The Man Behind the Music: A Look at Burt Bacharach’s Astounding Career

Dozens of famous names have played the Long Center’s iconic Dell Hall, and Oscar and Grammy Award-winning songwriter Burt Bacharach is no exception. After a nearly 6-decade career in the music industry, the man behind the music will spend November 23rd playing just some of his  48 Top 10 hits, nine #1 songs, and more than 500 compositions with a landmark 50+year run on the charts. While the awards and achievements may solidify an honorable and successful career, for the fans it’ll always be about the music and the memories.

Burt Bacharach is unique — a combination of one of the greatest composers of all time, and the ultra-cool cult hero of the contemporary music set. Along with Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon, Bacharach is a legend of popular music. His songs have been recorded by legendary singers, such as Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt, Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin, in addition to covers by Elvis Costello (“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and “God Give Me Strength”), REM, Diana Krall, Barenaked Ladies, Sheryl Crow, Wynonna Judd and Mike 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), 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.  When The Recording Academy awarded Bacharach the Lifetime Achievement Award in February, 2008, he was proclaimed music’s Greatest Living Composer.

Burt Bacharach with his wife Angie Dickinson at their home in 1975.

Burt Bacharach with his wife Angie Dickinson at their home in 1975.

Bacharach’s Grammy-award winning musical, Promises, Promises, returned to Broadway on April 25, 2010 and earned four Tony nominations. A cast recording of the new production of “Promises, Promises” (featuring Kristin Chenowith, Sean Hayes and Katie Finneran) was released in 2010.

Bacharach and David were also 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.

Songwriting has earned household name Burt Bacharach countless industry awards, collaborations with musical legends, and crossover to Broadway, television, and film. 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.  He is one artist who will always remain in the limelight no matter what endeavor he pursues. As The Financial Times said in 2008, “Life may only be a moment, but in Bacharach’s hands it’s a big, bold, Technicolor moment.”

Burt Bacharach plays Dell Hall Sunday, November 23rd. Tickets available here.

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