Springfield entered the '80s as just another singer time had callously passed. Elvis Costello sang her praises and submitted songs to her releases, but she was treading water. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys knew better what to do with her. Their duet, "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" went to number two on the charts in the United States and Britain in 1987. It was hardly representative of anything Springfield had previously offered, though. The dance beats and cold synthesizers were the antithesis to the warm, engaging sound she was used to. Springfield adapted effortlessly, but she wasn't interested in re-creating herself as a full-time dance diva and turned down a number of offers intended to keep her career moving ahead. She did record 1990's Reputation with the Pet Shop Boys, but it had no lasting effect. In 1995 with the cancer temporarily beaten, she recorded A Very Fine Love, an album that hewed to the line of contemporary country singers.
The liner notes to last year's fantastic three-CD The Dusty Springfield Anthology (Mercury) are particularly sad. In them she speaks of conquering her cancer and looking forward to the future. "In twenty years, I see myself living in Connecticut, some old broad who gets wheeled down to New York for one or two cabaret shows a year." She never got that chance.