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. Peggy Lee was the first artist to record the song for her album of the same name also that year. 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

"Big Spender"
Single by Shirley Bassey
B-side"Dangerous Game"
ReleasedSeptember 1967[3]
GenreJazz, vocal
LabelUnited Artists Records
Songwriter(s)Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields
Producer(s)Norman Newell[3]
Official audio
"Big Spender" on YouTube

A hit version of the song by Shirley Bassey reached No. 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. Bassey often performed the song live, including at the 80th birthday of Prince Philip and 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

  1. Big Spender
  2. Dangerous Game[6]

Other versions

Parodies and alternate lyrics


Television and film appearances


  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". Discogs. January 9, 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.ReviewThe Guardian, June 24, 2007
  6. ^ "Big Spender - Discogs". Discogs. January 9, 2016.
  7. ^ "Love, Peas and understanding at the MTV Asia Awards 2004 | Young Star, Lifestyle Features, The Philippine Star". 2004-02-20. Retrieved 2016-09-30.