Simply Bassey #185 – Thank You For The Years

For this week’s Simply Bassey we are revisiting Dame Shirley Bassey’s beautiful song, Thank You For The Years and republishing the answers writer Andy Neve gave to fans’ question back in 2003 when the song and album was released.

Q: If Shirley was your first choice for “Thank You for the Years” – who was your second? – Mike

A: No one, we kept it for Dame Shirley although we had interest from other people. However, If she was still alive and Dame Shirley hadn’t wanted to do it.. Karen Carpenter would have probably been my next choice.

Q: Is this your biggest release to date? – Margo

A: ………..Absolutely! and we are thrilled that she has done it. We have some exciting new opportunities coming up as a result of this.

Q: Did Shirley like the song straight away or did she need persuading?! – John

A: ………………..Fortunately, she fell in love with it as soon as she heard it.

Q: Are you thanking anyone in particular? Is there a story?! – Mel

A: ……..The first verse, plus an instrumental verse was written as an anniversary present for my wife Elizabeth. I actually had no intention of sending it to anyone. When a friend of mine Nicky Graham (now A&R Director at Sony) heard it.. he said that it was potentially a very strong song and that it needed a bigger audience. We both agreed that Shirley Bassey was probably the only artist who had the vocal range and power to do the song justice. So, after talking to my wife about the idea of presenting her ‘anniversary present’ to one of the finest female singers in the history of music.. I finished the music writing and arranging and Elizabeth and I finished the lyrics together.

We wrote the rest of the lyrics especially for Dame Shirley although we still wrote them from our own personal experience. We had just gone through some very difficult times personally and were just starting to come through them.

We felt that there were very few songs around that talked about longevity in a relationship. Most love songs seem to be about short term romance or breaking up; so we felt that ‘Thank You For The Years’ could strike a chord with people who have been with their wives, husbands or partners for a long time and stayed strong together. And also in Dame Shirley’s case, for fans who have supported her for many years as well. Basically, an ideal anniversary song.

Q: Why did it take so long to unite singer and song? – Patrick

A: ………..Politics, a change in record companies, timing. All these things are factors when placing a song. When the song was first sent to the management there was no new Shirley Bassey album planned so the song just sat there for 2 years. When Dame Shirley finally decided to do a new album she chose ‘thank you for the years’ along with the other songs.

However it took another year before the record deal with Sony was sorted and then it was left another year after that so that it coincided with her 50 years in show business. Although it was frustrating at the time I think the timing has been absolutely perfect.

Q: Do you plan to write any more new material for Shirley in the future? – Mikey Mike

A: ……………….I would love to Mikey. If we write something and we feel it is right for Dame Shirley I will definitely send it to her and see what she thinks.

However I have no info as to whether or not she will be doing another album. Time will tell.

Q: Where can we purchase the sheet music for this fab song? – Simon

………………Thanks Simon!………If the demand for the song is high then sheet music will be produced. However, at the moment we don’t know whether the demand would justify the cost. As I also publish the song I would have to organise the sheet music and this is very costly. We will have to see how things go.

Q: Apart from “Thank you…” what are your favourite all time Shirley tracks? – Ed

A: ………That’s a difficult one as there are so many fantastic tracks over so many years. People like songs for different personal reasons. ‘Something’ I adore, her versions of ‘Solitaire’, ‘Fool on the hill’ and ‘For all we know’ I quite liked, ‘Where do I begin’ (the original not the Remix although I thought  that was very clever, (the ‘Away Team’ guys are good friends of mine). ‘History repeating’ worked very well, I quite liked the production. ‘Diamonds are forever’ is my favourite Bond song, I also liked the work she did in the 60s with Nelson Riddle & Geoff Love. So many songs….it must be a nightmare trying
to decide what to do live!

For more about Thank you For The Years click here to read Pieter’s blog from last year.