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1 October 2021, 17:21 | Updated: 19 January 2022, 17:03
Dame Shirley Bassey has remained one of Britain's most popular voices throughout the past seven decades, and is nothing short of a legend.
Here's all you need to know about the iconic Welsh singer:
Dame Shirley Bassey is a legend of British popular music, and is world renowned for her powerful, expressive voice in songs like 'Big Spender'.
She's most recognisably lent her voice to several James Bond films throughout the years, providing the iconic soundtracks to Goldfinger in 1964, Diamonds Are Forever in 1967, and Moonraker in 1979.
Bassey has sold over 130 millions records worldwide since her career began, and was the first Welsh artist ever to achieve a UK number one single with 'As I Love You' in 1959.
After the release of her final album in 2020, I Owe It To You All, she became the first female artist to have a charting album in seven consecutive decades.
Her extensive achievements and awards include winning Best British Female Solo Artist at the 1977 BRIT Awards, being bestowed the title of Most Successful British Female Singer in 2000's Guinness World Records (a record she still holds), and most notably her appointment to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) which came that same year in the annual honours list.
Shirley Bassey was born on January 8, 1937, in Tiger Bay, Cardiff. She celebrated her 84th birthday in 2021
Her father Henry Bassey was from Nigeria, and her mother Eliza Jane Start came from Teeside. She grew up in a household of three sisters, two half-sisters, and one brother.
Bassey left school at the age of 14 to sing in local pubs and clubs, given her mature voice and unique talent.
She then moved on to the West End, where she was later spotted by record producer Johnny Franz who offered her a recording contract.
Bassey's first single 'Burn My Candle' was unfortunately banned by the BBC due to the suggestive lyrics, but future singles 'The Banana Boat Song' and 'As I Love You' became hits, with the latter topping the charts in 1959.
It made Shirley Bassey the first Welsh singer to achieve the feat, and from then onwards stardom beckoned.
- 'Diamonds Are Forever'
- 'Big Spender'
- 'Light My Fire'
- 'As I Love You'
- 'History Repeating'
- 'Never, Never, Never'
- 'Get The Party Started'
- 'Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me'
- 'As Long As He Needs Me'
- 'What Now My Love?'
Shirley Bassey has been married twice in her life.
Her first marriage was to Kenneth Hume from 1961 to 1965, and her second was to Italian Sergio Novak, the assistant manager of the Excelsior Hotel in Venice, who later became her manager. They were married from 1968 to 1979.
She lamented her failure to find true love in her life, saying “I’ve found happiness in my work but not in my private life” in 2016 ahead of her 80th birthday.
Shirley Bassey has two daughters, Sharon and Samantha who were born in 1954 and 1963 respectively.
The father of Samantha has been disputed by her first husband Hume due to Bassey's affair with actor Peter Finch whilst they were married.
Her daughter Samantha sadly died in 1985, with Bassey continuing to believe it was an act of foul play that resulted in her death.
From her surviving daughter Sharon, Bassey has four grandsons and a great-granddaughter.
Shirley Bassey’s estimated net worth is $10 million.
Shirley Bassey has been given the freedom of her home city, Cardiff, but now resides in Monaco.
She played the fabled legend’s slot at Glastonbury Festival in 2007 where she drew the biggest crowd of the weekend, with critics calling it a "once in a lifetime" performance.
Kanye West sampled 'Diamonds Are Forever' for his 2005 song 'Diamonds from Sierra Leone' which reached No.8 in the UK singles chart.
Throughout the late 1960s, Bassey was seen on several occasions partying with East London gangster Reggie Kray.