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Burt Bacharach
Burt Bacharach 1972.JPG
Bacharach in 1972
Background information
Birth name Burt Freeman Bacharach
Born (1928-05-12)May 12, 1928
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died February 8, 2023(2023-02-08) (aged 94)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Composer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • pianist
  • singer
  • conductor
  • Piano
  • keyboards
  • vocals
Years active 1950–2023

Burt Freeman Bacharach ( BAK-ə-rak; May 12, 1928 – February 8, 2023) was an American composer, songwriter, record producer, and pianist who is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential figures of 20th-century popular music. He composed hundreds of pop songs beginning in the late 1950s, many in collaboration with lyricist Hal David. Bacharach's music is characterized by unusual chord progressions, influenced by his background in jazz harmony, and uncommon selections of instruments for small orchestras. He arranged, conducted, and produced much of his recorded output. He received various accolades including three Academy Awards, six Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award.

From 1961 to 1972, most of Bacharach and David's hits were written specifically for and performed by Dionne Warwick, but earlier associations (from 1957 to 1963) saw the composing duo work with Marty Robbins, Perry Como, Gene McDaniels, and Jerry Butler. Following the initial success of these collaborations, Bacharach wrote hits for Gene Pitney, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Jackie DeShannon, Bobbie Gentry, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert, B. J. Thomas, and the Carpenters, among numerous other artists.

A six-time Grammy Award winner and three-time Academy Award winner, Bacharach's songs have been recorded by more than 1,000 different artists. Songs that he co-wrote which have topped the Billboard Hot 100 include "This Guy's in Love with You" (1968), "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" (1969), "(They Long to Be) Close to You" (1970), "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" (1981), and "That's What Friends Are For" (1986). At the time of his death, he had written seventy-three U.S. and fifty-two UK Top 40 hits.

Bacharach is described by writer William Farina as "a composer whose venerable name can be linked with just about every other prominent musical artist of his era". In later years, his songs were newly appropriated for the soundtracks of major feature films, by which time "tributes, compilations, and revivals were to be found everywhere". A significant figure in easy listening, he influenced later musical movements such as chamber pop and Shibuya-kei. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked Bacharach and David at number 32 for their list of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. In 2012, the duo received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first time the honor has been given to a songwriting team.

Early life and education

Bacharach was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, graduating from Forest Hills High School in 1946. He was the son of Irma M. (née Freeman) and Mark Bertram "Bert" Bacharach, a well-known syndicated newspaper columnist. His mother was an amateur painter and songwriter who was responsible for making Bacharach learn piano during his childhood. His family was Jewish, but he said that they did not practice or give much attention to their religion. "But the kids I knew were Catholic," he added. "I was Jewish, but I didn't want anybody to know about it."

Bacharach showed a keen interest in jazz as a teenager, disliking his classical piano lessons, and often used a fake ID to gain admission into 52nd Street nightclubs. He got to hear bebop musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie, whose style influenced his songwriting.

Bacharach studied music (Bachelor of Music, 1948) at McGill University in Montreal, under Helmut Blume, at the Mannes School of Music in New York City, and at the Music Academy of the West in Montecito, California. During this period he studied a range of music, including jazz harmony, which became important to his songs, which are generally considered pop music. His composition teachers included Darius Milhaud, Henry Cowell, and Bohuslav Martinů. Bacharach cited Milhaud, under whose guidance he wrote a "Sonatina for Violin, Oboe and Piano", as his greatest influence.



Bacharach was drafted into the United States Army in 1950 and served for two years. He was stationed in Germany and played piano in officers' clubs there, and at Fort Dix, and Governors Island. During this time, he arranged and played music for dance bands.

Bacharach met the popular singer Vic Damone while they were both serving in the army in Germany. Following his discharge, Bacharach spent the next three years as a pianist and conductor for Damone. Damone recalled, "Burt was clearly bound to go out on his own. He was an exceptionally talented, classically trained pianist, with very clear ideas on the musicality of songs, how they should be played, and what they should sound like. I appreciated his musical gifts." He later worked in a similar capacity for various other singers, including Polly Bergen, Steve Lawrence, the Ames Brothers, and Paula Stewart (who became his first wife). When he was unable to find better jobs, Bacharach worked at resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York, where he accompanied singers such as Joel Grey.

Marlene Dietrich and Burt Bacharach visit Jerusalem during a 1960 concert tour of Israel - Photo by Fritz Shlezingel
Bacharach with Marlene Dietrich in Jerusalem, 1960

In 1956, at the age of 28, Bacharach's productivity increased when composer Peter Matz recommended him to Marlene Dietrich, who needed an arranger and conductor for her nightclub shows. He then became part-time music director for Dietrich, the actress and singer who had been an international screen star in the 1930s. They toured worldwide off and on until the early 1960s. When they were not touring, he wrote songs. As a result of his collaboration with Dietrich, he gained his first major recognition as a conductor and arranger.

In her autobiography, Dietrich wrote that Bacharach loved touring in Russia and Poland because the violinists were extraordinary and musicians were greatly appreciated by the public. He liked Edinburgh and Paris, along with the Scandinavian countries, and "he also felt at home in Israel", she wrote, "where music was similarly "much revered". In the early 1960s, after about five years with Dietrich, their working relationship ceased, with Bacharach telling Dietrich that he wanted to devote himself full-time to songwriting. She thought of her time with him as "seventh heaven ... As a man, he embodied everything a woman could wish for ... How many such men are there? For me he was the only one."

In 1957, Bacharach and lyricist Hal David met while at the Brill Building in New York City, and began their writing partnership. They received a career breakthrough when their song "The Story of My Life" was recorded by Marty Robbins, becoming a No. 1 hit on the U.S. Country Chart in 1957. Soon afterward, "Magic Moments" was recorded by Perry Como for RCA Records, and reached No. 4 in the U.S. These two songs were the first back-to-back No. 1 singles by a songwriting duo in the UK (the British chart-topping "The Story of My Life" version was sung by Michael Holliday).

Burt Bacharach - jam session
Bacharach with Stevie Wonder in the 1970s


Despite Bacharach's early success with Hal David, he spent several years in the early 1960s writing songs with other lyricists, primarily Bob Hilliard. Some of the more successful Bacharach-Hilliard songs include "Please Stay" (The Drifters, 1961), "Tower of Strength" (Gene McDaniels, 1961), "Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)" (Chuck Jackson, 1962), and "Mexican Divorce" (The Drifters, 1962). In 1961 Bacharach was credited as arranger and producer, for the first time on both label and sleeve, for the song "Three Wheels on My Wagon" written jointly with Hilliard for Dick Van Dyke.

Bacharach and David formed a writing partnership in 1963. Bacharach's career received a boost when singer Jerry Butler asked to record "Make It Easy on Yourself" and also wanted him to direct the recording sessions. It became the first time Bacharach managed the entire recording process for one of his own songs.

In the early and mid-1960s, Bacharach wrote well over a hundred songs with David. In 1961 Bacharach discovered singer Dionne Warwick while she was a session accompanist. That year the two, along with Dionne's sister Dee Dee Warwick, released the single "Move It on the Backbeat" under the name Burt and the Backbeats. The lyrics for this Bacharach composition were provided by Hal David's brother Mack David. Dionne made her professional recording debut the following year with her first hit, "Don't Make Me Over".

Bacharach and David then wrote more songs to make use of Warwick's singing talents, which led to one of the most successful teams in popular music history. Over the next 20 years, Warwick's recordings of his songs sold over 12 million copies, with 38 singles making the charts and 22 in the Top 40. Among the hits were "Walk On By", "Anyone Who Had a Heart", "Alfie", "I Say a Little Prayer", "I'll Never Fall in Love Again", and "Do You Know the Way to San Jose". She has had more hits during her career than any other female vocalist except Aretha Franklin.

Bacharach released his first solo album in 1965 on the Kapp Records label. Hit Maker! Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits was largely ignored in the U.S. but rose to No. 3 on the UK album charts, where his version of "Trains and Boats and Planes" had become a top five single. In 1967, he signed as an artist with A&M Records, recording a mix of new material and rearrangements of his best-known songs until 1978.

Although Bacharach's compositions are typically more complex than the average pop song, he expressed surprise that many jazz musicians have sought inspiration from his works, saying "I've sometimes felt that my songs are restrictive for a jazz artist. I was excited when [Stan] Getz did a whole album of my music" (What The World Needs Now: Stan Getz Plays The Burt Bacharach Songbook, Verve, 1968).

His songs were adapted by a few jazz artists of the time, such as Stan Getz, Cal Tjader, Grant Green, and Wes Montgomery. The Bacharach/David composition "My Little Red Book", originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the film What's New Pussycat?, has become a rock standard.

Bacharach composed and arranged the soundtrack of the 1967 film Casino Royale, which included "The Look of Love", performed by Dusty Springfield, and the title song, an instrumental Top 40 single for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. The resulting soundtrack album is widely considered to be one of the finest engineered vinyl recordings of all time, and is much sought after by audiophile collectors.

Bacharach and David also collaborated with Broadway producer David Merrick on the 1968 musical Promises, Promises, which yielded two hits, including the title tune and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again". Bacharach and David wrote the song when the producer realized the play urgently needed another before its opening the next evening. Bacharach, who had just been released from the hospital after contracting pneumonia, was still sick, but worked with David's lyrics to write the song which was performed for the show's opening. It was later recorded by Dionne Warwick and was on the charts for several weeks.

The year 1969 marked, perhaps, the most successful Bacharach-David collaboration, the Oscar-winning "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head", written for and prominently featured in the acclaimed film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The two were awarded a Grammy for Best Cast album of the year for "Promises, Promises" and the score was also nominated for a Tony award.

Bacharach and David's other Oscar nominations for Best Song in the latter half of the 1960s were for "The Look of Love", "What's New Pussycat?", and "Alfie".

1970s and 1980s

He swings. He jumps. He socks imaginary tennis balls from his conductor's podium. He's a hurricane that knows where it's heading.

Rex Reed, American film critic

Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, Bacharach continued to write and produce for artists, compose for stage, TV, and film, and release his own albums. He enjoyed a great deal of visibility in the public spotlight, appearing frequently on TV and performing live in concert. He starred in two televised musical extravaganzas: "An Evening with Burt Bacharach" and "Another Evening with Burt Bacharach", both broadcast nationally on NBC. Newsweek magazine gave him a lengthy cover story entitled "The Music Man 1970".

In 1971, Barbra Streisand appeared on The Burt Bacharach Special (aka Singer Presents Burt Bacharach), where they discussed their careers and favorite songs and performed songs together. The other guests on the television special were dancer Rudolph Nureyev and singer Tom Jones.

In 1973, Bacharach and David wrote the score for Lost Horizon, a musical version of the 1937 film. The remake was a critical and commercial disaster; a flurry of lawsuits resulted between the composer and the lyricist, as well as from Warwick. She reportedly felt abandoned when Bacharach and David refused to work together further.

Bacharach tried several solo projects, including the 1977 album Futures, but the projects failed to yield hits. He and David reunited briefly in 1975 to write and produce Stephanie Mills' second album, For The First Time, for Motown.

By the early 1980s, Bacharach's marriage to Angie Dickinson had ended, but a new partnership with lyricist Carole Bayer Sager proved rewarding, both commercially and personally. The two married and collaborated on several major hits during the decade, including "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" (Christopher Cross), co-written with Christopher Cross and Peter Allen, which won an Academy Award for Best Song; "Heartlight" (Neil Diamond); and "On My Own" (Patti LaBelle with Michael McDonald).

Another of their hits, "That's What Friends Are For" in 1985, reunited Bacharach and Warwick. When asked about their coming together again, she explained:

We realized we were more than just friends. We were family. Time has a way of giving people the opportunity to grow and understand ... Working with Burt is not a bit different from how it used to be. He expects me to deliver and I can. He knows what I'm going to do before I do it, and the same with me. That's how intertwined we've been.

Other artists continued to revive Bacharach's earlier hits in the 1980s and 1990s. Examples included Luther Vandross's recording of "A House Is Not a Home", Naked Eyes' 1983 pop hit version of "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me", and Ronnie Milsap's 1982 country version of "Any Day Now". Bacharach continued a concert career, appearing at auditoriums throughout the world, often with large orchestras. He occasionally joined Warwick for sold-out concerts in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York City, where they performed at the Rainbow Room in 1996.

1990s and beyond

Burt Bacharach 2013 (9219552969)
Bacharach performing in 2013

In 1998, Bacharach co-wrote and recorded a Grammy-winning album with Elvis Costello, Painted from Memory, on which the compositions began to take on the sound of his earlier work. The duo later reunited for Costello's 2018 album, Look Now, working on several tracks together.

In 2003, he teamed with singer Ronald Isley to release the album Here I Am, which revisited a number of his 1960s compositions in Isley's signature R&B style. Bacharach's 2005 solo album At This Time was a departure from past works in that Bacharach penned his own lyrics, some of which dealt with political themes. Guest stars on the album included Elvis Costello, Rufus Wainwright, and hip-hop producer Dr. Dre.

In 2008, Bacharach opened the BBC Electric Proms at The Roundhouse in London, performing with the BBC Concert Orchestra accompanied by guest vocalists Adele, Beth Rowley, and Jamie Cullum. The concert was a retrospective look back at his six-decade career. In early 2009, Bacharach worked with Italian soul singer Karima Ammar and produced her debut single "Come In Ogni Ora".

Bacharach's autobiography, Anyone Who Had a Heart, was published in 2013.

In June 2015, Bacharach performed in the UK at the Glastonbury Festival, and a few weeks later appeared on stage at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, south London, to launch What's It All About? Bacharach Reimagined, a 90-minute live arrangement of his hits.

In 2016, Bacharach, at 88 years old, composed and arranged his first original score in 16 years for the film A Boy Called Po (along with composer Joseph Bauer). The score was released on September 1, 2017. The entire 30-minute score was recorded in just two days at Capitol Studios. The theme song, "Dancing with Your Shadow", was composed by Bacharach, with lyrics by Billy Mann, and performed by Sheryl Crow. After seeing the film, a true story about a child with autism, Bacharach decided he wanted to write a score for it, as well as a theme song, in tribute to his daughter Nikki — who had gone undiagnosed with Asperger syndrome, and died at the age of 40. "It touched me very much", the composer said. "I had gone through this with Nikki. Sometimes you do things that make you feel. It's not about money or rewards."

Though Bacharach was not known for political songs, "Live to See Another Day", dedicated to survivors of school gun violence, was released in 2018. Proceeds from the release went to the charity Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Co-written with Rudy Pérez, it also featured the Miami Symphony Orchestra.

In July 2020, Bacharach collaborated with songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Tashian on the EP Blue Umbrella, Bacharach's first new material in 15 years. It earned Bacharach and Tashian a Grammy Award nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

In March 2023, a collection is due to be released of Bacharach's collaboration with Elvis Costello. Entitled The Songs of Bacharach and Costello, the collection is expected to include 16 tracks from the proposed stage musical Taken From Life.

Film and television

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Bacharach was featured in a dozen television musical and variety specials videotaped in the UK for ITC; several were nominated for Emmy Awards for direction (by Dwight Hemion). The guests included artists such as Joel Grey, Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, and Barbra Streisand. Bacharach and David did the score for an original musical for ABC-TV titled On the Flip Side, broadcast on ABC Stage 67, starring Ricky Nelson as a faded pop star trying for a comeback.

In 1969, Harry Betts arranged Bacharach's instrumental composition "Nikki" (named for Bacharach's daughter) into a new theme for the ABC Movie of the Week, a television series that ran on the U.S. network until 1976.

During the 1970s, Bacharach and then-wife Angie Dickinson appeared in several television commercials for Martini & Rossi beverages, and Bacharach even penned a short jingle ("Say Yes") for the spots. He also occasionally appeared on television/variety shows such as The Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and others.

In the 1990s and 2000s Bacharach had cameo roles in Hollywood movies, including all three Austin Powers movies, inspired by his score for the 1967 James Bond parody film Casino Royale. Myers said the first film in the series, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), was partially inspired by the song "The Look of Love". After hearing the song on the radio, Myers began reminiscing about the 1960s, which helped him conceive the film. Myers later said of Bacharach's appearance in the movie: “It was amazing working with Burt. His song "The Look of Love" was the inspiration for this film. It was like having Gershwin appear in your movie."

Bacharach appeared as a celebrity performer and guest vocal coach for contestants on the television show American Idol during its 2006 season, during which an entire episode was dedicated to his music. In 2008, Bacharach was featured in the BBC Electric Proms at The Roundhouse with the BBC Concert Orchestra. He performed similar shows the same year at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and with the Sydney Symphony.

Musical style

The whole room would come to life with his conducting — the way he would look over at the drummer and with just a flick of his finger, things could happen. Once the groove was happening in the room, forget it; there was nothing like it. And everything, including the strings, responded to the kind of body movement that Burt had. He brings an incredible amount of life to the studio. He's probably one of the most amazing musicians in the world.

—Record producer Phil Ramone

Bacharach's music is characterized by unusual chord progressions, influenced by jazz harmony, with striking syncopated rhythmic patterns, irregular phrasing, frequent modulation, and odd, changing meters. He arranged, conducted, and produced much of his recorded output. Though his style is sometimes called easy listening, he expressed apprehension regarding that label. According to contributor Mark Voger, "It may be easy on the ears, but it's anything but easy. The precise arrangements, the on-a-dime shifts in meter, and the mouthfuls of lyrics required to service all those notes have, over the years, proven challenging to singers and musicians." Bacharach's selection of instruments included flugelhorns, bossa nova sidesticks, breezy flutes, tack piano, molto fortissimo strings, and cooing female voices. According to editors of The Mojo Collection, it led to what became known as the "Bacharach Sound". Bacharach explained:

I didn't want to make the songs the same way as they'd been done, so I'd split vocals and instrumentals and try to make it interesting  ... For me, it's about the peaks and valleys of where a record can take you. You can tell a story and be able to be explosive one minute, then get quiet as kind of a satisfying resolution.

While he did not mind singing during live performances, he sought mostly to avoid it on records. When he did sing, he explains, "I [tried] to sing the songs not as a singer, but just interpreting it as a composer and interpreting a great lyric that Hal [David] wrote." When performing in front of live audiences, he often conducted while playing piano, as he did during a televised performance on The Hollywood Palace.

Personal life

Burt Bacharach - Angie Dickinson -1965
With his second wife, actress Angie Dickinson, in 1965

Bacharach married four times. The first time was to Paula Stewart for five years (1953–1958). His second marriage, to actress Angie Dickinson, lasted 15 years (1965–1980). They had a daughter named Nikki Bacharach (born 1966), who suffocated herself with helium on January 4, 2007, after struggling with Asperger syndrome for many years.

Bacharach's third marriage, to lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, spanned nine years (1982–1991). The duo collaborated on a number of musical pieces and adopted a son named Cristopher Elton Bacharach.

Bacharach married his fourth wife, Jane Hansen, in 1993. They had two children, a son named Oliver and a daughter named Raleigh.

Bacharach once owned the Dover House restaurant, which was located across the street from Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, New York. It was the site of a press conference in which the New York Islanders unveiled their name and logo and introduced Bill Torrey as their first general manager.


Bacharach died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles, California on February 8, 2023, at the age of 94.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1965 Academy Awards Best Song "What's New Pussycat?" (from What's New Pussycat)
(shared with Hal David)
1966 "Alfie" (from Alfie)
(shared with Hal David)
1967 "The Look of Love" (from Casino Royale)
(shared with Hal David)
1969 Best Original Score for a Motion Picture (Not a Musical) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Won
Best Song – Original for the Picture "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
(shared with Hal David)
1981 Best Original Song "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" (from Arthur)
(shared with Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross, and Peter Allen)
1970 British Academy Film Awards Best Original Music Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Won
1981 Arthur Nominated
1969 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Music Promises, Promises Won
1966 Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song "Alfie" (from Alfie)
(shared with Hal David)
1969 Best Original Score Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Won
Best Original Song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
(shared with Hal David)
1971 "Long Ago Tomorrow" (from The Raging Moon)
(shared with Hal David)
1981 "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" (from Arthur)
(shared with Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross, and Peter Allen)
1982 "Making ***" (from Making ***)
(shared with Bruce Roberts and Carole Bayer Sager)
1986 "They Don't Make Them Like They Used To" (from Tough Guys)
(shared with Carole Bayer Sager)
1964 Grammy Awards Song of the Year "Wives and Lovers"
(shared with Hal David)
1966 Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist or Instrumentalist "What the World Needs Now Is Love"
(shared with Jackie DeShannon)
1968 Best Instrumental Theme "Casino Royale"
(shared with Hal David)
Best Instrumental Arrangement "Alfie" Won
"Casino Royale" Nominated
Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Show Casino Royale Nominated
1970 Song of the Year "I'll Never Fall in Love Again"
(shared with Hal David)
"Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head"
(shared with Hal David)
Best Contemporary Song Nominated
Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Won
Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album Promises, Promises
(shared with Hal David, Henry Jerome, and Phil Ramone)
1972 Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) "Long Ago Tomorrow"
(shared with Patrick Williams)
Best Pop Instrumental Performance Burt Bacharach Nominated
1982 Song of the Year "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"
(shared with Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross, and Peter Allen)
1987 "That's What Friends Are For"
(shared with Carole Bayer Sager)
Record of the Year Nominated
1997 Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals "God Give Me Strength"
(shared with Elvis Costello)
1999 "I Still Have That Other Girl"
(shared with Elvis Costello)
2006 Best Pop Instrumental Performance "In Our Time"
(shared with Chris Botti)
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album At This Time
(shared with Allen Sides)
2021 Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Blue Umbrella
(shared with Daniel Tashian)
2022 Best Musical Theater Album Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater's Some Lovers
(shared with Michael Croiter, Ben Hartman, Cody Lassen, and Steven Sater)
2016 Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Original Song – Feature Film "Dancing with Your Shadow" (from A Boy Called Po) Nominated
1970 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety or Musical Program – Variety and Popular Music Kraft Music Hall (Episode: "The Sound of Burt Bacharach") Nominated
1971 Outstanding Single Program – Variety or Musical – Variety and Popular Music Another Evening with Burt Bacharach Nominated
Singer Presents Burt Bacharach Won
1996 Satellite Awards Best Original Song "God Give Me Strength" (from Grace of My Heart)
(shared with Elvis Costello)
2016 "Dancing with Your Shadow" (from A Boy Called Po)
(shared with Billy Mann)
1969 Tony Awards Best Musical Promises, Promises
(shared with Neil Simon, Hal David, and David Merrick)


The success of their creative genius continues today as they each add new songs to what is without question one of the richest and most recognizable multi-generational playlists known to the world. Their creative talents have inspired songwriters for more than five decades, and their legacy is much in the tradition of George and Ira Gershwin, for whom this award is named.

—Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, 2011
  • 1972, Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • 1997, Grammy Trustees Award, with Hal David.
  • 1997, subject of a PBS "Great Performances" biography, "Burt Bacharach: This is Now".
  • 2000, People magazine named him one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in 1999.
  • 2001, Polar Music Prize, presented in Stockholm by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
  • 2002, National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) New York Heroes Award.
  • 2005, GQ Magazine Inspiration Award.
  • 2006, George and Ira Gershwin Award for Musical Achievement from UCLA.
  • 2006, Thornton Legacy Award, USC; They also created the Burt Bacharach Music Scholarship at the Thornton School to support outstanding young musicians.
  • 2008, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 2009, Bacharach received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. The award was presented to him during the Great American Songbook concert, which paid tribute to his music.
  • 2012, Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, with Hal David, awarded by the Library of Congress.

Television and film appearances

  • An Evening with Marlene Dietrich
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who *** Me
  • Austin Powers in Goldmember
  • Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song
  • Nip/Tuck
  • The Nanny
  • Jake in Progress



  • Hit Maker!: Burt Bacharach Plays the Burt Bacharach Hits (1965)
  • What's New Pussycat? (film soundtrack) (1965)
  • After the Fox (film soundtrack) (1966)
  • Reach Out (1967) (US: Gold)
  • Casino Royale (film soundtrack) (1967)
  • On the Flip Side (television soundtrack) (1967)
  • Make It Easy on Yourself (1969) (US: Gold)
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Film Soundtrack) (1969) (US: Gold)
  • Promises, Promises (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (1969)
  • Burt Bacharach (1971) (US: Gold)
  • Portrait in Music (Compilation) (1971)
  • Burt Bacharach's Greatest Hits (1973)
  • Lost Horizon (Film Soundtrack) (1973)
  • Burt Bacharach in Concert (1974)
  • Living Together (1973)
  • Portrait in Music Vol. II (Compilation) (1973)
  • Futures (1977)
  • Woman (1979)
  • Arthur (Film Soundtrack) (1981)
  • Night Shift (Film Soundtrack) (1982)
  • Arthur 2: On the Rocks (Film Soundtrack) (1988)
  • One Amazing Night (1998)
  • Painted from Memory with Elvis Costello (1998)
  • The Best of Burt Bacharach (Millennium Collection) 20th Century Masters (1999)
  • Isn't She Great (Film Soundtrack) (2000)
  • The Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection [3-Disc Compilation] (2001)
  • Motown Salutes Bacharach [Compilation] (2002)
  • Isley Meets Bacharach: Here I Am with Ronald Isley (2003)*
  • Blue Note Plays Burt Bacharach [Compilation] (2004)
  • At This Time (2005)
  • The Definitive Burt Bacharach Songbook [2-Disc Compilation] (2006)
  • Burt Bacharach & Friends Gold [2-Disc Compilation] (2006)
  • Colour Collection [Compilation] (2007)
  • Marlene Dietrich with the Burt Bacharach Orchestra (2007)
  • Burt Bacharach: Live at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (2008)
  • Magic Moments: The Definitive Burt Bacharach Collection [3-Disc Compilation] (2008)
  • Anyone Who Had A Heart - The Art Of The Songwriter [6-Disc Compilation] (2013)
  • A Boy Called Po (Film Soundtrack) (2017)
  • Blue Umbrella (5-Song EP with Daniel Tashian) (2020)

Theatrical works

  • Marlene Dietrich (1968): concert — music arranger and conductor
  • Promises, Promises (1968): musical — composer (Tony Nomination for Best Musical)
  • André DeShield's Haarlem Nocturne (1984): revue — featured songwriter
  • The Look of Love (2003): revue — composer
  • The Boy from Oz (2003): musical — additional composer
  • Some Lovers (2011) — composer with Steven Sater
  • My Best Friend's Wedding (2021) — composer with Hal David

Other recordings

As arranger, conductor
  • For Marlene Dietrich:
    • Live at the Café de Paris (1954)
    • Dietrich in Rio (1959)
    • Wiedersehen mit Marlene (1960)
    • Dietrich in London (1964)
As composer
  • For Dionne Warwick:
    • Alfie
  • For Aretha Franklin:
    • I Say a Little Prayer
  • For Ronan Keating:
    • When Ronan Met Burt (2011) An album of Bacharach songs, arranged and co-produced by Bacharach.
As musician
Tribute albums
  • Stan Getz released the album What the World Needs Now: Stan Getz Plays Burt Bacharach and Hal David in 1968.
  • Jazz musician John Zorn produced a 2-CD set of Bacharach tunes (1997), featuring several avant-garde musicians, as part of his Great Jewish Music series.
  • Marie McAuliffe's Ark Sextet released the Bacharach tribute album "Refractions" in 1998. McAuliffe had been featured on John Zorn's tribute album.
  • To Hal and Bacharach is a 1998 tribute album with 18 tunes, performed by notable Australian artists.
  • Bill Frisell's album The Sweetest Punch: The New Songs of Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach Arranged by Bill Frisell (1999) consists of jazz recordings of songs from the previous year's Painted from Memory album.
  • That's New Pussycat!: Surf Tribute to Burt Bacharach (2001)
  • Trijntje Oosterhuis released the album The Look of Love: Burt Bacharach Songbook in 2006.
  • Michael Ball recorded the album Back to Bacharach in 2007
  • What the World Needs Now: Big Deal Recording Artists Perform the Songs of Burt Bacharach
  • All Kinds of People: Love Burt Bacharach (2010) is a tribute album produced by Jim O'Rourke, featuring covers from Haruomi Hosono and Thurston Moore among others.
  • This Girl's In Love (A Bacharach & David Songbook), released in November 2016 by Anglo-Pakistani singer-songwriter Rumer (real name Sarah Joyce).

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Burt Bacharach para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Renowned Hispanic scientists
Luis Walter Alvarez
Francisco J. Ayala
Baruj Benacerraf
Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski
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Burt Bacharach Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.