Burt Bacharach: Remembering a Legendary Composer and Arranger

Legendary composer and arranger Burt Bacharach, one of the most important musical figures in pop history, passed away at the age of 94 on Wednesday at his Los Angeles home.[0] His publicist, Tina Brausam, confirmed his death due to natural causes.

Bacharach began playing the piano at a young age, as his mother had insisted, and grew his love for music as a teenager sneaking into jazz clubs to see the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie.[1] His career took off when he met lyricist Hal David at New York City's famed Brill Building in 1957.[2] Together, they wrote back to back UK No 1s with “The Story of My Life” and “Magic Moments.”[3]

He was married four times, having tied the knot with fourth wife Jane Hansen in 1993 with whom he had two children, Oliver and Raleigh.[3] He is also survived by a son, Christopher, from his marriage to lyricist Carole Bayer Sager.[4]

The prolific composer wrote an astonishing number of hit songs over the decades, including “Say A Little Prayer,” “Walk On By,” “What The World Needs Now,” and “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”[5] He won six Grammys and three Oscars, including two Academy Awards in 1970 for the score of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and for the song “Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head,” which he co-wrote with Hal David and was performed by B.J. Thomas.[6] In 1982, he and Bayer Sager won Academy Awards for “Best That You Can Do,” the theme of the film “Arthur.”[0]

His songs were covered by countless artists, including Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra, and more recent performers such as the White Stripes, Twista and Ashanti.[5] Bacharach was a frequent guest at the White House, and was presented the Gershwin Prize by Barack Obama in 2012.[7]

Bacharach wrote music that was accessible, even though it sounded simple.[8] As Dionne Warwick and other musicians pointed out, there was nothing simple about them.[8] His pop songs were unconventional for the 1960s in their structure, key changes and time signatures.[8] His legacy will live on through his music, which will continue to be treasured and remembered by generations of listeners.

0. “Burt Bacharach, Legendary Pop Maestro, Dies at 94” Extra, 9 Feb. 2023, https://extratv.com/2023/02/09/burt-bacharach-dies-obituary/

1. “Burt Bacharach, Legendary Composer and Songwriter, Dies at 94” The Daily Beast, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/burt-bacharach-legendary-composer-and-songwriter-dies-at-94

2. “Burt Bacharach has died at 94” Brooklyn Vegan, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.brooklynvegan.com/burt-bacharach-has-died-at-94/

3. “Burt Bacharach, master of pop songwriting, dies aged 94” The Guardian, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2023/feb/09/burt-bacharach-

4. “Burt Bacharach, Masterful Creator Of Timeless Songs, Dies At 94” Yahoo Entertainment, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/burt-bacharach-masterful-creator-timeless-153200245.html

5. “Burt Bacharach Dead at 94” TMZ, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.tmz.com/2023/02/09/burt-bacharach-dead-dies-94-composer/

6. “Burt Bacharach, Grammy-winning composer behind massive hits, dead at 94” New York Daily News, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-burt-bacharach-dead-94-composer-20230209-53e23dqtybdb3jqpjhatzgltpu-story.html

7. “Burt Bacharach dead at 94” The Telegraph, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/02/09/burtbacharach-dead-94/

8. “Burt Bacharach, visionary pop composer, has died at 94” WBUR News, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.wbur.org/npr/561555285/burt-bacharach-obituary