Shirley Bassey

Born Jan 8, 1937

Dame Shirley Bassey, DBE, is a Welsh singer. She found fame in the late 1950s and was "one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain during the last half of the 20th century". In the US, in particular, she is best known for recording the theme songs to the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979), and is a UNESCO Artist for Peace.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Shirley Bassey.


1937 Birth Born on January 8, 1937.


1953 16 Years Old In 1953, Bassey signed her first professional contract, to sing in the touring variety show Memories of Jolson, a musical based on the life of Al Jolson.
1954 17 Years Old She next took up a professional engagement in Hot from Harlem, which ran until 1954. … Read More
1955 18 Years Old In 1955, a chance recommendation to Michael Sullivan and George Baines booking agents, put Bassey firmly on course for her destined career. … Read More
1956 19 Years Old During the show's run, Philips record producer Johnny Franz spotted her on television, was impressed, and offered her a recording deal. Bassey recorded her first single, "Burn My Candle", released in February 1956, when she was 19. … Read More


1957 - 1961 6 More Events
1963 26 Years Old 1 More Event
Other UK Top 10 singles of the period included her second No. 1, the double A-side "Reach for the Stars"/"Climb Ev'ry Mountain" (1961), "I'll Get By" (also 1961), and a cover version of the Ben E. King hit "I (Who Have Nothing)" in 1963.
Bassey enjoyed her only US Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hit in 1965 with the title song of the James Bond film, Goldfinger. … Read More
1966 29 Years Old 1 More Event
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.


1967 30 Years Old One of her best-known singles, "Big Spender" was released in 1967, charting just short of the UK Top 20.
Bassey began to live as a tax exile in 1968, and was unable to work in Britain for almost two years.
1970 33 Years Old 1 More Event
Bassey's UK comeback came in 1970, leading to one of the most successful periods of her career. … Read More
1971 34 Years Old Bassey appeared on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show, broadcast on Christmas Day in 1971. … Read More


1978 41 Years Old In 1978, Bassey pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly "after shouting abuse in the street and pushing a policeman". … Read More


1987 50 Years Old She recorded an album of James Bond themes, The Bond Collection in 1987, but was apparently unhappy with the results so she declined to release it. (Five years later it was released anyway, Bassey sued in court, and all unsold copies were withdrawn.) Bassey provided vocals for Swiss artists Yello on "The Rhythm Divine" (1987), a song co-written by Scottish singer Billy Mackenzie. … Read More


1997 60 Years Old Bassey celebrated her 60th birthday in 1997 with two open-air concerts, at Castle Howard and Althorp Park, and another TV special. … Read More
1998 61 Years Old 1 More Event
On 7 October 1998 in Egypt, Bassey performed for a benefit at an open-air concert close to the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid. … Read More
2001 - 2006 5 More Events
"The Living Tree", written, produced and originally recorded by the group Never the Bride, was released as a single on 23 April 2007, marking Bassey's 50th anniversary in the UK Singles Chart – and the record for the longest span of Top 40 hits in UK chart history.
2008 71 Years Old She was rushed to hospital in Monaco on 23 May 2008 to have an emergency operation on her stomach after complaining of abdominal pains. … Read More
2009 72 Years Old 1 More Event
Bassey headlined at the BBC Electric Proms on 23 October 2009, in her only full live set of 2009.
2010 73 Years Old On 24 March 2010, Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they were undertaking fresh inquiries into the death, and specifically claims that the convicted killer Michael Moffat was involved in her death. … Read More
Bassey performed at a gala celebrating the 80th birthday of Mikhail Gorbachev on 30 March 2011.
2012 - 2013 2 More Events
2014 77 Years Old 1 More Event
Bassey performed "I'm Still Here" and "The Lady Is A Tramp" on 13 November 2014 at the 2014 Royal Variety Performance in the presence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
2016 79 Years Old In 2016, she was named as one of "the 50 greatest Welsh men and women of all time".
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