Obituary- Palisadian Burt Bacharach, Award-Winning Composer

Burt Bacharach
Photo: Rex

Pacific Palisades resident, and composer, Burt Freeman Bacharach passed away in his home on Amalfi on February 8 of natural causes. He was 94.

Born May 12, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri, Bacharach was the only child of father Bert, a department store clothing buyer and mother Irma, a painter and occasional songwriter.

The family moved to Queens, New York, in 1932, and Burt began taking piano lessons in elementary school to please his mother.

But, his love for music grew, however, while he was a teen and had access to the nightclubs where jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker performed.

After completing his formal music education at McGill University in Montreal, the Mannes School of Music in New York City and the Music Academy of the West in Montecito, California, Bacharach served in the army between 1950 and 1952 as a pianist for an officer’s club.

In 1957, Bacharach began his partnership with songwriter Hal David. The duo’s first songs, The Story of My Life (recorded by Marty Robbins) and Magic Moments (recorded by Perry Como), were hits.

He toured with Marlene Dietrich as her musical director from 1958-1961.

Bacharach and David, first worked with Dione Warwick in 1961 and a year later a song written for her, Don’t Make Me Over, reached No. 21. The duo went on to write and produce 20 Top 40 hits for Warwick over the next 10 years, seven of which went Top Ten.

He composed theme songs for What’s New Pussycat? and Alfie, both of which were nominated for an Academy Award. He and David received another Oscar nomination for The Look of Love for Casino Royale. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) earned Bacharach a Grammy and an Oscar.

In the decades that followed, Bacharach racked up more than 70 Top 40 singles in the U.S. and six Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award in 2008.

After divorcing his second wife Angie Dickinson, he married lyricist Carole Bayer Sager and they wrote together.

The couple’s biggest hit was the Oscar-winning Best That You Can Do, which they co-wrote with Christopher Cross and Peter Allen for the 1981 Dudley Moore comedy Arthur.

During Covid, Bacharach released a five-song EP Blue Umbrella with Nashville songwriter Daniel Tashian. In an interview from his home in Pacific Palisades Bacharach said about composing, “In these times it’s like a lifesaver, while being terrified at what’s happening outside.”

At the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, last October, “An Evening of Dance to the Music of Burt Bacharach” was presented with some of his signature songs: Alfie, What the World Needs Now is Love, Are you there (With Another Girl), Do You Know the Way to San Jose, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, Don’t Make Me Over, There’s Always Something There to Remind Me, The Look of Love, Anyone Who Had a Heart, Walk on By, The Blob, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head, Message to Michael and I Say a Little Prayer.

Then Bacharach wrote, “For many years, I’ve wanted to see my music reimagined in some kind of theatrical production – not just a jukebox musical formula of songs, but an original work with its own story and appeal. I’ve found an ideal collaborator in Mark Morris, whose brilliant choreography and deep musicality give songs new meaning and dimension through movement.”

Bacharach was married four times: to Paula Stewart, actress Angie Dickinson, songwriter Carole Bayer Sager and Jane Hansen. He had four children: daughter Nikki (with Dickinson); son Christopher (with Sager) and son Oliver and daughter Raleigh (with Hansen). He is survived by his wife, Jane Hansen and their children Oliver and Raleigh, and son Christopher. He is predeceased by a daughter, Nikki.

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One Response to Obituary- Palisadian Burt Bacharach, Award-Winning Composer

  1. Larry Pendley says:

    Burt was awesome. If anyone put together LOVE SONGS for us baby boomers. it was Burt . Dione Warwick , she did justice ti his music. Purchased many of his albums over the years. He will be missed but his music and memory will live for a long time. RIP.

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