It was bandleader and impresario Jack Hylton’s interest in Little Miss Bassey that is said to have put her firmly on her road to international superstardom. In the 1950s, Hylton invited Shirley to star in Al Read’s Such Is Life at the Adelphi Theatre in London, where Philips’ Johnny Franz spotted her, was impressed and offered her a recording deal.
The following video excerpt is from an incredibly rare TV documentary about Hylton’s life, first shown in October 1967 and recently uploaded to Youtube. It also includes a full live performance of Bassey’s first single, Burn My Candle:
With a new album to look forward to, a timely reminder of the incredible longevity of the Shirley Bassey career and Jack Hylton legacy. The 50th anniversary of Hylton’s death is due to be commemorated with a gala concert at Lancaster University on January 29th 2015, featuring a twenty piece orchestra recreating the original Hylton arrangements. We do not know if Dame Shirley will be among the ‘special guests’ attending the event.