Reference Entry

Bassey, Shirley

Dave Laing

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 |
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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(b Cardiff, Jan 8, 1937). Welsh pop singer. With a booming yet imperious contralto and an arresting stage presence, Shirley Bassey was one of Britain’s most popular singers of show tunes and pop ballads during the 1950s and 60s. Her forte was the melodramatic ballad, usually taken from a successful musical play or popular film. Thus, early in her career Bassey made hit recordings of ‘As long as he needs me’ (from Bart’s Oliver!) and ‘Climb ev’ry mountain’ (from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music). One of the songs most associated with her was a contrasting showstopper, the brassy, up-tempo ‘Big Spender’ from Coleman’s 1966 musical Sweet Charity. In the cinema, Bassey was chosen to perform three of John Barry’s themes from the James Bond film series: Goldfinger (1964; lyrics by L. Bricusse and A. Newley), Diamonds Are Forever (1972; lyrics by D. Black) and ...

Reference Entry.  256 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music ; Contemporary Music

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