These posts are about the songs that can accurately claim to crossed the key line of chart success, becoming Top 40 hits on Billboard, but just barely. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 40.

The performer born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien released her first solo recording in late 1963. She took a stage name derived from a childhood nickname bestowed upon her because of tomboy tendencies that often led to her coming home covered in dirt. Her new last name came from a folk trio she was in with Tom and Reshad Feild called the Springfields. Like the Ramones almost two decades later, the members of the group adopted the band name as their own surname. That first solo outing from Dusty Springfield, “I Only Want to Be with You,” was a hit, and a unique and uniquely gifted singer’s career was underway. She had a total of ten Top 10 hits in the United States, or at least that’s the tally when she was entirely on her own. One of those, recorded and released in 1967, was “I’ll Try Anything,” which just made it across the threshold. Following a series of ballads and similarly mushy songs, “I’ll Try Anything” was considered a return to the soulful pop that Springfield had played with at the very start of her career. It didn’t a huge impact, and Springfield was left to ponder how to proceed from there.

While there were several more singles that were received with different levels of indifference, the big breakthrough came the following year, when Springfield went to American Sound Studios in Memphis, Tennessee and made an out-and-out masterpiece. The legend states that Dusty in Memphis was a commercial disaster that torpedoed her career, but that seems suspect. Yes, it didn’t receive the exaltation it enjoys now, but it did yield two Top 40 hits in the U.S., one of which crossed into the Top 10 (there should be no mystery as to which song accomplished that). Still, there were absolutely dire days ahead for Springfield, though the cause of the downturn can be connected to any number of factors, including some notorious behavior, albeit the sort that was routinely forgiven when practiced by male rock stars (Karen Bartlett’s recent biography relates tales of Springfield ordering in crates full of fine china so she could have the pleasure of smashing them to bits by hurling them piece by piece against the wall). Springfield also had to overcome the stigma of visible, proudly engaging in same sex relationships. Though reluctant to label herself, she lived most of her life as a lesbian, hardly an accepted path, especially among celebrities, in the supposedly swinging sixties and seventies. Springfield was essentially in exile when the Pet Shop Boys rescued her, recruiting Springfield to sing on their 1987 single “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” The song became the biggest hit of her career. Springfield died in 1999, at the age of 59.

Previously…
“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
“I’m in Love” by Evelyn King
“Buy Me a Rose” by Kenny Rogers
“Who’s Your Baby” by The Archies
“Me and Bobby McGee” by Jerry Lee Lewis
“Angel in Blue” by J. Geils Band
“Crazy Downtown” by Allan Sherman
“I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Rhythm of Love” by Yes
“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant-Garde
“Come See” by Major Lance
“Your Old Standby” by Mary Wells
“See the Lights” by Simple Minds
“Watch Out For Lucy” by Eric Clapton
“The Alvin Twist” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
“Love Me Tender” by Percy Sledge
“Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies
“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Olympics
“The Bounce” by the Olympics
“Your One and Only Love” by Jackie Wilson
“Tell Her She’s Lovely” by El Chicano
“The Last Time I Made Love” by Joyce Kennedy and Jeffrey Osborne
“Limbo Rock” by The Champs
“Crazy Eyes For You” by Bobby Hamilton
“Who Do You Think You’re Foolin'” by Donna Summer
“Violet Hill” and “Lost+” by Coldplay
“Freight Train” by the Chas. McDevitt Skiffle Group
“Sweet William” by Little Millie Small
“Live My Life” by Boy George
“Lessons Learned” by Tracy Lawrence
“So Close” by Diana Ross
“Six Feet Deep” by the Geto Boys
“You Thrill Me” by Exile
“What Now” by Gene Chandler
“Put It in a Magazine” by Sonny Charles
“Got a Love for You” by Jomanda
“Stone Cold” by Rainbow
“People in Love” by 10cc
“Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)” by the Four Tops
“Thinkin’ Problem” by David Ball
“You Got Yours and I’ll Get Mine” and “Trying to Make a Fool of Me” by the Delfonics
“The Riddle (You and I)” by Five for Fighting
“I Can’t Wait” by Sleepy Brown
“Nature Boy” by Bobby Darin
“Give It to Me Baby” and “Cold Blooded” by Rick James
“Who’s Sorry Now?” by Marie Osmond
“A Love So Fine” by the Chiffons
“Funky Y-2-C” by the Puppies
“Brand New Girlfriend” by Steve Holy
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by Bonnie Pointer
“Mr. Loverman” by Shabba Ranks
“I’ve Never Found a Girl” by Eddie Floyd
“Plastic Man” and “Happy People” by the Temptations
“Okay” by Nivea
“Go On” by George Strait
“Back When My Hair Was Short” by Gunhill Road
“Birthday Party” by the Pixies Three
“Livin’ in the Life” by the Isley Brothers
“Kissing You” by Keith Washington
“The End of Our Road” by Marvin Gaye
“Ticks” and “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley
“Nobody But You Babe” by Clarence Reid
“Like a Sunday in Salem” by Gene Cotton
“I’m Going to Let My Heart Do the Walking” by the Supremes
“Call Me Lightning” by the Who
“Ain’t It True” by Andy Williams
“Lazy Elsie Molly” and “Let’s Do the Freddie” by Chubby Checker
“Second Fiddle” by Kay Starr
“1999” by Prince

5 thoughts on “Top 40 Smash Taps: “I’ll Try Anything”

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