Burt Bacharach

Composer / Songwriter
Date Of Birth:
12 May 1928
Date Of Death:
9 February 2023
Place Of Birth:
Kansas City, Missouri
Best Known As:
The pianist who co-wrote "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" and "Walk On By"
Burt Bacharach was an American pianist, composer and songwriter whose work in the decade of the 1960s included hit songs such as “Walk On By,” “The Look of Love” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” Born in Missouri but raised mostly in Queens, New York, he was forced into piano lessons as a boy and it worked. He started playing in bands while a teenager, and after serving two years in the army he emerged in 1952 as an accompanist to singer Vic Damone. Bacharach toured with Marlene Dietrich (1958-63) while also breaking into the songwriting business. After some solo success, he joined with lyricist Hal David to become one of the best hit-making duos of the 1960s. On the charts they had hits like “Message to Michael” and “I Say A Little Prayer” (with Dionne Warwick, with whom they had particular success); “Blue on Blue” (Bobby Vinton); “What the World Needs Now” (Jackie DeShannon); “One Less Bell To Answer” (Fifth Dimension); and “Wives and Lovers” (Jack Jones). In the movies Bacharach and David had songs like “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” and “What’s New Pussycat?” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.” With David, Bacharach won an Oscar for best original song from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1968, with Robert Redford and Paul Newman). Bacharach won another Oscar for the film's score. With Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen, Bacharach won another Oscar for the song “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” from the movie Arthur (1981, starring Dudley Moore). On Broadway the Bacharach-David tune “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” emerged as a chart-topper, from the play Promises, Promises (1968). After a dry spell and some flops in the 1970s, Burt Bacharach was in the spotlight again in the early 1980s, thanks to a hit cover of the song “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” by Naked Eyes (the original was a hit in 1963 by Dionne Warwick). In 1985 Bacharach’s song “That’s What Friends Are For” was recorded for charity by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight (“Dionne & Friends”). It became a number one hit on adult contemporary charts and won the Grammy for best song of the year. Bacharach’s melodies and Hal David’s lyrics combined for hit songs during a time when radio audiences were chasing after rock’n’roll and abandoning the Big Band era, and their hits are too many to list here.
Extra Credit

Burt Bacharach’s father was Bert Bacharach, a World War I veteran and former professional football player who became a syndicated columnist (Bert’s column, “Now See Here” ran from 1960 to 1978)… Burt Bacharach was married four times — to Paula Stewart (1953-58), Angie Dickinson (1965-81), Carole Bayer Sager (1982-91) and Jane Hansen (1993-2023).

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