In Shirley Bassey’s voice, diamonds are indeed, forever

Diamonds Are Forever is one of 007‘s most beloved songs, with several covers ranging from Arctic Monkeys to Katie Melua and Kanye West, but it’s inimitable because the original was one of Shirley Bassey‘s greatest instant classics with the James Bond franchise.

007- Diamonds Are Forever is not one of the best films of the 60 years of the British spy. It marked a temporary return for Sean Connery to the role after George Lazenby made On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and was not well received by critics or audiences. Today the 1969 film is a cult classic, but when it ended with James a widower and “losing” to Blofeld, it left a bitter taste in the mouth of the macho audience that only accepted their misogynist hero to win. So, the next film features James face to face attacking Blofeld and “melting” him in an acid factory… or so he thinks. Then James continues with his crude love conquests while being pursued by a couple of gay murderers. The film would not get off the ground today, but it has one of the three best songs of all time, the one that gives the film its title and highlights male inconstancy.

To sing the theme, which enters softly… very different from all the previous themes that were great, John Barry invited his friend Shirley Bassey, who had already shone with Goldfinger and thus setting the precedent of being the only artist to be invited to sing the theme from James Bond more than once. She would go on to sing the third one later: Moonraker.

The lyrics have a double meaning, which can be applied to romantic love where the diamond – being eternal – never disappoints, but the sexual nature is also present (“diamonds satisfy me, stimulate me, provoke”… “stroke it, caress it and undress it”), that author Don Black years later created an anecdote that John Barry told Shirley to sing with a penis in mind and never shared the secret with the lyricist until many years later. Is it really true?

Anyway, Diamonds Are Forever is Dame Shirley Bassey‘s signature song, and one of her favorites. It was no surprise that at BAFTA 2022, at the age of 85, he chose her to sing in honor of 007’s 60th birthday. After all, like a diamond, he is also eternal.

Diamonds are forever,
They are all I need to please me,
They can stimulate and tease me,
They won´t leave in the night,
I´ve no fear that they might desert me.
Diamonds are forever,
Hold one up and then caress it,
Touch it, stroke it and undress it,
I can see every part,
Nothing hides in the heart to hurt me.

I don´t need love,
For what good will love do me?
Diamonds never lie to me,
For when love´s gone,
They´ll luster on.

Diamonds are forever,
Sparkling round my little finger.
Unlike men, the diamonds linger;
Men are mere mortals who
Are not worth going to your grave for.

I don´t need love,
For what good will love do me?
Diamonds never lie to me,
For when love´s gone,
They´ll luster on.

Diamonds are forever, forever, forever.
Diamonds are forever, forever, forever.
Forever and ever.

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