Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Two of the biggest songwriters this country ever gave us were born in May. Their songs were staples on the radio in the 1960’s & 1970’s and continue to inspire “anyone who has a heart”.
Lyricist Hal David was born on May 25, 1921 in New York City. Almost eight years later, his collaborator, Burt Bacharach was born May 12, 1929 in Kansas City, Missouri. David started writing songs in the 1940’s for bandleaders like Guy Lombardo and Sammy Kaye while also contributing lyrics to the 1951 movie soundtrack of “Two Gals And A Guy”.
Bacharach was raised in Queens, NY and studied classical piano before discovering his love for jazz music. He received a degree in music in 1948, then served two years in the United States Army in the early 1950’s. After his tour of duty he worked as a pianist for Vic Damone before touring Europe in 1956 as the part time music director for actress Marlene Dietrich’s nightclub shows. In 1957 Bacharach met David at The Brill Building in NYC. That same year the duo had their first hit together, a #1 country song, “The Story Of My Life” by Marty Robbins.
After a number of successful collaborations over the next several years, Bacharach & David made their partnership official in 1963. That move & their work with today’s singer started the songwriting duo’s reign as two of America’s most treasured composers. They won every award out there including the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1970 for “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” from Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.
Bacharach (L) and David (R) at the 1970 Academy Awards Ceremony. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Fans of their music include Herb Alpert, Bette Midler, Patti LaBelle, Luther Vandross, Elvis Costello and a myriad of others including The Ambassador Of Cool, Isaac Hayes. He did a glorious 12 minute soulful/psychedelic/funk inspired cover of today’s song on his 1969 release, Hot Buttered Soul.
In a previous post about this song I wrote:
Years later I heard today’s song, written by this prolific duo, and I absolutely swooned. The singer is not one of my favorites but her work with this extraordinary writing team was a powerful force in the 1960’s. Her voice is so soft and pretty, and delivers a great vocal to a gorgeous arrangement. It is the best of what a sad love song should be: succinct, poignant, evocative and leaving you begging for one more note. I love so many Bacharach & David compositions (“Anyone Who Had A Heart”, “This Guy’s In Love With You”, “One Less Bell To Answer”, “A House Is Not A Home” “The Look Of Love” to name a few) but this one I adore.
David died in 2012 at the age of 91. Bacharach turned 94 years young on May 12. Together they wrote a chapter of music history that remains unmatched. And today’s track remains my favorite from their remarkable partnership.
“If you see me walking down the street
And I start to cry each time we meet
Walk on by
Walk on by“.
L to R: Hal David, Dionne Warwick & Burt Bacharach in the studio circa 1964 (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Dionne Warwick: “Walk On By” (1964, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David).
Stay safe & well.