In Bassey's case, she thought "Goldfinger" pretty much gave her ownership of all future Bond songs. She was surprised to hear Welsh belter Tom Jones got the nod for the next 007 epic, Thunderball. Then, for You Only Live Twice (1967), Nancy Sinatra wouldn't be the last singer intimidated by the shadow of Bassey. When Lulu took her turn for The Man With the Golden Gun (1975), she reportedly asked, "Don't you want Shirley Bassey?" Harry Saltzman had indeed wanted Bassey, or someone like her, for Live and Let Die. He didn't think a former Beatle had the voice to sell a Bond song.
As the years went by, some singers did evoke the power of Bassey, notably Gladys Knight (License to Kill, 1989) and Tina Turner (GoldenEye, 1995). Others were sad reminders Bassey wasn't the voice on screen, as with the miscast Sheryl Crow (Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997) and Madonna (Die Another Day, 2002). Throughout it all, there was no question one queen ruled in Bondland, and her name was Bassey, Shirley Bassey.
Last night, in many ways, Dame Bassey was passing on the crown. As she sang "Goldfinger," she was the embodiment of Bond past, whether Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, or Brosnan. When Adele took her turn, she was not only there as a singer, but as a songwriter as well and that's what she took the statue for. She represented where 007 is now, and whoever pens or performs the next Bond songs may be, they now have a new standard to be measured by. And it's a worthy standard indeed—the Oscar folks, after all this time, got it right.
So wherever you are, I say ye join me in wishing: Long live the queens, and may they all live at least twice! Would you ask for less from a good Bond girl?