Six decades into one of songwriting’s most successful and honored careers – marked by 48 Top 10 hits, nine #1 songs, more than 500 compositions and a landmark 50+ year run on the charts, Burt Bacharach's music continues to set industry records and creative standards. Bacharach’s global audiences span several generations, and he is viewed as the unique combination of one of the greatest composers of all time and the ultra-cool cult hero of the contemporary music set who often has several songs on various music charts in many countries simultaneously. He tours the world conducting orchestras with his own musicians and singers performing his music at his sold-out concerts.
Bacharach’s songs have been recorded by legendary singers such as Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt, Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin. Other tributes to the diversity of Bacharach’s music have been paid by, among others, Elvis Costello (“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and “God Give Me Strength”), REM, Diana Krall, Barenaked Ladies, Sheryl Crow, Wynonna Judd and Myers.
A recipient of three Academy Awards® and eight Grammy® Awards (including the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award and 1997 Trustees Award with collaborator Hal David), Burt Bacharach revolutionized the music of the 1950s and 60s and is regularly bracketed with legendary names, ranging from Cole Porter to Sir George Martin, as one of a handful of visionaries who pioneered new forms of music from the second half of the 20th Century and continued into the 21st Century.
Bacharach and David were the recipients of the 2012 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. This is the fourth time the honor has been awarded and the first time to a songwriting team. The prize is awarded to musicians whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwin’s. Bacharach and David received the Library’s Gershwin Medal in May 2012 at an all-star tribute in Washington, D.C. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.
Bacharach’s memoir Anyone Who Had a Heart was released in May 2013, by HarperCollins. For the first time in his long and astonishing career, Bacharach is telling his story of love, heartbreak, success, failure and unbridled ambition in his memoir, named after one of many songs Bacharach and David wrote for Dionne Warwick.
In 2011 Bacharach teamed up with award-winning lyricist and writer Steven Sater (Spring Awakening) for a new musical, Some Lovers, based on the O. Henry story “The Gift of the Magi,” which premiered in December 2011, at the Old Globe in San Diego.
Bacharach’s latest album, When Ronan Met Burt (with Boyzone lead singer Ronan Keating) was released in March 2011 and hit #3 in the UK charts. The album contains such classics as “Walk on By” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” composed by Bacharach over the course of his fifty-year career.
His Grammy®-award winning musical, Promises, Promises, returned to Broadway in April 2010 and earned four Tony® nominations. A cast recording of the new production (featuring Kristin Chenoweth, Sean Hayes and Katie Finneran) was released in 2010.
In 2006 the UCLA Student Alumni Association awarded Bacharach its “George and Ira Gershwin Award for Musical Achievement,” and the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery honored Bacharach with the “Icon Award” during the 2010 Visionary Ball. Also, USC awarded Bacharach the USC Thornton Legacy Award for extraordinary achievement in the arts, recognizing his contributions to music. When The Recording Academy awarded Bacharach the Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2008, he was proclaimed music’s “Greatest Living Composer.”
Bacharach has also enjoyed a celebrated career in film as well. His compositions include “Alfie” (1966); “What’s New Pussycat?” (1965; the title song was a million seller for Tom Jones); “The Look Of Love” from 1967’s Casino Royale; “Arthur (Best That You Can Do)” (1981, the Academy Award® winner for Best Song); and the film for which Bacharach received two Academy Awards® and a Grammy® award, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969), in which “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” first appeared. The Platinum-selling soundtrack from My Best Friend’s Weddingfeatured several Bacharach songs, with Diana King’s recording of “I Say A Little Prayer” hitting the top of the charts. Mike Myers considers Bacharach his lucky charm and cast him in all three Austin Powers films.
Most of Burt Bacharach’s songs have been collaborations with wordsmiths, including many written with Hal David. That particular pairing resulted in scores of Top 10 records (with Dionne Warwick alone!), and Bacharach and David created an incredible string of 39 chart records in ten years. “That’s What Friends Are For” won a Grammy® Award and holds a special place in Bacharach’s heart for another reason: the writers and artists involved donated all the proceeds from the song to the American Foundation for AIDS Research, with funds raised exceeding $1.5 million.
Bacharach started taking piano lessons while in elementary school. An avid fan of bebop music, Bacharach was influenced by such legends as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Bacharach studied at McGill University, the New School for Social Research in New York and Mannes School of Music. His training included music composition with such famous teachers as Darius Milhaud.
He began his career as a conductor and arranger, and toured widely for three years as accompanist conductor for the legendary Marlene Dietrich beginning in 1958. By the late 1950s some of his songs were hitting the charts in performances by artists from different segments of the popular music field. Perry Como had a hit with “Magic Moments.” He wrote a number of country rock classics for Gene Pitney and Marty Robbins. Soon afterwards, he established himself as one of the music industry's top writer/producers.
Although his first love remains writing, Bacharach feels performing is another bonus of his illustrious career. He continues to do scores of concerts around the world each year and makes annual appearances at Summer Pops. He is one artist who will always remain in the limelight no matter what endeavor he pursues.