Famous and Brilliant Composer of Seven Decades Burt Bacharach Dies
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Famous and Brilliant Composer of Seven Decades Burt Bacharach Dies

The beloved, award-winning composer and lyricist, Burt Bacharach, passed away Wednesday at the age of 94. Millions were moved and charmed by the unforgettable tunes of such songs as “Walk on By,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” and many more. His skill and influence have truly left a mark on the music industry.

For the past seven decades, the likes of Lennon-McCartney, Carole King, and only a few others could equal the brilliance of Bacharach in crafting instantly recognizable and long-lasting songs. His collection of top ten hits extended from the 1950s through to the 21st century, his melodies played on the radio, soundtracks, home stereos, and even iPods. His beloved interpreter Dionne Warwick gave a voice to his tunes, as well as Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, and many others. The songs of Bacharach were heard from the greats, such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Frank Sinatra, to contemporary singers like The White Stripes, Twista, and Ashanti. Among them, his masterpiece “Walk On By” was covered by artists from Warwick and Isaac Hayes to the Stranglers and Cyndi Lauper.

Mr. Bacharach, Mr. David, and Ms. Warwick’s harmonious union embodied the spirit of a youthful and spirited female, aching for romantic affection and presenting a fragile disposition. Their sophisticated sound acted as the prototype for the more raw and rustic tones of Motown from the mid-60s onward.

As the 70s rolled in, Burt Bacharach was the epitome of success. A Hollywood movie-star wife in Angie Dickinson and career successes in Hollywood and on Broadway only seemed to solidify the idea that Bacharach could do no wrong. But the notion was challenged in 1973 when he and his musical partner Hal David wrote the score for the movie musical “Lost Horizon”. This movie ended up being a complete disaster and the famed trio, Bacharach, David, and Warwick, began to fall apart. This all led to acrimonious disputes, with a series of lawsuits between them following suit.

Neil Diamond, Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)


After a period of stagnation in both his personal and professional life, Mr. Bacharach saw a return to success with the help of his collaboration with Carole Bayer Sager, who he later married in 1982. 1986 was a big year for the two of them; two of their songs, “On My Own” (a duet between Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald) and the AIDS-fundraising “That’s What Friends Are For”, hit No. 1 on the charts and won a Grammy for Song of the Year. Although initially recorded by Rod Stewart, the latter was re-recorded by a supergroup, Dionne and Friends (featuring Ms. Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John), making it Mr. Bacharach’s last major hit before the couple’s divorce in 1991.


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