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Look Of Love Disc 1
Links for "The Look Of Love" Box Set

Let The Music Play:

75 Magic Moments

Disc 1:

The Story Of My Life - Marty Robbins
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
With Ray Conniff & His Orch.
Produced by Mitch Miller
Columbia single #41013 (11/57) * Pop #15, C&W #1

Magic Moments - Perry Como
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
With Mitchell Ayres Orch. & The Ray Charles Singers
Arranged by Joe Reisman
RCA Victor single #7128 (1/58) * Pop #4

At the beginning of Burt Bacharach's songwriting career, there were a number of constraints on the kind of material he was able to sell. All-powerful A&R men (like CBS Records' Mitch Miller) decided on the kind of songs that singers would get to record, and safe, predictable, pleasant tunes got the nod more often than not. Although much of the music Burt later produced would certainly be renowned as unique and individualistic, his early material sounded crafty, enjoyable . . . and much like everyone else's at the time.

Mitch Miller is often damned these days for his famous hatred of rock 'n' roll, but that was no stumbling block for the new team of Bacharach & David. "I didn't like it too much," Burt says. "Three chords, and that was it. No major sevenths, nothing like that."

"The Story Of My Life" certainly wasn't rock 'n' roll, and it wasn't quite country, either -- despite the fact it was performed by Marty Robbins, who was one of the most successful country artists of the era. (It's a bit odd to realize Bacharach & David's first success together led to a C&W #1.)

Just around the same time, Perry Como, he of the fuzzy sweaters and dazzling smile, recorded "Magic Moments," a whimsical tale of sleigh rides and spilled cocoa. Perry had the #1 TV variety show and an unstoppable pop-single track record, so scoring a catchy song on a Perry Como session was hot stuff; getting the flip side of a #1 hit ("Catch A Falling Star") was hitting pay dirt.

"Darius Milhaud said, 'Never be ashamed to write something that people can whistle,'" Burt told Q magazine. Well, he must've taken his music teacher's advice deeply to heart, as you're hearing plenty of whistling -- along with calmly harmonizing choruses, chugging bass lines, and paternal vocalizing. What you're not hearing are those chordal mysteries and the melodic adventurousness that Bacharach & David would soon be known for.

Yet certainly Hal's common touch and plainspokeness is evident, as is Burt's ability to use catchy, nonvocal hooks to convey emotion. Yes, neither song is "Anyone Who Had A Heart"; the world wasn't quite ready for that yet. It was the late '50s, and life seemed less complicated than in the decade that was to follow. There was a deep American need for breathtakingly suburban, life-affirming diversions like "Magic Moments" and "The Story Of My Life," music best listened to in a station wagon with a pipe-clenching dad at the wheel.

The Blob - The Five Blobs
(Burt Bacharach/Mack David)
Columbia single #41250 (9/58) * Pop #33

In 1958 young Americans seemed to have an insatiable appetite for flying saucers, horror flicks, and rock 'n' roll. That's why "The Blob" was so perfect. Paramount Pictures had assigned its Famous Music staff songwriters Burt Bacharach and Mack David (Hal's more experienced lyric-writing older brother) to write the catchy theme song for the film, which is heard right over the opening credits . . . thereby clueing in audiences that they weren't in for too scary of a ride.

"The Blob" is a fizzy, "Tequila"-inspired novelty, produced in a one-off session by Bacharach, vocalist Bernie Nee, and a bunch of studio pros. With less-than-profound lyrics, a sleepy sax, and various mouth noises, "The Blob" is a goofy wonder -- and one of the most successful movie songs of Burt's early career. It was a moderate hit, yet (alas) The Five Blobs would never be heard from again.

Please Stay - The Drifters
(Burt Bacharach/Bob Hilliard)
Arranged & Conducted by Ray Ellis
Produced by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
Atlantic single #2105 (5/61) * Pop #14, R&B #13

In the early '60s the Brill Building showed no signs of slowing down as the home of pop music. Yet. (The Beatles were four years away.) "It was very exciting," remembers Burt, who stationed himself at the Brill Building in between Marlene Dietrich tours. "You'd go to the Turk restaurant downstairs for a sandwich in the middle of the afternoon and run into Phil Spector, Leiber & Stoller . . . It was great."

Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, songwriters who took the daring step of insisting on producing themselves, were busily rewriting the rules of pop music -- and guys like Phil Spector and Burt Bacharach were watching their every move. "The stuff Jerry and Mike wrote for The Coasters was really kinda witty," Burt smiles. "'Yakety Yak,' 'Charlie Brown'. . . extraordinary."

Even more extraordinary was Leiber & Stoller's audacious use of violins on 1959's "There Goes My Baby," the breakthrough hit for The Drifters -- and the first time a string section was heard on R&B music aimed at the teen market. They were writing and producing classy, ambitious, grandiose, despair-and-humor-filled pop music, a fact that made a deep impression on Burt Bacharach. Their music didn't exclude teens -- it courted them.

It was a sound that would eventually prove to be a much more satisfactory home for Bacharach's restless melodic gifts than, say, the world of Mitch Miller-endorsed, white-bread pop. (Sorry, Perry.) So Leiber & Stoller's decision to record a new Bacharach song -- as well as to start hiring Burt as an arranger -- would prove to be a momentous one for all concerned.

"Please Stay" was the second Drifters single sung by the great Rudy Lewis, who was replacing a solo-career-bound Ben E. King.

The song uses the Brazilian bai„o beat, that "Stand By Me" rhythm ever so handy for theatrical desperation; it bounces back up and down, mimicking the unsteady emotions of the narrator. "If I call out your name like a prayer in the night/Would you leave me alone with my tears?"2 By the time Rudy Lewis tells us he's in the Canyon of Doom, we believe him.

"Please Stay," an impressive start for Burt in the unfamiliar terrain of R&B, was cowritten by Famous Music lyricist Bob Hilliard.

"In the beginning, we didn't work together completely," Hal David explains. "We worked with each other, but we each had other collaborators. That's how the business was in those days. He'd work with other people like Bob Hilliard, and I worked with people like Sherman Edwards."

I Wake Up Crying
- Chuck Jackson
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged by Alan Lorber & Paul Griffin
Produced by Luther Dixon
Wand single #110 (8/61) * Pop #59, R&B #13

Chuck Jackson was a young R&B singer looking for his big break in 1960. One day, between sets at Harlem's Apollo Theatre, he was told that two record company executives wanted to talk to him in his dressing room. "And in walks a white woman and a black man," Chuck remembers. "And it was Florence Greenberg and Luther Dixon. They said, 'We saw your show and we want you to be a part of our family.' So I said 'OK.'"

"Florence was just an amazing woman," Bacharach says today, "really an unlikely person to be running an R&B company -- a Jewish white woman from New Jersey." Greenberg had been married to a supermarket mogul when she made a decision that would've given your average suburban housewife pause. "She'd seen The Shirelles with her daughter," Chuck says. "They were singing around the house, and she told her husband she wanted to start a record company. So he gave her $50,000 and told her to go do it.

It was supposed to have been a joke with everybody else, but Florence was serious."

Florence was serious, and her label -- first called Tiara, then renamed Scepter -- took off when the Luther Dixon-produced "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" became a hit for The Shirelles. Luther and Florence quickly became known as Brill Building hitmakers -- and, rather shockingly for the time, lovers.

"Luther was more like a brother than a producer, " says Chuck. "We wrote 'I Don't Want To Cry' together." "Cry" was his first hit on Wand, a spin-off label for Scepter; Brill Building regulars Burt Bacharach & Hal David were enlisted for the next record, which turned out to be the noble, stately, deliberate "I Wake Up Crying." The singer didn't know who Burt Bacharach was at the time of the recording session, but he did notice that the guy behind the piano that day could hardly keep still.

"If you listen to 'I Wake Up Crying,' there's a lot of intricate things happening in that song," Chuck recalls, and – despite the fact that Luther Dixon was at the helm -- "It was as if Burt was producing it, you know."

Chuck was the perfect early Bacharach vocalist: powerful, operatic, unafraid of sounding vulnerable, seeming even more at home with those Canyons of Doom than Rudy Lewis. His voice sounded great nestled against Burt's flowing string charts and those Leiber & Stoller tympanies. It was an exciting record for an exciting time -- and a hint of what was soon to come.

Tower Of Strength - Gene McDaniels
(Burt Bacharach/Bob Hilliard)
With The Johnny Mann Singers
Produced by Snuff Garrett
Liberty single #55371 (9/61) * Pop #5, R&B #5

Although the Brill Building was part of the New York music scene, the Los Angeles record labels were also reliant upon a steady supply of their product. Tommy "Snuff" Garrett, one of L.A.'s first "name" producers, was on the lookout for material for Gene McDaniels in the summer of 1961. (Gene, a fine baritone from Kansas City, had just hit it big with the quasi-spiritual "A Hundred Pounds Of Clay" -- a #3 smash.) Soon Gene was duly paired up with the catchy Bacharach/Bob Hilliard number "Tower Of Strength." Snuff sped it up, simplified it, and pushed it out to a waiting world, much to Burt's dismay -- he thought the L.A. studio band was playing too fast. (Listen closely, and there is a pretty tune lurking under the surface. Burt would rarely approve of other producers' interpretations of his material.)

Despite Bacharach's reservations, "Tower Of Strength," with its rubbery-legged trombone hook and its enthusiastic vocal filled with gasps, yodels, and falsetto madness, became a huge hit.

Baby It's You - The Shirelles
(Burt Bacharach/Mack David/Barney Williams)
Arranged by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Luther Dixon
Scepter single #1227 (12/61) * Pop #8, R&B #3

The Shirelles were Scepter Records' flagship act, and producer Luther Dixon needed a new hit single for them as 1961 drew to a close. Burt, venturing once again into the world of R&B, came up with "Baby It's You" -- cowritten with his "Blob" partner, Mack David, and with Luther Dixon himself (writing under the pseudonym of "Barney Williams"). It's a plaintive little song of love about a guy who . . . cheats, cheats, cheats. In other words, pitch-perfect girl-group stuff.

On the day of the session, Burt found himself behind the piano -- and a microphone. "It always amuses me that I can hear myself singing 'Sha la la' at the beginning of the record," Burt recalled in the liner notes for The Scepter Records Story. "I'm the male voice that really sticks out." Dixon's production, far simpler than one would come to expect from Bacharach, is wobbly, tentative, sexy -- and perfect for The Shirelles. "It's not the way you smile that touched my heart/It's not the way you kiss that tears me apart"3 sang Shirley Owens; "The ineffability of romance, captured in two lines," wrote Dave Marsh in his book The Heart Of Rock & Soul.

After the record's release, a British rock quartet known as The Beatles, still gaining fame even in their home country, recorded "Baby It's You" for their first LP, Please Please Me. The band, unabashed Brill Building fans, were well on their way to reselling the American sound back to an astonished world -- a revolutionary act that would eventually destroy Tin Pan Alley itself.

Burt's still tickled about the cover. "I was kinda delighted that their first album has 'Baby It's You' on there. Not everyone can walk around and say, 'Hey, The Beatles recorded my song.'"

Mexican Divorce
- The Drifters
(Burt Bacharach/Bob Hilliard)
Arranged & Conducted by Claus Ogerman
Produced by Jerry Leiber & Mike StollerAtlantic single #2134 (2/62)

In the tradition of great, wry Leiber & Stoller songs, the Bacharach/Bob Hilliard song "Mexican Divorce" was designed for, and recorded with, The Drifters. It's a great, witty song -- a bai„o about love and marriage gone bad, sung beautifully by Rudy Lewis. Listen to how he playfully duets with the violins in the middle of the tune.

But "Mexican Divorce" is significant for another reason. Leiber & Stoller wanted to add female voices to the chorus, so a group of four girl singers were called in. They were from New Jersey, and they were known as the Gospelaires: Myrna Utley, Carol Slade, Dee Dee Warrick, and her sister Marie Dionne Warrick. Burt couldn't keep his eyes and ears off them . . . one of them in particular.

"I didn't know what really appealed to me," Burt says, "because they were great. There were four girls, and they all sounded sensational. They were all family. But Dionne had an air about her, a certain way of going, a very attractive lady. Great kinda contour to her face."

Later, a sneaker-and-blue-jean-clad Marie Dionne faced off with Burt and Hal David in person. The two songwriters were considering a partnership together and were looking for singers for their song demos. Dionne remembers being interested, but not too much: "I was doing very, very well doing background work and demonstration records. I was in college and that was my primary concern, my education." Destiny was still a few acetates away.

(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance - Gene Pitney
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged by Chuck Sagle
Produced by Aaron Schroeder & Friends
Musicor single #1020 (4/62) * Pop #4

Burt and Hal David -- not full-time partners yet, but considering -- were put to work by Famous Music on the theme song of the upcoming Paramount Pictures release The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Gene Pitney eventually got the nod for the vocal -- although he may have been considered an unusual choice for such a macho song. Gene was a teen idol on the rise, a moody, good-looking Connecticut kid with an ache in his voice that made the girls swoon. Although both a songwriter and musician in his own right, he was being marketed with increasing success to the teenybopper market by his manager/label owner Aaron Schroeder, a legendary and feared Brill Building character.

What Burt and Hal came up with for Gene was an ambitious epic of their own, with a full-blown cowboy/orchestral-pop narrative that summed up the movie brilliantly within a couple of minutes. "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" galumphs along, the New York City session crew playing their cowboy music gleefully, drummer Gary Chester hitting his snare like a pistol, the country fiddle mixed over the Hollywood strings, with the lyrics never exactly explaining just who shot Liberty Valance.

The song was a grand success, and it was Gene's biggest hit to date. Everyone seemed to love it -- with the exception, alas, of director John Ford, who kept the song off the movie's soundtrack.

Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird) - Chuck Jackson
(Burt Bacharach/Bob Hilliard)
Arranged by Bert Keyes
Produced by Luther Dixon
Wand single #122 (4/62) * Pop #23, R&B #2

Chuck Jackson's "Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)" is a song of noble grandeur and stately doom. Yet the singer almost never got a chance to record it.

"The song was written for me," says Chuck today. "There was no doubt about it, Burt had done the arrangement for me. It was recorded for me." But the vocal on the initial version of the song was by session vocalist Lonnie Satin. (Chuck: "They were using it as a demo. Burt recorded the track with Lonnie Satin, so Lonnie thought he had a record.")

Then, to make matters more complicated, fellow Scepter Records artist Tommy Hunt had a go at the song -- this time with a completely different melody and lyric over the same backing track ("Lover"). Chuck remembers sitting in Scepter's offices when an angry Burt confronted label owner Florence Greenberg, after hearing of Tommy's unauthorized version. "Burt said, 'We will throw the song away before we let anyone else record it. It's Chuck Jackson's song.' And I just sat there," Chuck laughs. "Anyway, the next week I was on the track. And that's how it happened."

Despite the relatively straightforward Luther Dixon production, Burt's mastery in the recording studio was becoming increasingly clear. No one else could've made this record.

Like almost all Bacharach songs to follow, "Any Day Now" features a trademark instrumental hook attached to it -- in this case, the Hammond organ riff, as played by Bacharach session keyboardist Paul Griffin. (Writer Dave Marsh, in his book The

Heart Of Rock & Soul, writes that this organ opening would "figure prominently over the next few years in the development of folk-rock, serving as a motif in 'Blonde On Blonde' and elsewhere.")

Bob Hilliard captured the measured paranoia that would prove to be so perfect for Bacharach's melodicism -- a style that Hal David would soon master. (The song's narrator seems to be daring his own doom: "Any day now/Love will let me down . . ."4)

Burt himself says: "That's a great song -- it's one of my favorites. Great lyric that Bob Hilliard wrote."

Make It Easy On Yourself
- Jerry Butler
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged by Burt Bacharach
Vee Jay single #451 (6/62) * Pop #20, R&B #18

Shortly after the "Mexican Divorce" session, Bacharach & David began using Dionne Warrick as their demo vocalist, starting with "Make It Easy On Yourself." The sparse-sounding demo came out rather well, the singer seemed unfazed by the challenging melody and chord changes, and the songwriters were quite impressed. (You can hear this version on Dionne's Hidden Gems CD, on Rhino.)

The songwriters then brought their demo to the attention of Chicago's Vee Jay Records, who were looking for classy material for their star singer, Jerry Butler.

"Calvin Carter, who was the A&R man at Vee Jay Records, said, 'You feel the song. Why don't you go in and make the record with Jerry?,'" Burt told the Los Angeles Times. "So we did it, and I realized that it was a way to prevent people from messing up your song. It was a self-defense move." And so the Bacharach Sound began.

"And if the way I hold you can't compare to his caress/No words of consolation will make me miss you less."5 Devastating stuff; dignity in the face of desolation; perfect lyrics for the broken heart. "Make It Easy On Yourself" is the first undisputed Burt Bacharach classic; the song served as an announcement to the world that he had arrived. And the world would never be quite the same. All these years later, it still sounds exhausted, bitter, generous, and grown-up.

When Dionne heard the record, she was livid. Hal: "She thought, in her own mind, she was going to be the one to release it."

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
- Tommy Hunt
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged & Conducted by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
Scepter single #1236 (8/62) * Pop #119

Burt Bacharach & Hal David were on a roll. Increasingly in charge of their ambitious sound, the pair were writing masterpieces at a breathtaking rate. "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" was designed for Scepter's Tommy Hunt, with Burt arranging and conducting the strings for the Leiber & Stoller-helmed session.

Tommy, formerly of The Flamingos, is telling us a deeply lonely, mysterious tale. The production is one slow explosion. And this song has got everything a tragedy would need: a hushed beginning, a terrifying middle, then back to a hushed climax.

At the end, the song drags itself down to a world of complete desperation; Tommy Hunt's world is very quiet again.

The song was not a hit for Tommy, but it became one of Dusty Springfield's finest early records. Despite the challenging melody, the song has had an improbable amount of covers, including ones by Dionne, Elvis Costello, Smokey Robinson, and -- even --Cameron Diaz, in her woeful karaoke moment in the 1997 film My Best Friend's Wedding.

It's Love That Really Counts (In The Long Run) - The Shirelles
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Luther Dixon
Scepter single #1237 (8/62) * Pop #102

Burt, surely emboldened by the success of his production of "Make It Easy On Yourself," was at the helm once again for the recording of a new Bacharach/David song. And at the mic, once again, was the team's preferred demo vocalist. "I remember when we did 'It's Love That Really Counts' with Dionne," says Hal David. "It was obvious that she was dynamite, and I'm quite sure that Burt felt the same way."

Burt and Hal enthusiastically played their new song for Scepter's Florence Greenberg. She reportedly responded: "I hate the song -- but who's the girl?"

"It's Love That Really Counts" was then shuffled off to Scepter's mainstay act, The Shirelles. "Loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loooo" they sing sweetly, over backing tracks originally recorded with Dionne. It's a fragile, richly melodic little song, with sweet piano and violin flourishes enhancing Shirley Owens' plaintive and vulnerable vocal.

Florence Greenberg went on to sign Bacharach & David to a production deal and agreed to sign the team's new singer. "We just got very lucky," said Burt on AMC's In Concert At The Rainbow Room special. "We could've missed Dionne just like you could've missed the girl of your life that you wind up marrying."

Only Love Can Break A Heart
- Gene Pitney
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged & Conducted by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Aaron Schroeder & Wally Gold
Musicor single #1022 (8/62) * Pop #2, R&B #16

Gene Pitney's "Liberty Valance" was a smash, Burt and Hal were hot, so it was no wonder that Musicor's Aaron Schroeder would turn to the songwriting team again for his star vocalist's next hit. And though Bacharach & David were making quite a name for themselves in the R&B world, the team would never lose their ability to write pretty, sentimental, traditional pop for crooners of all kinds.

Yes, that is Gene whistling the opening hook to "Only Love Can Break A Heart" -- as sweet counterpoint to a swooning cornet.

The singer fairly groans the vocal as an angelic chorus swells behind him. It's a fatalistic tale, aimed at an innocent lover's heart, about inevitable pain and intractable truths. That's why Pitney's so perfect.

"Only Love Can Break A Heart" became the singer's biggest hit. Ironically, it was kept out of the #1 slot by a song Gene himself wrote: The Crystals' "He's A Rebel," produced by Wall of Sound wunderkind Phil Spector. (Phil, a fellow Leiber & Stoller protege, had previously produced Gene's "Every Breath I Take" -- with a reportedly astonished Burt Bacharach and Hal David looking on from the Bell Studios control room.)

(There Goes) The Forgotten Man
- Jimmy Radcliffe
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged & Conducted by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Aaron Schroeder & Wally Gold
Musicor single #1024 (9/62)

"I met Jimmy through Aaron Schroeder around the time I was writing songs for Pitney," Burt remembers. "I always liked working with him on demos for his own records. I loved his phrasing."

Jimmy was better known as a songwriter than a singer when he recorded "(There Goes) The Forgotten Man." He was on staff at January Music, the music publishing arm of Schroeder's Musicor Records. But Jimmy had a fine R&B voice as well and was kept busy singing demos and background vocals for various sessions all about town.

"The Forgotten Man" may have been intended for Pitney. It was just the kind of song he did well, requiring an almost-on-the-verge-of-tears reading. But Radcliffe, who was Gene's recording manager at the time, got his hands on the tune first.

The song's production was startling -- and audacious. The violins pluck their opening notes like so many footsteps on a lonely sidewalk; the song rumbles at one moment and screams the next. Jimmy sings of the great heights he's fallen from; he used to be unimaginably proud, and now he's beyond crushed. It's Hal David's lyrical self-pity at its best -- a bit over the top perhaps -- and a great example of Burt's ability to create a perfect backdrop for unspeakable loneliness.

The song's melodrama may have been too much for the teen audience, as it wasn't a hit. Jimmy is better remembered (especially in British Northern soul circles) for his version of another Bacharach/David tune, "Long After Tonight Is All Over," a classic end-of-the-evening R&B song.

Don't Make Me Over
- Dionne Warwick
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged & Conducted by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Scepter single #1239 (11/62) * Pop #21, R&B #5

After the misunderstanding over "Make It Easy On Yourself" had blown over, Bacharach & David took Dionne Warrick (her surname changed to Warwick due to a misspelling at Scepter) into the studio to make her first record. They recorded three songs in a three-hour session: "I Smiled Yesterday," "Unlucky," and a song that Burt and Hal had specifically written for her, "Don't Make Me Over." Hal David: "It was a melody that Burt played for me which I loved." Burt Bacharach: "It was a pretty interesting way to start with a new artist. That certainly wasn't your normal song."

Certainly not. "Don't Make Me Over," Dionne Warwick's first release to the world, was a call of defiance, undeniably assertive and adult -- coming at you fearlessly from a 22-year-old black woman. "Accept me for what I am!" she demanded as her world crashed around her, "Accept me for the things that I do!"6

The melody contains a leap of an octave-and-a-half; the rhythms fluctuate between 12/8 and 6/8 (each an uncommon time signature in pop); and check out how that B minor, the one that hits after the words "Don't Make Me Over," makes it feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. It was the 1960s, and Burt Bacharach, Hal David, and Dionne Warwick -- together – were creating a new sound for a new decade. It was as if a gauntlet had been thrown down.

"It was an exciting night," remembers Hal. "Everybody was just thrilled to death when they heard it."

Let The Music Play - The Drifters
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged & Conducted by Gary Sherman
Produced by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
Atlantic single #2182 (3/63)

The chords modulate mischievously from the moment the song starts. The singer is begging whoever is in charge of the record player to let the music play, or else "she might slip away."7 All Rudy Lewis (and Burt and Hal) can offer to the girl -- and to us -- is a mesmerizing, beautiful song. But they needn't worry. We're hooked.

"Let The Music Play," the flip side of "On Broadway," is marvelous for a number of reasons: it's a killer song with a sympathetic and witty arrangement and a great Leiber & Stoller production. But Rudy Lewis' vocal may be the best thing about this record-about-a-record.

What life and brilliance he breathed into everything he recorded! (And what a shame it was that he died less than a year after this song was released.)

Blue On Blue - Bobby Vinton
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)

Arranged & Conducted by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Bob Morgan
Epic single #9593 (5/63) * Pop #3

In 1963 old-school style crooner Bobby Vinton was looking for new material to record when Burt Bacharach walked into his New York office. "I heard 'Blue On Blue' and my legs started to shake," Bobby told The Billboard Book Of Number One Hits. "I said to myself 'this is a number one record.'" But the singer, who had been heavily encouraged to try to get part of the publishing rights on any new songs he was to record, acted cool. He told Burt he might record "Blue On Blue" as an album track . . . if maybe his publisher could own part of the song.

Burt replied that, no, even though he'd like to, he couldn't give Bobby any of the publishing, as he had signed the song away to Famous Music that very morning. Bobby told Billboard: "He's walking out the door, toward the elevator, and I went running
after him and said, 'Burt, I was kidding, that's a great song. I can't play games with you.'"

Bobby went into the studio with producer Bob Morgan to record "Blue On Blue" -- although the singer remembers Burt (at the piano) as largely responsible for the way the record came out. The song, a gentle, continental-flavored, accordion-driven ballad, was just right for Vinton -- even a guy like Gene Pitney couldn't get away with such a weepy tune.

Bacharach often gets accused of being an easy-listening composer, an unfair tag, considering the tumultuous music he's produced with Dionne and Tommy and Chuck. But no doubt about it, "Blue On Blue," a shamelessly pretty and sentimental song, was, and still is, an easy-listening classic.

True Love Never Runs Smooth - Gene Pitney
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged & Conducted by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Aaron Schroeder & Wally Gold
Musicor single #66063 (6/63) * Pop #21

Like "Blue On Blue," "True Love Never Runs Smooth" is certainly easy on the ears; it's perhaps the sweetest of the Bacharach/David/Pitney collaborations. Burt and Hal sound like their hearts and minds were several thousands of miles east of New York City, as even-tempered Mediterranean rhythms ruled the day.

"I would rehearse with Burt on piano, usually in Aaron Schroeder's office," Gene Pitney recalls. "Amazing how you could never sing a Bacharach & David song as good as Burt. He didn't have a great voice, but he injected himself into his songs. You couldn't top it."

Again, like in "Only Love Can Break A Heart," Gene is warning us that "true love is worth all the pain, the heartaches, and tears."8 And again, you want to believe him -- if just for the way he sings the word pain. It's double-tracked, orchestral-pop splendor, from start to finish. By now, Burt's records, whether the singer was white or black, whether he snagged the producer's credit or not, were consistently focused pop masterworks. He was rising quickly to the top of the game.

"I have great respect and admiration for Burt," says Pitney today. "He's one of those people that makes heads turn when he walks in a room. He really doesn't have to act like a star, he truly is one."

Blue Guitar - Richard Chamberlain
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Conducted by Bill McElhiney
MGM single #13170 (9/63) * Pop #42

From your TV Screen . . . to Your Record Player! Many record companies of the era signed TV celebrity after TV celebrity, no matter what state the guy or gal's voice was in, in the hopes of another "Johnny Angel." Richard Chamberlain, a handsome guy in the middle of a massively successful five-year run as TV's Dr. Kildare, was far from the worst of the TV-star-vocalists (as any owner of Rhino's Golden Throats series can tell you). But he wasn't exactly Gene Pitney either.

Burt and Hal came up with a haunting, twangy little ballad for Chamberlain. It's been argued that Richard here sounds like Pat Boone filling in at a Roy Orbison session, and yet the song works; the chords and melody, restless, moody, unfamiliar, somehow fit Chamberlain's modest vocal talents. And it's a memorable little riff the guitarist is playing -- a bit odd-sounding, perhaps (maybe because the guy who wrote it wasn't ever a guitarist).

"Every note repeats 'I want you,'" Richard intones sincerely, as "Blue Guitar" fades into the sunset.9 He sounded less convincing on its flip side, "(They Long To Be) Close To You." (More on that song later.)

Reach Out For Me
- Lou Johnson
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Burt Bacharach
Big Top single #3153 (7/63) * Pop #74

In 1963 22-year-old R&B singer Lou Johnson had just signed a deal with Big Top Records, an offshoot of Larry Utall's powerful Brill Building-based Hill and Range publishing outfit, and the label owners seemed unsure of what to do with the singer after his first single appeared and disappeared without a trace.

So Lou was assigned to work with Burt Bacharach & Hal David. "It was a signed deal with Hill and Range," Johnson says. "I didn't choose Bacharach, they chose Bacharach, because they didn't know what to do with me. Producers like to give me their complicated stuff to do. There weren't many of us that were flexible in that degree, only a handful of us. Well, I hear grass grow; I've got good ears."

So Burt and Hal were to bring top-notch songs, some of their finest productions of '63 and '64, to Lou Johnson. And Lou had the ability to navigate the tricky melodicism and angst-ridden lyricism of the team without breaking a sweat. He was the first to record the compassionate and graceful "Reach Out For Me," a song that Dionne would record a few months later. Dionne's record did fairly well; Lou's record didn't. "Let's get that straight -- I covered Lou," says Warwick, an unabashed fan of the singer. "Lou recorded all of these songs before I did." Yet Johnson, who would come to be known (somewhat unfortunately) as "the male Dionne Warwick," would have bad luck and unfortunate timing with all of his Bacharach/David releases.

"Larry Utall thought, I'll make a deal with Bacharach & David, and I'll do the same thing Florence Greenberg did," says Steve Tyrell, a Scepter A&R executive at the time. "And everything they recorded with this guy did nothing, and we at Scepter would record it a year later and it would be a smash."

Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa - Gene Pitney
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged & Conducted by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Aaron Schroeder & Wally Gold
Musicor single #66067 (10/63) * Pop #17

"I always tried to make songs that were like minimovies," Burt was quoted saying in the liner notes of a U.K. collection of his hits. "A song like "Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa' -- it told a story; there's a lot of balance between its highs and lows. And there's a lot of drama."

Bacharach & David didn't need to wait for movie assignments; they wrote their own wide-screen music. "Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa," with its astonishing narrative, may be Bacharach & David's Pitney masterpiece.

Burt had written the music first, and Hal wrote the lyric after. "I've always kind of liked what I call 'narrative songs' -- story songs," Hal David told Discoveries magazine, "and when I hear music, very often I hear a story." Gene plays a guy who's heading home to his sweetheart, when he stops off in the middle of nowhere, and . . . meets this girl. The entire song, a reversed Dear John letter, is quite cruel; what dumped lover would want to hear "I hate to do this to you/But I've found somebody new/What can I do?"10 This song was also later wonderfully covered by Dusty Springfield.

Anyone Who Had A Heart - Dionne Warwick
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged & Conducted by Burt Bacharach
Produced by Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Scepter single #1262 (11/63) * Pop #8

It was at Burt's bachelor pad apartment in the East 60s, in the fall of 1963, that Dionne first heard "Anyone Who Had A Heart."

"It was being written the day before we were going in to record," Dionne recalls with a smile. "At that point, they only had the part 'Anyone who had a heart/Would take me in his arms/And love me too.'11 And I loved it. That's all they had. And I asked them to finish it and they did, the day of the date."

So Dionne was sight-reading newly minted notes and words off the page when the tape rolled for "Anyone Who Had A Heart." The song starts right in, and within an instant Dionne owns it. And so history gets made. The song starts off with sixteenth-note triplets, and at one point veers from 5/4 to 4/4 to 7/8 and back to 5/4 in the space of eight measures. "I didn't realize how complex it was until I went to write it out, and I saw that it was changing bars," says Burt. "It just felt natural to me.

"Instead of just writing for Chuck Jackson to record, or Tommy Hunt, or The Shirelles, when we got Dionne, then we got this great opportunity. She has a spectacular way of being able to do things very, very easily. Like something difficult would be so fluent with Dionne, so easy. It wasn't taxing at all."

Yes, the song is complicated; back then, the musicians at the Apollo Theatre used to complain mightily when asked to perform it. ("In the end, they all thanked me very much, because it kept their chops up," says Dionne.) But that's not the point, really. "Anyone Who Had A Heart" is an astonishing work of art, a song filled with desperation and beauty, breathlessness and loneliness. The song winds up with a terrifying fade ("Take me in his arms/And always love me/Why won't you?"), and then it's gone, a little less than three minutes later.11

"Once you have a couple of successes, with a song like 'Anyone Who Had A Heart,'" says Burt, "where it's changing time signatures so much, you're certainly more encouraged to keep doing it. There's no reason not to!"

A House Is Not A Home
- Brook Benton
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Arranged & Conducted by Alan Lorber
Produced by Shelby Singleton
Mercury single #72303 (7/64) * Pop #75

"A House Is Not A Home" will live for a very, very long time -- far longer than the film it was named after. A House Is Not A Home starred Shelley Winters and, despite the fact that it featured the film debut of a young Raquel Welch, sank quickly into obscurity. The title song, recorded by Mercury Records singer Brook Benton, wasn't much of a hit either -- although Dionne Warwick's version, released shortly afterwards, fared a bit better.

"It was a situation with a title song where Hal wrote the lyrics first, and then I set it," Burt said on the AMC Live At The Rainbow Room TV special. "I always liked the song. It's always been very emotional for a lot of people." The song moves along slowly, only brightening at the moment the narrator imagines a lover's face appearing. "But it's just a crazy game," Brook sings with resignation and dread. "When it ends/It ends in tears . . ."12

Unlike many Bacharach songs, "A House Is Not A Home" doesn't live or die by its recording; there's no arguably definitive version. It's more of a traditional kind of classic, a jazz standard, attractive to both vocalists and instrumentalists alike and not as dependent on quirky chord changes or rhythmic intricacies as your typical Burt tune. That may be the reason why "A House Is Not A Home" is one of the most covered songs in the Bacharach/David catalogue.

"You won't get an Academy Award nomination with a great song out of a bad picture," Bacharach diplomatically noted to the St. Petersburg Times, "but you can get a life out of it."

Wives And Lovers
- Jack Jones
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Orch. Directed by Pete King
Kapp single #551 (9/63) * Pop #14

"Wives And Lovers," one of the first of several delightful Burt & Hal hit pop-waltzes, was an "exploitation song" -- a song inspired by a movie that wasn't in the movie. "It wasn't going in the film, but it was meant to come out, and every time it got played, the name of the film would be performed," Hal David told Discoveries magazine. "Exploitation songs were very common in those days."

The song's success caught David by surprise. "I thought it was just too sophisticated at the time," he says. "It just didn't seem like a pop song." It was sung by an exuberant Jack Jones, who sounds like he's wearing a tux. Q magazine called it, with some justification, "a lounge lizard anthem." The lyrics are unquestionably dated ("Day after day there are girls at the office/And men will always be men,"13 Jack leers). That may be one of the reasons that Burt Bacharach recorded the song as a six-minute instrumental in 1971.

"The song is dated because of the subject matter," says David. "But that's what the movie is about. And in 1963, that was OK." It's an undisputed kitsch classic by now, a deceptively simple, hopelessly lovable song with a stop-and-start melody.

It was to be Jack Jones' biggest pop hit, a Grammy Award-winner (Burt's first), and a fun, great-sounding record.

Wishin' And Hopin'
- Dusty Springfield
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
With Accompaniment Directed by Ivor Raymonde
Produced by Johnny Franz
Philips single #40207 (6/64) * Pop #6

"Burt was a superstar anywhere that Marlene Dietrich worked," Dionne Warwick says. "He got his exposure because of that wonderful lady." Bacharach was a big star in the U.K. by late 1963, maybe because of Dietrich, or the fact that The Beatles had covered "Baby It's You," or maybe because "The Story Of My Life" and "Magic Moments" had been back-to-back U.K. #1 hits in 1958.

Whatever. The Bacharach Sound, as it was being called, was pure gold for English girl singers of the mid-'60s. And Burt, tanned, photogenic, and more than happy to hop on a TWA 707, was achieving Phil Spector-like stardom over there.

Dusty Springfield had just gotten her pop career going as a Brill Building-mad girl singer when she was introduced to Burt Bacharach. He suggested a cover of Dionne Warwick's "Wishin' And Hopin,'" a song that had been released a year earlier as the flip side of "This Empty Place." And while there's no doubt that Dusty made a wonderful hit record, there's also no doubt that her record is an almost identical cover of Dionne's original. "I think it's probably one of the highest compliments that could be paid to anyone, that someone wants to sound like them," says Dionne, choosing her words carefully.

Dusty's record is ebullient in its stop-and-go silliness, a borderline-misogynist romp in the "Wives And Lovers" mold -- although, beneath all the coquettishness, one hears the suggestion that women shouldn't be afraid to make the first move.

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