In the past 70 years she has been an absolute constant: Shirley Bassey has been in the top 40 with at least one album in every decade. The British woman is the first artist to have succeeded – thanks to her last album “I Owe It All To You” , which made it to fifth place in their home country. At the same time, the “grand finale”, as she called it, marked her departure from the world of music. She will be 85 years old on January 8th. Most recently, the singer was hardly seen in public – not even on her social media channels.
Like hardly any other singer, Dame Shirley stands for pomp, glitz and glamor, for theatricality and something triumphant in her voice. This made the singer, who was born in the rough working-class and harbor district of Tiger Bay in Cardiff, the ideal candidate to sing the song “Goldfinger” composed by John Barry in 1964. Two more 007 songs followed later, “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971) and “Moonraker” (1979). That means a lot to her, emphasized Bassey: “I’m the only person who has sung three Bond songs! How fantastic is that?”
In fact, Bassey, dubbed Dame Shirley since she was knighted in 2000, had her first number one hit in Great Britain five years before “Goldfinger” with “As I Love You”. She was 22 at the time and had had a tough youth. She left school at the age of 14 and began performing as a singer in clubs and bars as a teenager. Her private life has always been turbulent and complicated. In 1954, at 17, she became a mother for the first time, and in 1963 for the second time. Who the father of her two daughters is was never made public.
After the death of her daughter Samantha Bassey temporarily lost her voice. But every time the public almost wrote her off, the singer came back successfully.