Shirley Bassey – The Singles
Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey, DBE was born in Tiger Bay, Cardiff on January 8 1937 to a Nigerian dad and a Newcastle mum. She began her music career in 1953, touring theatres and performing on stage around the country, before being spotted in 1955 by record producer Johnny Franz. Recording her debut single at the age of 19 in February 1956, the song Burn My Candle was banned by the BBC for being a bit saucy. She eventually made her chart impact with The Banana Boat Song in February 1957, and within the next few years scored two chart-toppers with As I Love You in December 1958 and Reach for the Stars/ Climb Ev’ry Mountain in August 1961. She also became iconic as a key James Bond film theme lungsmith, with songs Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever. She’s continued to have success as a collaborator, teaming up with acts such as Yello, Kaiser Chiefs, Pet Shop Boys, Manic Street Preachers and Bryn Terfel, and as a guest on Propellerheads’ History Repeating in 1997.
Having seen a sales dip in the latter half of the 1960s, Bassey enjoyed a successful comeback in the 1970s, beginning with the single and album hits, “Something”. This continued over the next few years with several high-selling albums and in 1975, her record label United Artists, released a collection of songs taken from this period, plus “Big Spender” and “If You Go Away” (which were featured on a 1960s album that had been re-released and a hit in 1971). The Shirley Bassey Singles Album was an immediate hit, going gold a month after its release, and peaking at No.2 in the UK—her highest charting album—during a 24-week run. The album included the top 10 singles “Something”, “For All We Know” and “Never Never Never” as well as featuring the hits “Fool on the Hill” and “Diamonds are Forever”, which had not featured on any of her albums up to this point.
Bassey’s highest peaking single in the US is “Goldfinger”, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and appearing on the number one soundtrack album from the 1964 James Bond film. Bassey has two number one UK singles to her credit: “As I Love You” and the double A-sided, “Reach for the Stars” / “Climb Ev’ry Mountain“, as well as a number one on the dance chart; “History Repeating” in 1997. She reached the top spot on the Australian and South African charts with 1973’s “Never, Never, Never“. On the release of “The Living Tree” in 2007, she marked a 50 year span of appearances in the UK Singles Chart.
- “Something” (George Harrison) – 3:35 (Recorded in 1970)
- “(Where Do I Begin?) Love Story” (Francis Lai, Carl Sigman) – 3:13 (Recorded in 1971)
- “Diamonds Are Forever” (John Barry, Don Black) – 2:41 (Recorded in 1971)
- “The Fool on the Hill” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 3:14 (Recorded in 1970)
- “Make the World a Little Younger” (Terry Howell, L. O’Hara) – 3:31 (Recorded in 1973)
- “Big Spender” (Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields) – 1:49 (Recorded in 1967)
- “Never, Never, Never” (Tony Renis, Alberto Testa, Norman Newell) – 3:37 (Recorded in 1973)
- “When You Smile” (William Salter, Ralph MacDonald) – 3:28 (Recorded in 1974)
- “If You Go Away” (Rod McKuen, Jacques Brel) – 4:31 (Recorded in 1967)
- “And I Love You So” (Don McLean) – 4:27 (Recorded in 1972)
- “Does Anybody Miss Me” (Les Reed, Johnny Worth) – 2:27 (Recorded in 1969)
- “For All We Know” (Fred Karlin, Arthur James, Robb Wilson) – 2:43 (Recorded in 1971)
Bonus tracks on CD re-issue:
- “Goldfinger” (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley, John Barry) – 2:49 (Recorded in 1964)
- “No Regrets” (Charles Dumond, Michel Vaucaire, Hal David) – 2:45 (Recorded in 1963)
- “I (Who Have Nothing)” (Mogal, Carlo Domida, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) – 2:41 (Recorded in 1963)
- “What Kind of Fool am I” (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) – 3:16 (Recorded in 1963)
Video: Shirley Bassey-Never Never Never (Grande Grande Grande) (1987 Live In Berlin)