A lifetime ago, I was doing something resembling courting a young woman, and the evening had reached a point where some music was in order.
This was a crucial moment, a moment that could’ve (and it’s been so long since I’ve read the book, so I should say might’ve) been captured in Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. A question had been raised, and now I had to find the answer among a thousand or so possibilities staring at me from the Billy bookshelves and Benno CD racks lining the living room wall.
The music obsessive in me (okay, the case of arrested development in me) paused to notice I’d somehow ended up with two copies of Dusty in Memphis. (Probably one on Atlantic and one on Philips — yeah, I was that guy.)
I didn’t have much in the way of game, but in that moment a switch got thrown and even I was able to recognize that a message was being sent.
Into the CD player went Dusty. The strings that open “Just a Little Lovin'” filled the room (pace Hornby, it’s a song worthy of inclusion on anyone’s list of top five side one, track ones), and while I may not have known it at the time (did I mention I didn’t have much in the way of game?), I’d answered the question correctly.
Or so the last 18 years and 50 weeks would suggest.
April of 1996 didn’t start out as one of the high points of my tour of planet Earth. It would be overstating the case to suggest that Dusty Springfield saved my life, but I remain convinced that she gave me a new one. And to borrow from Robert Frost, that has made all the difference.
And that’s why, on what would’ve been Dusty’s 76th birthday, I pause a moment to give thanks.
So here’s the woman herself, with “Just a Little Lovin’.”