The phenomenal Dame Shirley Bassey earned a standing ovation at the Academy Awards when she lead a tribute to 50th birthday of the James Bond franchise. Dame Bassey brought down the house with her performance of "Goldfinger," the iconic 1964 Bond theme song that launched her international career.
The 76-year-old Welsh diva has "defined what has defined what has now become a genre, Bond music," notes the Los Angeles Times in a love letter to last night's performance. Bassey also recorded the self-titled theme songs for Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker.
More photos and watch the magic AFTER THE JUMP ...
The super-talented British singer/songwriter Adele, who swept the Grammys last year with her heartbreak album "21," continued the Bond tribute at the Academy Award ceremony with her rendition of the Bond theme "Skyfall." That later won an Oscar for Best Original Song.
The Los Angeles Times' Todd Martens says Bassey and Adele rescued the musical component of the ceremony.
If British spy James Bond can't be called upon to save the mishandling of pop music by the 2013 Oscars, producers did at least book the next best thing: Shirley Bassey. The vocalist, now in her 70s, has defined what has now become a genre, Bond music. ...
Bassey's Bond songs had all of the above, and her best known, "Goldfinger," as evidenced Sunday night, is at once over-the-top as well as a study in restraint. Its slowly menacing pace is also able to make a cinematic symphony seem fit for a nightclub. ... Lyrically, "Goldfinger," as are most Bond songs, can at times be silly, but you wouldn't know there was any funny business happening with Bassey at the helm of the tune. She clasped her stomach, clutched her chest and stood stoically calm in her gold, glittery dress.
Her voice has lost a little sharpness, but it has still aged into a rather forceful presence, as Bassey spread her arms, and twisted "Goldfinger" into "goldfingahhh," it was as if she believed at this very moment that the money-obsessed villain of "Goldfinger" was a real-life threat. As the orchestra swelled, Bassey's voice remained largely level. She didn't go to the melody, the melody went to her.
Here is the performance and quick BBC interview with Dame Bassey and Catherine Zeta-Jones. DSB says that she "taught Catherine everything she knows [about] dancing." Love. It.