The Originals – Bacharach Edition
Often Burt Bacharach had a lucky hand in producing the best known version of his compositions at the first attempt — and after 1963, he usually was the de facto producer and arranger of his songs’ first (and sometimes subsequent) recordings, even when others would get the credit.
So songs like Only Love Can Break A Heart, What’s New, Pussycat, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and This Guy’s In Love are best known in their original versions by Gene Pitney, Tom Jones, B.J. Thomas and Herb Alpert respectively. And, of course, there are all the Dionne Warwick hits, such as Walk On By, Do You Know The Way To San José or Promises Promises which have been covered often but never eclipsed. The one Warwick/Bacharach hit that provides the rule-proving exception is I Say a Little Prayer, a US #10 hit for Aretha Franklin in 1968, two years after it reached #4 for Warwick.
So here are Bacharach songs which may be better known — and, in some cases, definitely are — in later versions. In many of these cases, geography is the key. For example, in the US, The Story Of My Life from 1957 will be associated with Marty Robbins, but in Britain it was a #1 hit for Michael Holliday. The same may apply to Anyone Who Had A Heart, which in Britain is Cilla Black’s song rather than Dionne’s (and, depending on generation, to some it is Luther Vandross’ song). The Story Of My Life was, incidentally, the first collaboration between Bacharach and Hal David to become a hit, years before they started to work together regularly and, for a time, exclusively. It went #1 Country, #15 Pop and reached #2 in Australia.
A few songs were bigger hits than their better-known covers. For example, The Shirelles had a US #8 hit with Baby It’s You in 1962, but The Beatles’ version enjoys greater familiarity by force of album sales.
Other songs were not hits until later. Keely Smith’s One Less Bell To Answer sank without a trace until The 5th Dimension had a hit with it three years later. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again might have been familiar to those who knew the soundtrack for the 1968 musical Promises, Promises (for which Jerry Orbach — yes, Lennie Briscoe from Law & Order — won a Tony Award. British fans will know it better as Bobbie Gentry’s hit, or in Dionne’s version, and younger generations might think of it as Elvis Costello’s song from the Austin Powers 2 movie.
I would guess that Bacharach probably was happy enough with most hit covers of his songs (though I wonder what he made of The Stranglers and Naked Eyes covers of his tunes); one which he apparently really dislikes is Love’s 1966 rock classic version of Manfred Mann’s My Little Red Book, which was written for the film What’s New, Pussycat.
Two more recent songs postscript this collection, both from movie soundtracks. Rod Stewart’s version of That’s What Friends Are For appeared on the soundtrack of the Michael Keaton vehicle Nightshift (1982) before it was revived by Dionne Warwick and her pals. Siedah Garrett’s Everchanging Times featured in the 1987 Diane Keaton flick Baby Boom before Aretha Franklin & Michael McDonald covered it to good effect in 1992.
Not all the songs here are Bacharach/David compositions. Tower Of Strength and Any Day Now were written with Bob Hilliard; Baby It’s You with Mack David (Hal’s brother) and Luther Dixon, and the two 1980s songs with Carol Bayer-Sager.
As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-made covers. PW in comments (and, yes, passwords are necessary).
TRACKLISTING (cover versions in brackets):
1. Marty Robbins – The Story Of My Life (1958 — Michael Holliday 1958; Gary Miller, 1958)
2. Gene McDaniels – Tower Of Strength (1961 — Frankie Vaughan, 1961)
3. Jerry Butler – Make It Easy On Yourself (1962 — Walker Brothers, 1965)
4. Chuck Jackson – Any Day Now (1962 — Elvis Presley, 1969, Ronnie Milsap, 1978)
5. The Shirelles – Baby, It’s You (1962 — The Beatles, 1963; Smith, 1969)
6. Tommy Hunt – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (1962 – Dusty Springfield 1964; Dionne Warwick, 1966)
7. The Fairmount Singers – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962 — Gene Pitney, 1962)
8. Gene McDaniels – Another Tear Falls (1962 — Walker Brothers, 1966)
9. Dionne Warwick – Wishin’ And Hopin’ (1963; Dusty Springfield, 1964; Merseybeats, 1964)
10. Lou Johnson – Reach Out For Me (1963 — Dionne Warwick, 1964)
11. Jerry Butler – Message To Martha (1963 — Adam Faith, 1964; Dionne Warwick, 1966)
12. Dionne Warwick – Anyone Who Had A Heart (1963 — Cilla Black, 1964)
13. Richard Chamberlain – (They Long To Be) Close To You (1964 — Carpenters, 1970)
14. Brook Benton – A House Is Not A Home (1964 — Dionne Warwick, 1964; Luther Vandross, 1981)
15. Lou Johnson – (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me (1964 — Sandie Shaw, 1964; Naked Eyes, 1982)
16. Burt Bacharach – Trains And Boats And Planes (1965 — Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, 1965)
17. Dionne Warwick – You’ll Never Get To Heaven (1964 — The Stylistics, 1976)
18. Manfred Mann – My Little Red Book (1965 — Love, 1966)
19. Dusty Springfield – The Look Of Love (1967 — Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66, 1968)
20. Keely Smith – One Less Bell To Answer (1967 — The 5th Dimension, 1970)
21. Jill O’Hara & Jerry Orbach – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (1968 — Bobbie Gentry, 1969; Dionne Warwick, 1970)
22. Rod Stewart – That’s What Friends Are For (1982 — Dionne Warwick & Friends, 1986)
23. Siedah Garrett – Everchanging Times (1987 — Aretha Franklin & Michael McDonald, 1992)
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