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Burt Bacharach

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Also Known As: Burt F. Bacharach Died:
Born: May 12, 1928 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Kansas City, Missouri, USA Profession: songwriter, arranger, composer, producer, entertainer, pianist, race horse owner

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Following his discharge from the Army, Burt Bacharach first served as Vic Damone's accompanist before later working with such performers as the Ames Brothers, Imogene Coca, Joel Grey and Paula Stewart (his first wife), but his career did not take off until he met lyricist Hal David one day in 1957 at the historic Brill Building in NYC. Within a year, the pair had their first Number 1 hit, the country tune "The Story of My Life" (1957), recorded by Marty Robbins, which they followed with Perry Como's "Magic Moments" (1958). Bacharach gained considerable attention touring Europe and America as musical director for Marlene Dietrich from 1958 to 1961 and then worked extensively with the Drifters, arranging horn and string parts and collaborating with lyricist Bob Hilliard on their 1961 singles "Mexican Divorce" and "Please Stay". After meeting a backup singer named Dionne Warwick, whose voice seemed particularly well-suited to his music, Bacharach began writing songs with David by day and recording them with Warwick until 2 AM. The Bacharach-David-Warwick triumvirate would go on to have 39 chart records in 10 years, beginning with "Don't Make Me Over", which climbed to Number 21 in 1962. Eight of them...

Following his discharge from the Army, Burt Bacharach first served as Vic Damone's accompanist before later working with such performers as the Ames Brothers, Imogene Coca, Joel Grey and Paula Stewart (his first wife), but his career did not take off until he met lyricist Hal David one day in 1957 at the historic Brill Building in NYC. Within a year, the pair had their first Number 1 hit, the country tune "The Story of My Life" (1957), recorded by Marty Robbins, which they followed with Perry Como's "Magic Moments" (1958). Bacharach gained considerable attention touring Europe and America as musical director for Marlene Dietrich from 1958 to 1961 and then worked extensively with the Drifters, arranging horn and string parts and collaborating with lyricist Bob Hilliard on their 1961 singles "Mexican Divorce" and "Please Stay". After meeting a backup singer named Dionne Warwick, whose voice seemed particularly well-suited to his music, Bacharach began writing songs with David by day and recording them with Warwick until 2 AM. The Bacharach-David-Warwick triumvirate would go on to have 39 chart records in 10 years, beginning with "Don't Make Me Over", which climbed to Number 21 in 1962. Eight of them would make it into the Top 10, and though Warwick has sang Bacharach infrequently since the early 70s, she remains the chief interpreter of his work.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Intimate Portrait: Angie Dickinson (2003) Interviewee
4.
 Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song (2001) Interviewee
5.
 Burt Bacharach (2001) Interviewee
6.
8.
 Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over (2001) Interviewee
10.
 Rhythm of Life, The (2000) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Forest Hills, Queens, New York
1950:
Served with US Army, playing piano at the officer's club on Governor's Island (NYC) and giving concerts at Fort Dix (New Jersey); also spent time overseas
1952:
Met Vic Damone and toured with him as accompanist following discharge from the military
1955:
Became a member of ASCAP
1957:
Met lyricist Hal David at NYC's Brill Building
1957:
First Number 1 hit (with David), the country song "The Story of My Life", recorded by Marty Robbins
1957:
First film credit, pre-composed song for "Lizzie"
1957:
First film as composer of title (theme) song only, "The Sad Sack"
1958:
Perry Como scored a big hit with the Bacharach-David tune "Magic Moments"
:
Gained considerable attention touring Europe and America as musical director for Marlene Dietrich
1961:
Worked extensively with the Drifters, arranging horn and string parts and collaborating with lyricist Bob Hilliard on the group's singles "Mexican Divorce" and "Please Stay"
1961:
Met a backup singer named Dionne Warwick, whose voice seemed well-suited to his material; Bacharach and David wrote songs by day and recorded them at night with her, resulting ultimately in eight Top 10 hits
1962:
First hit with Warwick, "Don't Make Me Over", climbed to Number 21 on the charts
1965:
First film as composer, "What's New, Pussycat?"; title song was a Top 5 hit for Tom Jones
1968:
Composed score for Broadway musical, "Promises, Promises", which ran for three years and 1,281 performances
1969:
Had one of his biggest successes with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head", written for the feature "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"; won first two Academy Awards for Best Score and Best Original Song
1973:
Burned out after rushing to finish the score of the musical film "Lost Horizon", retreated to beach house and reneged on a Warwick album, leading her and David to file lawsuits (eventually settled out of court)
1981:
Co-wrote with Carole Bayer Sager, Peter Allen and Christopher Cross the hit theme from the film "Arthur"; won third Oscar
1982:
Composed the music for Ron Howard's "Night Shift", which introduced "That's What Friends Are For" (co-written by Sager)
1985:
Dionne (Warwick) and Friends score Number 1 hit with "That's What Friends Are For", earning him last Grammy to date; proceeds of the recording were donated to AIDS research
1993:
Reunited with Warwick on the song "Sunny Weather Love", included on her album "Friends Can Be Lovers"
:
Bacharach resurgence fueled by such notables as British superband Oasis (who put a picture of him on their 1994 mega-selling album "Definitely Maybe"), The Cranberries, REM's Michael Stipe and acid jazz masters Massive Attack
1996:
Co-wrote with Elvis Costello (via fax and answering machine) the show-stopping tune "God Give Me Strength" for Allison Anders' "Grace of My Heart", proving that his return was not just a rehabilitation of reputation but a creative renaissance as well
1996:
Appeared at London's Royal Festival Hall, where Oasis' Noel Gallagher joined him to croon "This Guy's In Love with You"
1997:
Five vintage Bacharach-David tunes brightened the film comedy "My Best Friend's Wedding"
1997:
Appeared as himself in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery"
1998:
A stage musical utilizing Bacharach-David songs, "What the World Needs Now", bowed at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre
1999:
Collaborated with Tim Rice on the song "Walking Tall" for the film "Stuart Little"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

McGill University: Montreal , Quebec -
Mannes College of Music: New York , New York -
Mannes College of Music: New York , New York -
New School of Social Research: New York , New York -
Music Academy of the West: Santa Barbara , California -
Berkshire Music Center: Tanglewood , Massachusetts -

Notes

He was named CUE Magazine's Entertainer of the Year (1969).

Bacharach and collaborator Hal David received the 1996 Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Ira Gerswin once signed a piece of sheet music to him: "For Burt, the 5th 'B'--in no particular order--Beethoven, Brahams, Berlin, Bach & Bacharach."

"I was working so hard, I didn't allow myself the luxury of basking in the success that was going on. It's like, I'd finish one thing and be into the next. I cared so much in that moment about my work. It was like winning the horse race, and you don't even savor that moment in the winner's circle as much as you should. You're off to win the next race. I should have enjoyed it a little more." --Burt Bacharach, The New York Times, July 24, 1997.

"I remember playing it ['What the World Needs Now Is Love'] for Dionne [Warwick], because she got first crack at just about anything. She didn't like it. And I thought if she didn't like it, the song mustn't be very good. Invalidated it. So I put it away. Hal had way more confidence in it. He said, 'Play it for Jackie DeShannon.' Worked out fine." --Burt Bacharach, Entertainment Weekly, August 8, 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Paula Stewart. Singer. Divorced.
wife:
Angie Dickinson. Actor. Married in 1965; separated in 1976; divorced in 1982; mother of Bacharach's daughter Nikki.
wife:
Carole Bayer Sager. Lyricist. Married on April 3, 1982; divorced c. 1991; co-won Best Song Oscar with Bacharach and others for "Arthur" (1981); co-won Grammy for "That's What Friends Are For" (1987); adopted son Cristopher with Bacharach.
wife:
Jane Bacharach. Born c. 1961; married c. 1991; mother of Oliver and Raleigh.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Bert Bacharach. Syndicated columnist.
mother:
Irma Bacharach.
daughter:
Lea Bacharach. Born c. 1966; mother, Angie Dickinson.
son:
Cristopher Elton Bacharach. Born c. 1986; adopted with Carole Bayer Sager.
son:
Oliver Bacharach. Born on December 21, 1992; mother. Jane Bacharach.
daughter:
Raleigh Bacharach. Born on December 19, 1995; mother, Jane Bacharach.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Bacharach-David Song Book"

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