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Bassey goes Electric

Dame Shirley Bassey and Robbie Williams confirmed for the proms

  • 22/09/2009
  • Georgie Rogers
Dame Shirley Bassey

Queen of glitz Dame Shirley Bassey will grace London's Roundhouse as part of the BBC Electric Proms series in October, her only live show of 2009.

Famous for hits Big Spender, Light My Fire and the Bond themes Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever, Bassey will be joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra on Friday 23 October to perform some of her classics, as well as songs from her forthcoming album The Performance.

It's also been unveiled that Robbie Williams will open this year's proms, accompanied by a string section, horn section and full band, directed by Trevor Horn.

On Tuesday 20 October the entertainer will perform tracks from his new album Reality Killed The Video Star as well as hits from his back catalogue.

Shirley's latest

The Welsh star launched her new record with a star-studded reception at The Ritz last night (21 September).

She asked songwriters including Take That's Gary Barlow, Manic Street Preachers, Rufus Wainwright, KT Tunstall, Richard Hawley and Kaiser Chiefs' Nick Hodgson to provide songs for the album.

"It's so delicate and so exposed and it was the one thing that I didn’t have on the record."

David Arnold on Richard Hawley's song

It's Bassey's first studio album in 20 years and long-term fan Rufus Wainwright wrote one of the songs, titled Apartment.

The Canadian singer-songwriter told 6 Music it was surprisingly easy to write for Bassey: "It's a task in a sense because you want it to be good but oddly enough for me, because I tend to sing all over the map, it's maybe a bit easier for me that other singers.

"She has such a wide range and she's so expressive with her voice and her intonation is spot on, so it's actually not that hard to write for her."

A stark contrast

Bond Theme composer David Arnold has produced the album.

Richard Hawley - who he met randomly in the toilet of the Dorchester Hotel - sent him a demo of After The Rain, which the Grammy Award-winning producer referred to as "personal", "understated" and "gorgeous".

"It's so delicate and so exposed and it was the one thing that I didn't have on the record, to try and find a song which she could sing in a way she hasn't sung before, quite delicately," Arnold explained.

Having heard only his song, Hawley himself told 6 Music: "That's what's exciting really. There's such a disparate group of people that are involved in contributing towards it. I am interested to see how it turns out."

See the tracklisting for The Performance, out 9 November, below:

Almost There [Written by Tom Baxter]
Apartment [Written by Rufus Wainwright]
This Time [Written by Gary Barlow]
I Love You Now [Written by Nick Hodgson]
Our Time Is Now [Written by John Barry/Don Black]
As God Is My Witness [Written by David Arnold/David McAlmont]
No Good About Goodbye [Written by David Arnold/Don Black]
The Girl From Tiger Bay [Written by Manic Street Preachers]
Nice Men [Written by KT Tunstall]
After The Rain [Written by Richard Hawley]

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