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Pop - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone UK

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Bassey's fourth EMI/Columbia album is regarded as the magnum opus of her pre-Goldfinger career, bringing her together with conductor/arranger Nelson Riddle. (Ironically, it was Riddle's still being under contract to Capitol Records which prevented him from working with Sinatra on Reprise at the time, that made this record possible). Riddle approached this album from the standpoint that less is more, providing elegant and subdued accompaniment that emphasized the strings. Bassey's voice comes across with a delicacy of nuance that is startling to hear, achieving new levels of subtlety on this album. One may disagree with the order of the songs -- the moodily expressive "I Should Care," reminiscent of Judy Garland at her best, would be the ideal opener -- but not with the overall content of this album. Throughout Let's Face the Music, one almost gets a sense of Bassey slipping inside these songs, becoming part of them and they her, rather than merely performing them. The interpretations are fresh in other respects as well, with works such as "Let's Fall in Love" or "The Second Time Around" given unexpectedly slow tempos that work beautifully. Riddle is so careful and measured in his every orchestral nuance of this record, that he leaves us open to surprises at many points, perhaps most startlingly the sudden appearance of a harp glissando on "Spring Is Here," after we've been lulled into the expectation that no part of this orchestra will play full-out. Re-released in the late 1990s as part of EMI's anniversary reissue series, remastered in 24-bit sound. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 6, 2020 | Decca (UMO)

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As the only artist ever to have sung not one, not two but three Bond songs (Goldfinger in 1964, Diamonds Are Forever in 1971 and Moonraker in 1979), Shirley Bassey is sometimes given rather simplistic labels. Though the singer has managed to have a very impressive career well beyond her work for 007. Having sold more than 135 million albums across the world, the Welshwoman’s powerful voice turned her into one of the biggest popstars of the 60s with a sound that sat somewhere between light jazz and easy listening. In 1997 she even made a comeback thanks to the big beat duo Propellerheads on the single History Repeating… Some twenty years later, Shirley Bassey is back. Time has slightly left its mark on her voice but I Owe It All To You (released Autumn 2020) showcases her innate class and acts as a love letter to her loyal fanbase. At the age of 83, Bassey tackles an incredibly eclectic repertoire. She goes from Elvis Presley’s Always On My Mind to Beyoncé’s I Was Here, not forgetting Albinoni’s adagio or Smile, a song Charlie Chaplin composed for Modern Times. Whether it’s a flurry of violins or 60s-style big band jazz that you’re after, there’s something for everyone in this record. A delightfully vintage detour for a timeless pop queen. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Pop - Released November 13, 2000 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released March 1, 2010 | Parlophone UK

In the United States, Shirley Bassey has had a serious following since 1964, and is best-known for her recordings of the James Bond movie themes Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever; in her native Great Britain, by contrast, her popularity dates from 1957 and has never abated, transcending any single hit or pair of hits. Thus, the first disc of this five-CD set presents 15 songs before listeners even get to "Goldfinger." That disc, made up of hit singles, notable album cuts, and previously unissued tracks, sets the pattern for this set, which ties up a lot of loose ends in Bassey's recorded output without losing sight of the standard reference points -- it's a very good compromise between the two box-set philosophies, balancing the hits and the rarities, all in newly remastered sound. Each disc is programmed in chronological order, showing Bassey's evolution from British pop singer to international pop star, and the evolution of her repertory from the standards of Cole Porter, Frank Loesser, Richard Rodgers, and Lorenz Hart, and newer British-spawned work by Leslie Bricusse and Lionel Bart; later embracing the work of the Beatles; and then latching on to '70s show numbers by Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and more, and pop material by David Gates. The songs are all worthwhile, including the outtakes, unissued tracks, and rare B-sides, but just as striking are Bassey's range and flexibility -- she was charting singles in 1957 and still placing records in the Top Ten in 1978, and she didn't achieve the latter as a nostalgia act or by bowing to crazes like disco. The real treat, however, is the fifth disc, Bassey's previously unissued complete Carnegie Hall debut concert from February 15, 1964. This is as fine a survey of Bassey's work as listeners are ever likely to see, short of Bear Family Records addressing her career, with excellent sound quality as well and a booklet that includes background on each song and a full U.K. discography. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 19, 1999 | Parlophone UK

In keeping with the title, Shirley Bassey's follow-up to her 1970 hit LP Something does indeed present a bit of a change of direction. In fact, it's a step back to her MOR dates of the mid-'60s; the album includes no recent rock standards, and the arrangements focus on full-orchestra symphonic pop with fewer nods to the contemporary scene. Though it didn't chart quite as high as its predecessor, it did make the Top Ten while her version of "(Where Do I Begin) Love Story" hit the Top 40 in Britain. Most of the album is given over to large scale, dramatic pop songs -- "It's Impossible," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Until It's Time to Go" -- best treated by a full-throated vocalist like Bassey. It's not quite as raucous or adventurous as Something, but it must've been an easier album to digest for Bassey fans from way back. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 19, 1999 | Parlophone UK

Locked out of the singles charts for the past seven years, Shirley Bassey finally returned with this collection of "contemporary" standards, including her British Top Five single "Something." (Bassey, who first heard the song when Peggy Lee sang it, apparently didn't even know it was a Beatles tune until just before recording it.) To parallel the modern material, Johnny Harris' arrangements add an upfront electric bass and hang-loose drumkit to the heavy strings and brass. Of course, Bassey was never a jazz singer, so she makes the transition from traditional pop to contemporary rock with an ease more comparable to Barbra Streisand than Peggy Lee. There are a few jazzy rock standards ("Light My Fire," "Spinning Wheel," "Something") plus plenty of latter-day show tunes ("Easy to Be Hard," "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life,") and a few '60s vocal pieces ("The Sea and Sand," "My Way," "Yesterday When I Was Young"). Each tune that comes her way gets stamped with the irrepressible Bassey style, and ends up making a remarkably cohesive album of contemporary pop. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 16, 1995 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released November 30, 1999 | Polydor Records

Following her career-defining set at Glastonbury, the success of her cover of Pink's "Get the Party Started," and Kanye West's recent sampling of "Diamonds Are Forever," legendary Welsh powerhouse vocalist Shirley Bassey is perhaps more relevant than she has been since the early '70s. Her 34th studio release, The Performance, continues her unexpected career resurgence by drafting in a whole host of contemporary pop/rock performers and songwriters to pen 11 brand new compositions, the first time Bassey has recorded an album full of original material in over 20 years. Of course, Bassey is no stranger to collaborations, having guested on the Propellerheads' wondrous '60s big-beat anthem "History Repeating" and Swiss electronic duo Yello's 1987 hit "The Rhythm Divine." But instead of furthering Bassey's dance diva credentials, The Performance is an understated and timeless affair which befits her elegant and grandiose status. Produced by David Arnold who, like Bassey, is responsible for some of the most impressive James Bond themes, The Performance successfully modernizes her iconic, sweeping, orchestral sound without ever resorting to unnecessary studio trickery or inappropriate attempts at "getting down with the kids". The Rufus Wainwright-penned "Apartment" is a glorious slice of flamenco, full of Spanish guitars, jazz horns, and gypsy rhythms, which instantly transports you to the streets of Andalusia; fellow countrymen Manic Street Preachers' autobiographical tale "The Girl from Tiger Bay" echoes the Phil Spector-influenced symphonic rock of their 1996 classic Everything Must Go; while the closing track, "The Performance of My Life," a fragile, show-stopping torch song which apparently reduced Bassey to tears while recording it, continues the Pet Shop Boys' impressive track record of writing for female icons, following their work with Dusty Springfield and Liza Minnelli. Elsewhere, Bassey performs tracks written by Gary Barlow (the Burt Bacharach-esque "This Time"), John Barry (the cinematic lounge-pop of "Our Time Is Now"), and the sole female contributor, KT Tunstall (the country-rock-led "Nice Men"), with the same vigor and gusto as she did in her prolific '60s heyday. Like the recent material from Wales' other enduring pop icon, Tom Jones, The Performance proves that age is no barrier, and an 52 years after her debut, Born to Sing the Blues, the number one Dame in Pop is producing some of the best music of her career. © Jon O'Brien /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone UK

Bassey's third album is a pleasing if momentarily uneven collection of 13 songs, accompanied by Geoff Love and his orchestra with the Rita Williams Singers. Once one gets past the most questionable track here (the opener, no less), a version of "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" that Bassey belts out to a too-loud accompaniment, everything is a winner. The best cut here, and one of the highlights of her early recording career, is "The Nearness of You," a dark and moody, totally sensual experience in which her voice gently washes over the listener, like a female analog to Nat King Cole at his most subtle. "Fools Rush In" isn't far behind, though on that particular cut the orchestra may even be a little under-recorded -- the Rita Williams Singers are very tastefully used on that track, however, in a successful, understated manner. They're a little more prominent but still most effective on the beautiful "Who Are We?." "This Love of Mine" and "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening" are sung by Bassey solo, the former with a hauntingly beautiful held note on the fade-out. She also acquits herself well on the bluesy "Angel Eyes," which breaks up the pacing and mood around all of this charmingly ethereal pop. Producer Norman Newell also bolsters the songwriting department with "Goodbye Lover -- Hello Friend," which Bassey turns into a beautifully dramatic vehicle for her voice -- she might even be a little too dramatic on Rodgers & Hart's "Where or When," but is so overpowering in her intonation that the slight excess can be forgiven. In all, this is a delightful and rewarding release from her early career, and is worth tracking down, particularly in the 1997 reissue as part of EMI's 100th anniversary CD series. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 22, 2013 | SINETONE AMR

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Pop - Released September 26, 1988 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released January 1, 1988 | Parlophone UK

Diamonds: The Best of Shirley Bassey anthologizes nearly all of the hits connected to Bassey during her '60s and '70s prime: "Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever," "Big Spender," and "Something." Compared to most of the dozens of Bassey compilations littering the shelves, this one tends more toward Bassey the ballad singer than brassy belter, with selections like "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "Who Can I Turn To," and "What Now My Love." © John Bush /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1965 | Rhino

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Jazz - Released May 30, 2019 | RevOla

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Rock - Released August 7, 2000 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released August 7, 2000 | Parlophone UK

The out of print 1972 CD from Shirley Bassey, And I Love You So, gets two additional bonus tracks on its 2001 re-release, and the more Bassey in the world the better. Her over the top rendition of pianist Jack Dieval's "The Way of Love" keeps the gender intact, as did Kathy Kirby and Cher on their respective hit versions, of a woman singing a song of heartbreak to another woman, only Bassey puts her trademark style on it bringing it into another realm. Chris White includes two lengthy pages of liner notes in the informative eight-page booklet which includes four lovely photos of the queen diva. Perry Como's hit version of the title track, "And I Love You So," a composition from the pen of Don McLean, might've kept this album from getting more exposure, but it is essential Shirley Bassey which her fan base is well aware of. She makes "Bless the Beasts and the Children" exotic while the Tom Evans and Pete Ham timeless classic, "Without You," gets a sort of Eartha Kitt as "Catwoman" reading, Bassey borrowing a bit but never copying. Johnny Harris forgoes the neo-Phil Spector production of Harry Nilsson's hit version to arrange, produce and conduct a special blend to fit Bassey's vocal stylings. The two Noel Rogers produced outtakes from the album sessions. Like many of the artist's releases, this is a real treasure and a true work of art. [The U.K. version adds two bonus tracks: "If I Should Love Again" and "Let Me Be the One."] © Joe Viglione /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 16, 2001 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released January 1, 1988 | Parlophone UK

Diamonds: The Best of Shirley Bassey anthologizes nearly all of the hits connected to Bassey during her '60s and '70s prime: "Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever," "Big Spender," and "Something." Compared to most of the dozens of Bassey compilations littering the shelves, this one tends more toward Bassey the ballad singer than brassy belter, with selections like "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "Who Can I Turn To," and "What Now My Love." © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone UK

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1973 | Rhino