RIP: Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach died yesterday from natural causes.  Mr. Bacharach was 94.

Burt Bacharach earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Montreal’s McGill University.  He also studied music at the Mannes School of Music, and at the Music Academy of the West in Montecito, California.  Mr. Bacharach was drafted and served two years in the US Army.  This is where he met singer Vic Damone, who was also a soldier.  After they were discharged, Mr. Bacharach worked as a pianist and conductor for Mr. Damone and later other singers such as Steve Lawrence, The Ames Brothers, Joel Gray and Marlene Dietrich.

In 1957, Burt Bacharach met Hal David.  Mr. David was a lyricist and they began writing songs together.  The had back to back hits with The Story of My Life (performed by Marty Robbins) and Magic Moments (performed by Perry Como).  Although Burt Bacharach wrote hits with other lyricists, he is best known for his collaborations with Hal David.

In 1961, Burt Bacharach was impressed with the talents of a session singer.  Her name was Dionne Warwick.  They teamed and over the next twenty years produced 22 Top 40 hits including  “Walk On By”, “Alfie”, “I Say a Little Prayer”, “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”, and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”. 

Burt Bacharach would go on to work with or have his songs performed by  Stan Getz, Dusty Springfield,  Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, B.J. Thomas, The Carpenters, Barbra Streisand, Tom Jones, Stephanie Mills, Carole Bayer Sager (his third wife), Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Luther Vandross, Ronnie Milsap, Elvis Costello, Ronald Isley, Adel to name just a few.

Mr. Bacharach’s music would regularly be featured in films.  He was nominated for 5 Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Song (winning two Oscars – for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” with Hal David; and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” with Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross, Peter Allen).  He also won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Score for a Motion Picture (not a Musical) for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Other films that featured Burt Bacharach compositions include: The Blob (1958); What’s New Pussycat; Casino Royale (1967); Night Shift; Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice; Arthur 2: On the Rocks; Goodfellas; Madonna: Truth or Dare; Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story; Forrest Gump; Bad Boys; Dead Presidents; Fargo;  Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery; My Best Friend’s Wedding; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; Shaft (2000); Meet the Parents; Austin Powers in Goldmember; Dawn of the Dead (2004) and so many more.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Burt Bacharch’s family, friends and fans.