Burt Bacharach (1928-2023)

Academy Award winner

Burt BacharachThe New York Times obituary for Burt Bacharach quoted the composer from his 2013 autobiography, “Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music,” written with Robert Greenfield.

“Mr. Bacharach suggested that as a songwriter, he had been ‘luckier than most.’

“’Most composers sit in a room by themselves, and nobody knows what they look like,’ he wrote. ‘People may have heard some of their songs, but they never get to see them onstage or on television.’ Because he was also a performer, he noted, ‘I get to make a direct connection with people.’

“’Whether it’s just a handshake or being stopped on the street and asked for an autograph or having someone comment on a song I’ve written,’ Mr. Bacharach added, ‘that connection is really meaningful and powerful for me.’”

I thought about that sentiment back in 2012 when Burt’s long-time writing partner, Hal David, died. His passing did not receive the notice I felt his body of work deserved.

On the other hand, Hal wasn’t “sleepy-eyed handsome and suave” or married to Angie Dickinson, the Rat Pack-affiliated star of the television show Police Woman. Burt was, from 1965 to 1981, helping him to be a star in his own right. 

Bacharach acknowledged in the autobio that the split with David “was all my fault, and I can’t imagine how many great songs I could have written with Hal in the years we were apart.”

The Times article has several hyperlinks, which you should be able to play. Still, I’ll put a few here.

Award winner

From THR: ” Bacharach also won two Academy Awards for his work on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969): best song for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” [BJ Thomas] and best musical score. He also won the song Oscar for “Arthur’s Theme” (Best That You Can Do) [Christopher Cross]” from Arthur (1981), which he shared with his third wife, lyricist Carole Bayer Sager; Peter Allen; and singer Christopher Cross.

“Bacharach’s compositions received three other Oscar noms, all of which he shared with David: “What’s New Pussycat” [Tom Jones] from the 1965 Woody Allen comedy; “Alfie” [Cher], the title tune from the 1966 Michael Caine classic; and “The Look Of Love” [Dusty Springfield],” from Casino Royale (1967).

“Bacharach later wrote and produced songs with Bayer Sager, including Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For” [with Elton John · Gladys Knight · Stevie Wonder], which won the 1986 Grammy for song of the year; “They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To”recorded by Kenny Rogers for Tough Guys (1986); and the theme from Baby Boom (Ever Changing Times by Siedah Garrett, 1987).

Okay, a few more:

Naked Eyes – Always Something There To Remind Me

A variety of songs from Variety, including, naturally, some by Dionne Warwick 

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