Thursday, 25 December 2014

The History Of The Highwaymen

The Highwaymen 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Highwaymen were a circa 1960 "collegiate folk" group. They originated at Wesleyan University and had a Billboard #1 hit in 1961 with "Michael", a version of the African-American spiritual Michael, Row the Boat Ashore, and another Top 20 hit in 1962 with "Cotton Fields". "Michael" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record.[1][2]




As a freshman in 1958, Dave Fisher (19 July 1940 – 7 May 2010),[3] who in high school had sung in a doo-wop group, joined with four other Wesleyan freshman – Bob Burnett,Steve ButtsChan Daniels, and Steve Trott – to form the Highwaymen.[4][5] Fisher, who would graduate in 1962 with the university’s first degree in ethnomusicology,[6] was the quintet's arranger and lead singer.[1] In 1959, United Artists released his arrangement of the spiritual "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore"; the recording reached #1 on the U.S.Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1960 under the abbreviated title of "Michael",[7] earning the quintet the gold record.[8] The single also reached #1 in the UK[9] and #4 in Germany.[10]Later members were Gil Robbins (father of actor Tim Robbins), who joined in 1962 when Steve Trott entered Harvard Law School, and guitarist/bassist Johann Helton.[5][11]Today, just two of the original five members, Steve Trott and Steve Butts, are still alive, with Daniels having died of pneumonia on August 2, 1975 at the age of 36, Fisher in 2010, and Robbins and Burnett in 2011[12] Ten albums have been recorded to date.
The original Highwaymen, minus Daniels (who died in 1975), reunited in 1987 for a concert for their 25th college reunion. From that time until the passing of Dave Fisher in 2010, the band recorded several CD's and performed from ten to 30 concerts a year. Their only new studio album from this period, The Water Of Life A Celtic Collection, was recorded and engineered by their bassist Johann Helton at JoTown Records in Boise, Idaho. The group last performed in August 2009 at the Guthrie Center in Massachusetts. The rock and roll magazine Blitz described the Highwaymen’s record of their 1963 concert at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the best compilation or reissue of 2009. Blitz also named the band's album When the Village Was Green one of the best releases of 2007.[13] In 1990, the group sued country music's Highwaymen, made up of Willie Nelson,Waylon JenningsJohnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson over their use of the name, which was inspired by a Jimmy Webb ballad they recorded. The suit was dropped after the foursome agreed to let members of the original group open for them at a 1990 concert in Hollywood.
The group broke up in 1964. With Dave Fisher as musical director and the only remaining member of the original quintet, The Highwaymen continued for another five years with new members Renny TempleRoy ConnorsMose Henry, and Alan Scharf. They recorded two albums, "Stop! Look! & Listen" and "On a New Road", and performed countless concerts and appeared on virtually every television variety show. Temple, Connors, and Henry were previously in a popular Florida folk group called The Vikings Three. Alan Scharf had an earlier career as an actor which continued after the Highwaymen disbanded. He went on to do small roles in a few movies including the cult classic "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" and many national, regional, and local commercials. He continued his singing as a cantor in Congregation Beth El, a synagogue in La Jolla, California. Roy Connors became an advertising executive and formed his own ad agency,Forsyth & Connors, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale. Roy built the company to become the second largest agency in Florida. The agency was sold in 1991 to the advertising conglomerate, Earl Palmer Brown. Connors wrote and produced national TV commercials and jingles, and performed in a number of national commercials. He became a feature song writer on the CBS children's TV show, "Captain Kangaroo", where he wrote original songs for the cast. After many years of loss of contact, Scharf and Connors reconnected in southern Florida, forming a duo called 2 GUYS, singing many of the folk songs they sang as members of The Highwaymen. More information on Roy and Alan can be found at their web site: and on Facebook. The web site for Roy Connors can be found on Facebook at
Of the original quintet from Wesleyan (all of whom made the Dean's List),[2] one attended Harvard Business School, two attended Harvard Law School, and one attended graduate school at Columbia University, then proceeded into business, law, and academia. Fisher alone stayed in the music business. After the second incarnation of the Highwaymen, Fisher traveled to Hollywood where he composed and arranged music for films and television and worked as a studio singer and musician. He wrote more than a thousand songs, many of which have been used in movie and television productions. After serving in the Army Reserve, Burnett graduated from Harvard Law School in 1967 and "went on to a long career in law and banking."[14] Chan Daniels (who died in 1975) had been an executive for Capitol Records.[15] Steve Butts received a Ph.D. in Chinese Politics from Columbia, and until retirement, had served as an academic administrator at the University of Wisconsin-MadisonGrinnell College, and Lawrence University. He also taught baroque music performance and statistics at Columbia and the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music.[16] Steve Trott, after graduating from Harvard Law, became a prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. Later, he served in the United States Department of Justice during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan and in 1987 was appointed a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[17][18]
Fisher died on May 7, 2010, at the age of 69.[19]
Bob Burnett died of brain cancer on December 8, 2011 at his home in East Providence, Rhode Island. He was 71.[20][21]


The Highwaymen had a significant impact on the folk scene of the early 1960s. Aside from two major hit singles and several appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, the group contributed two future standards to the folk repertoire ("All My Trials", "Big Rock Candy Mountain") and played the central role in uncovering an important, long-overlooked song by Lead Belly, "Cotton Fields", which subsequently became a major addition to the repertoires of both the Beach Boys andCreedence Clearwater Revival. The Highwaymen also made the first recordings, or at least the first recordings in the United States, of seminally noteworthy songs by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger ("The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face") and Buffy Sainte-Marie ("Universal Soldier").[22]

Notable songs[edit]

The History Of Shirley Bassey

Shirley Bassey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dame Shirley Bassey
Shirley Bassey (1971).jpg
Shirley Bassey (1971)
Background information
Birth nameShirley Veronica Bassey
Born8 January 1937 (age 77)
Tiger BayCardiff, Wales
GenresTraditional popadult contemporarypop
Years active1953–present
LabelsPhilipsColumbiaUnited ArtistsDeccaGeffen
Dame Shirley Veronica BasseyDBE (born 8 January 1937)[1] is a Welsh singer with a career spanning more than 60 years. Originally finding fame in the mid-1950s, Bassey has been called "one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain during the last half of the 20th century." [2][3] [4] In the US, in particular, she is best known for recording the theme songs to the James Bond filmsGoldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979).[2][5][6]



Early life[edit]

Shirley Veronica Bassey was the sixth and last child of Henry Bassey and Eliza Jane Start[7] and was born in Tiger BayCardiff,Wales, of paternal Nigerian and maternal English descent.[2][8][9] 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.[10] 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."[11] 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.[12]


1953–59: Career beginnings[edit]

In 1953, Bassey signed her first professional contract, to sing in a touring variety show Memories of Jolson, a musical based on the life of Al Jolson.[13] She next took up a professional engagement in Hot from Harlem, which ran until 1954. By this time Bassey had become disenchanted with show business, and had become pregnant at 16 with her elder daughter, Sharon—the father has not been identified—[14] so she went back to waiting tables in Cardiff.
In 1955, a chance recommendation to Michael Sullivan, a booking agent, put Bassey firmly on course for her destined career. He saw talent in Bassey, and decided he would make her a star. She toured various theatres until she was seen by Jack Hylton whose interest in her put her firmly on the road to stardom. He invited her to star in Al Read's Such Is Life at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End. During the show's run, PhilipsA&R and record producer Johnny Franz spotted her on television, was impressed, and offered her a recording deal. Bassey recorded her first single, entitled "Burn My Candle", and Philips released it in February 1956, when Bassey was 19. Owing to the suggestive lyrics, the BBC banned it, but it sold well nonetheless, backed with her powerful rendition of "Stormy Weather". Further singles followed, and in February 1957, Bassey had her first hit with "The Banana Boat Song", which reached No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart.[15]During that year, she also recorded under the direction of American producer Mitch Miller in New York for the Columbia label, producing the single "If I Had a Needle and Thread"b/w "Tonight My Heart She Is Crying". She then travelled to Las Vegas to make her American stage début at El Rancho Vegas.[16] In mid-1958, she recorded two singles that would become classics in the Bassey catalogue. "As I Love You" was released as the B-side of another ballad, "Hands Across the Sea"; it did not sell well at first, but after a chance appearance at the London Palladium things began to pick up. In January 1959, it reached No. 1 and stayed there for four weeks. It thus became the first number 1 single by a Welsh artist.[17] Bassey also recorded "Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me" at this point, and while "As I Love You" raced up the charts, so too did this record, with both songs being in the top three at the same time. A few months later, Bassey signed to EMI's Columbia label, and the second phase in her recording career had begun.

1960–79: Success and breakthrough[edit]

Shirley Bassey in Italy, 1970
In the early and mid-1960s, Bassey had numerous hits on the UK charts, and five albums in the Top 15. Her 1960 recording of "As Long As He Needs Me" from Lionel Bart's Oliver! reached No. 2, and had a chart run of 30 weeks.[6] On 13 November 1960, Bassey made her début performance on American television, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show.[18] In 1962, Bassey's collaboration with Nelson Riddle and his orchestra produced the album Let's Face the Music (No. 12) and the single "What Now My Love" (No. 5). Other Top Ten hits of the period included her second No. 1, the double A-side "Reach for the Stars"/"Climb Ev'ry Mountain" (1961), "I'll Get By" (also 1961), and a cover version of the Ben E. King hit "I (Who Have Nothing)" in 1963.[15] During this period, Bassey appeared on the cover of Ebonymagazine, and sang at a Washington gala celebrating the end of President Kennedy's second year in office.[19]
In 1965, Bassey enjoyed her only US Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hit with the title song of the James Bond film, Goldfinger. The single peaked at No. 8, while the original soundtrack of Goldfinger hit No. 1 in the US that same year. Also in 1965, she sang the title track for the spoof James Bond film The Liquidator, and had a Top 20 live album recorded during a sell-out run at London's Pigalle.
From 1964 onwards the "Goldfinger" single had a lasting impact on her career: writing for the sleeve notes of Bassey's 25th Anniversary Album, Clayton (1978) notes that: "Acceptance in America was considerably helped by the enormous popularity of ("Goldfinger")...But she had actually established herself there as early as 1961, in cabaret in New York. She was also a success in Las Vegas...'I suppose I should feel hurt that I've never been really big in America on record since "Goldfinger"...But, concertwise, I always sell out.'..."[20] This was reflected in the fact that Bassey had only one solo LP to reach the Top 20 in a US chart (R&BLive at Carnegie Hall), and she was technically a one-hit wonder, making only one appearance in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, "Goldfinger". But in the aftermath of "Goldfinger" her UK sales started to falter as well: only two of her singles would enter the UK Top 40 until 1970. She had signed to United Artists, and her first album on that label, 1966's I've Got a Song for You, spent one week on the chart; from there until 1970, only two albums would chart, one of those a compilation. In 1967 came the release of one of her best-known singles "Big Spender", although it charted just outside the UK Top 20.[15]
Bassey started living as a tax exile in 1968, and was not permitted to work in Britain for almost two years.[9][21] Also in 1968, at the Sanremo Festival in Italy, she performed "La vita", an Italian song by Bruno Canfora and Antonio Amurri, with some lyrics re-written in English by Norman Newell for her performance. Her version of the song with chorus sung in Italian became a Top 40 hit on the Italian chart, and Bassey recorded several songs in Italian, some appearing on a 1968 Italian album entitled La vita.[22] (Later, Newell would write English lyrics for the rest of "La vita", and the result was "This Is My Life".) But her UK sales continued to suffer.
Bassey performing in Germany in 1973
Bassey's UK comeback came in 1970, leading to one of the most successful periods of her career. In that year, she returned to the UK with a record breaking run of performances at the Talk of the Town nightclub. Also in that year, she released the album Something, which showcased a new Bassey style, a shift from traditional pop to more contemporary songs and arrangements (the single of the same name was more successful in the UK charts than the original Beatles recording – the only artist to have achieved this), though Bassey would never completely abandon what had been her forte, standards, show tunes, and torch songs. "Something" was also a Top 10 US hit on the Adult Contemporary chart. Other singles of this period included the top ten hit "Never Never Never", an English version of the Italian "Grande grande grande", reaching the Top 10 in the US Adult Contemporary Chart, the UK Top 10 and number one in Australia and South Africa. The success of "Something" (single No. 4, album No. 5) spawned a series of successful albums on the UA label, includingSomething Else (1971), And I Love You So (1972), I Capricorn (1972), Never Never Never (1973), Good, Bad but Beautiful (1975), Love, Life and Feelings (1976), You Take My Heart Away (1977) and Yesterdays (1978). Bernard Ighner wrote and duetted with Bassey for the track "Davy" on the Nobody Does It Like Me album (1974). Additionally, two of Bassey's earlier LPs entered the charts, 1967's And We Were Lovers (re-issued as Big Spender), and 1962's Let's Face the Music (re-issued as What Now My Love). Two compilations, The Shirley Bassey Singles Album (1975) and 25th Anniversary Album (1978), both made the UK top three: The Shirley Bassey Singles Albumher highest charting album at number two and earning a gold disc, and 25th Anniversary Album going platinum.[15][23]
Between 1970 and 1979, Bassey had 18 hit albums in the UK Albums Chart.[6] Her 1978 album The Magic Is You featured a portrait by the photographer Francesco Scavullo. In 1973, her sold-out concerts at New York's Carnegie Hall were recorded and released as a two-LP set, Shirley Bassey: Live at Carnegie Hall. This album and the majority of her recordings from this period have been re-mastered and released on CD by EMI and BGO Records. In 1971, she recorded the theme song for Diamonds Are Forever. The recording was featured as part of Sydney, Australia's 2007 New Year's celebration.
Bassey was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions, in November 1972 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at Heathrow Airport, and in January 1993, whenMichael Aspel surprised her at the curtain call of a sell-out concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Bassey appeared on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show, broadcast on Christmas Day in 1971.[24] In 1976, Bassey starred in the six-episode The Shirley Bassey Show, the first of her television programmes for the BBC, followed by a second series of six episodes in 1979. The final show of the first series was nominated for the Golden Rose of Montreux in 1977. The series featured guests including Neil DiamondMichel LegrandThe Three Degrees and Dusty Springfield; filmed in various locations throughout the world as well as in the studio. In 1978, Bassey pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly "after shouting abuse in the street and pushing a policeman".[5] Bassey closed out the decade with her third title theme for the Bond films, Moonraker (1979).

1980–99: Continued success[edit]

Throughout most of the 1980s, Bassey focused on charitable work and performing occasional concert tours throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States, having ended her contract with EMI-United Artists and taking what she referred to as "semi-retirement". In 1982 Bassey recorded an album entitled All by Myself and made a TV special forThames Television called A Special Lady with guest Robert Goulet. In 1983 she recorded a duet with Alain Delon, "Thought I'd Ring You", which became a hit single in Europe. Bassey was now recording far less often but released an album in 1984 of her most famous songs, I Am What I Am, performed with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) conducted by Carl Davis. In 1986, she released a single and video to support the London Tourist Board, "There's No Place Like London", co-written by Lynsey de Paul andGerard Kenny. In 1987 she recorded an album of James Bond themes, The Bond Collection, but was apparently unhappy with the results so she declined to release it. (Five years later it was released anyway, Bassey sued in court, and all unsold copies were withdrawn.)[25] Also in 1987, Bassey provided vocals for Swiss artists Yello on "The Rhythm Divine", a song co-written by Scottish singer Billy Mackenzie.[2] In 1989, she released an album sung entirely in Spanish, La Mujer. In the latter mid-1980s Bassey had started working with a vocal coach, a former opera singer, and her 1991 album Keep the Music Playing displayed a grand, operatic pop style on several songs (perhaps also influenced by her album with the LSO seven years earlier).
In 1994 EMI released the five-CD box set Bassey – The EMI/UA Years 1959 – 1979. The accompanying booklet opened with a poem by Marc Almond. In 1996, Bassey collaborated with Chris Rea in the film La Passione, appearing in the film as herself and releasing the single "'Disco' La Passione". The remix of this single proved a major club hit throughout Europe[citation needed], though charting just outside the UK top 40.[15] Bassey released a new recording the following year, "History Repeating", written for her by thePropellerheads and scoring a No. 1 on the UK Dance Chart, and No. 10 on the US Dance Chart.[26] It was also a top ten hit in Italy.[22] The liner notes of the Propellerheads' album Decksandrumsandrockandroll included the lines: "We would like to extend our maximum respect to Shirley Bassey for honouring us with her performance. We are still in shock...." Bassey celebrated her 60th birthday in 1997 with two open-air concerts, at Castle Howard and Althorp Park, and another TV special. The resulting live album The Birthday Concert received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance.[27] On 7 October 1998 in Egypt, Bassey performed for a benefit at an open-air concert close to the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid.
In the 1998 film Little Voice, Bassey was one of three central figures along with Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland, and Bassey's track "Goldfinger" featured in the movie. Jane Horrocks, the lead actress in the film, went on to impersonate Bassey both on record and television, as well as during a UK tour.
In 1998 Bassey was sued in a breach of contract case by her former personal assistant, who also accused Bassey of hitting her and making an ethnic slur. Bassey won the case.[5] The episode was lampooned by Alexander Baron in his one-act play, The Trial of Shirley Bassey.
The following year, she performed the official song for the rugby World Cup, "World in Union", with Bryn Terfel at the opening ceremony at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, wearing a gown designed on the Welsh flag. Their single made the Top 40, and Bassey contributed two more songs to the official album Land of My Fathers, which reached No. 1 on the UK compilations chart, and went silver.[23][28]


Bassey at Wembley Arena, 2006
In 2001, Bassey was principal artiste at the Duke of Edinburgh's 80th Birthday celebration. On 3 June 2002 she was one of a prestigious line-up of artists including Elton JohnPaul McCartney and Tom Jones who performed at the Queen's 50th Jubilee Party at Buckingham Palace. In 2003, Bassey celebrated 50 years in show business, releasing the CD Thank You for the Years, which was another Top 20 album. A gala charity auction of her stage costumes at Christie's, "Dame Shirley Bassey: 50 Years of Glittering Gowns", raised £250,000 (US$500,000) for the Dame Shirley Bassey Scholarship at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Noah's Ark Children's Hospital Appeal.[29]Bassey topped the bill at the 2005 Royal Variety Performance, introducing her new song "The Living Tree".
Two popular Audiences with Shirley Bassey have aired on British television, one in 1995 that attracted more than 10 million viewers in the UK, with the more recent in 2006. Bassey returned to perform in five arenas around the UK in June the same year, culminating at Wembley. She also performed a concert in front of 10,000 people at the Bryn Terfel Faenol Festival in North Wales broadcast by BBC WalesMarks & Spencer signed her for their Christmas 2006 James Bond-style television advertising campaign. Bassey is seen in a glamorous Ice Palace singing a cover version of Pink's song "Get the Party Started", wearing an M&S gown.
"The Living Tree", written, produced and originally recorded by the group Never the Bride, was released as a single on 23 April 2007, marking Bassey's 50th anniversary in the UK Singles Chart – and the record for the longest span of Top 40 hits in UK chart history.[6] Bassey performed a 45-minute set at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival wearing a pink Julien Macdonald dress, and customised Wellington boots.[30] A new album, Get the Party Started, was subsequently released on 25 June 2007 and entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 6.[15] The single of the title song reached No. 3 on the US Dance Chart.[31] The same year, Bassey performed "Big Spender" with Elton John at his annual White Tie and Tiara Ball to raise money for The Elton John AIDS Foundation.[32] In 2007, Bassey performed in Fashion Rocks in aid of The Prince's Trust at the Royal Albert Hall.
From left to right: StingDebbie HarryLady GagaElton John, Bassey and Bruce Springsteen at Carnegie Hall 2010
She was rushed to hospital in Monaco on 23 May 2008 to have an emergency operation on her stomach after complaining of abdominal pains. She was forced to pull out of the Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Tribute concert because of her illness.[33] A biography, Diamond Diva, was published in 2008.
In 2009, Bassey recorded the album, The Performance, with James Bond composer David Arnold as co-producer (with Mike Dixon). A number of artists wrote songs expressly for Bassey, including Manic Street PreachersGary BarlowKT TunstallPet Shop BoysNick Hodgson of the Kaiser ChiefsJohn Barry and Don Black. Bassey headlined at the BBC Electric Proms on 23 October 2009, in her only full live set of 2009.[5][34] In November 2009, she performed several of the new songs from The Performance on various TV shows: The Graham Norton ShowThe Paul O'Grady Show and as the guest singer on Strictly Come Dancing.
On 30 March 2011, Bassey performed at a gala celebrating the 80th birthday of Mikhail Gorbachev.[35] She also performed at the Classical Brit Awards in 2011, singing "Goldfinger" in tribute to John Barry.[36]
On 29 September 2011, the BBC broadcast a 70-minute drama entitled Shirley, depicting Bassey's early life and career.[37] Ruth Negga played the title role. On 4 June 2012 Shirley Bassey was one of a prestigious line-up of artists who performed at the Queen's 60th Jubilee Party at Buckingham Palace. Bassey sang "Diamonds Are Forever".[38]Bassey performed at the 2013 Academy Awards on 24 February 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise. It was her first appearance at an Oscars ceremony as a performer.[39] She sang "Goldfinger" to a standing ovation.
On 17 November 2014, Bassey released a new album entitled Hello Like Before which features many classic tracks, most of which she has never recorded before. It also includes a 50th anniversary re-recording of "Goldfinger" (recreating the original orchestration) and a duet of "Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend" with Paloma Faith.[40]

Personal life[edit]


Bassey's first marriage was to Kenneth Hume (died 1967), a gay film producer, whom she married in 1961.[14][41] The couple separated in 1964 and divorced in 1965 in the wake of the singer's affair with actor Peter Finch. Bassey then announced to the press that she and Finch would not be marrying, telling the press, "It simply wouldn't work out. Just now I am not ready for marriage to anyone. I feel I have to be free."[42] A year later, Hume sued the actor and another man, John McAuliffe, for being "indiscreet" with the singer.[43] Both Finch and McAuliffe were cited as co-respondents in the Hume-Bassey divorce.[44] For her part, Bassey was named as co-respondent in 1965 when Finch's wife, South African actress Yolande Turner, divorced the actor.[45]
Sergio Novak, the assistant manager of the Excelsior Hotel in Venice, Lido, Italy, and Bassey were married from 1968 until they divorced in 1979.[46] Novak served as Bassey's manager throughout this time. With Novak she adopted her grand-nephew, Mark.[8][9]

Children and grandchildren[edit]

The fathers of Bassey's two daughters, Sharon Bassey (aka Sharon Novak, 1954) and Samantha Bassey (aka Samantha Novak, born 1963), are unknown.[47][48] However, Bassey's first husband suggested that Samantha, born during the couple's marriage, was the result of an affair between Bassey and Peter Finch. In 1965, according to an article in Jet, "There is a big dispute in London over who is the father of tempestuous singer Shirley Bassey's baby. Although one-time boy friend Australian actor Peter Finch agreed that the child may not belong to Shirley's divorced husband, Kenneth Hume, Finch insists she does not belong to him ... "[43][49]
In 1985, Samantha Novak, age 21, was found dead in the River Avon in Bristol, England. Bassey has always maintained that the death of her daughter was not a suicide.[5] On 24 March 2010, Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they were undertaking fresh inquiries into the death of Novak, and specifically claims that the convicted killer Michael Moffat was involved in her death.[50] However, in October 2010 it was reported that the investigation came to an end and concluded that there "is no evidence of any criminal act involved" in Novak's death.[51]
Bassey's granddaughter Tatjana Novak-Kimsey, daughter of the singer's one-time estranged son, Mark Novak, was a contestant on The X Factor.[52] In a 2009 interview, Bassey stated that she and her son had been reconciled.[5]
Bassey has four grandsons through her daughter, Sharon Novak.[53]
Bassey currently lives in Monaco.[54]

Awards and achievements[edit]

"For services to entertainment", Bassey was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) on 31 December 1999 by Queen Elizabeth II.[55] She was invited to perform in 2002 at the Party at the Palace, a public celebration of the Queen's Golden Jubilee. She was awarded France's top honour, the Legion d'Honneur, to signify her popularity and importance in the culture of France.
  • 1959 – Favourite British Female Singer – NME Award
  • 1972 – Best Female Singer – TV Times
  • 1973 – Best Female Singer – TV Times
  • 1974 – Best Female Entertainer – American Guild of Variety Artists
  • 1976 – Best Female Singer – Music Week
  • 1976 – 22-day British tour to mark twenty years as a recording artist
  • 1976 – EMI Award for twenty years as a recording artist – UK
  • 1977 – Best British Female Solo Artist in the previous 25 years – BRIT Award
  • 1977 – Golden Rose of Montreux nomination for The Shirley Bassey Show
  • 1991 – Walk of Fame, Star Boulevard – plaque unveiled in Rotterdam[56]
  • 1993 – CBE – Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • 1995 – Showbusiness Personality of the Year – Variety Club of Great Britain
  • 1997 – Grammy nomination – The Birthday Concert (recorded live at Althorp Park)
  • 1998 – Longest run by a solo artist (ten shows) – Royal Festival Hall, London
  • 1999 – Légion d'Honneur – France
  • 1999 – Madam Tussaud's waxwork unveiled in London (second model in Las Vegas)
  • 2000 – DBE – Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • 2000 – Most Successful British Female Singer – Guinness Book of Records[citation needed]
  • 2003 – Outstanding Contribution to Music – National Music Awards, UK[57]
  • 2003 – Lifetime Achievement Award (inaugural award) – Western Mail Welsh Woman of the Year Awards[58]
  • 2004 – 100 Great Black Britons, Bassey voted into the top ten
  • 2004 – Artist for Peace Award – UNESCO
  • 2005 – Avenue of Stars – plaque unveiled in London
  • 2008 – "Goldfinger" – United Artists single (1964) inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame[59]



  • Miss Shirley Bassey – John L. Williams (2010)
  • Shirley Bassey: Diamond Diva – Peter Hogan (2008)
  • Cardiff: Rebirth of a Capital (Foreword by Shirley Bassey) – Ungersma, Hurn (2005)
  • Shirley Bassey: Welsh History Stories – Evans, Stokes, ap Emlyn, ap Emlyn (2003)
  • Shirley Bassey: An appreciation – Muriel Burgess (1998, reprinted 1999)
  • My Life on Record and in Concert – Shirley Bassey (Bloomsbury, 1998)
  • The Trial of Shirley Bassey – A Play in One Act – Alexander Baron (1998)
  • Shirley Bassey: This Is My Life (Piano/vocal/guitar) – Sheet music book
  • Shirley Bassey: You're the Voice (Piano/vocal/guitar) – Sheet music book
  • Guinness Book of British Hit Singles – 14th Edition – ISBN 0-85156-156-X
  • Guinness Book of British Hit Singles – 16th Edition – ISBN 0-85112-190-X
  • Guinness Book of British Hit Albums – 7th Edition – ISBN 0-85112-619-7
  • The Book of Golden Discs – 2nd Edition – ISBN 0-214-20512-6
  • The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits – ISBN 0-85112-250-7

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