Song of the day: Dusty Springfield – I just don’t know what to do with myself

Dusty’s third solo single, this Bacharach and David composition has been recorded by so many artists that the Springfield version is danger of being forgotten about. For those of a certain age, it will forever be associated with Kate Moss pole dancing in her pants, but fortunately it wasn’t always so…

What Springfield brings to the song is emotion without emoting and a sense of dignity. The result is a masterpiece.

Following on from the girl groups in the US, and also running parallel to them, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the UK girl singers of the 1960s poured their hearts out on vinyl. The sheer emotion of artists such as Dusty, Sandie Shaw and less well known artists such as Billie Davis and Tammy St John sounds incredible today in an age where Lana del Rey’s ‘Video Games’ was a success in part because it was so emotionally un-guarded, making it a novelty in its honesty. Emotion, like so much else in the modern music business, has become something you do, not what you are.


‘I just don’t know what to do with myself’ doesn’t tend to be cited as Springfield’s best song, but it is a personal favourite of mine and I think it’s a good introduction to her, which is why I’ve included it here.

Image is entitled Spirlz and is a composition by zenera. It was inspired by the Dusty Springfield version of the song ‘Windmills of your mind’ and is used via a flickr creative commons licence

Video commentary: This clip is of a TV performance of ‘I just don’t know what to do with myself.’ It is in black and white, and Dusty is shown walking around what appears to be an art installation of plastic pipes.