Burt Bacharach - Songwriters, Career and Childhood

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Burt Bacharach's Personal Details

Burt Freeman Bacharach is a legendary American composer, songwriter, singer, pianist, and record producer

InformationDetail
BirthdayMay 12, 1928
NationalityAmerican
FamousSongwriters, Musicians, Pianists, Conductors, Composers, Lyricists & Songwriters
City/StateMissouri
SpousesAngie Dickinson, Carole Bayer Sager
Known asBurt F. Bacharach, Burt Freeman Bacharach
Childrens Cristopher Bacharach, Lea Nikki Bacharach, Oliver Bacharach, Raleigh Bacharach
Universities
  • McGill University
  • Mannes College The New School for Music
  • McGill University
Notable Alumnis
  • McGill University
  • McGill University
Birth PlaceKansas City
Height173cm
GenderMale
FatherBertram M. Bacharach
MotherIrma M. Bacharach
Sun SignTaurus
Born inKansas City
Famous asPianist, Composer, Songwriter

// Famous Songwriters

Burt Bacharach's photo

Who is Burt Bacharach?

Burt Freeman Bacharach is a legendary American composer, songwriter, singer, pianist, and record producer. He earned six Grammy Awards and three Oscars for some of his remarkable musical pursuits like ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head’. Distinctive nature of music of this seasoned composer is marked with atypical chord progressions influential of his jazz harmony background and the striking and unique way he chooses instruments for small orchestras. Counted among greatest composers of the 20th century popular music, Bacharach composed and wrote many of his hits during his long-time collaboration with lyricist Hal David. This duo became first song-writing team to win Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2012. Many of their hits were sung by Dionne Warwick among other artists. As a songwriter 73 of his songs found place in the US Top 40 list and 52 in the UK Top 40 list as of 2014. His collaborative efforts as composer/songwriter that topped Billboard Hot 100 include ‘On My Own’, ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head’ and ‘The Look of Love’. A noted figure of ‘easy listening’, Bacharach has also strongly influenced chamber pop and Shibuya-kei.

// Famous Musicians

Childhood & Early Life

He was born on May 12, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri, US in the Jewish family of reputed syndicated newspaper columnist Mark Bertram "Bert" Bacharach and amateur painter and songwriter Irma M. (née Freeman). He was raised in Forest Hills, Queens.

His mother made him learn the piano as a child; however after attaining teenage he developed interest in jazz. He attended Forest Hills High School and graduated in 1946. He often visited the 52nd Street nightclubs using fake ID and listened to bebop musicians like Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. Their style would later impact his work as song-writer.

He earned Bachelor of Music degree from Montreal's McGill University in 1948 and also studied music from Music Academy of the West and Mannes School of Music. At one point he came under tutelage of Darius Milhaud who he considers his biggest influence. He penned down a ‘Sonatina for Violin, Oboe and Piano’ under guidance of Milhaud.

Career

He had a stint with the US Army following which he remained associated with famous American singer Vic Damone as a pianist and conductor for three years. He also played same role for other singers like the Ames Brothers, Polly Bergen and Paula Stewart (later his first wife). At times he would also work with singers like Joel Grey at resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

He rose to prominence while working as arranger and conductor of nightclub shows of the Lola-Lola famed German-American movie star and vocalist Marlene Dietrich. He was recommended to the diva by composer Peter Matz in 1956. He intermittently toured worldwide with Dietrich till the early 1960s and also worked as her part-time music director. Their association of around five years ended when Bacharach expressed his wish to concentrate full-time on song-writing.

He met lyricist Hal David at the Brill Building in New York City in 1957 that initiated a writing endeavour between them. Their big break came that year with the song ‘The Story of My Life’ written by them and sung by US country singer Marty Robbins. The song peaked atop the US country chart for four weeks and ranked #15 in the Billboard Top 100 chart.

British crooner Michael Holliday recorded a cover version of ‘The Story of My Life’ that climbed atop the UK Singles Chart in February 1958. The song was replaced by yet another song written by Bacharach and David with music by the former titled ‘Magic Moments’ and recorded by Perry Como in 1957 for RCA Records. With such feat Bacharach and David became the first lyricists to spawn two consecutive chart topping UK singles.

He discovered Dionne Warwick in 1961 (who later became famous singer, actress and television show host). At that time she was working as a session accompanist. Her professional recording debut happened in 1962 with the hit song ‘Don't Make Me Over’ written and produced by Bacharach and David.

Bacharach’s first opportunity to execute overall recording process of one of his own songs came when singer Jerry Butler assigned him to record ‘Make it Easy on Yourself’ written by him and David. The song released in 1962 and became quite popular.

The continuing success of their early collaborative efforts led Bacharach and David to get into a writing partnership in 1963.

In the ensuing years Bacharach and David spawned several songs particularly for Warwick to perform which emerged as popular hits. Some of them include ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ (1964), ‘Walk On By’ (1964), ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ (1967) and ‘Do You Know the Way to San Jose’ (1968).

Meanwhile in 1965 his debut solo album ‘Hit Maker! Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits’ released through Kapp Records label. It failed to garner much attention in the US, however climbed at #3 on the UK album charts. His later albums include ‘Woman’ (1979) and ‘At This Time’ (2005). The latter won him the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2006.

He signed with A&M Records as an artist in 1967 and recorded both new stuffs and re-arrangements of his popular songs for them till 1978.

With time he bolstered his presence by writing hits for several artists like the Carpenters, Tom Jones, B. J. Thomas, Dusty Springfield and Gene Pitney. He would produce, arrange and conduct most of his recorded output.

Over the years he gave music for many films like ‘After the Fox’ (1966), ‘Casino Royale’ (1967) and ‘Lost Horizon’ (1973). Poor performance of ‘Lost Horizon’, the songs of which were written by Bacharach and David, resulted in a rift between the two leading to termination of their years-long thriving partnership. They however briefly reunited in 1975 and wrote and produced some records.

Meanwhile he won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album in 1969 for his work on the 1968 musical ‘Promises, Promises’. Bacharach and David wrote and produced the song ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head’ for the American Western film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ (1969). The song fetched the duo Academy Awards and a Grammy award.

He shared the Academy Award for Best Original Song along with Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen for co-writing ‘Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)’, from the blockbuster hit 1981 American comedy film ‘Arthur’. He married Carole the following year and co-wrote some hits with her including ‘Making Love’ (1982), ‘Heartlight’ (1982) and ‘On My Own’ (1986).

The 1985 cover version of the song ‘That's What Friends Are For’ written by Bacharach and Carole and performed by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1986.

He collaborated with Elvis Costello and released album ‘Painted from Memory’ through Mercury Records on September 29, 1998. Its tracks ‘I Still Have That Other Girl’ earned the two a Grammy Award for ‘Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals’ that year.

He has made several on-screen appearances including in television shows like ‘The Merv Griffin Show’, ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’; in television commercials including for Martini & Rossi beverages; and in all the three Austin Powers films (1997, 1999, 2002).

An honorary Doctorate of Music was conferred to him by Berklee College of Music in 2009.

Personal Life

He married four times. The first one was with American actress Paula Stewart from December 22, 1953 to 1958.

He then married American actress Angie Dickinson on May 15, 1965, which ended in divorce on August 4, 1981. Their daughter Nikki who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome committed suicide at age 40 in 2007.

He was then married to American lyricist, singer-songwriter, painter and author Carole Bayer Sager from April 3, 1982 to July 11, 1991. They adopted a son Christopher.

He also has a son, Oliver, and daughter, Raleigh from his fourth wife, Jane Hansen whom he married in 1993.

He published an autobiography ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ in 2013.

// Famous Composers

Burt Bacharach awards

YearNameAward

Academy Awards(Oscars)

1982Best Music, Original SongArthur (1981)
1970Best Music, Original SongButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
1970Best Music, Original Score for a Motion Picture (not a Musical)Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Golden Globe Awards

1982Best Original Song - Motion PictureArthur (1981)
1970Best Original ScoreButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Primetime Emmy Awards

1971Outstanding Single Program - Variety or Musical - Variety and Popular MusicSinger Presents Burt Bacharach (1971)

ASCAP Film And Television Music Awards

1991Most Performed Feature Film StandardsArthur (1981)
1988Most Performed Feature Film StandardsButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Grammy Awards

1999Best Pop Collaboration with VocalsWinner
1970Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television ShowButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Burt Bacharach biography timelines

  • // 12th May 1928
    He was born on May 12, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri, US in the Jewish family of reputed syndicated newspaper columnist Mark Bertram "Bert" Bacharach and amateur painter and songwriter Irma M. (née Freeman). He was raised in Forest Hills, Queens.
  • // 1946
    His mother made him learn the piano as a child; however after attaining teenage he developed interest in jazz. He attended Forest Hills High School and graduated in 1946. He often visited the 52nd Street nightclubs using fake ID and listened to bebop musicians like Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. Their style would later impact his work as song-writer.
  • // 1948
    He earned Bachelor of Music degree from Montreal's McGill University in 1948 and also studied music from Music Academy of the West and Mannes School of Music. At one point he came under tutelage of Darius Milhaud who he considers his biggest influence. He penned down a ‘Sonatina for Violin, Oboe and Piano’ under guidance of Milhaud.
  • // 22nd Dec 1953 To 1958
    He married four times. The first one was with American actress Paula Stewart from December 22, 1953 to 1958.
  • // 1956
    He rose to prominence while working as arranger and conductor of nightclub shows of the Lola-Lola famed German-American movie star and vocalist Marlene Dietrich. He was recommended to the diva by composer Peter Matz in 1956. He intermittently toured worldwide with Dietrich till the early 1960s and also worked as her part-time music director. Their association of around five years ended when Bacharach expressed his wish to concentrate full-time on song-writing.
  • // 1957
    He met lyricist Hal David at the Brill Building in New York City in 1957 that initiated a writing endeavour between them. Their big break came that year with the song ‘The Story of My Life’ written by them and sung by US country singer Marty Robbins. The song peaked atop the US country chart for four weeks and ranked #15 in the Billboard Top 100 chart.
  • // Feb 1957 To Feb 1958
    British crooner Michael Holliday recorded a cover version of ‘The Story of My Life’ that climbed atop the UK Singles Chart in February 1958. The song was replaced by yet another song written by Bacharach and David with music by the former titled ‘Magic Moments’ and recorded by Perry Como in 1957 for RCA Records. With such feat Bacharach and David became the first lyricists to spawn two consecutive chart topping UK singles.
  • // 1961 To 1962
    He discovered Dionne Warwick in 1961 (who later became famous singer, actress and television show host). At that time she was working as a session accompanist. Her professional recording debut happened in 1962 with the hit song ‘Don't Make Me Over’ written and produced by Bacharach and David.
  • // 1962
    Bacharach’s first opportunity to execute overall recording process of one of his own songs came when singer Jerry Butler assigned him to record ‘Make it Easy on Yourself’ written by him and David. The song released in 1962 and became quite popular.
  • // 1963
    The continuing success of their early collaborative efforts led Bacharach and David to get into a writing partnership in 1963.
  • // 1967 To 1978
    He signed with A&M Records as an artist in 1967 and recorded both new stuffs and re-arrangements of his popular songs for them till 1978.
  • // 3rd Apr 1982 To 11th Jul 1991
    He was then married to American lyricist, singer-songwriter, painter and author Carole Bayer Sager from April 3, 1982 to July 11, 1991. They adopted a son Christopher.
  • // 1985 To 1986
    The 1985 cover version of the song ‘That's What Friends Are For’ written by Bacharach and Carole and performed by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1986.
  • // 1993
    He also has a son, Oliver, and daughter, Raleigh from his fourth wife, Jane Hansen whom he married in 1993.
  • // 29th Sep 1998
    He collaborated with Elvis Costello and released album ‘Painted from Memory’ through Mercury Records on September 29, 1998. Its tracks ‘I Still Have That Other Girl’ earned the two a Grammy Award for ‘Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals’ that year.
  • // 2009
    An honorary Doctorate of Music was conferred to him by Berklee College of Music in 2009.
  • // 2013
    He published an autobiography ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ in 2013.

// Famous Lyricists & Songwriters

Burt Bacharach's FAQ

  • What is Burt Bacharach birthday?

    Burt Bacharach was born at 1928-05-12

  • Where is Burt Bacharach's birth place?

    Burt Bacharach was born in Kansas City

  • What is Burt Bacharach nationalities?

    Burt Bacharach's nationalities is American

  • Who is Burt Bacharach spouses?

    Burt Bacharach's spouses is Angie Dickinson, Carole Bayer Sager

  • Who is Burt Bacharach childrens?

    Burt Bacharach's childrens is Cristopher Bacharach, Lea Nikki Bacharach, Oliver Bacharach, Raleigh Bacharach

  • What was Burt Bacharach universities?

    Burt Bacharach studied at McGill University, Mannes College The New School for Music, McGill University

  • What was Burt Bacharach notable alumnis?

    Burt Bacharach's notable alumnis is McGill University, McGill University

  • How tall is Burt Bacharach?

    Burt Bacharach's height is 173

  • Who is Burt Bacharach's father?

    Burt Bacharach's father is Bertram M. Bacharach

  • Who is Burt Bacharach's mother?

    Burt Bacharach's mother is Irma M. Bacharach

  • What is Burt Bacharach's sun sign?

    Burt Bacharach is Taurus

  • How famous is Burt Bacharach?

    Burt Bacharach is famouse as Pianist, Composer, Songwriter