Women Music March 2023 – Day 27 Shirley Bassey

Shirley Bassey


Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey DBE (b. 1/8/37) is a Welsh singer. Best known for her career longevity, powerful voice and recording the theme songs to three James Bond films, Bassey is widely regarded as one of the most popular vocalists in Britain.

Born in Cardiff, Bassey began performing as a teenager in 1953. In 1959, she became the first Welsh person to gain a number-one single on the UK Singles Chart. In the following decades, Bassey amassed 27 Top 40 hits in the UK, including two number-ones. She became well-known for recording the soundtrack theme songs of the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964,) Diamonds Are Forever (1971,) and Moonraker (1979.) In 2020, Bassey became the first female artist to chart an album in the Top 40 of the UK Albums Chart in seven consecutive decades with her album I Owe It All To You.

Bassey has also had numerous BBC television specials, and she hosted her own variety series, Shirley Bassey. In 2011, BBC aired the television film Shirley, based on Bassey’s life and career. Since making her first appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in 1971, she has performed at the venue 45 times.

Bassey received the first award for Best British Female Solo Artist at the 1st Brit Awards in 1977. She was appointed a Dame in 1999 for services to the performing arts. In 2003, she was ranked among the “100 Great Black Britons”. Her song “Goldfinger” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. She has influenced many other singers, including Aretha Franklin.

Early Life:
Shirley was born the sixth and youngest child of Henry Bassey and Eliza Jane Start on Bute Street in Tiger Bay, Cardiff. She grew up in the nearby community of Splott. Her father was Nigerian, and her mother came from New Marske, North Yorkshire.

Musical Beginnings:
Teachers and students alike at Moorland Road School noticed Bassey’s strong voice, but gave the pre-teen little encouragement: “everyone told me to shut up. Even in the school choir the teacher kept telling me to back off till I was singing in the corridor!” A classmate recalled her singing the refrain “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” from Show Boat with such feeling that she made their teacher uncomfortable. She left Splott secondary modern school at age 14 to work at Curran Steels and, in the evenings and weekends, to sing in local pubs and clubs.

In 1953, Bassey signed her first professional contract, touring with the variety show Memories of Jolson, a musical based on the life of Al Jolson. On 17 December 1953, Bassey signed a contract with Columbia Productions for two performances at the salary of £10. Her next professional engagement was in the touring show Hot from Harlem, in which she and other mixed-race Cardiff performers were passed off as Black Americans in 1954.


Studio albums


Live albums


Compilation albums






Original Soundtrck recordings: 12

TV :
Shirley Bassey was a British variety show that premiered on BBC in 1976. The show was hosted by Shirley and produced by Stewart Morris. The first six-episode season was nominated for the Golden Rose of Montreux in 1977. This was followed by a second season of six episodes in 1979. The musical guests included The Three Degrees, Charles Aznavour, Neil Diamond and Dusty Springfield.

One thing to share: Shirley Bassey made her American television debut on 11/13/60, when she performed on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Official website: here (note: it says the “unofficial” but it looks pretty detailed and useful)



13 Comments Add yours

  1. randydafoe says:

    What a remarkable and long career. To me she’s the voice of Bond, end of story. Sorry Sir Paul!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I think so also, Randy. I love the BAFTA video. She herself is a sparkly diamond.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Badfinger (Max) says:

    I read about her some working with George Martin…great artist who is always on. Goldlfinger is a classic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Awesome on Martin. Her voice is celestial! She has maintained her beauty so well also.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        She really has retained it…and also that voice.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dale says:

    As soon as I saw her name, I could hear her voice. Now I’m going crazy trying to remember which one… I’ve got the list in front of me but… no matter. She is fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      When she opens up her voice, wow!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dale says:

        I can hear her saying something something AGAINNNNNN! But damned if the rest of it is coming to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. memadtwo says:

    Goldfinger! Yes, she is the musical voice of James Bond. (K)


    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes she is! She’s a classy lady.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a fantastic pick. Shirley Bassey is an incredible vocalist. As much as I dig Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die, “Goldfinger” is the ultimate Bond title track in my book – there are other good ones but nothing can match the mighty of Bassey’s rendition of “Goldfinger”. And how amazing she still sounds in that clip from 2022 at then-85 years – wow! Just wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I agree, Christian and I was just as amazed by that clip.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. She did a song with the Propeller Heads “History Repeating. An all time fave of CBs so much so a take was in order a few years ago. There’s a very cool video of the song.


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