Good old Shirley. I’ve always had a soft spot for her because of the James Bond connection, but her other stuff is just as enjoyable. Take Big Spender for example – it may be one of the cheesiest songs ever recorded, fodder for strippers and not much else, but she really belts it out. Her performance really justifies it being a well-known song, and I just love that overlooked middle-eight (‘Wouldn’t you like to have fun? Fun? Fun?’) that takes the song somewhere else entirely.
If I had to choose which was my favourite Bond theme by Bassey, I’d have to go for Diamonds Are Forever. Goldfinger’s too obvious – and well overplayed – and while I like the mellow feel of Moonraker, it does sound a bit Love Boat for my tastes.
I got to see Bassey play a medley of her three Bond themes when she played Glastonbury in 2007; my last one before we left for New Zealand. As good as it was to see her perform that Bond medley, it was horrifically put together; crow-barred together in fact.
You always want songs to segue into each other naturally in a medley, but Bassey’s composer had seemingly stuck them together with no thought about rhythm or key. So you had ‘This heart is cold…’ from Goldfinger stop on a dime, before the ‘Where are you?’ opening section from Moonraker seemingly came out of nowhere, and then an even worse join into the middle-eight from Diamonds Are Forever.
The Arctic Monkeys had paid tribute during their headlining slot the night before, when they covered Diamonds Are Forever, and it was funny to see her on stage being fed the line “Arctic Monkeys – that’s how you do it” without her actually knowing who or what she was talking about.
Hit: Big Spender
Hidden Gem: If You Go Away