Thursday, February 9, 2023

Why Burt Bacharach was one of my favorite composers

 The song ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’ reminds me so much of my childhood and going to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid film in a theater with my mother and my brother in the early 70s. This song was in the soundtrack. 

Burt Bacharach music was everywhere in the audio of my childhood in stores in the local Woolworths on the corner where we lived on the upper east side of Manhattan. Also I heard his songs in movie soundtracks on TV shows and specials, and then I remember finding out he was married to Angie Dickinson. I loved her show Police Woman and the photos of her with Burt Bacharach looked so California glamourous. 

I revisited his music in the 90s after I outgrew my pessimistic punk rock phase and my roommate at the time Gregg Turkington turned me onto the record ‘casino royale’. Dusty Springfield’s smoky phrasing captivated me on the Look of Love track and the instrumental songs were upbeat and catchy. it took me years later, to connect the dots and realize that the same guy had composed all these great songs (usually with Hal David or Carol Bayer Sager) that I loved. He really is one of my favorite composers. I would follow his career when he popped up in the news and like all of us his life was imperfect, the fairytale marriage with Angie Dickinson crumbled and years later their daughter committed suicide. 

He may have been rich and famous with preternatural talent for songwriting but clearly felt pain as deeply as the rest of us. I believe his optimism in the face of it was sincere. He went on to remarry and have other children and vowed to never retire from making music. In his last interview he said keep the music playing. rest in peace Burt Bacharach.

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