I’ve always enjoyed Burt Bacharach’s music, but the reason for today’s story is because today is Burt Bacharach’s birthday.
Born on May 12th 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri, he moved to New York City, graduating from Forest Hills High School in 1946. He is the son of Irma M. (née Freeman) and Mark Bertram “Bert” Bacharach, a well-known syndicated newspaper columnist.
Bacharach showed a keen interest in jazz as a teenager, disliking his classical piano lessons, and often using fraudulent identification to gain admission into 52nd Street nightclubs such as Spotlite to see bebop musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, who were a major influence on him.
Bacharach has said, “Before I went into the service during the Korean War. I studied with Milhaud at the Music Academy of the West which was a summer program. I wrote a ‘Sonatina for Violin, Oboe and Piano.’ There were five in the class, and we were writing in a modern style. I had been hanging out in New York with John Cage. The middle section of my piece was very melodic, and I worried that it was too melodic. Milhaud said, ‘Never be afraid to be melodic.'”
Following service in the Army, Bacharach worked as a pianist, both as a soloist and as an accompanist for singers such as Vic Damone, Polly Bergen, Steve Lawrence, the Ames Brothers and Paula Stewart (who became his first wife). For some years, he was musical arranger for Marlene Dietrich, as well as touring as her musical director.
In 1957, Bacharach and lyricist Hal David were introduced, Bacharach wrote well over a hundred songs with David.
Bacharach composed and arranged the soundtrack of the 1967 film Casino Royale, which included “The Look of Love”, performed by Dusty Springfield.
Bacharach has been married four times. His first marriage was to Paula Stewart and lasted five years (1953–58). His second marriage was to actress Angie Dickinson, lasting for 15 years (1965–80).
Bacharach and Dickinson had a daughter, Nikki Bacharach, who committed suicide in 2007 at the age of 40.
His third marriage was to lyricist Carole Bayer Sager; this lasted nine years (1982–91). Bacharach and Bayer Sager collaborated on a number of musical pieces and adopted a son, Christopher.
Bacharach married his current wife, Jane Hansen, in 1993; they have two children, a son, Oliver, and a daughter, Raleigh. His autobiography, “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” was published in 2013. He lives in Brookville, New York.
One of my favorite songs from Burt Bacharach was the song called, “Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head,” which I heard for the first time in the movie called, “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid,” starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katherine Ross.
Today’s YouTube presentation a clip from that movie, as the song is sung by B.J. Thomas.
In lieu of today’s story find a Burt Bacharach tune that resonates with you, which is the perfect way to celebrate his birthday today.
Written and Designed by JD Mitchell