The iconic composer and songwriter Burt Bacharach, best known for such timeless classics as “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and “I Say a Little Prayer,” has sadly passed away at the age of 94. He will be remembered forever through his beloved music that continues to inspire generations around the world.
Tina Brausam, the publicist for the Oscar winner informed The Associated Press that he had passed away at home in Los Angeles due to natural causes on February 8.
Burt Bacharach, one of the greatest composers and songwriters of all time, has had numerous hits since the 1950s that have stood the test of time. His timeless classics such as “Alfie”, “I Say a Little Prayer”, and “This Guy’s in Love with You” are still played on radio stations across today’s music landscape. Dionne Warwick even made her own rendition for his renowned hit “Walk On By”.
After an illustrious career spanning fifty years, Bacharach divulged to Page Six in 2021: “I’ve had a lot of turn-downs in my life you know, I really have.”
He continued: “You don’t win everything. Not even close to every time and I’m very accepting of things that don’t always work out.”
Throughout his iconic career, Bacharach earned himself three Academy Awards and eight Grammys for his musical accomplishments. Furthermore, he was awarded the Tony Award for Best Original Score when he composed “Promises, Promises” on Broadway.
In 1970, the singer obtained his first Academy Award for composing “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s” musical score as well as “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” In 1982, he then shared a win with wife Carole Bayer Sager for their song entitled “Best That You Can Do,” which was featured in “Arthur.” Furthermore, he produced soundtracks to an array of films such as “What’s New Pussycat?”, “Alfie”, and 1967’s comedic James Bond spoof—“Casino Royale.”
In 1999, Burt Bacharach delighted audiences with a spectacular cameo in the smash hit film “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” He could be seen delighting moviegoers atop of a bus alongside Mike Myers and Vanessa Williams as he played his classic song “What the World Needs Now.” As if that weren’t enough, Bacharach also appeared in Austin Power’s second installment too – this time with Elvis Costello! To an entirely new generation of listeners was presented with his timeless music from the 1960s and 70s.
“I never saw it coming,” he said. “Mike and [director] Jay [Roach] had me over and said, ‘We’re bringing you to Las Vegas and you’ll stay one night and we’ll do this one thing.’ And lo and behold Austin Powers became a huge hit.”
“It certainly tapped me into all of the 7-year-olds in this country,” he continued.
His melodies have been covered by over 1000 singers, and many of Bacharach’s chart-toppers were created for the one and only Dionne Warwick. His partnerships also extended to other influential voices such as Gene Pitney, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Jackie DeShannon, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert, BJ Thomas plus The Carpenters – all adding their own unique spin to his timeless compositions.
In the 1950s, Bacharach launched his career as a songwriter. He quickly rose to fame after becoming Marlene Dietrich’s pianist – an icon in Hollywood.
“She did not have a great voice,” he said. “She didn’t have a good voice but there was that stage presence and that always worked. We played in Russia, we played in Israel, I got to see the world.”
In 1957, he initiated a creative partnership with Hal David who proved to be an essential lyricist for him until his death in 2012.
In 1961, Bacharach and David had the honor of meeting Dionne Warwick, who would go on to be known as their most iconic muse with 39 hit singles written by them alone. This remarkable composer has gone down in history as the ‘King of Easy Listening’, making him even more revered for his work with music legends such as Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello and Dr. Dre later in his career. His chart-topping success is unparalleled – 73 Top 40 hits in America and a whopping 52 in Britain proves that this artist’s timeless classics will live on forever!
Not only was he a musical phenomenon, but his presence also extended well beyond music. In 2000, “People” magazine named him one of the “Sexiest Men Alive,” while in 1999 they placed him on their list of the “50 Most Beautiful People”.
Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri in 1928, the illustrious musician spent his formative years living in New York City along with his syndicated columnist father and pianist mother who served as a primary source of inspiration throughout his musical journey.
His passion for music was first ignited when he clandestinely entered jazz clubs.
“They were just so incredibly exciting that all of a sudden, I got into music in a way I never had before,” he recounted in his 2013 memoir, “Anyone Who Had a Heart.” “What I heard in those clubs turned my head around.”
He was not only a passionate learner but also an exceptionally skilled musician. He pursued his musical training at distinguished schools in Montreal, New York and across California.
After his Army tenure came to a close in 1952, he decided to pursue music as a career and worked with esteemed artists such as Vic Damone, the Ames Brothers and Paula Stewart. His accomplishments were ultimately celebrated when Barack Obama awarded him the illustrious Gershwin Prize in 2012–an accolade dedicated to recognizing outstanding contributions within music.
After divorcing his first wife, actress Paula Stewart in 1958, Bacharach wed four times. His fourth marriage was to Jane Hansen in 1993 and the couple remained happily married until the time of his passing.
During his second marriage to Angie Dickinson, the two were blessed with three kids – their daughter, Nikki Bacharach. Sadly, Nikki had a life-long battle against undiagnosed Aspergers (Autism Spectrum Disorder), which eventually led to her death at age 40 in 2007. In his memoirs, Bacharach poignantly recounted this heartbreaking story of mental illness and its devastating consequences.
Hansen and his beloved children, Oliver, Raleigh, and Cristopher will forever treasure the memory of him.
Reflecting on his career in 2021, he emphatically told Page Six that retirement was not an option and aging wasn’t a worry.
“I don’t think about that too much,” Bacharach stated. “I’m just grateful that I’m still walking on this earth, you know?”