Shirley Bassey Essentials

Shirley Bassey Essentials

Shirley Bassey's big break was singing the 1964 theme to the third James Bond film, Goldfinger—a colossal performance still epitomizes the Welsh diva's grandeur. Amid brass catcalls and a tiptoeing tempo, Dame Shirley warns of rich villainy before crescendoing in a breathless, powerhouse finale. Expensive taste—and a top-shelf orchestra to match—became a Bassey motif, used in the regal Bond follow-up “Diamonds Are Forever” and in her jazz cabaret “Big Spender.” Likewise, her symphonic revision of “Light My Fire” conjures an alternate history where hippies deal in bullion and quaff champagne.

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