All about Shirley is a British-German documentary filmed by the BBC in 1972. The recordings took place in the studio in Germany (Hamburg) and in Sardinia (Italy) where Shirley had her second home at the time named “Tiger Bay” in Porto Rotondo at the Costa Smeralda. Songs:
The Summer Wind
Light My Fire
I’ve Never Been A Woman Before
Johnny One Note
Diamonds Are Forever
Yesterday When I Was Young
As I Love You
On A Clear Day
Where Do I Begin
Till Love Touches Your Life
NOBODY DOES IT LIKE SHIRLEY: (Interview from a 1972 magazine)
Porto Rotondo. Sardinia. The sun was hot on my back as I drove from the hotel at this very posh Mediterranean resort to meet Shirley Bassey. As the road wound through the hills I kept catching glimpses of the bay, a most incredible blue, dotted with sort of marine conveyances. Included were two huge yachts, one belonging to a Greek shipping magnate, another (even larger then the first) belonging to an American real estate tycoon whose name has become synonymous with his many town of tract homes. As I got to Shirley’s home I noticed at once that it was tasteful but not huge, well-kept but not ostentatious. The feeling was continued inside where it was sparsely furnished, the wall painted white with simple geometric, abstract paintings on them, w well stocked bar, and many books and magazines strewn about. In fact, when I first arrived, it seemed that everyone in the house was reading; everything from murder mysteries to Italian newspapers to British gothics to soul oriented magazines- a very widely read household indeed. I was immediately struck by the wonderful view of the sea which came up to only about 100 yards away. It was absolutely panoramic and beautiful.
The house was abundantly loaded with life, kids, dogs, friends, cats- all kissing and hugging, joking, laughing and all this in various languages, slipping easily from English to French to Italian again. It struck me that if any house deserved to be cosmopolitan then Shirley Bassey’s certainly did. Amid the hellos and the packing for a little trip on Ms. Bassey’s boat, there was little time to make more than small talk, let alone to an interview. Once on the boat however, (the boats’s name is Topolino-which means little mouse), Shirley and I somehow got a chance to talk and I turned on my tape. I asked if she accepted the premise that she was an international star, how her audiences differed in all the countries she appears in. She answered quite frankly, as she answered all of my questions I asked, “Well, they come to see a show and I give them more, but basically they respond about the same, be it in America or England of Italy or Australia. You know, I’ve just completed my first Japanese tour and something happened there that had never occurred to me, they do not Have the custom of giving standing ovations and after one of my songs, they gave me a five minute ovation. I tried everything to make them stop-I moved to the mike, I bowed to the orchestra, I curtsied to the audience, but they saw it as being polite and so they kept it up even more.
I ask Shirley if she sees herself as a star. She laughed and said that she supposed that she was, but that actually she thought of herself as a person who worked. “Well, I work and I’ve been doing it a while. The job is certainly more glamouress, but there is also more responsibility”.
How so? “I belong to the show-must-go-on school . I’ve been in this business too long for it to be any other way with me, and it takes a lot out of me. So in order to fulfill this great responsibility I try to strike a balance, I try to not always be on, thereby keeping myself together psychologically and physically.” Is that why you like your privacy so much? You are reported to. “Yes, I give so much on stage, when I’m out there it’s just me and them, and I give them my all. When I’m out there I have no husband, no kids, no headaches, no personal problems; when I’m offstage, I feel that I deserve to be let alone. Of course, it’s nice to be recognized, but it’s not nice to be disturbed. Just yesterday, for instance, this dreadful mother kept offering me her three-year-old child to kiss. The child was terrified. I was terrified but the mother insisted and so I kissed the poor, frightened thing. My gawd, you would think that I was some kind of Madonna or something.. “Besides the more private I am the more my public gets, it doesn’t want to see me as wife or mother or friend. It wants “Nobody Does It Like Me” and “Hey Big Spender”. It wants all the sex, the gowns and the glitter. The public wants me bigger that life and by shielding my private life I remain that way for them.”
Does being, as you say “bigger than life” cause problems for you? “Yes, in a way, because when aspects of my private life do come out, they are also painted as bigger than life, so that little spats become great arguments and arguments become brawls—rumours become facts. I hate sensational journalism. I think it was John Lennon who said ‘Just gimme some truth’. That’s all I want.
Sardinia is a generally mountainous island with a few coastal plains. The island’s mountains are divided into three ranges; the highest peaks are in the middle section of the island. Gennargentu, at 6,016 feet (1,834 m), is the highest point in Sardinia. Sardinia has few major rivers; the largest river on the island is the Tirso, which has a length of 94 miles (151 km) and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The island has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and very mild winters. The climate in the mountains tends to be wetter and cooler than the lower coastal plains; and winter snowfalls are not uncommon in the higher peaks. Sardinia also has more mountains than flat, low land and forests.
The most spoken language in Sardinia is, undoubtedly, Italian, but Sardinian is widely spoken too. Sardinian is a Romance language of Latin origin, but with an obscure Pre-Roman element, including Phoenician, Etruscan, and Near Eastern languages. While it has been significantly supplanted by Italian for official purposes, Sardinian is still widely spoken in most rural parts and, stemming from a long history of oral tradition, is used culturally for folk songs and poetry. As a literary language, it is gaining clout, despite heated debate about the lack of standard orthography and controversial proposed solutions to this problem. Recently, the regional administration has approved the use of Limba Sarda Comuna in official documents.
The Sardinian economy is today focused on tourism, mining, commerce, services and information technology; an increasing income is coming from its famous wines and gastronomy. The island contains numerous extraordinary tourist areas, Alghero, North West, with Capo Caccia astonishing cliffs and the famous Neptun Cave, and including the Costa Smeralda and Gennargentu. The island is particularly famous for its beaches, but is also rich in other interesting places, such as some charming sea towns and archaeological ruins. See also: Tourist destinations of Sardinia. Saipem a contractor in the oil and gas industry and a subsidiary of Eni S.p.A, operates a shipyard on Sardinia. Their main activity is the fabrication of offshore oil rigs. Several gold and silver mines operate on the island.
Sardinia is a precious natural resource, containing thousands of rare or uncommon animal and autochthonous plants and animals. The island’s environment is improving due to strict environment laws
Porto Rotondo is located only 15 km from Olbia. It is a luxerious town near the cost. During the summer season, Porto Rotondo is very popular for VIPS (sport, fashion, tv-stars). Porto Rotondo has a couple hundred inhabitants. During the high season in August, this number grows to more than 30.000 people.Porto Rotondo is an oasis for those who love sailing, the harbour has space fore more than 600 boats and has all facilities needed. It is also one of the most famous harbours of the Mediterranean Sea.
Porto Rotondo has been designed in 1965 by two young aristocratic architects; the brothers Luigino and Donà delle Rose. There aim was to create in an exclusive, still unspoilt area, a meeting place for a selected public.
The first frequent visitors of Porto Rotondo were the friends of Donà, soon followed by world famous artists and the international jetset. The popularity of this continuously growing holiday paradise increases enormously in the eighties. Nowadays, owning a house in Porto Rotondo is considered higly prestigious.
The Costa Smeralda (English: “Emerald Coast”) is a coastal area in northern Sardinia, 55 km long and covering more than 30 km², with enchanting beaches and a system of villages built according to an extremely detailed urban plan. The area is a luxurious tourist destination featuring exquisite white sand beaches, Pervero golf club, private jet access in Olbia, and helicopter service for highly affluent American, European, Russian, and Arabian VIPs visiting from the fields of investment banking, entertainment, politics and industry.
The main towns and villages in the area are Arzachena, Olbia, Porto Cervo, Liscia di Vacca, Capriccioli and Romazzino.
Annually in September the Sardinia Cup sailing regatta is held off the coast, usually featuring famous boats. Polo matches are held seasonally between April and October at Gershan near Arzachena. The Italian film festival is held in Tavolara and a vintage car rally entertains antique car enthusiasts. Cala Di Volpe, Hotel Romazzino, Hotel Pitrizza, and Cervo Hotel form the nucleus of luxury hotel choices within the Starwood Luxury Collection and Sheraton respectively. Guests spent 2,000 – 3,000 USD per night in the peak season for access to la dolce vita in complete privacy. Celebrities flock to this region in season and explore the aquamarine waters with chartered boats, docking at these hotels with marina access and congregate in Porto Cervo for a gala celebrations on a grand scale. June and September and October are not as crowded and offer comfortable climates between 72-84 F degrees.
Achaeological sites include the Li Muri “Tomba dei Giganti” (Giants’ Grave).
The development of the area started in 1961, and was financed by a consortium of companies. The president of the consortium and representative figure was Prince Karim Aga Khan. Famous architects involved in the project included Busiri-Vici, Jacques Couëlle, Savin Couëlle and Vietti.
Below three of the songs featured in All about Shirley with improved sound quality.