DUETS # 41

Today the wonderful duet Dame Shirley Bassey did with Bryn Terfel at the 2006 Faenol Festival.

Opera star Bryn Terfel set up the Faenol Festival in his native North Wales in 2000, to showcase some of the best of classical, opera and pop music.

The festival, held on the Faenol Estate in Gwynedd across the August bank holiday weekend until 2008, ran into financial difficulties and both the 2009 and 2010 festivals were cancelled at short notice. There is no festival planned for 2011, but Bryn Terfel has not ruled out the possibility of its return.

Since the first festival in 2000, major guest stars from the worlds of classical and popular music included Boyzone, José Carreras, Renée Fleming, Andrea Bocelli, Lesley Garrett, Angela Gheorghiu, Michael Ball, Jamie Cullum, Elaine Paige and Dame Shirley Bassey.

(From Wales Online) As the heavens opened during August Bank Holiday 2006, about 10,000 people were huddled under brollies in a field in North Wales – and they didn’t care a jot about the torrential downpour.

For they were mesmerised by the glamorous diva who was belting out some classic songs on the stage at Faenol Festival.

Wearing a yellow feather-trimmed Julien Macdonald gown, Dame Shirley Bassey dazzled her way through her set for more than an hour. And even as the rain lashed at her, her smile didn’t slip.

“Now I know I’m home in Wales with this bloody rain,” she laughed.

For bass baritone Bryn Terfel – the man behind the festival – it was a dream booking. He was determined to snap up the superstar from the moment he launched his event six years earlier. And after she walked off stage, he declared it one of his “best festivals yet”. Despite the rain.

It had been a rare performance by Dame Shirley in her homeland and that is just one of the reasons why the girl from Tiger Bay is still in demand. She isn’t one of those stars who will appear at the opening of an envelope. She chooses her work projects carefully and she’s never sold out. We haven’t seen her yet losing the plot as she’s locked inside the Celebrity Big Brother house; waltzing with a 20-year-old on Strictly Come Dancing or eating kangaroo’s testicles on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! – and I doubt we will any time soon.

Stifyn Parri, managing director of Cardiff-based creative events company and celebrity agency Mr Producer, says: “She has an amazing integrity. She’s from an era gone by, when reality programmes and selling out didn’t exist in the same way.

“And we wouldn’t want to see her on a reality show – the reality of her wouldn’t match the image in our heads. She turns a song into a three-act play but seeing her in a reality show would totally smash that image. There are some people that we want to see only as stars rather than in real life.”


In 1969 Shirley Bassey was not able to work in the UK because she was living as a tax exile in Switzerland. She performed a lot in the USA that year and was on the Mike Douglas Show a few times, the David Frost Show and the Mike Sullivan Show. She was at an Elvis Presley concert and did TV shows in Italy. A wonderful song very appropriate for this time of year was Concerto d’autunno

DUETS # 40

Today the duet from 2005 of Dame Shirley Bassey & Kanye West Diamonds Are Forever.

I did some research about this one but don’t know what to make of it. When it was released there was a blog post about it in 2007 by Peggy that stated:“Shirley Bassey is desperate to work with Kanye West – after the rapper/producer impressed her with his sampling of her hit Diamonds Are Forever in 2005. And Bassey is reportedly keen to work around the Stronger hit maker’s schedule to see the collaboration come into fruition.”

On the other hand there are lots of articles that say she wasn’t happy with it at all.

Kenya West was sued several times for the illegal use of songs by various artists.

Just because Bassey let West get away with not clearing the rights to “Diamonds Are Forever” for “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” doesn’t mean West hasn’t gotten in similar trouble before. He has actually been sued three times for sampling songs without the original artists’ permission, including in his 2007 hit “Good Life.”

There was one legendary singer that West did ask directly for permission to sample their music. After getting in a car crash and having his jaw wired shut, West reached out to R&B icon Chaka Khan about sampling her classic “Through the Fire,” as the song helped him through his recovery. Khan agreed, and the song became his debut single in 2003.

But when Khan heard the tweaked version that West included in the song, she immediately regretted giving him permission. She’s expressed her anger many times over the years, calling the song “stupid” and “an insult.”

Dame Shirley did a live version of this duet with Dizzee Rascall at the Royal Albert Hall at the John Barry memorial concert in 2011

From Wikipedia: The song’s production was handled by West, Brion, and Devo Springsteen, all of whom co-wrote it apart from Brion. John Barry and Don Black also received songwriting credits since they wrote singer Shirley Bassey‘s titular theme song for 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, which is sampled. Bassey revealed in September 2005 that she “didn’t know anything about the song before its release” and assumed West did not request permission “to have me singing on his song”, recalling not knowing of it until hearing West “performing it at the Live8 concert”. She also alluded to a lack of contact from “from his record company, which wasn’t very nice”. Bassey desired “to look into” West’s usage of her vocals since he was “very cheeky”, asserting that “one way or another he is going to have to pay me a lot of money”. According to British media law specialist Elin Pinnell, a recording deal’s “certain rights to your work to various different people” who allow its media exploitation and the likelihood of West gaining permission from one of Bassey’s representatives meant he was probably guilty of no wrongdoing. Bassey differed in her opinion of West around two years after the comments, finding the sample impressive and feeling keen to collaborate with him.

An article from the James Bond website.

From the Daily Mail: Shirley Bassey told the Daily Mail: “He didn’t ask my permission to have me singing on his song. I didn’t even know it existed until I heard him performing at the Live 8 concert. I didn’t even hear from his record company, which wasn’t very nice. One way or another, he is going to have to pay me a lot of money.”

In 2015 Austrian Eurovision Contest winner Conchita Wurst announced he was doing a duet with Dame Shirley Bassey too which later proved to be a virtual duet of Diamonds Are Forever.


The year 1968 was a significant year in Shirley Bassey’s career. She recorded This Is My Life and performed it at the San Remo festival, got married and traveled the world. After her performance at the San Remo festival Shirley discovered that a black pearl ring given to her by her former husband Kenneth Hume got stolen from her hotel room.