Image: Israel Palacio on Unsplash

My Favourite Dame Shirley Bassey Tunes You Must Listen To Right Now!

And I’ve got the videos to prove it…

My iTunes library is filled with around 24 Shirley Bassey albums — that’s about 380 songs. Sometimes I’ve got duplicates of the same song from a few different albums, and some of her albums I’ve skipped buying because I’ve already got most of the songs on it.

So it’s safe to say that I am an avid fan of Shirley Bassey.

And what’s truly spectacular is that she is still going! Shirley’s phenomenal vocals will soon be gracing our ears with more, in an album titled “I Owe It All To You.” And yes, her voice still packs a punch, even at 83 years old:

UUHHH! So graceful and finely tuned…

Well, anyway… to help bring on the new album later this month, I’ve decided to go through my vast collection of 300+ Shirley Bassey songs and pick out my top 10 favourite tunes.

From the most cheeky, to the most daring and even the most visceral. Come on, let me show you why I love her voice so much!

Feature image: Screenshot from Shirley Bassey’s lyric video of “I Owe It All To You

Big Spender

If there’s one thing Shirley Bassey will always be remembered for, it’s her girlish love of cheeky songs. But in all her naughty numbers, she never gets too risque — just enough to ruffle the feathers, if you know what I mean. Take Big Spender, for example. It was a big hit on the Broadway production of “Sweet Charity,” designed as a group number, and yet Shirley spins it off perfectly as a slightly salacious solo… Ooowah! Naughty!

This Is My Life

What starts out as a husky, depressing song, blossoms into a powerhouse ballad that has stood the test of time. And there’s no-one as perfect for the song as Shirley, who has defied the laws of life to be the singer she is today. If you ever need to kick yourself back onto the path of life, This Is My Life must be the background tune!

I Am What I Am

Look, Gloria Gaynor did whirl through the gay scene with her disco version of this song, but dare I say that Shirley gives I Am What I Am so much more justice. She’s never been officially branded as a gay icon, but it’s safe to say that her taste in music and her flair for being herself has made the branding unnecessary. I Am What I Am is not just for the gays, it’s for anyone who needs to come out of the closet and be themselves.

Goldfinger

Another thing that Shirley will surely be known for is her contribution to the 007 movie franchise. In fact, she’s the only woman to have sung more than one song for them. The other two are Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker, both equally amazing songs, but the best by far is Goldfinger, which plays on Shirley’s quintessential personality traits. Especially her cheekiness.

If You Go Away

Deviancy aside, Shirley has more than just a powerful voice. She can dig herself into a song to reveal the raw emotions that need to be evoked. If You Go Away is one of those songs she performs so beautifully. So eloquently. And this shows that she has more sides to herself than meets the eye.

Almost There

One of my most favourite albums of Shirley Bassey is her 2009 release of “The Performance”. The music in this album is by far the deepest she’s ever gone in raw emotion. It has its own ecology, its own power. And Almost There, which is the first one on the list, never fails to turn me into a blubbering mess. What’s so cool about this performance is the original writer of the song, Tom Baxter, is playing the guitar next to her.

Where Do I Begin

A song is more than just vocals and concise verbalisations, there’s a story to tell. In Where Do I Begin, Shirley Bassey knows the story. You can feel it in the emotions that she plays on the stage. Singing, therefore, is an act. A performance. A way of conveying a particular message. And it takes a great singer to share it so bittersweetly. Especially a song such as this.

I, Who Have Nothing

I, Who Have Nothing is a complex tune. It paints the picture of a jealous girl who wants the man of her dreams. And yet, she slowly accepts that she never will. In this live rendition, Shirley Bassey brings forth the emotions. The jealousy, the pain, the yearning and the sorrow, blending them all together in such a magnificent performance.

Never Never Never

The song Never Never Never was originally written in Italian by Tony Renis. But Shirley loved it so much that she decided to bring back to England and Alberto Testa rewrote the song into English. And with that came the peak of her career. Never Never Never became one of her most well-known songs.

My Way

It’s ironic that Shirley Bassey sang a song like this in 1987 when her career is still thriving today. In fact, Shirley’s version of My Way was released in 1970. And yet, she sings it as if she was in the autumn of her years. As if she’s lived a full life. But, even in 1987 at the age of 50, Shirley understands the meaning of the song.

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Feature image: Screenshot from Shirley Bassey’s lyric video of “I Owe It All To You

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