Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The return of Shirley Bassey

Shirley Bassey has probably never been away, but to most people, particularly anyone under 35, she may have seemed like a name from the past, because she hasn't been the star she once was since perhaps the late 70s.

Well all that mght be about to change, since Dame Shirley, aged almost 70 years old, took to a chilly stage at Glastonbury, wearing a spectacular pink dress and feather boa and looking impossibly glamorous.

She proceeded to belt out a selection of her hits of yesteryear, to a surprisingly big crowd, of all ages, who danced in the mud and sang along to the likes of 'Hey Big Spender' and 'The Lady is a Tramp'.

All good fun, and it was great to see la Bassey in good vocal form, but it was pure cabaret (if only she'd played at Lost Vagueness at 2am eh?)

However, little did anybody suspect just what vocal form she was about to unleash. Shirl hasn't been content to rest on her laurels and has engaged some hip young songwiters to provide her with some new material.

The first I knew of it was when an altogether moodier musical beast came rolling from the PA, courtesy of her full orchestra, as she launched into the powerful and defiant opening verse of 'The Living Tree', which I've since learned is to be a single released in the next week or so.

I sat up and took notice, just in time to be blown back into my seat by a searing blast of pure vocal power as Bassey hit the chorus. It made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, which is more than I can say for any of the other performers on the BBC's Glastonbury coverage, Arctic Monkeys included.

Unfortunately, the footage doesn't appear to be available, but I've found the official video and soon-to-be-released single, on the ever dependable YouTube.

Now THIS is singing...

Wow. Number one for sure.


  1. Apparently her rider and other diva-like demands make Mary J Bilge (sic) look like a flower of modesty. But, you're right, that's a fantastic voice and quite a funky track.

    Looking forward to seeing you both at the Leeds-Liverpool bike bender by the way.

  2. We'll be there Clive. Just ordwered a new back wheel and rear mech for Jude's bike, as it was only a half-bike. She's not been on it for a while so it's year zero again.


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