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burt bacharach

Burt Bacharach

b. Burt Freeman Bacharach, 12th May 1928, Kansas City, Missourri, U.S.A.

d. 8th February 2023, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Burt Bacharach has been one on the most important songwriters encompassing the last 60 or so years in mainstream music.

Many of his compositions, over the years, are considered, today, as classic examples of modern popular culture.

Born in May 1928, in Kansas City, Burt Bacharach studied cello, drums and piano as a child, and was later relocated to New York City by his father, a media columnist.

His parents were Irma M. Freeman and Mark Bertram Bacharach.

As a youngster he grew up in the Forest Hills section of New York City.

Burt played in several jazz bands during the 1940's.

He studied music theory and composition at the Mannes School in New York, at Berkshire Music Center, at the New School for Social Research (with Darius Milhaud), at Montreal's McGill University, and at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California.

A period in the Army interrupted his concentration of music study, but even while serving in Germany, Burt arranged and played piano for a dance band.

He also played in nightclubs and backed Steve Lawrence, the Ames Brothers and Paula Stewart.

Burt Bacharach

burt bacharach and paula stewart

Burt was discharged in 1952, and he married Stewart on December 22nd of the following year.

Burt BacharachBurt Bacharach

the sory of my life - marty robbins - 1957 / magic moments - perry como - 1958


marty robbins - the story of my life

On return to the U.S., he began writing songs for Lawrence, Patti Page, the Ames Brothers and others, but his first hit came from Marty Robbins in late 1957 when Marty took 'The Story of My Life' to the American Top 20 and the number one spot in England.

Burt Bacharach

burt bacharach and hal david

The single was also notable for its co-composer, Hal David, who became Bacharach's songwriting partner and collaborated on most of his big hits.

The Bacharach / David team followed up in January 1958 with Perry Como's 'Magic Moments,' another U.K. chart-topper and a Top Five entry in America.

Burt Bacharach

marlene dietrich and burt bacharach (circa 1958)

Bacharach's marriage dissolved in 1958, and he left for Europe to tour with Marlene Dietrich.

He returned in 1961, and wrote several songs for the Drifters with Bob Hilliard (including 'Mexican Divorce' and 'Please Stay') before reuniting with Hal David.

At an arranging session, he found the singer who became the ultimate vehicle for his songs.

Burt Bacharach

Dionne Warwick was working as a member of the Drifters' backup vocal group, the Gospelaires.


dionne warwick - walk on by

By late 1962, Bacharach and David began focusing most of their composing attention on Dionne, who was the recipient of 15 Top 40 singles from 1962 to 1968 (including the Top Tens 'Anyone Who Had a Heart,' 'Walk on By,' 'Message to Michael,' 'I Say a Little Prayer,' 'Valley of the Dolls' and 'Do You Know the Way to San Jose?').

The duo also remained dominant in England, where Frankie Vaughan, Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw, the Walker Brothers and Herb Alpert all hit number one with Bacharach / David compositions.

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what's new pussycat? - 1965 / hitmaker! - 1965 / the man! - 1965 / after the fox - 1966

If their schedule wasn't busy enough throughout the '60's, the songwriters contributed film scores for 'What's New Pussycat?', 'Alfie' and 'Casino Royale'.

Burt BacharachBurt BacharachBurt BacharachBurt Bacharach

reach out - 1967 / casino royale - 1967 / plays his hits - 1969 / butch cassidy and the sundance kid - 1969

Their most celebrated score, 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' (1969), won Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Theme Song for 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head' (plus two non-musical Academy Awards).

Bacharach and David began working on the musical 'Promises' in the late '60's.

The musical won a Tony and a Grammy Award (for cast album) during a popular three-year Broadway run.

Burt Bacharach

burt and angie dickinson

In 1965, Burt married the actress Angie Dickinson, a marriage which lasted until 1980.

Bacharach hit the charts himself in 1969, with the show's 'I'll Never Fall in Love Again' reaching the Top 100.

Surprisingly, this was not his only venture into recording.

Burt had reached number four in the U.K. charts in May 1965 with 'Trains and Boats and Planes,' and he released several popular solo albums during the late '60's.

Burt BacharachBurt BacharachBurt BacharachBurt Bacharach

make it easy on yourself - 1970 / burt bacharach - 1971 / living together - 1973 / futures - 1977


carpenters - close to you

The beginning of the '70's looked bright for Burt Bacharach, as the Carpenters took '(They Long to Be) Close to You' to number one in the U.S. in July 1970.

The forecast was premature, though, as three of his closest partners Hal David, Dionne Warwick and his second wife Angie Dickinson left him.

He gathered several accolades for an retrospective 1971 album featuring renditions of his previous hit compositions, but later albums were disappointing and Burt's next hit was over a decade in coming.

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woman - 1979 / together? - 1979 / arthur - 1981 / one amazing night - 1998

Finally in 1981, he collaborated with Christopher Cross, Carol Bayer Sager and Peter Allen on the Oscar-winning 'Arthur's Theme.'

Burt Bacharach

burt bacharach and carole bayer sager

Burt married Bayer Sager just one year later, and together they wrote Roberta Flack's Top 20 hit 'Making Love,' as well as 'Heartlight' which Neil Diamond took to number five.

Once Burt resumed composing he began to hit, and 1986 was one of his finest years, with two American number ones.

patti labelle & michael mcdonald - on my own 

'That's What Friends Are For' (by an all-star group including Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder) and a duet by Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald entitled 'On My Own.'

He divorced Carole Bayer Sager in 1991, but worked with Dionne Warwick again two years later on 'Sunny Weather Love,' from her 'Friends Can Be Lovers' album.

Also in 1993, Burt contributed songs to James Ingram, Earth, Wind & Fire and Tevin Campbell.

BBC-TV focused on Burt in a January 1996 documentary, and a three-disc retrospective of his compositions was released by Rhino in 1998.

Burt BacharachBurt BacharachBurt BacharachBurt Bacharach

painted from memory - 1998 / isn't she great - 1999 / isley meets bacharach - 2003 / at this time - 2005

That same year he collaborated with Elvis Costello on the acclaimed 'Painted from Memory', and was celebrated at an all-star concert at Radio City Music Hall which later formed the basis for the LP 'One Amazing Night'.

2005 saw a return to the studio for a highly acclaimed new set for the Sony imprint entitled 'At This Time'.

burt Bacharach

In 2013, a fine retrospective of Burt Bacharach's career was released entitled 'Burt Bacharach - Anyone Who Had A Heart - The Art Of The Songwriter'.

Burt Bacharach died in February 2023 at the age of 94.

Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach

burt bacharach - love supreme 2017

Real Player


What's New Pussycat? (Rykodisc Records 1965)

Hitmaker! Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits (Universal Records 1965)

After the Fox (Rykodisc Records 1966)

Casino Royale (Varese Sarabande Records 1966)

Reach Out (A & M Records 1967)

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (A & M Records 1969)

Make It Easy on Yourself (A & M Records 1969)

Burt Bacharach (A & M Records 1971)

Living Together (A & M Records 1973)

In Concert [live] (A & M Records 1974)

Futures (A & M Records 1977)

Together (RCA Records 1977)

Walk on By (MCA Records 1987)

Painted From Memory (Mercury Records 1998)

One Amazing Night (N2K Records 1998)

Ronald Isley & Burt Bacharach (Sony Records 2003)

At This Time (Sony Records 2005)

Live At The Sydney Opera House (Verve Records 2008)

When Ronan Met Burt (Decca Records 2008)

Burt Bacharach - Anyone Who Had A Heart - The Art Of The Songwriter (Commercial Marketing Records 2013)

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