Dame Shirley’s 75th. birthday

Today we have a newspaper article from this week and a video from ITV Wales on Dame Shirley’s 75th. birthday.

(Special thanks to Susan and Peter)


For the video CLICK HERE


She helped me to cope
with being a teen mum

-Dame Shirley Bassey on her mother-

Superstar Dame Shirley Bassey’s mum was her greatest supporter

SHOWBIZ legend Shirley Bassey is best known for recording theme songs to three James Bond movies.
The singer celebrated her 75th birthday yesterday and during her life has kept some secrets better than 007 – such as never naming the fathers of her two daughters, one of whom sadly died.
Twice divorced Dame Shirley, born into poverty in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, to an English mum and Nigerian dad, now lives in Monte Carlo. Here, she talks to GARTH PEARCE about the influence of her late mother Eliza.

MY mother would always say: “Keep some money for a rainy day.” So I have lived well and saved well.

I still have a good luck charm, which was made for me by my mother. It is in the shape of a gold disc, around a bracelet. “So in love,” it says, at the side.

The song So In Love was the flip side of a record I had, which made No 4. I got a silver record and my mother said it should have been gold. So she took this bracelet to a jeweller in Cardiff and had it made. After that, I had a lot of records which went gold and platinum. (Shirley once had five albums in the top 15.) I still remember that Friday night was my mother’s night and she would sit around the fireplace at home and tell ghost stories. I used to be terrified but excited too.


When I left school I worked in a factory and used to sing along with the radio on a show called Worker’s Playtime. I was always being told to shut up.

But my mother would be the opposite, always encouraging me to sing in pubs and clubs after work. She was my greatest supporter.

When I was pregnant with my daughter Sharon I was just 16. It was terrible at the time — the stigma. My mother helped me deal with it.

It is now as common as muck, of course — you know, girls having babies and not getting married. In those days, everything was secret.

So I left the baby with my sister, who could not have a child of her own. She wanted one so badly. I was a hopeless mother but I had such a good one myself. I never wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be a journalist or an air hostess.

But I entered a talent contest and won. Suddenly, there I was. So when I had girls of my own, I wanted to give them the education that I missed. In doing so, I had to go away and work. They were very unhappy about that. At the time they would say: “Why do you have to go away?” When people pointed to my success they did not realise the sacrifices that I made.

I also panic with children, whereas my daughter, Sharon — who has three of her own — never did.

I could not cope with marriage, could not cope with children and I had a career over which I had no control. I started on a tidal wave and I rode that wave for most of my life.

I would be backstage, waiting to go on, thinking: “I do not want to be doing this.”


But once I was on and the spotlight hit me, it was magic time. It is an incredible high — you don’t need drugs, drink or anything. It is electric. I give it 101 per cent. I am controlled on stage, the nerves have gone and I am on top of the world. Off stage, though, I am totally different. I would never have believed I could sing in front of thousands.

My career has hurt my relationships. Men of my generation were brought up to think of themselves as the provider, with the woman second place.

They think they can handle a woman like me for a while — but I have seen when they begin to crack and are unable to take it any more.

My former husband Sergio — I hit him once. I gave him a black eye. But instead of telling the truth and making a joke about it, he made an excuse. He said he had bumped into a door.

I was 8st 5lb when I was 19 but I have not kept my girlish body much over the years. In fact, I was not all that girlish at all. I was so thin that my manager insisted my dressmaker pad out my hips.

Everyone thought I had wonderful hips when I was young but it was all a lie. I eventually filled out to 130lb and that is how it stayed for years.

As my mother used to say: “If you’ve got it, show it.”