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Burt Bacharach Has Died, Aged 94
Christian Eede , February 9th, 2023 16:30

The esteemed songwriter, who had 73 Top 40 hits in the US and 52 in the UK, died of natural causes

Legendary songwriter and performer Burt Bacharach has died, aged 94.

A representative for Bacharach, who had 73 Top 40 hits in the US and 52 in the UK across a decades-long career, told The Washington Post that he died at home in Los Angeles of natural causes.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1928 and raised in New York, Bacharach learnt to play cello, drums and piano as a child, and occasionally sneaked into New York jazz clubs such as Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie while underage. After receiving classical training at schools in New York, California and Montreal, he had a spell in the US army before becoming a piano accompanist to a number of musicians. He also worked as an arranger and conductor for Marlene Dietrich when she toured Europe in the late '50s and early '60s.

In 1957, he met lyricist Hal David, and the pair went on to strike up a long-held songwriting partnership. Two of their earliest written songs together, 'The Story Of My Life' by Michael Holliday and 'Magic Moments' by Perry Como, peaked at the No.1 spot in the UK singles chart.

The pair went on to pen a number of all-time classics together, such as Aretha Franklin's 'I Say A Little Prayer', Tom Jones' 'What's New, Pussycat?', and Dusty Springfield's 'The Look Of Love'.

Another of Bacharach's best-known hits, BJ Thomas' 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head', won a Grammy award in 1969, while he also collected an Oscar award that same year for his score for the film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, in which 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' featured. In all, he won three Oscars and six competitive Grammys – as well as the Grammy lifetime achievement award in 2008 – across his career.

In addition to his work with David, Bacharach enjoyed a long working partnership with Dionne Warwick, with the pair coming together on a number of Warwick's hits, such as 'Walk On By', 'Anyone Who Had A Heart' and 'Do You Know The Way To San Jose?' Warwick, however, later sued Bacharach after she was left without material when he and David stopped working together. Bacharach and Warwick reconciled in 1985 when they worked together on the 1985 AIDS charity single 'That's What Friends Are For'.

Among the other artists with whom Bacharach worked across his career are The Beatles, Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand and Dr. Dre.