Could anything say ‘1970s glamour’ more emphatically than Len Trievnor’s shot of Shirley Bassey? Here she is, clad head to toe in white mink, a ring on every finger, perching nonchalantly on the driving seat of an Aston Martin DBS. Whether she planned to drive it is open to question.

By 1970 Bassey had attained diva status, having wowed audiences with her unique voice on both sides of the Atlantic. It was a world away from Tiger Bay, the tough and dangerous docklands area of Cardiff where she grew up. You didn’t see many mink coats there, for sure.

The Aston Martin connection? It’s that man, James Bond. One of Bassey’s first and most enduring hits was her soundtrack theme song for Goldfinger, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2024. At the time of this PR photo-op, she was about to record her second Bond theme, for the 1971 movie Diamonds are Forever. And in 1979 she notched up her third Bond hit, with the theme for Moonraker. Her dramatic, powerful voice seems perfectly suited to the drama and jeopardy of the Bond oeuvre.

The DBS was also – briefly – a Bond vehicle. Launched in 1967, it was intended as a more spacious and cosseting alternative to the narrower and slightly dated DB6. Its wider engine bay was designed to accommodate an all-new V8 engine, but that unit’s lengthy gestation prompted a switch to the DB6’s trusty 4.0-litre six; the two models were produced side by side at Newport Pagnell until 1970. The styling, by William Towns, was dramatically different, with a squared-off version of the Aston Martin grille, four headlights and muscle-car proportions. The V8 arrived in 1969, but the model shown here is a six-cylinder; the more powerful DBS-V8 wasn’t available with wire wheels.

Actor George Lazenby as James Bond drove a DBS in the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It had no Q gadgets, apart from a mounting for a telescopic-sight rifle. For Diamonds are Forever Sean Connery returned as Bond; no Aston Martins featured in the action, although a DBS is briefly glimpsed in Q Branch when Bond calls Q from Amsterdam. It wasn’t until The Living Daylights in 1987 that Bond (played by Timothy Dalton) once more got his hands on an Aston Martin, a V8 Vantage Volante.

Meanwhile, Shirley Bassey’s unique voice continued to defy the passing years. In 1999 she became Dame Shirley Bassey. Her 2020 album, I Owe It All To You, made her the first female artist to claim a top 40 album in seven consecutive decades. Two years later she performed the opening songs, Diamonds are Forever and Goldfinger, in The Sound of 007: Live from the Royal Albert Hall, which celebrated 60 years of James Bond movies.

As a girl, Bassey faced discouragement for her powerful delivery. “Everyone told me to shut up. Even in the school choir, the teacher kept telling me to back off till I was singing in the corridor!” Sixty years on from Goldfinger, nobody tells Dame Shirley Bassey to shut up anymore.

Photography—Len Trievnor & Getty Images