The passing of lyricist Hal David at the age of 91 this past weekend brought back many musical and personal memories. As part of one of the greatest song-writing teams of all time, Burt Bacharach and Hal David contributed many melodies and lyrics to the soundtrack of my youth.
One of my most cherished musical books is a 1984 collection called the Lennon & McCartney Bacharach & David The Sixties songbook.
While the Beatles were cutting edge and seemed very rebellious when compared to the music of my parents’ generation, Bacharach and David were very mainstream. They comfortably carried on the jazzy, lounge sound of the likes of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.
No singer is more closely associated with Bacharach and David than Dionne Warwick. Even listening fifty years later, it seems that Warwick was born to sing these great songs.
The Bacharach and David sound was the epitome of sixties cool. Think Mad Men.
Yet their sound was just different enough from the “old fogeys” like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to be acceptable to the sixties’ rebellious teens. I’ll bet even among the radicalized hippies there were some Bacharach and the David fans humming along with the rest of us.
Here are some of my favorite songs from Bacharach and David through the years starting with Gene Pitney singing “Only Love Can Break a Heart”:
That same year Jerry Butler released the first of several hit versions of “Make it Easy on Your Self.”
But it was the addition of Dione Warwick’s voice and interpretations that created the most memorable Bacharach and David recordings.
Here’s a 1966 performance of “A Message to Michael”from the teen show Hullaboo:
“Walk on By” was one of the biggest international hits of the sixties. Here is Ms. Warwick lip-syncing it while surrounded by male models on the roof of the French radio broadcast facility in Paris.
There are many other songs and memories that I could add here but I’ll end with the 1969 hit “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”
My heartfelt thanks to Bacharach, David and Dione Warwick for a lifetime of cool music and wonderful memories.