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Mar 04

SHIRLEY BASSEY – ‘As I Love You’

Popular4 comments • 2,448 views

#81, 20th February 1959

I always find with ballads there’s a minimum tempo below which the song cannot hold together, like a certain amount of speed translated into centrifugal force is needed to keep a plate spinning I suppose.

(That bit may be cobblers ‘ sorry physicists.)

Anyway below this speed, which we shall call w (for Westlife), a song starts to drift apart. Particular details might be observable ‘ a pleasant string arrangement here, a memorable line there, but it fails to cohere, to capture the listening mind; or rather, to impose upon that mind its entire three or four minute structure. Sub-w balladry works best as drift music, giving the listener the sensation of being subsumed in the ebb and flow of a lover’s mind ‘ check the David Toop Sugar And Poison compilation for some good examples, or the longest song on any Al Green album. But in 1959 the conceptual and vocal technologies needed to achieve this had not been developed, and songs like ‘As I Love You’ devolve into a sort of ballad soup.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Billy Smart on 13 Jul 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: Shirley Bassey is the living embodiment of British light entertainment! Between 1972 and 1979, she had her own series, ‘The Shirley Bassey Show’, of which only the first episode (out of twenty) doesn’t survive in the archives. Here’s a list of appearances that are missing from the archives;

    THE BIG SHOW: with Shelley Berman, Shirley Bassey, Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band, Bert Garden, Hope and Keen, Matt Monro, Luis Alberto del Parana, Y Los Paraguayos, The London Line, The Mike Sammes Singers (1968)

    BLACKPOOL NIGHT OUT: with Mike and Bernie Winters (Hosts), Shirley Bassey, The Barron Knights, Billy Dainty (1965)

    DEE TIME: with Shirley Bassey, Godfrey Winn (1967)

    THE ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK SHOW: with The Irving Davies Dancers, The Mike Sammes Singers, Jack Parnell and his Orchestra, Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen, Shirley Bassey, Vince Edwards, Jenny Stiller (1970)

    THE HARRY SECOMBE SHOW: with Shirley Bassey, Barry Crocker, The Roy Budd Trio, Julian Orchard (1971)

    THE LONDON PALLADIUM SHOW: with Jimmy Tarbuck (Compere), Shirley Bassey, Alexander Brothers, Frank Berry (1966)

    THE LONDON PALLADIUM SHOW: with Jack Parnell and his Orchestra, The Palladium Dancers, The Mike Sammes Singers, Shirley Bassey, Bob Monkhouse, Johnny Hart, Viacomo Aragall, Dev Shaun (1967)

    NIGHT CLUB: with Shirley Bassey, Rod Hull and Emu, Alfredo, Trio Athenee (1972)

    OH BOY!: with Jimmy Henney, Shirley Bassey, Cliff Richard and the Drifters, The Dallas Boys, Don Lang, Neville Taylor and the Cutters, Cherry Wainer, Lord Rockingham’s XI, The Vernons Girls, Red Price (1959)

    OH BOY!: with Jimmy Henney, Shirley Bassey, Lord Rockingham’s XI, Cherry Wainer, Marty Wilde, Don Lang, The Mudlarks, Peter Elliott, The Dallas Boys, The Vernons Girls (1959)

    THE ROLF HARRIS SHOW: with The Young Generation, Shirley Bassey, Dana, Norman Collier, Paddy Joyce (1971)

    SECOMBE AND FRIENDS: with Shirley Bassey, Kenneth McKellar, Dudley Moore, Peter McGurk, Chris Karan, Jimmy Tarbuck, Shaw Taylor, Pinkie Johnstone (1967)

    SHOW OF THE WEEK: Shirley Bassey (1969)

    SHOW OF THE WEEK: Shirley Bassey (1972)

    SIX-FIVE SPECIAL: with Shirley Bassey, Marty Wilde, Ronnie Carroll, Don Lang, Craig Douglas, Chris Howland, Vince Eager, The Kentons, Claudio Venturelli, Suzy Lee (1958)

    SPOTLIGHT: with Shirley Bassey, Donald Peers, Naunton Wayne, Gladys Morgan, Hugh Lloyd, John Williams (1960)

    SUNDAY NIGHT AT BLACKPOOL–MEET THE STARS: with Dickie Valentine, Shirley Bassey (1957)

    SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON PALLADIUM (VAL PARNELL’S …..): with Bruce Forsyth, Shirley Bassey, David Nixon, Berrl Grey (1957)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Shirley Bassey, Robert Earl, The Temperance Seven, Tony Brent, David Liston, Billie Laine, Michael Hill (1961)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Shirley Bassey, Gerry And The Pacemakers, The Kaye Sisters, Jimmy Young, Philip Lowrie, The Dakotas, Keith Powell and the Valets, Dave Berry, Janice Nicholls (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Shirley Bassey, Helen Shapiro, Mike Sarne, Long & Short, Nola York (1964)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Shirley Bassey, The Rolling Stones, Heinz, The Barron Knights, Ria Bartok (1964)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Shirley Bassey, The Searchers, Ayshea, Dickie Valentine (1965)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Shirley Bassey, The Searchers, Chubby Checker, Marianne Faithfull (1965)

    THIS IS… TOM JONES: with The Mike Sammes Singers, The Norman Maen Dancers, Sue & Sonny, Shirley Bassey, John Denver, Ace Trucking Company (1971)

    As you might expect, the list of what does still exist tends to be more recent and less interesting;

    AFTER TEN WITH TARBUCK: with Tony Jacklin, Shirley Bassey (1988)

    AN AUDIENCE WITH…: Shirley Bassey (1995)

    THE DAME EDNA TREATMENT: with Shirley Bassey, Imogen Bain, Susan Sarandon, Ian McShane, Kimberly Stewart, Richard O’Brien (2007)

    DES O’CONNOR TONIGHT: with Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Freddie Starr (1986)

    DES O’CONNOR TONIGHT: with Shirley Bassey, Gorden Kaye, Jason Donovan (1990)

    DES O’CONNOR TONIGHT: with Shirley Bassey, Bobby Davro, James Coburn, Billy Pearce (1991)

    DES O’CONNOR TONIGHT: with Shirley Bassey, Julie Andrews, Jane Horrocks (1992)

    DES O’CONNOR TONIGHT: with Shirley Bassey, Frank Bruno, Angus Deayton (1995)

    DES O’CONNOR TONIGHT: with Shirley Bassey, The Spice Girls, Phil Collins, Dave Allen, Bill Bailey (1996)

    THE DICKIE HENDERSON SHOW: with Shirley Bassey, Terry-Thomas, Howard Keel (1971)

    THE ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK SHOW: with The Peter Gordeno Dancers, The Mike Sammes Singers, Jack Parnell and his Orchestra, Shirley Bassey (1967)

    FRIDAY NIGHT WITH JONATHAN ROSS: with Shirley Bassey, Pete Doherty, Bruce Willis (2007)

    GLASTONBURY 07: with Jo Whiley, Phill Jupitus, Lauren Laverne, Mark Radcliffe, Shirley Bassey (2007)

    THE LES DAWSON SHOW: with Shirley Bassey, John Nettles (1989)

    LIVE FROM HER MAJESTY’S: with Shirley Bassey, John Schneider, The Stylistics (1984)

    LIVE FROM THE PALLADIUM: with Shirley Bassey, Frank Carson, Joe Longthorne, Pepsi & Shirley (1987)

    LIVE FROM THE PALLADIUM: with Shirley Bassey, Robert Palmer, Kylie Minogue, Anita Dobson, Mike Reid, Tim Flavin (1988)

    LIVE FROM THE PICCADILLY: with Shirley Bassey, Alan King, Roger Whittaker (1986)

    MICHAEL BALL: with Shirley Bassey, Daryl Hall (1994)

    THE MORECAMBE AND WISE SHOW: with Shirley Bassey, Francis Matthews, André Previn, Glenda Jackson, Frank Bough, Robert Dougall, Dick Emery, Cliff Michelmore, Patrick Moore, Michael Parkinson (1971)

    THE MORECAMBE AND WISE SHOW: with Gordon Jackson, Jack Jones, Vera Lynn, Peter Murray, Shirley Bassey, André Previn (1972)

    THE MUPPET SHOW: with Shirley Bassey (1981)

    PARKINSON: with Shirley Bassey, Amanda Holden, Hugh Laurie, Ronnie Corbett (2003)

    THE ROLF HARRIS SHOW: with Shirley Bassey, Kris Kristofferson (1972)

    THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE: with Shirley Bassey, Sammy Davis Junior, Lionel Blair, Arthur Haynes, Frankie Vaughan, Jack Benny, Andy Stewart, George Burns, Acker Bilk, The Crazy Gang (1961)

    THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE: with Arthur Haynes, Dusty Springfield, The Dave Clark Five, Shirley Bassey, Peter, Paul and Mary, Jack Benny, Spike Milligan, Ken Dodd, Max Bygraves, Neville King (1965)

    THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE: with The New Seekers, Lovelace Watkins, The Young Generation, Bruce Forsyth, Shirley Bassey, Sacha Distel, Ken Goodwin, Tommy Cooper, Stéphane Grappelli, Hughie Green (1971)

    THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE: with Dawson Chance, Mike Yarwood, Gilbert Becaud, Tom O’Connor, Shirley Bassey, Lena Zavaroni, Wayne King, Max Bygraves, Roger de Courcey (1976)

    THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE: with Michael Barrymore, Shirley Bassey, Sarah Brightman, Cannon and Ball, Rosemary Clooney, Bobby Davro, Les Dawson, Five Star, Stephen Fry, James Galway (1987)

    THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE: with Gloria Hunniford, Grenadier Guards, Brian Conley, Ria Jones, Ronnie Corbett, Passing Zone, Billy Pearce, Jonathan Pryce, Sally Dexter, Shirley Bassey (1994)

    RUSSELL HARTY PLUS: with Shirley Bassey, Steeleye Span, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Joe Bugner (1973)

    SEZ LES: with Shirley Bassey (1972)

    SHOW OF THE WEEK: Shirley Bassey (1966)

    SUMMERTIME SPECIAL: with Shirley Bassey, Bernie Clifton, Norman Collier, Stutz Bear Cats, Steve Bor (1982)

    SUNDAY, SUNDAY: with Shirley Bassey, Belinda Carlisle, Clive Barker, Judi Dench, Michael Parkinson (1989)

    TARBY AND FRIENDS: with The Brian Rogers Dancers, Alyn Ainsworth and his Orchestra, Shirley Bassey, Michael Barrymore, David Copperfield (1984)

    TARBY AND FRIENDS: with Shirley Bassey, Samantha Fox, Louie Anderson (1986)

    THIS IS YOUR LIFE: Shirley Bassey (1972)

    WOGAN: with Shirley Bassey, Yello, James Burke, Donald Garcia, Imran Khan, Max O’Connor (1987)

  2. 2
    crag on 13 Apr 2011 #

    DESERT ISLAND DISCS WATCH:

    Fred Trueman, Cricketer (1978).

  3. 3
    wichitalineman on 23 Sep 2014 #

    Is this the last Popular entry to have no comments – at least, not about the record itself? Well, the oddest thing about it, for me at least, is that one of the records it kept from the top, down at #3, was Shirl’s own Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me – considerably better, more distinctive, and much better remembered.

    I don’t mind As I Love You – way better than Reach For the Stars, for starters – but beyond the opening line it really isn’t that memorable. It has a real whiff of Two Way Family Favourites about it; the melody isn’t that far removed from that show’s theme tune. This + Jim Reeves = Sunday lunch in the food/smell/music part of my brain.

    Here’s Shirley in 1966 giving As I Love You her considerable all:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBtEKfxiCpg

  4. 4
    Izzy on 27 Sep 2014 #

    Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me!

    I first heard it as microvolume muzak on a plane idling on tarmac on a baking day somewhere in Corsica – it was strong enough to stay with me until I could hunt it down and identify it when I got home. I love finding songs in that way (well not precisely that way). If a record can cut through engine throb and lodge in one’s brain in those circumstances, then it must be fine indeed.

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