Dame Shirley Bassey exploded onto the music scene during the 20th Century as a powerful vocalist, and remains one of Britain’s most popular singers. Today is Bassey’s birthday and in her life, she’s marked many accomplishments, including singing three James Bond movie theme songs.
Bassey was born in 1937 to a white mother and Nigerian father, and was raised in Wales. Bassey waited tables and sang in pubs to help her family. Her strong singing abilities garnered the attention of a local man who signed her to a contract at 16. However, Bassey became pregnant with a daughter that she left in the care of one of her sisters resuming her career afterwards.
In the late ’50s, Bassey proved she could make hits but it was in 1964 that she achieved the largest mark of her career. That year, Bassey sang the theme song for “Goldfinger,” the only song of hers to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. She went on to sing the theme songs for “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Moonraker” among other hit songs in her native land.
In 2000, Bassey was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to music and her nation. She has sold over 135 million recording during the course of her career.
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