Category Archives: Guest Posts

RIP Philip, and thank you

Last week came the sad news that Dame Shirley super-fan, Philip Gundill, had died.

Well known to the Blog Team, and to all the Dame Shirley Bassey community, Philip had followed The Dame’s career almost from the very beginning, if not, in fact, from the very beginning.

He was an active participant in all the online discussions about Dame Shirley’s work, offering his perspective as a long-term admirer.

Back in 2012, Philip requested that the blog showcase ‘I Just Have to Breathe’, “For no special reason other than to hear Shirley’s superb voice control”, to quote Philip himself. 

In 2020, he reflected on The Dame’s latest album, especially “Adagio”, commenting: “The one I waited for with baited breath.

“Lara is still around but this eclipses it and knocks it out of the ball park. I’m astounded that she can even think about doing it. I’m astounded at the phrasing, the clarity, the breathing on such a complicated melody. I’m absolutely in love with her all over again. It’s going to be hard to even contemplate that this really possibly may be her finale. 😥”.

As we dedicate these two songs to him, the Blog Team, and we’re sure Dame Shirley fans everywhere, would like to say, ‘RIP Philip, and thank you for all you’ve contributed. You will be missed’. We send our deepest condolences to Philip’s partner, Brian, and to all his family and friends.

One Dame and Two Princes

(By Peter)

Just as Dame Shirley Bassey performed many times for Queen Elizabeth II, over the years she has also performed many times for the UK’s new King.

Born just over a decade before King Charles – interestingly there was the same age difference between The Queen and The Dame as there is between The Dame and The King – Dame Shirley has been an indefatigable supporter of The King’s charity work.

The images of Dame Shirley’s attendance at the then Prince of Wales’ 31st birthday in 1979 are iconic. Equally iconic were those images of The Dame with the then Princess of Wales after her 1990 performance for The Prince’s Trust. Then her set at 2002’s Picnic in the Park, with that subsequent legendary photograph of The Prince sitting between Dame Shirley and Dame Joan Collins?

Then there are the Royal Variety Performances. That of 1994 when the then Miss Bassey famously threw The Prince a flower. And that of 2000 which gave us those fabulous images both of Dame Shirley kissing Prince Charles and the group shot with Kylie Minogue.

As with The Queen, when not performing for The King, Dame Shirley has attended various events and receptions where he has been present, including with The Queen Consort, with whom Dame Shirley has also been photographed. There was an event in 2006 in aid of Elephant Family. There was The Prince’s 60th Birthday Party in 2008. The reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2010. In 2011, Dame Shirley performed at the Classic Brit Awards where the then Duchess of Cornwall presented John Barry’s posthumous honour for Outstanding Contribution To Music. Also in 2011, The Dame attended a reception at Clarence House for the National Osteoporosis Society.

Dame Shirley’s connections with the previous Prince of Wales have also been continued with the current one. Who can forget that incredible photograph of Prince William chatting to Dame Shirley at the end of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee concert in 2002? Or her performance at the 2014 Royal Variety Performance attended by the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge? Both The Prince and The Dame attended the Pride of Britain Awards in 2017. Then just last year, The Dame took a leading role in The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Mental Health Minute. Her powerful contribution to that showed that her speaking voice is just as beautiful as her singing one.

Whether or not The Dame ever performs for the new King, or indeed the new Prince of Wales, the intertwining of the careers of Wales’ greatest daughter and its longest serving Prince means her legacy of royal performing is secure.

If you want to understand why, look no further than these two performances The Dame gave in front of The King. Individually, each of them is testimony to the unique, never to be equalled, talents of Dame Shirley. Together, they are two of the greatest performances in show business history.

First, the show stealing turn at the 1994 Royal Variety Performance

Second, the equally show stealing turn at 1996’s Royal Gala.

A tribute to Queen Elizabeth II


(A guest post by Peter from London)

As the world looks back on and celebrates the life and work of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, it is incredible to reflect that Dame Shirley Bassey’s career has stretched for almost the entire length of The Queen’s reign.

The Queen and The Dame were born just over a decade apart, into completely different worlds and a completely different world. And yet, from the early 1950s on, they have each pursued their destinies with determination, commitment and willpower. Between them they have 140 years of combined service to their craft.

The Queen was a constant in the life of the United Kingdom – and the world – for eight decades. The Dame has been similarly constant in our cultural life since 1953. Her first recording was in 1956. Her most recent in 2020.

Between those two dates, Dame Shirley has sung for The Queen and her family on many occasions. We all know the iconic Royal Variety performances, with perhaps the most iconic being that of 2005 which brought us a career highlight, ‘The Living Tree’. But, more than that, looking at the photographs from that show, we see two women after careers of 50 years and more still at the top of their game.

Then there were the performances for Her Majesty’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees and for her 90th birthday. There were also all the royal receptions, lunches and other events to which Dame Shirley was invited. These have provided us with some of the most indelible images of her career to date.

Not only has Dame Shirley performed for The Queen and her family, she has also received recognition from them. First, her CBE in 1994. Second, her DBE in 2000. They make her one of the most decorated show business personalities of The Queen’s reign.

Dame Shirley herself has issued a powerful statement paying tribute to The Queen. It uses words that could equally be applied to Dame Shirley, steadfast and inspirational. And who could deny that The Dame herself has mighty courage, is an iconic example and unstoppable force?

While we are never likely to know which of Dame Shirley’s songs The Queen most liked, let us dedicate this one to her. It surely captures what we would all have liked to have said to her if only we had had the chance. May she rest in peace. With her beloved husband, Philip. An example to us all. To the very end. Your Majesty, thank you for the years.


Happy Birthday, D.S.Bassey!

Best wishes, Dame Shirley Bassey! Happy Birthday and thank you for your magnificent talent, for your art that enchants generations through your incredible voice interpreting beautiful and unforgettable songs!