Burt Bacharach, the revered author of a number of peaceful pop songs from the 1950s through the 1980s, including “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” and the “Arthur” movie theme, has passed away, a family member of Bacharach confirmed to CNN. He was 94.
Bacharach, a significant player in 20th-century popular music, had tremendous success in a number of genres, including Top 40, country, rhythm and blues, and film soundtracks. Numerous singers, including Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, the Carpenters, and Christopher Cross, were among those for whom he produced successful tunes.
Many of his songs were inaccurately categorized as “easy listening,” which is a mellow, traditional form of music with few sharp edges. The majority were very different from the prevalent musical styles of his period, such as rock & roll, funk, disco, etc.
Nevertheless, Bacharach and his longstanding partner Hal David produced several of the era’s most memorable tunes. As one of the best-selling female vocalists of the 1960s, Warwick had a number of these songs become successes, including “Say a Little Prayer,” “Walk on By,” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”
The Shirelles’ “Baby It’s You,” Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat?” and Jackie DeShannon’s “What the World Needs Now is Love” are just a few of the huge successes that Bachrach also penned. “This Guy’s In Love With You” by Herb Alpert, “Heartlight” by Neil Diamond, and “On My Own,” a duet by Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald.
“That’s What Friends Are For,” a charity duet between Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder that topped the charts in 1986 and earned millions for AIDS research, was one of his largest and most significant singles.
When asked by NPR’s Scott Simon in 2013, Bacharach said, “Never be scared of something that you can whistle.”
Over the course of his lengthy career, Bachrach won nearly every significant musical honor, including six Grammy Awards, three Oscars, and — with with Hal David — the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. He was named the greatest living composer of music by the Grammys in 2008.
Thomas Burgess, a musician from the UK, posted a tribute on Thursday.
Burgess referred to it as “one of the greatest songwriting legacies in history ever.” Burt Bacharach, you were a king; farewell.
The Bangles co-founder and singer Susanna Hoffs tweeted a picture of Burt Bacharach with the message, “Peace and love, Burt Bacharach.”