Local News

Shirley Bassey in Bahrain

July, 23 - 29, 2008

SINGING superstar Shirley Bassey travelled to Bahrain on Concorde for an amazing fleeting visit to the kingdom in the 1970s.

She was collected by a Rolls-Royce at the airport and taken to Sakhir Palace to perform and then on to Adhari pool to sing before returning to the supersonic jet for a flight back to London in time to open her show at the London Palladium.

A full BBC crew, including director Stanley Morris, accompanied her on the journey to record the visit for a special TV show highlighting the speed of the legendary aircraft.

"I remember her voice was strong and beautiful," said Khalifa Shaheen, who was the production manager for the show in Bahrain.

Concorde entered commercial service on January 21, 1976, with a British Airways flight from London to Bahrain and an Air France flight from Paris to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

G-BOAA flew to Bahrain. Included amongst the guests on it were Sir George Edwards, chairman of BAC, and Sir Stanley Hooker.

On arrival at Bahrain, they were invited to a banquet at the New Palace by the late Amir of Bahrain, Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

Sir Stanley in his book Not Much of an Engineer said: "Eventually we entered the fabulous dining room, ritually washed our hands and took our places around the gigantic U-shaped table.

"I was next to the Minister of Foreign Trade, who spoke perfect English. We each had a waiter in full court uniform, each pair of guests being supervised by a steward ... I was about to turn to the minister and say: "How far sighted and generous of your government to allow us to bring the Concorde here on its first scheduled flight" when he said to me, "What a great honour you have done our country by bringing your magnificent Concorde here on its inaugural flight!"

Considering the violent hullabaloo that was going on in New York, and that nobody else would allow us in, it was difficult to find the right answer! wrote Sir Stanley.

Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey, now aged 71, performed the theme songs to the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979). She is the only singer to have recorded more than one James Bond theme song.

The international artist, from Wales, has accumulated 20 silver discs for sales in Britain, Europe and the Middle East, 50-plus gold discs for international record sales and a platinum greatest-hits collection.

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