He's the man, the man with the Midas touch,
A spider's touch.
Such a cold finger,
Beckons you to enter his web of sin,
But don't go in.
Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey DBE (born 8 January 1937) is a Welsh singer of Nigerian and English descent, affectionately and spooneristically referred to as "Burly Chassis". Her career spans more than sixty years, and she has a powerful and very distinctive voice that is instantly recognisable - nobody sounds exactly like her, but you can immediately tell when they're trying to.
Bassey is particularly noted for being the only person to have sung more than one of the James Bond Title Theme Tunes, including the themes for Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker, and the original themes for Thunderball ("Mr Kiss-Kiss Bang-Bang") and Quantum of Solace ("No Good About Goodbye") before the studio decided to go with Tom Jones and Jack White/Alicia Keys respectively.
Her other famous songs include:
- "Big Spender" ("Hey, Big Spender!")
- "As Long As He Needs Me" (From Oliver!)
- "History Repeating" (a collaboration with Propellerheads)
- Believe it or not, a cover of "Get The Party Started" (even included on Dancing On Ice)
- "Jezahel" (later sampled by Public Enemy for "Harder Than You Think")
Bassey's singing style, the singing equivalent of Chewing the Scenery, has been much imitated:
- Geri Halliwell's "Look At Me" definitely has a hint of Bassey to it.
- At points - the title song for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the song takes on the Bassey-style, appropriate considering the other Spy tropes it plays with.
- Richard Cheese did a lounge cover of "Rock the Casbah". Changing the pitch of it turns the cover into a dead-on Bassey pastiche.
- The opening theme for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is a parody of Bassey's Bond themes.
- As is the opening theme of Monty Python's Life of Brian.
- Roza Rymbaeva used this in her debut song "Alia."
- Skyfall's opening theme, performed by Adele, was consciously a throwback to the Bond series' great Bassey themes.