, at this point, to take.

In addition, Adams finishes up today's essay with the same essential point I have made about Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation- that he was trying to do what he thought was best for the country given the circumstances in which he found himself. In my opinion, his only real error was not offering a resignation after the inauguration, but it is possible he did even that and it was refused at the time.

Yancey Ward said...

Oops, wrong thread.

Roughcoat said...

Tupelo Honey and The Look of Love. Wow.

Earnest Prole said...

When you ain't got nothin' you got nothin' to lose.

Marc Puckett said...

I watched that DS+PSB video while the second movement (A Long Desire) of John Adams's Scheherazade.2 played-- quite an interesting pastiche. One does the best one can in a decadent age.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

@walter

I listened to "Nothing to Cry About," by The Toadies. Thanks.

Also, that song title made me think of "Into the Dark," by Death Cab for Cutie. That phrase appears in the lyrics: "The time for sleep is now/It's nothing to cry about/Cause we'll hold each other soon/In the blackest of rooms...."

Bad Lieutenant said...

See, Ann, there's John Hurt!

Earnest Prole said...

Alison Krauss' "(You Say It Best When) You Say Nothing at All"

Earnest Prole said...

Traveling earlier today and unable to provide links, but the search engine at BobDylan.com says there are 39 songs with the word nothin’ in them and zero with the word nothing. As previously discussed it’s a crappy search engine, capable of serving up results for Robbie Robertson’s "The Weight" while incapable of finding the Dylan songs “Too Much of Nothing,” “Nothing Was Delivered,” and (amusingly) “Like a Rolling Stone."

IgnatzEsq said...

I got plenty of nothing. Nothing's plenty for me.

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