Big Spender

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Paula Kelly (third from right) and Chita Rivera (second from right) as seductive dance hostess girls performing "Big Spender" in
Sweet Charity (1969).

"Big Spender" is a song written by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields for the musical Sweet Charity, first performed in 1966. It is sung, in the musical, by the dance hostess girls; it was choreographed by Bob Fosse for the Broadway musical and the 1969 film.[1] It is set to the beat of a striptease as the girls taunt the customers.[2]

Shirley Bassey version[edit]

"Big Spender"
Shirley Bassey, Big Spender, German single cover.jpg
Single by Shirley Bassey
Released September 1967[3]
Format 45 RPM
Recorded 1967
Genre Jazz, vocal
Length 3:24
Label United Artists Records
Songwriter(s) Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields
Producer(s) Norman Newell[3]

A hit version of the song by Shirley Bassey reached #21 in the UK Singles Chart in December 1967.[4] This version is featured in the 2004 film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, and in the 2005 film Nynne. The song has become one of Bassey's signature songs. She has performed the song numerous times, most notably for the 80th birthday of Prince Philip. She also sang it at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival.[5]

In December 2007 it was re-released in a new remixed version as a digital download. This was the third and final single released from the album Get the Party Started. The single features a remix from Pink Pound and two instrumental remixes that were not included on the album release. Unlike the previous two singles this track featured a remix of a previous released recording, the vocal track was taken from a session recorded in 1984 for the album I Am What I Am. There was no promotion undertaken for the single and no video was made to support the release.

Track listing[edit]

  1. Big Spender
  2. Dangerous Game[6]

Other versions[edit]

Recorded versions[edit]

Live performances[edit]

Parodies and alternate lyrics[edit]

  • The song appeared in Muriel Cigar commercials in the 1970s, sung by Edie Adams. A modified version of the tune entreated the viewer to "...spend a little dime with me", referring to the price of a Muriel Cigar.
  • In an episode of British Asian sketch comedy show Goodness Gracious Me, the cast perform a parody of the song called "Big Spinster".
  • In the "Two Bad Neighbors" episode of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson performed the song at a yard sale with new lyrics to reflect the merchandise he is promoting.
  • In the Discworld Noir computer game the 'Troll Saphire' performed a parody of "Big Spender", with the opening lyrics as "The minute you walked through the wall, I could tell that you were a troll of destruction"
  • In the "Viva Mars Vegas" episode of Futurama, a parody version is played of "Big Spender", with the lyrics as "Hey Rich Lobster", when Dr. Zoidberg shows up at a casino on Mars with millions of dollars to spend and lose.


Television and film appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Listing with plot synopsis and production notes, accessed March 17, 2009
  2. ^ Furia, Philip, America's Songs (2006), CRC Press, ISBN 0-415-97246-9, p. 287
  3. ^ a b "Shirley Bassey - Big Spender - Discogs". 9 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 44–45. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ Needham, Alex.ReivewThe Guardian, 24 June 2007
  6. ^ "Big Spender - Discogs". 9 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Peggy Lee listing, accessed March 17, 2009
  8. ^ "Love, Peas and understanding at the MTV Asia Awards 2004 | Young Star, Lifestyle Features, The Philippine Star". 2004-02-20. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 

External links[edit]