Burt Bacharach: His Extraordinary Songs and Musicals
Ask any modern singer or songwriter for a list of their influences, and you're more than likely to see pop mastermind Burt Bacharach at the top of their list. Know best for his many hits that span the 1960s, '70s and '80s, Burt Bacharach's songbook is one of the best known in modern times.
Burt Bacharach was born on May 12, 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri. From an early age, he showed interest in music. He studied the subject extensively at the Mannes School of Music, McGill University and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California.
Bacharach's career began to blossom in 1957 when he joined forces with lyrical mastermind Hal David. A year later, their first big hit was recorded by Marty Robbins, entitled "The Story of My Life." It became a number one hit on U.S. country and UK charts. The success was followed up in early 1958 with Perry Como's hit, "Magic Moments." Como's song reached number four hit on American charts and number one in the UK.
Burt Bacharach and Hal David then found success writing songs for artists like Johnny Mathis, Dionne Warwick, The Drifters and Chuck Jackson in the early 1960s. Their popularity as a songwriting team snowballed as they continued to compose hit songs for many of the brightest talents of the time.
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Burt Bacharach was writing songs for best artists around. Through the '60s, '70s and '80s, he was one of the most sought after songwriters in the world. His list of clients included The Beatles, Dusty Springfield, The Shirelles, The Carpenters, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert and Luther Vandross.
His success carried over into the 1990s and beyond into the new millennium. He worked with Elvis Costello on a Grammy award winning album entitled, "Painted From Memory" in 1998. He even collaborated with hip hop mogul Dr. Dre on his recent album release entitled, "At This Time."
Burt Bacharach also had success on Broadway with his musicals. In 1968, "Marlene Dietrich" and "Promises, Promises" made their way to the stage. In fact, the latter was nominated for a Tony award for best musical. More recently, a review entitled "The Look of Love" was performed on stage in 2003. That same year saw Bacharach's contribution to the original musical called "The Boy From Oz." Burt Bacharach was also a featured songwriter in Andre Deshield's production of Haarlem Nocturne in 1984.
Burt Bacharach's distinctive style, which often uses unusual chord progressions and syncopated rhythms to create a catchy hook, made him one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century. From Brian Wilson to Oasis to Faith No More, many contemporary acts cite Bacharach's songwriting as highly influential on their careers.