“You must never corner a rat because she’ll go for your throat. I’d punch someone out if they had a go at me. I had a reputation in the nightclubs. People learnt not to cross me”.
"I'm too busy putting my energies into my performance to be a diva."
From a article by Carolyn Hitt in the national news outlet of the Great Dame's native country Wales Online:
She is complex, paradoxical and perhaps ultimately unknowable."When I started singing, I couldn't be shut up."
For every off-the-record anecdote about her worst diva moments, there are hilarious instances of her sending this image up – from putting a stiletto through Morecambe and Wise’s polystyrene steps to camping it up on a golden mobility scooter with David Walliams this Christmas Eve.
Like diamonds, her imperious Bond anthems with their power-packed crescendos will last forever yet we sometimes forget her vocal gifts are equally attuned to poignant and tender ballads. Not to mention chart-topping dance music.
She is an artist who embodies the glamour of a bygone showbiz age yet she has remained relevant to each new generation – from thrilling the mud-splattered masses of Glastonbury by strutting her stuff in bejewelled wellies to reinventing herself through collaborations with contemporary artists like the Manics and Rufus Wainwright who have been honoured to pay her musical homage.
She has an instrument that seems effortless and spontaneous ... and she prefers us to concentrate on the remarkable voice rather than the equally compelling life story behind it.
"I learned by standing in the wings and watching established acts on stage."
"I decided to retire from show business at the age of 17, because I didn't like it a bit... but my singing was like this burning thing inside me and I had to go on with it.”
"For a little girl from Cardiff's Tiger Bay, I've come a long way."
"You don't get older, you get better."
Many happy returns to one of our favourites, the Number 1 Patron Saint here at Dolores Delargo Towers, the one-and-only Dame Shirley Bassey - who is 80 years old today!!
Right on cue I fell in love with you
You caused many a tear
But I had applause, I had a career
Until the final day
I'll play this part the only way I can
For to live I have to give
The performance of my life
Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey, DBE (born 8th January 1937)