Inspirational Messages For LIfe

Hypeless Messages To Show Life Is Not Hopeless

Short Inspiring Stories: Shirley Bassey – The Tiger From Tiger Bay

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If you are looking for inspiration messages to find ways to achieve what you want then the story of Dame Shirley Bassey, one of the most powerful singers alive today, will give you the words of motivation you need.

Born on 8 January 1937, Shirley’s first years were spent in Tiger Bay on the edge of Cardiff. It has been said she was born above a brothel in a dockyards slum, the seventh and last child of a Nigerian father (Henry – real name Okun Apauso) and Yorkshire mother. Her mother, Eliza, had been married before and had four children from that relationship.

Sadly, her father was imprisoned for having sex with a minor and then deported. The mother and children then moved to the steel working district of Splott where they lived in grinding poverty, even finding food was a problem.

Even at school, Shirley’s voice was remarkable and she was asked to tone it down for the school choir. After leaving education, she worked as a packer at a local factory whilst singing in pubs and clubs after work and at weekends. It was Eliza who always encouraged the young Shirley to sing to keep her out of mischief.

The first professional contract came in 1953, when Shirley sang in a musical based on the life of Al Jolson and then a musical called ‘Hot From Harlem.’ At the age of 16, she became pregnant (her daughter, Sharon) and took a job waiting on tables.

In 1955 an agent, Michael Sullivan, heard about this talented singer and decided she would become a star. He had her touring theatres until the bandleader and impresario Jack Hylton saw her and booked as the star of a musical in London’s West End. This lead to a recording contract with her first single, ‘Burn My Candle,’ in 1956.

Her popularity slowly climbed until, in 1964, she recorded the theme to the James Bond film Goldfinger. This song made her a household name on both sides of the Atlantic, something Shirley had hoped for since starting a cabaret act previously. She has recorded three themes for the Bond movies now and rumours suggest she may be about to record a fourth.

Her singing career has continued to offer inspiration messages to everyone. In 2007 Shirley had a deserved hit with The Living Tree, 50 years after her first chart single.

Unfortunately her personal life has not been so successful. Shirley married Kenneth Hulme in 1961 before realizing he was gay. They divorced in 1965 after she had an affair with actor Peter Finch. In 1968 she married Sergio Novak, a manager of a hotel in Rome and subsequently Shirley’s own manager. This marriage also ended in 1979.

Shirley Bassey, made a Dame in 1999, had two daughters, Sharon and Samantha although the fathers are unknown. Sadly, Samantha died in 1985 at the age of 21 in circumstances that are still to be explained. There is also one son, Mark, from who Shirley was estranged for some time but all seems to be reconciled now.

Sharon gave her mother four grandsons and Mark one granddaughter, who was a contestant on the X-Factor television programme.

Dame Shirley Bassey, now living in Monte Carlo, appeared at the Queens Jubilee concert on 4 June 2012, cementing her place as one of Britain’s great and most successful entertainers. Already a UNESCO Artist For Peace, she has also recently become patron of the Cardiff Women’s Aid charity, offering help for victims of domestic violence.

Clearly this larger-than-life personality has inspiration messages to offer us all.

Find out more on the Shirley Bassey Blog.

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