The following article was written by Michael Russell and appeared in the Ealing Gazette on 27th August 2010:
‘A jazz singer and actor who duetted with Dusty Springfield is to have his track released by a major record company more than 50 years after they first sang together.
Peter Miles, of Bradley Gardens, West Ealing, was a close friend of Dusty while in her late teens, and often used to visit her at her home in Kent Gardens, West Ealing. He met her through her brother, Tom, after he joined him in a four-part male voice choir.
He said: “We used to sing a lot in her kitchen, me and her and Tom and the two other guys. She liked what I did musically and said: ‘Why don’t we make a record together?’ I think Dusty would have agreed with me that she was always insecure, I never knew why that was.”
“She was always a perfectionist, would always say she hadn’t done it well enough even when top musicians and producers would say ‘It’s perfect’. But she wasn’t as demanding before she was famous.”
“We rehearsed it at her home and it only took one or two takes and she said we’d got it. She was very professional even then.”
“We recorded the song – ‘Can’t We Be Friends?’ in a studio in Queensway which was cheap but still good. I did spoken ad-libs between some of the lines – she’d sing ‘Who’s to blame?’ and I’d say ‘Mostly you’, and she’d give a little laugh.”
“She loved comedy, she and her brother had a great sense of humour, the more ridiculous the better. They were both very introverted, private people. What you saw was what you got with Dusty. If she wanted to be quiet, she was quiet; if she wanted to be witty, she was witty.”
The duet is part of a rarities disc to be released by Universal in January. The timing could not be better for Mr Miles, who went on to become a successful jazz singer and who works with top musicians after years of hard work perfecting his style.
It follows on from 25 years as a professional actor, with several appearances in ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Blake’s 7′ under his belt.
He added: “I’ve been a jazz singer for 15 years and I’m playing in top clubs and now getting great feedback from musicians and others.”
As for Dusty, he says she was a big part of his life and still has clear memories of their friendship. He said: “I have a picture of Dusty in my mind in her sitting room at home. It was her last year at school, an RC Convent school in Northfields, and she still had straight red hair.”
Dusty Springfield died in March 1995, five years after she developed cancer.
“I suppose I took it for granted that I’d known her so well for so long, but I guess there
aren’t many blokes who have sung with Dusty,” added Peter.’
You can listen to the track on ‘You Tube’ and there is also footage on there of Dusty performing the song in August 1967 with Mel Torme on the BBC TV show, “Dusty”.