In 1987 Shirley Bassey recorded a CD with James Bond tunes. All re-recordings of Bond songs, also including the three tracks Shirley Bassey had performed on the original soundtracks previously.
The recording session for this album was in 1987, shortly after The Rhythm Divine and it should have taken one week. The album was due for release 1987 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of “Dr No”.
01. A View To A Kill
02. Nobody Does It Better
03. From Russia With Love
04. We Have All The Time In The World
05. You Only Live Twice
06. Diamonds Are Forever
07. Live And Let Die
09. For Your Eyes Only
10. All Time High
The “Woman” magazine from June 27th, 1987 (with Shirley Bassey on the cover) contained an interview with Shirley Bassey and wrote: … Now Shirley is back on form and has just recorded an album of Bond songs to celebrate 007’s 25th anniversary this month. “I jumped at the opportunity” she says “I loved doing Goldfinger again. We slowed it up and now it’s got more bite, it’s a little more sinister”. “Diamonds are Forever is more sexy and Moonraker is prettier than it was, it’s much gentler. There wasn’t the freedom before because we were locked into a tempo to keep pace with the movie credits. Now I’ve been able to phrase them the way I want to.”
In the “Record Mirror” from August 22nd, 1987 (also with Shirley Bassey on the cover) was an article about “The Rhythm Divine” and her return to the charts, but then they also talked about the Bond songs: Amazingly it turns out that Shirley was also to have sung the theme to Thunderball until it was given to Tom Jones. She recently recorded an entire album of Bond themes but amazingly hasn’t yet found a record company to release it… Right now, Shirley says she’d like to record “all these contemporary songs and do them on an album”. She stresses that she wants “something I can relate to. You know, like I Want To Know What Love Is by Foreigner. Now, that’s wonderful.” It’s remarkable that this had been written more than three years before the Foreigner-song has been released on the album Keep The Music Playing.
These articles show that Shirley Bassey originally liked the songs and wanted to publish the album. She even plugged it on “Live At The Palladium” on May 3rd, 1987 when she mimed to “A View To A Kill” and did a Bond-medley.
But eventually Shirley Bassey decided not to publish the recording. I don’t know exactly when and why this decision has been taken, but I heard that she did not like the “husky” quality of her voice. The singing is sometimes even embarrassing, like the warm-up in the wardrobe before a concert. Another problem is simply that not all Bond songs are suited to Shirley Bassey, and that her three original songs are much better in other versions.
But it’s especially the orchestral backing and the recording quality which is very poor – it sounds like it has not been completed. Actually there’s no orchestra, only a cheap one-man synthesizer-keyboard accompaniment. You can’t believe that Shirley Bassey shall have sung along this “music” and liked it (maybe it has been played later over the recording of the vocals).
Five years after the recording in 1992, the album was released regardless and Shirley Bassey took legal action against these releases, so they have now been withdrawn and are very hard to find now.
Additionally in 1992 an official collection of James Bond songs had been released The Best Of James Bond – 30th Anniversary Limited Edition.
A new album “Bassey Sings Bond” with new recordings of Bond songs was due to be released at the end of 2002, this time with the full approval of Dame Shirley Bassey, however this album was never released as a result of a dispute over the recording. The album was removed from the schedule and I am lead to believe that the masters have now been destroyed.
Shirley Bassey Sings The Bond Collection
Also Released As Bassey Sings Bond: 1992
Shirley about James Bond
To view more pictures of Dame Shirley Bassey at Madame Tussaud’s CLICK HERE