Did you know, Dame Shirley Bassey, one of the greatest vocalist of all time, is of Nigerian descent?
Revealing right? A Nigerian queen who’s father was a Nigerian and her mother, English from Teesside in the northeast of England.
You would recall the popular theme songs from the popular James Bond movies; Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker – were all songs by Dame Shirley Bassey.
Particularly, “Diamond Are Forever,” which was sampled twice by American rapper and superstar, Kanye West.
According to Wikipedia, Bassey, in 2000, was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to the performing arts.
In 1977 she received the Brit Award for “Best British Female Solo Artist” in the previous 25 years.
Bassey is considered one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain during the second half of the 20th century.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
With numerous hits in the early and mid-1960s, Bassey, had five (5) albums which made top 15 in the country. She made her American television début on 13 November, 1960, when she performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.
However, the “Goldfinger” theme song has a lasting impression on her fans and career. In the aftermath of “Goldfinger” her UK sales started to falter as well: only two of her singles would enter the UK Top 40 from 1966 to 1970.
She signed to United Artists, and her first album on that label, I’ve Got a Song for You (1966), spent one week on the chart; from 1966 to 1970, only two albums would chart, one of those a compilation.
Between 1970 and 1979, Bassey had 18 hit albums in the UK Albums Chart. In 1973, her sold-out concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall were recorded and released as a two-LP set, Shirley Bassey: Live at Carnegie Hall.
This album and the majority of her recordings from this period have been released on CD by EMI and BGO Records. Returning to the James Bond franchise, she recorded the theme song for Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
In the 1980s, Bassey focused on charitable work and performing occasional concert tours throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States.
She had ended her contract with United Artists, whose former record division was now part of EMI, and began what she referred to as “semi-retirement”.
In 2001, she performed at the Duke of Edinburgh’s 80th birthday celebration. Also, in 2002 she was one of a prestigious line-up of artists including Elton John, Paul McCartney and Tom Jones who performed at the Queen’s 50th Jubilee Party at Buckingham Palace.