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Dame Shirley Bassey

Shirley Veronica Bassey was the sixth and last child of Henry Bassey and Eliza Jane Start and was born in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales, of paternal Nigerian and maternal English descent. Two of her mother's four children from previous relationships lived in the Bassey household. Bassey's mother listed her first husband, Alfred Metcalfe, as her own father in the registry of her marriage to Henry Bassey, giving rise to speculation that this marriage was bigamous in the absence of a prior divorce. Eliza and Henry's second child died in infancy, so Shirley was born into a household of three sisters, two half-sisters, and one brother.

Teachers and students alike at Moorland Road School noticed Bassey's strong voice, but gave the pre-teen little encouragement: " '...everyone told me to shut up. Even in the school choir the teacher kept telling me to back off till I was singing in the corridor!' A classmate recalled her singing the refrain 'Can't help lovin' that man of mine' from Show Boat with such feeling that she made their teacher uncomfortable." After leaving Splott Secondary Modern School at the age of 14, Bassey first found employment at a factory while singing in public houses and clubs in the evenings and weekends.


Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey DBE (born 8 January 1937) is a Welsh singer. She performed the theme songs to the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979). She is the only singer to have recorded more than one James Bond theme song. Bassey is an international artist who has accumulated 20 silver discs for sales in Britain, Europe and the Middle East; fifty-plus gold discs for international record sales; and countless greatest hits compilation albums including one gold and two platinum. Bassey has toured and performed with amongst others Nelson Riddle, Count Basie, Humphrey Lyttelton and Woody Herman; and has recorded with Carl Davis (London Symphony Orchestra), John Barry, Johnny Harris, the Swiss group Yello, Chris Rea and The Propellerheads. She has sold 135 millions albums worldwide to date, making her one of the world's best-selling artists alongside Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, Phil Collins and Rod Stewart.

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