♫ R.I.P. Burt Bacharach ♫

Wednesday was a sad day for the music world, when legendary composer, arranger, conductor, record producer and occasional singer Burt Bacharach died at the age of 94.  Mr. Bacharach collaborated with many lyricists over the years, and even wrote some of his own words. But his primary collaborator was Hal David, seven years his senior, whom he met in a music publisher’s office in 1957.

Bacharach won two Academy Awards for best song: for Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, written with Hal David, in 1970, and Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do), written with Peter Allen, Carole Bayer Sager and Christopher Cross, in 1982.  His original score for the 1969 film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which included Raindrops (a #1 hit for B.J. Thomas), won an Oscar for best original score for a nonmusical motion picture.

Bacharach met Dionne Warwick at a recording session for the Drifters that included Mexican Divorce and Please Stay, two songs he wrote with the lyricist Bob Hilliard. Hearing Ms. Warwick, a backup singer at that session, he knew he had found a singer who could work magic with his music.

There is so much I could say in tribute to Mr. Bacharach (and to Mr. David, who died in 2012 at the age of 91), but tonight I will let the music be his tribute, for his music is truly his legacy.

Thank you, Burt Bacharach, for all the beautiful music you and Hal David, along with others, gave this world.  You will be missed.

27 thoughts on “♫ R.I.P. Burt Bacharach ♫

  1. There’s more to his story than I think we know. Relatively early in his career, he became music director for the fabled Marlene Dietrich and toured with her for five years. Apparently, in her autobiography, she described him as “the perfect man”, extremely high praise from a reportedly brilliant and highly demanding woman. In the absence of a time machine, we’ll probably never know what went on, but I’m sure there’s a novel in there somewhere.

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  2. Jill, he was a musical genius and terrific collaborator with Hal David and other writers, as well as his singers. I have seen footage of he and Dionne Warwick working out a song which is an example of this. Keith

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    • Agreed on all counts! I think he has done more than most any other musician in the history of music. I’ve seen that same footage, and it is awesome. His work lives on, but he will be missed.


  3. Pingback: ♫ R.I.P. Burt Bacharach ♫ | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  4. These are the kind of songs that “the world needs now,” but which have been left behind with the times. It is sad that today’s youth are not exposed to, and future generations will never know, music that is more than noise and glitz.

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    • Hmmmm … I’m not so sure they’ve been left behind, at least not entirely. These are the songs that have staying power, I think. But then, our parents probably thought that about their music, too. Every now and then, I get into my daughter’s car when she’s left the radio on and … from those few doses, I have concluded that today’s music has nothing to offer that I want!


  5. I was not aware that all of these great and famous songs were from the same composer. Wow! Arthur’s theme is one of my favorite songs. Dionne Warwick sang a version too of “What the world needs now”. I even only knew it from her. Love your collection, Jill!

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