Found Performance: “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey


I heard a Shirley Bassey record the other day and that got me thinking about her unforgettable voice and her contribution to the many James Bond theme songs. Dwarfing all others was “Goldfinger.” It’s the epitome of a Bond theme. In my book, the closest runner up as a Bond theme was “Thunderball” by Tom Jones. Dame Shirley Bassey is a Welsh singer (as is Tom Jones). She has been a giant in Europe and the first Welsh artis to have a #1 song in Great Britain (“As I Love You” from 1959).

In the U.S., Goldfinger was Bassey’s only Billboard Hot 100 smash. It peaked at#8 in January 1965. Even more impressive, the Goldfinger soundtrack album, including her renowned single, went to #1 on the U.S. album charts. Bassy recorded two other Bond theme songs — “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971), and “Moonraker” (1979). But “Goldfinger” is the one that stood above all others.

This “Found Performance” originally came from a TV performance in which Bassey performed three songs. The photography and the setting are both intriguing. Bassey exhibited a sensual, sexy and graceful style. I don’t know exactly where it was shot, maybe the set represents a gold mine?  Regardless, it is an interesting look into the early days of the genre that would give us music videos.

If you were around in the sixties, “Goldfinger” received lots of radio and jukebox play. The beginning of this clip pays homage to the good old days of the classic jukebox in almost every restaurant and bar.

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Author: Steven Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with Puget Sound Media in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions. View other articles by Steven Smith

11 thoughts on “Found Performance: “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey

  1. I started reading what they called “James Bond Thrillers” in 1953 or ’54 just because they were laying around the house. My mom was a voracious reader. She may have bought them off a paperback rack in the drug store or at Safeway, who knows? I doubt they even cost a dollar. All the early ones had the same cover design.

    They were easy to read, real page turners. The characters all had weird names that were descriptive of their appearance or personality. I wondered if Ian Fleming was inspired by Chester Gould and Al Capp, who used equally strange, and strangely named, characters in “Dick Tracy” and “Li’l Abner.”

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