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Burt Bacharach Biography

Home > Music > B > Bacharach, Burt > Biography

Birth Name: Burt F. Bacharach
Born: 1928/05/12
Birth Place: Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Years Active: 1957–present
Genres: Pop, Vocal

Burt Bacharach was born on May 12, 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri and is a pianist, composer and music producer. Bacharach studied music at McGill University, the Mannes School of Music, and at the Music Academy of the West in Montecito, California. His musical aspirations had to be put on hold when Bacharach joined the army. When he had completed his army service, Bacharach took a job as a pianist for various singers, such as Vic Damone, Polly Bergen, Steve Lawrence, the Ames Brothers and Paula Stewart. He also took on the role of musical arranger for Marlene Dietrich and toured all over the U.S. with her.

Bacharach hit the height of his success during the 1950s and continued to have hits through to the 1980s, collaborating with artists such as Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Bobbie Gentry, and Jackie DeShannon. Bacharach is responsible for writing 73 Top 40 hits in the U.S., and 52 Top 40 hits in the U.K.

1957 saw the beginning of Bacharach's partnership with lyricist Hal David, with their first hit being, “The Story of My Life,” which was recorded by Marty Robbins for Columbia Records and peaked at #1 on the Billboard Country Music chart. “Magic Moments,” sang by Perry Como for RCA Records was the next hit for the writing duo. The back-to-back hits shot Bacharach into the spotlight of international success.

As the 1960s unfolded, the duo began to work primarily with the up-and-coming singer, Dionne Warwick. For the next 20 years, Warwick charted 38 singles co-written or produced by Bacharach and David. A number of prominent jazz artists of the era recorded Bacharach's songs, such as Stan Getz, Cal Tjader and Wes Montgomery. The attraction from other artists to record his songs made Bacharach an in-demand song writer.

1967 saw Bacharach compose the soundtrack for the James Bond film, “Casino Royale,” which featured, “The Look of Love,” performed by Dusty Springfield. 1969 marked one of the biggest hits for the Bacharach-David collaboration, with “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” which was written for the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

By 1973 the writing duo had parted ways and Bacharach tried his hand as a solo artists. As the 1980s emerged, Bacharach entered into a new partnership with lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, which brought the hits, “Making Love” by Roberta Flack, “On My Own” by Patti LaBelle and “That's What Friends Are For” with Warwick. Bacharach continued to perform live with a thriving concert career throughout the 1990s. Numerous artists continued to record his songs, and in 1998, a collaboration with Elvis Costello, “Painted from Memory,” brought Bacharach another Grammy Nomination.

Bacharach's 2005 solo album, “At This Time,” showcased his ability to be flexible musically and move with the times. The album featured guest appearances from Elvis Costello, Rufus Wainwright, and Dr. Dre. 2008 saw Bacharach open the BBC Electric Proms at The Roundhouse in London, with a performance alongside guest vocalists Adele, Beth Rowley and Jamie Cullum, backed up by the BBC Concert Orchestra. In 2009 Bacharach worked with the Italian soul singer Karima Ammar, whose debut single “Come in Ogni Ora” he produced. The single peaked at #4 on the Italian Singles chart. Bacharach and lyricist Hal David were awarded the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2011.