[Notice how similar the backgrounds of this week’s songwriters are. There are almost all Jewish and from Brooklyn or one of the nearby boroughs. It must be something in the water. SB SM]
The team of burt Bacharach/Hal David didn’t really write rock ‘n roll, but they sure knew how to create popular hits. Here’s an unusual medley to backdrop today’s read.
David was born in New York City, a son of Austrian Jewish immigrants Lina (née Goldberg) and Gedalier David, who owned a delicatessen in New York in 1921. In 1957, David met composer Burt Bacharach at Famous Music in the Brill Building in New York. The two teamed up and wrote their first hit “The Story of My Life“, recorded by Marty Robbins in 1957. Subsequently, in the 1960s and early 1970s Bacharach and David wrote some of the most enduring songs in American popular music, many for Dionne Warwick and also for The Carpenters, Dusty Springfield, B. J. Thomas, Gene Pitney, Tom Jones, Jackie DeShannon and others.
The television tribute, What the World Needs Now: Words by Hal David was aired on public television stations and released on home video in 2019. The program was hosted by Bette Midler and contained archival interviews with Hal David, and commentary, tributes, and archival performances with Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, Valerie Simpson, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Dusty Springfield, B.J. Thomas, and Glen Campbell.
Burt Freeman Bacharach (/ˈbækəræk/ 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. Starting in the 1950s, he composed hundreds of pop songs, many in collaboration with lyricist Hal David. Bacharach’s music is characterized by unusual chord progressions and time signature changes, influenced by his background in jazz, and uncommon selections of instruments for small orchestras. He arranged, conducted, and produced much of his recorded output.
Over 1,000 different artists have recorded Bacharach’s songs. 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 singers such as Gene Pitney, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, and B. J. Thomas.
(from Wikipedia: Many significant American and international publishing companies, music agencies, and record labels were based in New York, and although these ventures were naturally spread across many locations, the Brill Building was regarded as probably the most prestigious address in New York for music business professionals.
By 1962, the Brill Building contained 165 music businesses. A musician could find a publisher and printer, cut a demo, promote the record and cut a deal with radio promoters, all within this one building. The creative culture of the independent music companies in the Brill Building and the nearby 1650 Broadway came to define the influential “Brill Building Sound” and the style of popular songwriting and recording created by its writers and producers.
In the Brill Building practice, there were no more unpredictable or rebellious singers; in fact, a specific singer in most cases could be easily replaced with another. These songs were written to order by pros who could custom fit the music and lyrics to the targeted teen audience. In a number of important ways, the Brill Building approach was a return to the way business had been done in the years before rock and roll, since it returned power to the publishers and record labels and made the performing artists themselves much less central to the music’s production.)