He adored Dusty, drove Cilla to exhaustion and had so many hits he lost count. Now, the 90-year-old says its time to get political
I dont know how many songs Ive written, I dont know how many hits Ive had, says Burt Bacharach when we meet in a dining room by the ocean in Santa Monica. Im not a good counter.
You can see why he might have trouble keeping track. Bacharach has won six Grammys and three Oscars, had 73 hits in the US Billboard 100 and 52 in the UK top 40 and thats at the time of going to press. He will be 91 on Sunday, but still performs, tours and writes, with new material set for release this year.
His mother encouraged him to play piano and he became infatuated with jazz. Being underage, he would sneak into nightclubs to catch big bands after falling for Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.
Somebody took me to a street where the music was totally different from anything Id ever heard. It was the bebop era at the Spotlight club in New York City. Sometimes thered be more people on the bandstand than thered be in the audience. I didnt know what I was gonna do with my life. I just knew I loved this music.
After studying music at university and serving in the army, he was hired as a conductor for Vic Damone (I lasted three weeks and got fired) and Marlene Dietrich (not my kind of music very German). Then, while conducting the vocal quartet the Ames Brothers in Las Vegas, Bacharach was struck by the simplicity of their work. I thought it would be easy to write songs like those and make hits, he says. And so he began
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