Shirley Bassey

Known to Americans most for her belting rendition of the theme to Goldfinger, the 1964 edition in the James Bond series (as well as 1971's Diamonds Are Forever and 1979's Moonraker), Shirley Bassey was one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain during the last half of the 20th century. Known as Bassey the Belter and also the Tigress of Tiger Bay, her early career in touring shows and cabaret brought her a recording contract with Philips by the late '50s. After reaching the top of the British charts in 1959 with "As I Love You" and later "Reach for the Stars/Climb Every Mountain," Bassey was tapped to swing the theme song to the third James Bond vehicle. Her voice, brassy and sexy, conveyed the James Bond myth perfectly and became a big hit in America. Though later chart placings in the U.S. were few, she continued to do well in Great Britain, France and the Netherlands into the mid-'70s.