Essential Advent Calendar: Dame Shirley Bassey & Blake – ‘The Christmas Song’

advent calendar 11

It’s the 10th day of our Essential Advent Calendar! Today’s door opens on Dame Shirley Bassey and British vocal harmony trio, BLAKE, who have collaborated with, ‘The Christmas Song’.

Blake and Bassey

Teaming up with British vocal harmony trio BLAKE, Dame Shirley Bassey has recorded her first ever Christmas song and has revealed she would love a Christmas number 1. “BLAKE-and-Bassey” have recorded ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)’ and the song will be the soundtrack for the upcoming festive season with soaring strings, swoonsome harmonies and, of course, Dame Shirley’s distinctive voice.

“I would love to have a Christmas number one,” she revealed at the recording of the single’s video in a North London studio, alongside BLAKE’s Ollie Baines, Humphrey Berney and Stephen Bowman.

Bookmakers William Hill have already taken a sizeable bet on the song claiming the festive top spot, and have slashed the odds from 25/1 – 10/1 before the single release was even announced.

Dame Shirley explains how the collaboration came about:

“BLAKE sang Moon River at my 70th birthday party, and then we met again at the reception of [the charity] Variety’s 70th anniversary six months ago. Ollie mentioned singing a Christmas song together, and I said I’ve never done a Christmas song before!”

BLAKE toyed with the idea of writing a brand new original song but decided that, when recording a voice as iconic as hers, only an absolute classic would do.

“We listened to Dame Shirley’s most recent recordings, as well as her past albums, watched a lot of YouTube clips from dozens of live shows, then started to compile a short list of about five songs” recalls Ollie. “We felt sure that Dame Shirley could make a hit out of any of the songs on our list, so we sent it over and let her choose the one that she liked best – which was The Christmas Song.”

After recording the song Dame Shirley said, “I was quite overwhelmed because it just fits my voice so well. I was amazed how well our voices blended.”

Blake and Bassey 1

‘The Christmas Song’ will also appear on BLAKE’s new album ‘A Classic Christmas’, released 20 November, which has been funded through crowdfunding site PledgeMusic. Part of the money raised through the Pledge campaign will go to the charity Variety, with Stephen saying,

“We are ambassadors of Variety, The Children’s Charity, and were reunited with Dame Shirley at Variety’s gala event this year, so it is fitting that a sizeable donation is being made from the funding of the album to the charity. The work that they do for disadvantaged children in the UK is absolutely essential, and we are very proud to be associated with them.”

Dame Shirley is also supporting a children’s charity with the release of the single:

“It’s so lovely to finally get to release a Christmas song, and my royalties will go to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, in Cardiff.”

Blake and Bassey 3

BLAKE’s new album ‘A Classic Christmas’ album also features a collection of timeless Christmas songs including ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’, ‘Frosty The Snowman’ and ‘Let It Snow’ – and a percentage of the sales of the entire album will go to Variety, the Children’s Charity, when ordered on PledgeMusic.  

BLAKE have an impressive CV of achievements including several No. 1s, multi-platinum selling albums and over 150 TV appearances, as well as having won a Brit Award for Album of the Year. Famous fans include Keira Knightley, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Will Smith.

They tour constantly and take part in a vast amount of charity work, from performing for the Queen and Prince Harry at the Festival of Remembrance and the launch of the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Challenge, to working with the ‘Sing to Beat Breast Cancer’ Choir. Other charities they have supported include Help For Heroes, The British Legion and MIND. They have legions of fans worldwide, which has sent them on tours to the Philippines, South Korea, Barbados, Russia, and even at the White House in the US.

BLAKE and Dame Shirley sang on the Graham Norton Show on December 4, and will also perform on the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special on December 25th.

BLAKE will embark on an extensive UK tour in November and December.

Find BLAKE online on their website.

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