Burt Bacharach: A Life in Song  14631

  • 00:02:45 On giving up American football for music, and his mother forcing him to take piano lessons, followed by his eventual decision, because of her, to concentrate on music.
  • 00:04:30 Bebop, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie Big Band, Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe (copy under the table in High School)
  • 00:05:00 Meeting Dionne Warwick
  • 00:08:30 Meeting Hal David in the Brill Building; terrible early songs like “Peggy’s in the Pantry”, “Underneath the Overpass”.
  • 00:09:40 How they worked together.
  • 00:14:00 On unconventional phrase lengths
  • 00:18:30 On “I Say A Little Prayer” and Bacharach trying to keep it from coming out, and Aretha’s version being better than the original with Dionne. On doubt while writing songs.
  • 00:23:00 On deciding on the idea for a song with Hal.
  • 00:24:00 Original of ‘The Windows of the World’ being too happy
  • 00:28:00 On going to Broadway with David Merrick and Neil Simon
  • 00:33:00 Mould-breaking music, with ‘In Between the Heartaches’. Polytonality. Ravel again / French.
  • 00:38:00 Richard Chamberlain recording ‘Close to You’: an “impossibly bad record”. Then a totally different concept, independently, from The Carpenters.
  • 00:43:00 British hits, and Dusty Springfield. Loved her, but only worked with her in the studio once. Immediately recognisable voices. She was very hard on herself. Cilla Black and tricky song, ‘Anyone who had a heart’.
  • 00:51:00 Lost Horizon movie setback; wrong idea to turn it into a musical, and disagreement with Hal
  • 00:56:00 On Alfie. Video on him conducting 44th take with Cilla at Abbey Road with George Martin.
  • 01:17:00 Favourite song: ‘Alfie’. “A good song should survive in any setting …”. On Luther Vandross.
  • 01:23:00 Advice to young composers: perform and sing rather than just write is a bit advantage. “Singer/songwriter is still the best way that I see right now.” Best advice he was given was from Darius Milhaud: “Never be discomforted or ashamed of a melody”.


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