Cover

FROM THE ARCHIVE 285 -1967-

trkl017aBig Spender
Music written by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Recorded: September 12, 1967.

released:
UK: Sep ’67 on United Artists sgl UP 1192
US: Oct 31 ’67 on UA sgl UA 50229
charted: single UK: #21, October 11, 1967
Released in 1967 on the album And We Were Lovers. Re-recorded by Shirley Bassey in the same year and released on a single and this one reached position No. 21 in December 1967 in the British charts. On the US and Spain issue of the album And We Were Lovers there is a different recording arranged and directed by Ernest Freeman. In England and other countries the version was arranged by Alyn Ainsworth and this is the version that you get on all the re-releases. Another studio version was released 1984 on the album I Am What I Am with the London Symphony Orchestra. From the sixties to this day “Big Spender” is an essential part of every live concert, so this song is available on many live recordings, and also on the videos. At some recent concerts she did this number even twice consecutively.

A remix of Shirley’s original version, done by “Wild Oscar”, has been released in September 2000 on The Remix Album…Diamonds Are Forever.

The song is taken from the musical “Sweet Charity”. The premiere of this musical was on Saturday, January 29th, 1966 in the Palace Theatre, New York and was a big hit with 608 performances. The director was Bob Fosse and his wife Gwen Verdon was the singing star of the musical on Broadway. The story is loosely based on Federico Fellini’s film “Nights Of Cabiria”, about a sweet-hearted Italian prostitute. “It tells the story of an eternally hopeful but repeatedly disappointed dance club hostess.”
“Sweet Charity” was nominated for a Tony Award in two categories.

Cy Coleman (born 1929 in New York), who was the composer of the music for the musical “Sweet Charity”, began already at the age of six with his career when he had a recital at Steinway Hall. He was playing Manhattan super clubs at 17. Coleman began to attract attention with two hit singles he wrote done by Frank Sinatra in the ’50s: “Try to Change Me Now” and “Witchcraft.” He also penned “Firefly” for Tony Bennett in 1958. Other successful musicals he did have been “Wildcraft”, “Little Me” and “Seesaw.” From the last one comes Shirley’s song Nobody Does It Like Me. Coleman also had songs featured in films, covered by Barbra Streisand and many others. Other hit songs for Cy Coleman from the musical “Sweet Charity” have been “Where Am I Going?,” which was recorded by Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett hit the charts with “Baby, Dream Your Dream,” and Sylvia Syms with “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This.” And the song that was best-known from “Sweet Charity” was “If My Friends Could See Me Now.”

Dorothy FieldsThe Oscar winning American pop lyricist Dorothy Fields (born 1905 in New Jersey) was the first woman to be elected into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, in recognition of her long and successful career of hit songs, movie scores and Broadway scores that spanned the late 1920s through the early 1970s. Fields most popular songs include “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” in 1928 (for which she worked together with Jimmy McHugh), “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” in 1930, “I’m In The Mood For Love” in 1935 and “The Way You Look Tonight” 1936, which gained her an Oscar. The musical “Redhead” in 1959 for which she had written the lyrics, received a Tony Award and a Grammy.

In 1945 Fields had the idea for the musical “Annie Get Your Gun” starring Ethel Merman. Jerome Kern agreed to write the music, but died before he was able to start the score. Finally Irving Berlin was hired for the score, while Dorothy and her brother Herbert wrote the book. The show, which opened in May 1946, was a sensational smash hit.

Dorothy Fields died of a heart attack in 1974. For detailed information on Dorothy Fields and her successes I really recommend the Dorothy Fields Website and here a shorter Dorothy Fields Biography.

In 1969 the musical “Sweet Charity” came into cinema with Shirley MacLaine as Charity Hope Valentine and John McMartin as Oscar and featuring Sammy Davis Junior. The complete movie title was “Sweet Charity: The Adventures of a Girl Who Wanted to Be Loved”. The character was changed to an American taxi dancer. Here a plot summary found on the internet: Taxi dancer Charity continues to have Faith in the human race despite apparently endless disappointments at its hands, and Hope that she will finally meet the nice young man to romance her away from her sleazy life. Maybe, just maybe, handsome Oscar will be the one to do it.

“Big Spender” was also a hit in the easy listening charts for Peggy Lee. Freddie Mercury has performed this song too.
“Big Spender” with Shirley Bassey was part of the soundtrack of the film “Little Voice” 1998 and is available on the soundtrack CD.

In the OK! magazine interview Shirley Bassey stated that this song is one of her favourites among her own songs. Her other favourite is Kiss Me, Honey, Honey, Kiss Me. She said: “I never tire of them because they’re fun numbers in which audiences join in.”

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Big Spender ( The UK version)

Big Spender (The USA version)

Lyrics

The minute you walked in the joint
I could see you were a man of distinction, a real big spender
Good looking, so refined
Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on in my mind?
So let me get right to the point
I don’t pop my cork for every man I see
Hey big spender!
Spend a little time with me

Wouldn’t you like to have fun, fun, fun?
How’s about a few laughs, laughs?
I could show you a good time
Let me show you a good time

The minute you walked in the joint
I could see you were a man of distinction, a real big spender
Good looking, so refined
Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on in my mind?
So let me get right to the point
I don’t pop my cork for every man I see
Hey big spender!
Hey big spender!
Hey big spender!
Spend a little time with me
Yes

(Transcribed by Roman)

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Somehow & Excuse Me

These two songs were the most discussed Dame Shirley Bassey songs on YouTube when I uploaded them for the first time many years ago.
The song  ‘Somehow’ from the Royal Albert Hall concert from 1973 and ‘Excuse Me‘ from the 1972 documentary ‘All about Shirley’.
These two clips take everybody by storm, including Shirley, because of the huge power and emotion she puts in them. It is always nice to show these two clips to people who don’t know Shirley and her music very well. Also because they are not the most obvious choice among all the other well known songs she sings live. They are little secret-hidden-surprise songs.
I remember a story about Liberace. He bought an 8-track from Shirley’s new album at the time: ‘Something Else’. He was driving home by car while playing ‘Excuse  Me’ and got so overwhelmed by it that he had to pull his car to the side of the road.  He could not concentrate to drive. The police almost arrested him because he was parking in an illigal zone.

Hello Like Before

Hello Like Before – New Album Details Emerge Despite Delay On Official Website Announcement

Amazon are listing three physical releases of “Hello Like Before” – A Standard CD Edition and Deluxe CD Edition released November 24th, with a Vinyl Edition following later on December 15th.

01. This Is What You Are
02. Englishman In New York
03. Fever
04. I’m Still Here
05. MacArthur Park
06. Wild Is The Wind
07. Goldfinger
08. Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend (Duet With Paloma Faith)
09. Here’s To Life
10. It Was A Very Good Year
11. Hello Like Before
12. We Got Music (Deluxe Edition Only)
13. Hey Jude (Deluxe Edition Only)

A spokesperson from Sony Music advised The Bassey Blog: “There has been a delay with the announcement, more to follow soon!”

The following cover art has been published on Sony Music’s Italian language website and has been picked up in some Italian media. It is unclear if this is the final cover artwork or if the deluxe and vinyl editions will carry alternative imagery:

Hello Like Before

Due to the unexplained delay and silence on the official website, we are affectionately nicknaming the album, “Hello, is there anybody there?” and since Italians broke the news, this song comes to mind:

About the duet ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,’ The Press reported on Paloma Faith’s idolisation of Dame Shirley Bassey. “I feel a bit like pinching myself,” said Paloma, admitting to be being “obsessed by (her) biggest, most incredible inspiration” and revealing “I’ve recorded the duet with her for her 60-years-in-music album, it’s not a secret James Bond track; I wish it was.”

London, Wednesday October 22nd: Wembley Arena reports that Dame Shirley Bassey will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s MOBO Awards show.

Los Angeles, October 29th: Yahoo reports further details of the amFAR event. Rebecca Wang will chair and Gwyneth Paltrow will host the black tie event which starts at 6.30pm with a cocktail reception prior to the fashion show. Dinner will follow at 8pm accompanied by live entertainment, including a rare American performance by renowned Welsh singer Shirley Bassey, before the evening’s cornerstone activity, the live auction. (Full details here)

Unofficial Dame Shirley Bassey News and Features

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