Monday, April 13, 2009

Dames, Shirleys, & Not So Easy To Be Hard

So, like most people, there are a lot of similarities between some of my favorite things.

Sometimes it's obvious, like Bacon Cheeseburgers and Regular Cheeseburgers, or Orange Kitties and Black Kitties.

Sometimes it's not so obvious, like Dame Shirley Bassey and Two Time Academy Award Winner Shelley Winters (Who was of course, born a Shirley - Shirley Shrift).

Now, recently I went to see Hair on Broadway. I liked it enough, but I had never seen it before and so was kind of expecting the show to be more, um, better. It was definitely a spectacle though, and of course there was a nude bits, and overall I enjoyed myself.

The one downer for me was the version of "Easy To Be Hard." I'll admit, I didn't know that song was from Hair, I first learned it as a wee lad from my parents' Shirley Bassey 1970 record, Something.

This of course was followed up by Something Else one year later, but that's another tale.

Anyway, Something was Dame Shirley's comeback record (first of many), featuring her take on contemporary hits (first of many for that too). And really, it's unfair to judge the poor girl from Hair with trying to top Dame Shirl, but that's how it goes.

Anyway, this set me on a whole Dame Shirley festival on Saturday afternoon as I did laundry. And I realized, just like Shelley, sassy Miss Bassey can tend towards the melodramatic when not reeled in by her producers / directors. You want the full on Shirl when she's singing "Goldfinger" or "Diamonds are Forever," but sometimes she needs to reign it in a bit, or she ends up like Shelley on The Lucy Show.

Here she is putting a bit of irony into the title of this song, best known as performed by that other dame. Really, you just need to hear the first few lines to get my point.

Anyway, that's my Shirley Bassey story and I'm sticking to it.

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