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31st August 2022
"Big Spender" is a song from the Broadway comedy musical "Sweet Charity," from 1966. The story centers around a dancer-for-hire, "Charity Hope Valentine," who works at a dancehall and is seeking true love. The story is based on a 1957 Italian film. "Nights of Cabiria," where the central character is a prostitute. Here's a recording from a more recent show:
The soundtrack has been recorded numerous times, and the musical put on in New York, Lonon, Sydney and other lesser-known locations around the world. It was also made into a film in 1969 starring American dancer, actor, singer, author, and activist Shirley MacLaine - here's a clip from the film of "Big Spender":
In 1966, the first person to record this song as a single was American singer, songwriter, composer, and actress Peggy Lee (1920 - 2002):
However, in 1967 it was recorded by Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey, who would make this tune her own signature piece:
The song has gone on to be covered by so many artists, professionals and amateurs alike (including many a drag show). Popular artists have included a disco version by The Ritchie Family (1978), Chaka Chan (2004), the Pussy Cat Dolls (2004), and Jennifer Love Hewitt as a promo for the TV Show "The Client List" (2010):
Going back to Bassey, who has sung this song countless times including for the British Prince Phillip Duke of Edinburgh's 80th Birthday Celebration (2001), and at the UK Glastonbury Music Festival (2007), her version is oft used for remixes. At the end of 2007 it was remixed by Pink Pound and given a rock beat:
And here's one with a dance beat from 2014 by DJ PSYK:
And what about remixes of remixes? DJ Carnage did a remix which was then used in 2012 by Theophilus London Ft A$AP Rocky...and this in turn was used by Skepta, a British Grime Rapper:
Also in 2012, British Rapper "Smiler," used a sample of Big Spender sung by Lana Del Ray for his single "Spender":
Finally, check out some dance moves for this song - a simple pole dancing routine, and a chair acro routine:
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