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February 20, 2022

Shirley Bassey: One of the Most Popular Female Vocalists in Britain

Born 1937 in Cardiff, Welsh singer Shirley Bassey began performing as a teenager in 1953. In 1959, she became the first Welsh person to gain a number-one single on the UK Singles Chart. In the following decades, Bassey amassed 27 Top 40 hits in the UK, including 2 number-ones. She became well-known for recording the soundtrack theme songs of the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979).

Bassey is best known for her career longevity, powerful voice. In 2020, she became the first female artist to chart an album in the Top 40 of the UK Albums Chart in seven consecutive decades with her album I Owe It All To You.

Bassey has also had numerous BBC television specials and she hosted her own variety series Shirley Bassey. In 2011, BBC aired the television movie Shirley, based on Bassey’s life and career.

Bassey received the first award for Best British Female Solo Artist at the 1st Brit Awards in 1977. She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts in 1999. In 2003, she was ranked among the “100 Great Black Britons”. Her song “Goldfinger” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.

Take a look at these vintage photos to see portraits of a young and beautiful Shirley Bassey in the 1950s and 1960s.


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