Dusty Springfield VS Buddy Rich | The Feud of 1966

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Vistalite Black

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If I had a time machine, I'd set it for that fateful night in 1966 when Dusty Springfield slapped him hard enough to knock his toupee off his head.

"I think Rich was bothered because I had top billing, but that was the way the club wanted it ... His whole attitude was so unprofessional ... "

Sounds about right.
 

KevinD

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Dusty Springfield was quite a talent, and would seem to be the perfect one to give right back to Buddy what he deserved.

I recall reading somewhere that in the late '60s she pushed very hard for one of her record company execs to sign a newly formed band that included one of her favorite musicians who had played on her sessions, John Paul Jones.
 

hsosdrum

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Just remember that you're only hearing her side of the story. Here's Buddy's side (at least some of it), as transcribed from Mel Torme's Buddy Rich biography "Traps, The Drum Wonder" (pages 126 – 127):

"Rich was a visceral reactor. People affected him chemically — and negatively — at times. Dusty Springfield was one of those unfortunate people. The drummer's pride in his new, exciting band, the string of successes that had ranged from the Chez engagement all across the country to Basin Street East, the fact that he was on his home turf, Manhattan, and that he was being upstaged by this ballsy girl singer, all contributed to a perpetual scowl on the face of the Man. At rehearsal, right from the git-go, they clashed. With Buddy within earshot, Miss Springfield asked the management: "How long is the drummer going to do?" Buddy countered with a rude remark. Dusty swung at him. Wrong move, lady. Buddy nearly tagged her. Needless to say, if he hadn't pulled the punch, he might have killed her. Pandemonium! Threats by managers on both sides. Warnings about going to the union, calling the police, suing for assault, and so forth.

Things calmed down, in a manner of speaking. The show went on that night, and business was brisk. The news had spread — Rich and Springfield are battling. New Yorkers like nothing better than a show biz feud. They flocked to Basin Street East, but all they saw was Dusty Springfield, doing her best in front of a rather surly Buddy Rich orchestra, and the Genius himself, playing his heart out on everything from the ballads to "West Side Story," which was the number two piéce de resistance of each evening. The number one kicker each night was Buddy's introduction of Dusty Springfield. Johnny Carson says: "I found myself going into Basin Street night after night just to hear B announce this woman. The things he said under his breath were perfectly audible. Audible, terrible, and very funny."
 
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dcrigger

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After listening to the "Band Tapes" I tend to think that her side probably has a ring of truth to it.
But over and over, I'v seen that speaking Artist to artist and Leader to sidemen are two completely different things.

But then I don't hold the bus tapes to be that indicative of anything - certainly not particularly unique - at least not in my years of hearing leaders talk to sidemen and artists having at each other on both the road and in the studio.

So let's just for a 'sec, turn the around and look at this without the prejudgment of the bus tapes - something this YouTube channel hasn't allowed by front loading the piece with a tape of Buddy chewing out his band in what was supposed to be a non-public moment.

I'm not saying Dusty is speaking utter truth or not - how would I know? How would anyone? But before anyone suggests, but why would she lie (or fib or exaggerate). Think about this - do you imagine her fluffy story of her voice teacher and the name dropping of the many celebrities that have stopped in to see her act would've have landed her on the cover of Melody Maker?? Maybe. But maybe not either. But add some juice - puff up whatever "not getting along" her and Buddy had into the kind of scandalous headline that gets on the cover of Melody Maker. Why that's certainly possible.

While pondering that - let's look at this slap - did she say she slapped him? Did the video? Or was it adescribed as a "rumor" - something labeled to have "allegedly" happen. Yet no one actually states that it did... Hmm. I wonder why?

Sorry - this sort of leading with the salacious - the scandalous - has always sold papers, magazines... to today...clicks.... always leading us to connect the dots with our steadfast belief that "where there's smoke there's fire" is always true. A belief that editors and PR folks have relied on to convince that rubes to buy into any manner of falsehoods without a second thought.

My advice to anyone looking at stuff like would be slow down... think it through... ponder the possibilities and don't jump to spoon-fed conclusions... in other words.... don't be a rube. :)
 

mtarrani

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But over and over, I'v seen that speaking Artist to artist and Leader to sidemen are two completely different things.

But then I don't hold the bus tapes to be that indicative of anything - certainly not particularly unique - at least not in my years of hearing leaders talk to sidemen and artists having at each other on both the road and in the studio.

So let's just for a 'sec, turn the around and look at this without the prejudgment of the bus tapes - something this YouTube channel hasn't allowed by front loading the piece with a tape of Buddy chewing out his band in what was supposed to be a non-public moment.

I'm not saying Dusty is speaking utter truth or not - how would I know? How would anyone? But before anyone suggests, but why would she lie (or fib or exaggerate). Think about this - do you imagine her fluffy story of her voice teacher and the name dropping of the many celebrities that have stopped in to see her act would've have landed her on the cover of Melody Maker?? Maybe. But maybe not either. But add some juice - puff up whatever "not getting along" her and Buddy had into the kind of scandalous headline that gets on the cover of Melody Maker. Why that's certainly possible.

While pondering that - let's look at this slap - did she say she slapped him? Did the video? Or was it adescribed as a "rumor" - something labeled to have "allegedly" happen. Yet no one actually states that it did... Hmm. I wonder why?

Sorry - this sort of leading with the salacious - the scandalous - has always sold papers, magazines... to today...clicks.... always leading us to connect the dots with our steadfast belief that "where there's smoke there's fire" is always true. A belief that editors and PR folks have relied on to convince that rubes to buy into any manner of falsehoods without a second thought.

My advice to anyone looking at stuff like would be slow down... think it through... ponder the possibilities and don't jump to spoon-fed conclusions... in other words.... don't be a rube. :)
The video read from an article verbatim. Back in those days journalism had some hard rules about verifying what was printed before it could be printed. My comment was my personal take, not some sort of vetting of the article. The article, given the stringent way journalism worked back in the period in question, is reason enough to believe its veracity. The side argument you made is based on my opinion, which is, well, an opinion.
 

hsosdrum

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The video read from an article verbatim. Back in those days journalism had some hard rules about verifying what was printed before it could be printed. My comment was my personal take, not some sort of vetting of the article. The article, given the stringent way journalism worked back in the period in question, is reason enough to believe its veracity. The side argument you made is based on my opinion, which is, well, an opinion.
You seem to be confusing Melody Maker with The New York Times. Papers that report hard news aspire to a higher standard of verisimilitude than papers like MM, even back in 1966.
 

mtarrani

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You seem to be confusing Melody Maker with The New York Times. Papers that report hard news aspire to a higher standard of verisimilitude than papers like MM, even back in 1966.
Well, if you have a beef with the content of the video you should take it up with the content creator who posted it on YouTube. Arguing with me is pointless because I posted something, expressed a few opinions about it in subsequent posts, and have nothing more to say one way or the other.
 

dcrigger

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The video read from an article verbatim. Back in those days journalism had some hard rules about verifying what was printed before it could be printed. My comment was my personal take, not some sort of vetting of the article. The article, given the stringent way journalism worked back in the period in question, is reason enough to believe its veracity. The side argument you made is based on my opinion, which is, well, an opinion.
Mike - my entire argument was based my personal take.

As for the magazine - the magazine didn't need to verify anything... because all they did was quote Dusty and she didn't actually state anything at all libelous.... the headline, though provocative, was totally truthful "Dusty Slams US Star" - which she did. Nothing to verify - beyond whether she verbally "slammed: him or not - and she did... so that's what they printed.

That's the sum total of all the "smoke" behind this fire... she said these things... that's it. Melody Maker then or now, would have no obligation to confirm the veracity of her statement - because it wasn't libelous.

My point is that none of that means any of it was true - or it was as simple as she described - or it might be 100% true - we don't know now. And we wouldn't have known then.

Maybe Buddy was horribly mean to her - or maybe she spun a dramatic tale to gin up interest. Both could true. And both scenarios are so common as to be cliches.

But hey whatever - I can see from other posts that you seem to have a started a conversation, stated your opinion, and in the face of mild disagreement, no longer want to participate.

I'm sorry everyone isn't agreeing with (heck many are!) but isn't that the public discussions go? Isn't that the way they are supposed to go?
 

Morello Man

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Torme writes as if he was there - he wasn't - so I don't know what validity that has. Whitney Balliett's feature on Rich that appeared in the 21 Jan. '67 issue of The New Yorker - and which, in edited form, formed the text in Balliett's book Super Drummer - has Rich's account - up through the first week of the three-week engagement - of an encounter with Springfield while Penny Valentine's book on Springfield - that came out in 2000 - recounts an episode a few weeks into the gig where the slapping incident is mentioned. So, maybe there was more than one time where Springfield laid hands on Rich. They didn't respect each other, I think it's safe to say.
 

hsosdrum

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Torme writes as if he was there - he wasn't - so I don't know what validity that has. Whitney Balliett's feature on Rich that appeared in the 21 Jan. '67 issue of The New Yorker - and which, in edited form, formed the text in Balliett's book Super Drummer - has Rich's account - up through the first week of the three-week engagement - of an encounter with Springfield while Penny Valentine's book on Springfield - that came out in 2000 - recounts an episode a few weeks into the gig where the slapping incident is mentioned. So, maybe there was more than one time where Springfield laid hands on Rich. They didn't respect each other, I think it's safe to say.
Although Torme wasn't there, Buddy was, and Torme's book is based on extensive interviews that Torme had with Rich near the end of Buddy's life, in addition to their having been very close friends since the 1940s. So Torme's account is no doubt based on Buddy's first-hand account.
 

Vistalite Black

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Torme writes as if he was there - he wasn't - so I don't know what validity that has. Whitney Balliett's feature on Rich that appeared in the 21 Jan. '67 issue of The New Yorker - and which, in edited form, formed the text in Balliett's book Super Drummer - has Rich's account - up through the first week of the three-week engagement - of an encounter with Springfield while Penny Valentine's book on Springfield - that came out in 2000 - recounts an episode a few weeks into the gig where the slapping incident is mentioned. So, maybe there was more than one time where Springfield laid hands on Rich. They didn't respect each other, I think it's safe to say.
Mike - my entire argument was based my personal take.

As for the magazine - the magazine didn't need to verify anything... because all they did was quote Dusty and she didn't actually state anything at all libelous.... the headline, though provocative, was totally truthful "Dusty Slams US Star" - which she did. Nothing to verify - beyond whether she verbally "slammed: him or not - and she did... so that's what they printed.

That's the sum total of all the "smoke" behind this fire... she said these things... that's it. Melody Maker then or now, would have no obligation to confirm the veracity of her statement - because it wasn't libelous.

My point is that none of that means any of it was true - or it was as simple as she described - or it might be 100% true - we don't know now. And we wouldn't have known then.

Maybe Buddy was horribly mean to her - or maybe she spun a dramatic tale to gin up interest. Both could true. And both scenarios are so common as to be cliches.

But hey whatever - I can see from other posts that you seem to have a started a conversation, stated your opinion, and in the face of mild disagreement, no longer want to participate.

I'm sorry everyone isn't agreeing with (heck many are!) but isn't that the public discussions go? Isn't that the way they are supposed to go?
This has been corroborated in multiple books and articles. It’s bizarre to argue that such well-documented history didn’t happen.
Let’s also remember that Springfield in 1966 had charted 11 Top 40 hits in the UK — including a Number 1 (You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me). She was not as established in the U.S., but given that Rich never had a hit record, she was a significant draw and a well-known star who didn’t need to “gin up” headlines in Melody Maker.

For all of these reasons — and the fact Rich didn’t refute these stories — I believe Dusty.
 
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bellbrass

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Although Torme wasn't there, Buddy was, and Torme's book is based on extensive interviews that Torme had with Rich near the end of Buddy's life, in addition to their having been very close friends since the 1940s. So Torme's account is no doubt based on Buddy's first-hand account.
Let's also keep in mind that Mel was Buddy's best friend. His retelling is probably the most accurate, at least from Buddy's side of the story. I consider his book to be the Gospel on Buddy.
Times were different back then. Men said bad things; women responded in kind. Everything I've read is totally believable - Buddy had an acerbic wit, to say the least, and could have been a stand-up comic of the Don Rickles variety.
 

JimmySticks

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We're all looking at Buddy from a 21st century perspective.

The fact is, a lot of men were like Buddy BITD. His behavior wouldn't have stood out as unusual in a crowd back then. New York men were especially tough, hence the reputation that New Yorkers have as being rude and impolite. Try working in construction in New York back in the 70's, 80's and 90's. I worked for guys that would have made Buddy look like a real softy! Motivation was through fear and intimidation, and Buddy was certainly not alone in that thinking back then.

But society, and even we New Yorkers, have softened up a bit these days! (note the smiley faces!) :icon_mrgreen: :)
 
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