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 a 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 Bassey recorded her first single, entitled "Burn My Candle", and Philips released it in February 1956, when Bassey was 19. … Read More


1957 - 1958 2 More Events
1960 23 Years Old 1 More Event
Her 1960 recording of "As Long As He Needs Me" from Lionel Bart's Oliver! reached No. 2, and had a chart run of 30 weeks.
1961 - 1963 3 More Events
In 1965, Bassey enjoyed her only US Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hit with the title song of the James Bond film, Goldfinger. … Read More
1966 29 Years Old She had signed to United Artists, and her first album on that label, 1966's I've Got a Song for You, spent one week on the chart; from there until 1970, only two albums would chart, one of those a compilation.


1967 30 Years Old In 1967 came the release of one of her best-known singles "Big Spender", although it charted just outside the UK Top 20.
Bassey started living as a tax exile in 1968, and was not permitted 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 1 More Event
In 1971, she recorded the theme song for Diamonds Are Forever. … Read More


1978 - 1982 2 More Events
1983 46 Years Old In 1983 she recorded a duet with Alain Delon, "Thought I'd Ring You", which became a hit single in Europe.
1984 47 Years Old Bassey was now recording far less often but released an album in 1984 of her most famous songs, I Am What I Am, performed with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) conducted by Carl Davis.
1986 49 Years Old In 1986, she released a single and video to support the London Tourist Board, "There's No Place Like London", co-written by Lynsey de Paul and Gerard Kenny.


1987 - 1989 2 More Events
1991 54 Years Old In the latter mid-1980s Bassey had started working with a vocal coach, a former opera singer, and her 1991 album Keep the Music Playing displayed a grand, operatic pop style on several songs (perhaps also influenced by her album with the LSO seven years earlier).
1994 57 Years Old In 1994 EMI released the five-CD box set Bassey – The EMI/UA Years 1959–1979. … Read More
1996 59 Years Old In 1996, Bassey collaborated with Chris Rea in the film La Passione, appearing in the film as herself and releasing the single "'Disco' La Passione". … 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
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
In 2009, Bassey recorded the album The Performance, with James Bond composer David Arnold as co-producer (with Mike Dixon). … Read More
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
On 30 March 2011, Bassey performed at a gala celebrating the 80th birthday of Mikhail Gorbachev.
2012 75 Years Old On 4 June 2012 Bassey was one of the line-up of artists who performed at the Queen's 60th Jubilee Party at Buckingham Palace, singing "Diamonds Are Forever".
2013 76 Years Old Bassey performed at the 2013 Academy Awards on 24 February 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise. … Read More
2014 77 Years Old 1 More Event
On 13 November 2014 Bassey performed "I'm Still Here" and "The Lady Is A Tramp" at the 2014 Royal Variety Performance in the presence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
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